Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Voyage of Sable Keech - Neal Asher

Because the last book I'd read was unbelievably awesome and still had its claws in me, I picked this book up next specifically because it was totally different.

Which means it sucked.

I know Asher gets a lot of love, and I'm sure somewhere out there are works of his that deserve it, but this isn't it. If you're first time to Asher's universe, like I was, stay away from this one. It's a bit of an in-crowd thing.

The story is about....hell, I don't know. A bunch of stuff happens, and I was waiting for a point to be made, but there wasn't one. Just stuff. A lot of characters feature, all of whom appear to have length backgrounds and significant history in other books, which I haven't read and don't know about, and the right information wasn't given at the right time so in the end I didn't care either, and it feels like all these characters are brought together because Asher likes them, and can't leave them alone, and they must all have last hurrahs. "Here, your beloved friends return again, isn't that awesome?" From my point of view, no. Not to mention that all the characters seemed to possess the same voice, with the same amout of smartarsery which got annoying after a while.

I mean, was there a point to the whole giant whelk thing? Giant whelks are cool, but unless they serve a purpose other than being big and squishing things for the convenience of the plot, I don't want them.

There wasn't even a something about the dead not being dead and la di da.

So much telling, not much showing.

So much technobabble.

In a weird way, I saw this book as a warning to myself, as all the flaws I see in it, I'm guilty of. Plenty of cool shit and cool stuff for no point whatsoever. If I write like that, with that many pages involved, stop me, please.

Very glad I read this after my giant crab story was picked up. There's even a character called Thirteen. I know, I know!

Verdict: If you like Asher's stuff and want more, here's more. If you don't know Asher's stuff, go start at the beginning. If you want. No pressure.


  1. Anonymous1/2/07 23:32

    One really big problem with starting at the beginning with Asher is that it's damned near impossible to figure out where the beginning is. From what I could figure out from cover blurbs, he has books from three or four separate storylines published in no discernible order, set in two or three not obviously related and/or completely unrelated universes.
    And that's just the books that _have_ coverblurbs. There's others that are just wrapped shinyness completely devoid of information, and when I once went googling for information, I discovered there's also short story collections that contain back story for some of his books.

    There was something in Gridlinked (which I'm 90% certain is the first full book in his polity universe) which I liked, though, so I actually have the next four books in publication order on my shelf right now (figure that's the only way to be certain to make sense of things), but I'm really not sure if it's worth the trouble figuring it all out.

  2. I know I won't bother with him again - his writing wasn't that great. I never did figure out exactly what the Polity was, either....

  3. Anonymous22/2/07 21:40

    When you've actually learned that ' story' is always 'a bunch of stuff that happens' then maybe, if you're a grown-up enough, you'll enter the publishing world.