Some hard science-fiction with political elements.
What is the Polity Universe about?
Coming from English science fiction writer Neal Asher, The Polity Universe is a space opera series that is composed of multiple , mostly trilogies, and some standalone novels.
The worlds of the Polity stretch from Earth Central into the unfathomable reaches of the galactic void. And when humanity finally encounters alien life—in the form of massive, hostile carnivores known as the Prador—there can only be one outcome. Total warfare.
Polity Books in Order:
1. Agent Cormac series
- Gridlinked – Ian Cormac is a legendary Earth Central Security agent, the James Bond of a wealthy future where “runcibles” allow interstellar travel in an eye blink throughout the settled worlds of the Polity. Unfortunately, Cormac is nearly burnt out, “gridlinked” to the AI net so long that his humanity has begun to drain away. He has to take the cold-turkey cure and shake his addiction to having his brain on the net. Now, he must learn to do without, just as he’s sent to investigate a unique runcible disaster that’s wiped out the entire human colony on planet Samarkand in a thirty-megaton explosion.
- The Line of Polity – On a remote planet, with mysterious forces swirling around him, Agent Ian Cormac returns to face a threat that could endanger the entirety of the Polity. The outlink station of Miranda has been destroyed. Nobody knows why, but all the signs point to Dragon, a gigantic bioconstructed entity. Agent Cormac is sent to investigate.
- Brass Man – Ian Cormac is hunting an interstellar dragon, little knowing that, far away, his competition has resurrected an horrific killing machine named “Mr. Crane” to assist in a similar hunt, ecompassing whole star systems. Mr. Crane, the insane indestructible artificial man now in a new metal body, seeks to escape a bloody past he can neither forget nor truly remember. And he is on a collision course with Ian Cormac.
- Polity Agent – From eight hundred years in the future, a runcible gate is opened into the Polity, allowing a ragged tide of refugees through as they attempt to take the alien “Maker” back to its home civilization. But the gate itself is rapidly shut down and dumped into a nearby sun—something alien is pursuing them.
- Line War – Under attack from every direction, the Polity teeters on the brink of annihilation . . . and only Agent Cormac can save it. When one of Erebus’s wormships kills millions on the world of Klurhammon for no tactical reason and the AI entity controlling the lethal Jain technology attacks the Polity, it falls to Agent Cormac to figure out why.
2. Spatterjay Trilogy
- The Skinner – The savage ocean planet of Spatterjay draws visitors with very different agendas. Erlin is immortal and seeks a reason to keep living. Janer hosts a hive mind, which paid him to find this planet. And Keech is an agent of Earth who’s been dead for seven hundred years – but still hunts a notorious criminal.
- The Voyage of the Sable Keech – Taylor Bloc is a walking dead man, determined to live again. He also wants adulation, power and control – and will do anything to get them. Of Bloc’s kind, Sable Keech alone has achieved resurrection. So Bloc will retrace Keech’s journey across Spatterjay’s wild seas, with his crew of killers, to grasp his secret.
- Orbus – Old Captain Orbus commandeered a ship to flee Spatterjay, desperate to escape the violent planet. Orbus’s alien enemy, the Prador Vrell, is also moving on. The Spatterjay virus mutated him into something even more dangerous. And he’s hunting the Prador King himself – who sought to kill him, to bury the secret of their similar transformations.
3. Transformation Trilogy
- Dark Intelligence – Thorvald Spear wakes in hospital, where he finds he’s been brought back from the dead. What’s more, he died in a human vs. alien war which ended a whole century ago. But when he relives his traumatic final moments, he finds the spark to keep on living. That spark is vengeance. Trapped and desperate on a world surrounded by alien Prador forces, Spear had seen a rescue ship arriving. But instead of providing backup, Penny Royal, the AI within the destroyer turned rogue. It annihilated friendly forces in a frenzy of destruction, and, years later, it’s still free. Spear vows to track it across worlds and do whatever it takes to bring it down.
- War Factory – Thorvald Spear is losing his mind as he drowns in dark memories that aren’t his own. Penny Royal, rogue artificial intelligence, has linked Spear with the stored personalities of those it’s murdered. And whether the AI seeks redemption or has some more sinister motive, Spear needs to destroy it. He feels the anger of the dead and shares their pain.
- Infinity Engine – Several forces now pursue rogue artificial intelligence Penny Royal, hungry for revenge or redemption. And the Brockle is the most dangerous of all. This criminal swarm-robot AI has escaped confinement and is upgrading itself, becoming ever more powerful in anticipation of a showdown.
4. Rise of the Jain Trilogy
- The Soldier – A corner of space swarms with alien technology, a danger to all sentient life. It’s guarded by Orlandine, who must keep it contained – as it could destroy entire civilizations. An alien intelligence shares her vigil. But she doesn’t share everything with Dragon . . .
- The Warship – Orlandine has destroyed the alien Jain super-soldier by deploying an actual black hole. And now that same weapon hoovers up clouds of lethal Jain technology, swarming within the deadly accretion disc’s event horizon. All seems just as she planned. Yet behind her back, forces incite rebellion on her home world, planning her assassination.
- The Human – Humanity and the prador thought their mutual nemesis – the bane of so many races – was long extinct. But the Jain are back and Orlandine must prepare humanity’s defence. She needs the Client’s knowledge to counter this ancient threat. But is the enemy of your enemy a friend? Earth Central even looks to the prador for alliance. These old enemies must now learn to trust one another, or face utter annihilation.
The Standalone novels
- Prador Moon – Chaos reigns as, caught unawares, the Polity struggles to regain control. It must try and remake itself into a military society as starships clash, planets fall and space stations are overrun. But for Jebel Krong and Moria Salem, trapped at the centre of the action, this war is far more than a clash of cultures or technology versus brute force. This war is personal.
- Hilldiggers – Two planets in the same solar system are locked in war, when some kind of cosmic super-string is discovered. It seems packed with alien technology, or even perhaps life. And for safety it is stored – in four segments – within a maximum-security space station. A female research scientist falls pregnant on the station soon after, and gives birth to quads. Then she commits suicide. But why?
- Shadow of the Scorpion – Prequel to Gridlinked. Following the human vs prador war, Ian Cormac signs up with Earth Central Security. He’s sent out to restore order on worlds devastated by alien bombardment. But he learns humanity can be far more dangerous – even those closest to him.
- The Technician – The Theocracy has been dead for twenty years, and the Polity rules on Masada – but it is an order that the rebels of the Tidy Squad cannot accept, and the iconic Jeremiah Tombs is top of their hitlist.
Polity Books in chronological order:
This list follows the internal chronology.