Polity Agent by Neal Asher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This kind of popcorn fiction requires a certain kind of mindset. A transhumanist mindset. One that keeps slipping between the lines of AI and Human and horrifying alien trap-technology.
Of course, since I'm half machine anyway, I'm perfectly at home with these shifting lines of self-definition. Screw sex-politics as a subset for SF idea exploration. Let's get right down to transforming the human race into something barely recognizable as human now, or if we can recognize it, it's constantly flying away from the norms. :)
This is the WILD future SF series. It's up there with Aleister Reynolds and Jack McDevitt and so many other Hard SF greatness. Never mind the heavy nanotech and alien technologies turning whole civilizations into slag through greed or the wonderful above-and-beyond enemies who are SERIOUS badasses.
These novels are genuine character-driven monstrosities. Unlike certain series, these heroes and baddies don't really die. They have backups and come back changed or crazy or on the side of the angels. Same thing is true for the good guys. :) It's like a flashy video game from the far future with all the tech in the world. AI ships and drones and even intelligent landmines... landminds. :)
In this novel really stood out for me with all the reveals about our incumbent wandering immortal, including snippets through all the Polity history. :) Pretty awesome, in fact. But the rest really steps up the game for the Jain trap.
While I can't call this the penultimate book of SF to end all SF, the tech, the aliens, the baddies and the reveals does something tingly to my insides. Like an extra jolt of electricity. Or nuclear fission. Total popcorn? Yeah, but of the So Much Better Than Pulp variety of popcorn. :)
What? I'm 6 or 7 books into the series? Yeah. And they all build on each other gloriously. Fortunately, the quality is consistent and fun. :)
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