Neal Asher

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Neal Asher
Neal Asher signing copies of his books.jpg
Born (1961-02-04) 4 February 1961 (age 61)
Billericay, Essex, England
GenreScience fiction

Neal Asher (born 4 February 1961) is an English science fiction writer. He lives near Chelmsford.[1]


Both of Asher's parents are educators and science fiction fans.[2] Although he began writing speculative fiction in secondary school, he did not turn seriously to writing until he was 25. He worked as a machinist and machine programmer and as a gardener from 1979 to 1987. Asher identifies The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and other fantasy work including Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber series as important early creative influences.[3]

Asher published his first short story in 1989. In 2000 he was offered a three-book contract by Pan Macmillan,[2] and his first full-length novel Gridlinked was published in 2001. This was the first in a series of novels made up of Gridlinked, The Line of Polity, Brass Man, Polity Agent, and Line War.

Asher is published by Tor, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, in the UK, and by Tor Books in the United States.[4]

The majority of Asher's work is set in one future history, the "Polity" universe. It encompasses many classic science fiction tropes including world-ruling artificial intelligences, androids, hive minds and aliens. His novels are characterized by fast-paced action and violent encounters. While his work is frequently epic in scope and thus nominally space opera, its graphic and aggressive tone is more akin to cyberpunk. When combined with the way that Asher's main characters are usually acting to preserve social order or improve their society (rather than disrupt a society they are estranged from), these influences could place his work in the subgenre known as post-cyberpunk.[5]


  • British Fantasy Society Award nomination, 1999, for stories "Sucker" and "Mason's Rats III"
  • SF Review Best Book designation, 2002, for The Skinner


Polity universe[edit]

Owner trilogy[edit]

  1. The Departure (2011) ISBN 9780330457613
  2. Zero Point (2012) ISBN 9780330524520
  3. Jupiter War (2013)[10] ISBN 9781509868568

Other novels[edit]

Short fiction[edit]


  • The Engineer (1998) – Contains the novella of the same name and six stories. ISBN 9781901530087
    • The Engineer
    • "Snairls"
    • "Spatterjay"
    • "Jable Sharks"
    • "The Thrake"
    • "Proctors"
    • "The Owner"
  • Runcible Tales (1999) ISBN 9781902628240
    • "Always with You" (Polity Universe) (1996)
    • "Blue Holes" (Polity Universe)
    • "Dragon in the Flower" (Polity Universe) (1994)
    • "The Gire & the Bibrat" (Polity Universe)
    • "Walking John & Bird" (Polity Universe)
  • The Engineer ReConditioned (2006) – Reprint of The Engineer with three additional stories. ISBN 9780809556144
    • The Engineer
    • "Snairls"
    • "Spatterjay"
    • "Jable Sharks"
    • "The Thrake"
    • "Proctors"
    • "The Owner"
    • "The Tor-Beast's Prison"
    • "Tiger Tiger"
    • "The Gurnard"
  • The Gabble: And Other Stories (2008) ISBN 9781509868506
    • "Softly Spoke the Gabbleduck" (Cormac/Gabbleduck)
    • "Putrefactors" (Spatterjay)
    • "Garp and Geronamid" (Spatterjay)
    • "The Sea of Death" (n/a)
    • "Alien Archaeology" (Cormac/Gabbleduck)
    • "Acephalous Dreams" (Polity)
    • "Snow in the Desert" (n/a)
    • "Choudapt" (n/a)
    • "Adaptogenic" (Spatterjay)
    • "The Gabble" (Cormac/Gabbleduck)
  • Africa Zero (2005)[13] – Contains three novellas. ISBN 9780809556649
    • Africa Zero
    • The Army of God
    • The Sauraman
  • Owning the Future: Short Stories (2018)[14] ISBN 978-1983094934
    • "Memories of Earth" (from Asimov's Science Fiction October/November 2013)
    • "Shell Game" (from The New Space Opera 2 2009)
    • "The Rhine's World Incident" (from Subterfuge 2008 and In Space No One Can Hear You Scream 2013)
    • "Owner Space" (from Galactic Empires anthology 2008)
    • "Strood" (from Asimov's Science Fiction December 2004 and Year's Best SF 10 2005)
    • "The Other Gun" (from Asimov's Science Fiction April/May 2013)
    • "Bioship" (from Solaris Book of New Science Fiction 2007)
    • "Scar Tissue"
    • "The Veteran"

List of short stories/novellas[edit]

Title Year First published Reprinted/collected Notes
"Adaptogenic" 1992 Threads 2 The Gabble and Other Stories (Tor, 2008)
Mindgames: Fool's Mate 1992 Novella
The Parasite 1996 Novella
Mason's Rats 1999 Novella
Africa Zero 2001 Originally published as two novellas, Africa Zero and Africa Plus One
"Snow in the Desert" 2002 Spectrum SF 8 Year's Best SF 8 (2003)

The Gabble and Other Stories (Tor, 2008)

"Watch Crab" 2003 Rick Kleffel's The Agony Column
The Other Gun 2013 Asher, Neal (April–May 2013). "The other gun". Asimov's Science Fiction. 37 (4&5): 14–45. Novella
"Memories of Earth" 2013 Asher, Neal (October–November 2013). "Memories of Earth". Asimov's Science Fiction. 37 (10–11): 36–41. An Owner story


  1. ^ "Neal Asher". Macmillan Publishers. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Neal Asher biography". Fantasy Book Review. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  3. ^ Natasha Lavender (2 August 2012). "Q&A with Neal Asher". The Bookseller. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  4. ^ "The Skinner, Neal Asher". Macmillan. Archived from the original on 18 May 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  5. ^ Moore, Debi (17 February 2015). "Author Neal Asher Talks Dark Intelligence: Transformation's Dark Side". Dread Central.
  6. ^ "Dark Intelligence". Pan Macmillan. Archived from the original on 4 May 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  7. ^ Asher, Neal. "The Polity Books". The Skinner. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  8. ^ "Polity Timeline – Neal Asher".
  9. ^ "r/sciencefiction – I'm Neal Asher Science Fiction Writer AMA!". reddit.
  10. ^ "Neal Asher – Jupiter War cover art and synopsis reveal". Archived from the original on 23 June 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  11. ^ Neal Asher. "Mindgames: Fool's Mate".
  12. ^ Neal Asher. "The Parasite". Tanjen.
  13. ^ Neal Asher. "Africa Zero". Wildside Press.
  14. ^ Neal Asher. "Owning the Future".


External links[edit]