Neal Asher Books

"The Engineer Reconditioned"
Recently, I have been on a scifi book binge. I kept seeing one called "The Engineer Reconditioned" and decided to purchase it at the local Borders based solely on the fact that I really love the sound of the book's title. Well, it sat on a self for months and I finally got to it in early December and immediately regretted not reading it earlier.
It is a series of shorts related to some of his other books. "The Engineer" (the title story) I believe to be the best of the bunch. It has many similarities to the "Alien" movie, but it is openly referenced as one of the characters mentions the movie, though not by name. The technologies of the creature and the responses of those that hear about it are completely realistic. A very interesting read.

Mr. Asher's first novel. A wonderful begining point for his books, in part because it is his first novel, but also because it has so much in it. A plethora of interesting characters and circumstances. There is a revenge plot, an alien super being called dragon, a bunch of augmented soldiers and mercenaries, and a Golem with a unique affinity for small trinkets.
The main character Ian Cormac is a man who works for an earth central security, and has become partly detached from humanity as a result of being "Gridlinked" too long. It is a sort of mental internet connected to massive artificial intelligences, that one can access for information on most anything. He gets hired to investigate the destruction of a "Runcible"(interstellar teleportation) on a colony world, and goes off the grid to do so.
It could be a cautionary tale of being too reliant on our technology. Then again, it might just be an awesome story. A jumble of characters woven together in a way that keeps you wanting more.

"The Skinner"
The Skinner is about a planet that has an entire ecosystem that has become nearly immortal. Many characters in the story are centuries old, some through a viral fiber that infects most living things on the planet "Spatterjay", another through post-death machinations to keep his body going.
This novel offers another great mix of characters. There is a man working for a Hornet's hive mind, an undead cyborg officer, a pair of Artificial Intelligence's working for a larger AI, a whole mess of fairly indestructible "Hoopers", an alien culture that uses mentally cored out people as slaves, and the title character himself whose name is derived from his favorite past-time.
Once again, a bunch of intersecting stories woven together seamlessly coming to a very satisfying conclusion.

I don't want to ruin any of these books, but would highly recommend all three.
His main website(http://www.nealasher.com/) has been under construction for quite some time, but I found his blog today(http://theskinner.blogspot.com/) and celebrated.
This is an author I would definitely recommend for science fiction lovers.


Heroes: Cold Snap

Heroes is beginning to turn around. I won't jump to any conclusions of permanence, but the show made a massive leap in the "right" direction.

Opening with the Puppet master tied up for Danko as a gift wrapped special from Sylar. How did Sylar catch him when he was not anywhere nearby. Did he pick up some abilities off-screen? Seriously, HOW IS HE GETTING PLACES SO DAMN FAST? (Like travelling from Pinehearst to Primatech at the end of Villains. Is he using telekinesis to fly?(when he killed Dale))
How is he finding them so fast?
I believe Danko will eventually try to kill Sylar and Sylar will make him suffer quite dearly for it. I mean Danko has already expressed a hatred for ALL specials, while they still haven't indicated why he has this disgust. Although there was a mention by Angela of Danko somehow surviving a disastrous occurance long ago. Maybe he has hidden an ability, or was wronged/related to someone with a power?
I also still think Luke or Samson may show up again. Luke possibly following Sylar, and Samson possibly to get back into the Hunter mode. For the thrill, the competition.

And where is West, Molly, and the Haitian? I really wonder where she is, as her surrogate fathers(Mohinder and Matt) are out having crazy adventures. Or the Invisible man, he has got to be keeping tabs on some of these people.

Angela is now forced into running. Not many places she can go when she relied so long on manipulating everyone. Noah warns her not to go home, and she has a small dream like a minute in advance of being ambushed, and she sneaks off. Awfully convenient to have narcoleptic tendencies when your power relies on a somnambulistic state. Peter saves her and they end up in the Statue of Liberty. Symbolic? Perhaps.

Tracy escapes and leads a team to "Rebel" who is, big surprise, Micah. His voice has changed and now links to everything with a wireless phone/PDA. Sweet deal. He is definitely becoming more interesting.
Does anybody else think Tracy is not dead? I believe she has become more of a force, or part of nature. Her eye blinked and a tear was rolling down what was left of her face.

Baby Parkman, the "toddler-touch-and-go", seems to have a fairly unique power. He can apparently turn things on or off. Very interesting, as he gave Hiro a portion of his old ability back. He can stop time, but no longer has the power to warp space. I wonder how this may alter other powers? (If Ando cranked up Pintsize Parkman, could he theoretically turn off powers everywhere without touching?
It is also worth a thought that Peter's current situation is also related to actually having to physically touch another person, so could Parkman Jr. return the old power?
The Haitian uses touch to subdue consciousness(knock out) and erase memory.
Ando has finally started to use his power for something more than an assist. YAY for red electricity.

Parkman is getting infinitely more powerful with his telepathy. Making a group of people appear invisible to a group of other people is a good show of growth on his part. Then he makes an entire world in Daphne's mind in an attempt to give her a fantasy ending. A good send off for her. I also believe that Parkman is slowly becoming like his father. Not completely a nightmare man, but all the crap and loss he is suffering could be pushing him into taking action. I also think he is one of the few people that could take on Sylar. On the Mental plane, he is becoming ultra powerful. Sylar may be physically able, but his mind can still be screwed with. Think of the Haitian's power, is it mental? If so Parkman may be able to access that mind, and shut Sylar down. Parkman could eliminate memories, or create false ones. Sylar needs to examine the brain, then gets the ability, and Parkman can do anything with the brain. This may be an overlooked point to think about. Many avenues of possability.

I look forward to good things for the show again.
Hopefully the Heroes team can keep it up.


Heroes: Shades of Gray: Notes and Thoughts

Keeping it simple this week.
I skipped last weeks episode notes/thoughts for 2 reasons: No internet, and Not a very interesting episode. Oh, big surprise Danko sets up Parkman. Lame. I believe it was another time waster to get to the good stuff.

In this episode Claire helps Doyle (puppet master) who seems somewhat sincere in efforts to reform. Although didn't Sylar break his neck at Primatech and leave the body to burn?
Well although he does the grin-look-back to Claire when she asks him if he "meant what he said", he does let the undercover agent live. So maybe he does want to live. Even if it means just being free. As opposed to being locking away.

Claire also tries to get a job in a comic shop. One that is certainly filled with very many creepy, teen guys. Gross.

Nathan knows Parkman didn't bomberman himself up and helps Parkman disarm the bomb. Then gets Danko booted. Danko retaliates and exposes Nathan's power. He also tries to get info out of Angela. She makes him look like an idiot, mostly because she's been messing with people's heads since probably birth. She can also dream what's coming so Danko is in an awkward position. She notes that Danko survived an "incident" while many others died. So perhaps he too has a hidden ability, but is ashamed and hateful of it.

Tracy gets a message from Rebel. Help is coming. Rebel is more than likely Micah. Helloooooooo... nearly infinite technology control.
Claire also gets another message, then Nathan saves her.

Sylar's encounter with Old man Gray. I think all his kids are evil, he did sire Lex Luthor, and now we find he also created Sylar. Wow, if ever there was a case for sterilization, this guy is it. He demonstrates the same aptitude for figuring things out, and the ability to steal powers. His two displayed powers are a whistling hypnosis, or some kind of sedation type thing, and telekinesis.
Samson then has Sylar help him kill and stuff a rabbit. Telling him about being a hunter, needing to find weaker prey. While conversing Samson tells Sylar he will either die by cancer or by his son's hand. Well, big toughie to guess that Sylar shows Samson the healing and Samson then covets the power.
He pins Sylar to a wall with arrows and uses the whistle power. Then slides a tray of knives over to him. (Why would he kneed knives, he's got the telekinesis) Sylar stops him and tells him that as a hunter, Samson should have realized he was playing possum. (Perhaps Sylar killed the Haitian-that would possibly explain the puppetmaster losing control, and the stopping of Samson) Sylar leaves him to die slowly rather than let the "friendly competition" go on, by letting his father retrieve the healing factor. He then takes the stuffed rabbit.
Another built up battle that ended up as a pitiful meeting. Think of all the powers Samson could have built up over the years. The hunter and prey idea drug out over time. Samson could track Sylar over many episodes, proving his statements of being a hunter. Taking more abilities just before Sylar could get them, thus frustrating him even more. Stalking his prey and getting places always a step ahead. Show patience as a true villain would, not just jumping into things but acting when the time is right. When all plans come to a carefully orchestrated conclusion, Samson could make his move in a final confrontation, an unbelievable battle, showcasing tons of new powers(ones unseen, ones hinted at). This could have been an epic encounter, but like the Peter vs Sylar it ended up as an immense letdown.
All foreplay with no "O".
I feel used.
This also leads me to believe Sylar's character has gotten too powerful, and the only other person to stand a chance, Peter, has been neutered. So unless Ando intervenes by amping up Peter, or if my supposition that he can repress as well as augment, blot out Sylar's power.
Or the Haitian, if he is still around, shows up again to stifle Sylar, or Baby Parkman has an amazing new power to magically make Sylar nonexistant, or, or, or...
It is going to take a hell of a group effort to beat Sylar. So Peter may wind up in the afterlife of people with empty mansacks.

Sylar then shows up at Danko's apartment. Stuffed rabbit and all.
I believe he may try and use Danko to start collecting more powers. Danko has exhibited the knowledge and shrewdness to go covert and take matters into his own hands to achieve his own hidden agendas in the "war" that he thinks is coming. There is a good chance Sylar may use this to a very ingenious end. Especially good ideas come to mind when taking into account the new hunter type mindset.

Lastly, Hiro and Ando are back finally. They get ahold of Matt Parkman. A baby Matt Parkman, the Parkman that may or may not be his son because of his wife's infidelity. The babysitter claims that she can't handle the child, and is in quite a hurry to get away. So the child must have some kind of crazy ability. Or on a very long shot, what if another time warping ability shows up and instead of space time travel they can age or regress things. Like making someone or something super old in just a few minutes, or regressing Parkman to a little baby. Very doubtful, but an interesting thought nonetheless.

Attention readers!

I have been internet-less for quite a while. Sorry for this problem, and I hope to be able to post more. Being at work right now, they block most sites, but I found I can blog here. (ooh-boy...)
I am looking into getting a new laptop, and hope that I may soon regain access to my Facebook account! I feel so out of touch without the internet. It's like losing minor sensory receptors. Like a blind spot.