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Lockdown Tales

by Neal Asher

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318618,119 (3.39)1

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Lockdown Tales
Series: Polity #20
Author: Neal Asher
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 329
Words: 151K


A collection of short stories about the Polity as it becomes the Post-Polity. This consists of:

The Relict
Monitor Logan
Bad Boy
Dr Whip
Raising Moloch

My Thoughts:

From what I could gather, the Polity didn't collapse so much as it simply ceased to exist as the AI's bootstrapped most of humanity up to their level and they all decided to stop playing government. The little clues make it seem like this all took less than 100,000 years. There's no mention, that I can remember, of the newly raised Atheter or any mention of what happened to the Prador. While it all might have made sense in Asher's head, to me it felt very “I'm bored with this particular literary construct, thus I'll wave my authorial hand and …..”

Don't get me wrong. Besides the first story where Asher lets his vitriol against religion take front and center, I enjoyed these stories. They all had his ultra-violence that I've come to expect from him as well as the techno-babble that I just skim over now.

What threw me for a loop was that these were not ALL post-Polity. Monitor Logan takes place squarely during the height of the Polity/Prador standoff and Bad Boy takes place on Spatterjay and involves a situation where the AI lets things run their course hoping the inhabitants will apply for Polity membership. It just made me feel like the secondary title on the cover What Comes After the Polity was misleading.

I think this might be a very good jumping on place for anyone new to the Polity. There are 19 previous Polity books and I can imagine it is daunting to a new person to figure out where they want to start.

★★★✬☆ ( )
1 vote BookstoogeLT | Jun 9, 2021 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
At first I thought, nice, stories! Even lockdown stories! Neal Asher? Don't know him. Which was a mistake.

Neal Asher is a science fiction writer with a lot of books on his name and the creator of the Polity world. And that is something you should know before reading the Lockdown Tales. Because there are people and events in the stories that totally puzzled me, not having read anything by Neal Asher.

The genre is something I like. Not science fiction where everybody fights and becomes a hero like in Star Wars. There are people in the stories, real people, even with long lives. Jonas Clyde in the last story, Raising Moloch, is 170 years old. Disadvantage when you live that long? You get bored and take chances you shouldn't take, so Jonas ends up with Ganzen who wants him to raise a Hooder, which is kind of a war machine, but now an animal. That's where knowledge about this Polity world should kick in, but not with me, because I haven't read anything by Asher.
Raising Moloch is by far the most hair raising story in this collection, with a robot doctor who can literally skin people, and a hooder who eats everything, including people when they are still alive.
I liked it enough to give it four stars, but knowing about the Polity world is giving you an advantage if you want to read this.

Disclaimer: I got this book in the Librarything Early Reviewers ( )
  Alyssia | Jun 1, 2021 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Neal Asher’s polity universe, developed in his Rise of the Jain trilogy, adds context to this five-story anthology. The stories in Lockdown Tales take place a thousand years after the fall of Jain biotechnology. It is a time of searching for forgotten science, biotech artifacts, and human devolution, a story made real by the recognizable pursuit of food, shelter, and life’s purpose needs.

There is not a bad story in this book. Every one of them kept me engaged and made it hard to put the book down. The stories are all stand-alone; none needing a polity universe background to enjoy. At my slow reading speed, each story took about two hours to read which, for me, a bedtime reader, required two evenings.

Neal Asher is a creative writer whose polity biotech explanations sometimes lose me. But pushing on, I was rewarded by literary action and touched by human emotional contact.

If you like Neal Asher’s writings or you’re a Sci-Fi futurist, then you’ll enjoy reading Lockdown Tales. ( )
  ronploude | Jan 10, 2021 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book collects several short stories by Neal Asher, written (mostly) during 2020's lockdown. Asher is best known for his novels set in the Polity universe, but I've never read any of them. I have read and enjoyed quite a bit of his short fiction.

These were good, solid stories, but for the most part didn't really appeal to me. Almost all the protagonists were difficult to like, and made decisions so horribly and obviously bad that the obvious (and even predicted) consequences were less tragic than frustrating. Perhaps if I were immersed in the novels where most or all of the stories were set, I'd feel differently. But as it is, my reaction to most of the plots ranged from frustration to indifference.

That's not to say the stories aren't good - they're well-written, with plenty of action and well-grounded universe building/expanding/illuminating. I didn't feel drawn back to pick up the book to see what happened next, but I never regretting doing so either. ( )
1 vote Landwaster | Dec 30, 2020 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Lockdown Tales is a collections of six novellas or short novels, most around 25k words, with two exceptions that are significantly longer.
The overarching plot and the protagonists' motivations and backstories are often underdeveloped, but the pace and quality of the writing are good enough to keep you going. Asher is well in control of his craft, writes tense action scenes, and creates interesting scenery, but the shallow characerterisation and plotting keep this book at the level of good fun but nothing more.
- "The Relict" (**)
- "Monitor Logan" (**)
- "Bad Boy" (***)
- "Plenty" (***)
- "Dr Whip" (*)
- "Raising Moloch" (**) ( )
  igorken | Dec 27, 2020 |
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