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Hilldiggers (Polity - stand alone #2)

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  1,671 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
During a war between two planets in the same solar system - each occupied by adapted humans - what is thought to be a cosmic superstring is discovered. After being cut, this object collapses into four cylindrical pieces, each about the size of a tube train. Each is densely packed with either alien technology or some kind of life. They are placed for safety in three ozark c ...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published July 6th 2007 by Tor (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,779)
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Jun 08, 2015 Penforhire rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, alien, space-opera, ai
I haven't been reading Neal Asher's books in any order. AT first he was one of my favorite authors, then I felt like my time was nearly wasted reading his work, and now this book brings me back to enjoying his books again.

I loved how twisted the plot was, how the various factions and entities swirled around his central theme. His dialog in this book is perhaps not the best but the story itself makes up for it. I'd say there was just enough foreshadowing for me not to feel cheated at any of the b
Bart Meersman
Aug 28, 2014 Bart Meersman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 31, 2016 Fredrik rated it it was amazing
Endelig litt space opera igjen. Et relativt tilbakestående teknologisk samfunn får besøk av Consul Assessor David McGregor, mens vi blir med i fire søskeners kamp om å finne seg selv.
Review to come.
Steven Latta
Feb 04, 2014 Steven Latta rated it liked it
Shelves: neal-asher
A pretty good book for Asher's sophomore effort, but then, I'm a sucker for the Polity universe he's created. The book contains lots of pieces that he does a much better job detailing in later books, and the overall plot is probably a bit more convoluted than necessary. The biggest issue with the book is the dialogue. There is a lot that just doesn't work when you put a voice to it in your head. To paraphrase Harrison Ford, "You can write that stuff, but you can't say it." Fortunately, the story ...more
Markus Jevring
Jul 01, 2014 Markus Jevring rated it it was ok
I simply couldn't wait for this book to be over. It seemed to drag on forever. Not a bad book per se, but not even close to the quality of the Agent Kormac series. It's a well written book, but it just didn't manage to capture my imagination.
Aug 18, 2016 astaliegurec rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neal Asher's "Hilldiggers" (2007) is currently the 14th novel in his "Polity Universe" series. This one takes place outside the Polity in a Line world. It's a very well done book, with some new world-building, and good characterizations. There's plenty of action, though it doesn't seem as frenzied as some of it in earlier works. The only issue I have with it is the amount of politics in it. I suppose that with the subject matter, it really can't avoid that. But, I found it a bit irritating. Stil ...more
This novel contains most of the hallmarks of Asher's other Polity stories, but just doesn't come together as well. The locations are imaginative, and the characters are mostly enjoyable, but the pacing is off for me.
Throughout the book there are hints about the true source of the conflict, but this is actually resolved as an infodump in the last three pages or so, which means that it is not integrated into the narrative and feels more like an afterthought.
Still, I found it very readable, althoug
Dec 26, 2013 Ron rated it really liked it
Sometimes I read an author and then he/she escapes my memory. It is always interesting to rediscover them. I had read Asher's "Cowl" a number of years ago. When I came across "Hilldiggers" I did not remember that I'd read this guy. Fortunately there was a list of his books on the inside cover. After reading hilldiggers I think I will remember to look for him in the future. This is an interesting sci-fi premise: an artificial intelligence is captured and cut up by a race of people descended from ...more
Mike Franklin
Jun 28, 2014 Mike Franklin rated it really liked it
Not quite typical of Asher’s Polity books, this is probably the most stand-alone of all of his work set in the Polity universe and very much in the outer fringes of that universe. The only real Polity components are Tigger, a drone, and McCrooger, an ‘Old Captain’ from Spatterjay, but this is not a Spatterjay novel and, whilst they are undoubtedly two of the most important characters, this is for the most part not even really a Polity book. But that is no bad thing; this is still a classic piece ...more
I liked this book, but I have read all the other Polity books by Neil Asher. If you have not, there are many parts of this book that will be unexplained. I believe it would even have worked better without the Polity component, and it would have been a shorter book too. Nevertheless any book with a Hooper Old Captain in it will always get an extra star, from me.

The main plot has a message of antiracism and awareness of revisionism, which even if overused is still important in our culture. It expl
Sep 07, 2009 Malquiviades rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After being weary lately about Asher's Polity books, I find this novel quite a refreshing one, being mostly about an out-Polity system. There is still some characteristics remaining (as the inevitable drone) and a quite interesting twist in the Old Captain from Spaterjay that you may enjoy.

The main strong point I think it lies within Asher's capability of devising surprising societies and the way he explores many "scisms" (racism, militarism, ...), propaganda and manipulation, the righteousness
Oct 02, 2012 John rated it liked it
Recommends it for: NOT for Neal Asher first-timers, he is vastly better than this offering
Straight up, Neal Asher is one of my favourite authors of all time, awesome writer .. but he does have a few ho-hum formulae type books. Hilldiggers is one of them. It is an ok read, sends you into cool new places and as expected the science is out of this world .. but still ho-hum. There are no plot surprises twists/turns and ends all nicely tied in an average bow. Except for “one possible thing” I won’t mention due to spoiler-age. I’ve read all his books mostly un-sequentially over the years a ...more
Andrew Fraser
Jul 02, 2015 Andrew Fraser rated it liked it
The second Asher book I've read, after Dark intelligence. Pretty original ideas on evolution and distant colonisation. After getting stuck into the polity universe, this book seems more standalone than the rest. Not necessarily a bad thing though.
Jamie Revell
Nov 29, 2015 Jamie Revell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A standalone novel, set in the same universe as most of Asher's other books, but without much in the way of close connections to them. Notably, all of the action takes place on a couple of human colony words outside the Polity, although two of the main protagonists do hail from there.

It's not one of Asher's best books, to be honest, having a slow start and telegraphing some of the big reveals rather too far in advance (it's pretty obvious what's going on with the quads, and where they came from,
Luke Allen
Aug 15, 2015 Luke Allen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent read, but flawed in places. Effectively a 500 page combat novel, there is an element on exhaustion at times, considering just how extended the major set pieces are. That said, the pacing for the most part is top notch and, much like Asher's best work, the scale is enormous. Not his best, but it's a bloody good read regardless.
Oct 29, 2009 Mya rated it really liked it
Somewhere between the complexity of "Cowl" and the mysticism of "Spatterjay," exists Neal Asher's "Hilldiggers." An engaging read that can work as a standalone, I think that it fits well into the Polity universe as a morality tale more so than a character-driven piece. Some readers may not like the multiple POVs, but think Chaucer...Anyway, this novel concerns the war between two worlds and the alien life form, simply known as the Worm, that tips the scales in one's technological favor. With one ...more
Jul 09, 2013 Duncan rated it really liked it
After reading the reviews on Amazon ny expectations were somewhat cool and in the end I was surpsised how much I enjoyed this. Whilst it is helpful to have read some Spatterjay beforehand (eg The Skinner) it is more of a standalone novel, albeit well within the rules of the Polity Universe. However, rather than calling it classic Neal Asher it reads in many ways more like the hard science fiction of Alasdair Raynolds than the weird and crazy world of the Hoopers or the Prador. That's even counti ...more
Apr 17, 2016 Martin rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book, got into it really quickly, couldn't put it down.
Apr 16, 2010 Jack rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
Set in the same universe, but belonging to neither the Agent Cormac or Spatterjay series, this standalone follows a compromised Polity diplomat trying to survive the strange machinations of two planets after a hundred-year war. Asher usually does a good job of avoiding deus ex machina from the near-omnipotent AIs hanging around these stories, and falls just a bit short this time; this may be the rare Asher book that I read just once, instead of over and over.
Michael Latiolais
Sep 27, 2016 Michael Latiolais rated it really liked it
It was ok. I don't think he really touched on anything new in this story.
Jun 28, 2014 Jim-mike rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
A pretty cool story line, but the ending left me a bit flat.
May 04, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
One of Neal Asher's stonger space opera's of the polity. The typical elements of the Polity are there, inclinding AI drones and the Spatterjay virus, however they take a back seat to the action happening in a remote non-polity systems as they errupt in a civil war that the Polity is reluctant to interfer. This is a must read for all fans of space opera and military sci fi.
Sep 29, 2015 Odo rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, own
Jun 30, 2014 Gateacre rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A highly enjoyable Space Opera. The Polity elements are very light and self-explanatory, and it can easily be read as standalone. The world building is top notch as are the inevitable space battles (an Asher speciality!). This is high paced, well plotted and has great characters. The more I read of Asher the more I like his work! Recommended.
Sep 20, 2008 Allan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, war
Hilldiggers is good, solid science-fiction set in the arena of Neil Asher's Polity, which I haven't sampled before now but am now quite keen to again.
The idea that human colonists could so genetically alter themselves to become what would be easily interpreted as aliens is a rare insight to what we may indeed have to do to survive out there.

Jul 11, 2009 Robert rated it liked it
pretty basic fare in the sci fi world. the characters were pretty drag and drop from the clipboard of sci fi writers. the third act it not hold up to the promise of the first two. the main reason i rated it 3 stars is that I got it on a recent trip to Prague. so I associate the book with the fun time i had
Jul 19, 2014 William rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
What a great book! He builds not one but two very full cultures. The main story line was a little predictable but all the side stores about each of the main characters, kept me turning pages. Of course a little Polity A.I. thrown in to the mix always makes for a good read!
Sep 22, 2009 Lauren rated it really liked it
An interesting book; although it tended to jump around a lot with all the "retroacts" of backstory. Kind of an SF detective story, with genetic engineering and alien beings. Fun, but more superficial than the Spatterjay books or the Ian Cormac series.
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The Line of Polity: Hilldiggers - finished/spoilers 1 1 Jul 24, 2016 11:06AM  
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Other Books in the Series

Polity - stand alone (5 books)
  • Prador Moon  (Polity Universe, #1)
  • Shadow of the Scorpion (Polity Universe #2)
  • The Technician
  • The Gabble: And Other Stories

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