Hilldiggers (Polity, #2)
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Hilldiggers (Polity #2)

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  890 ratings  ·  34 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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Steven Latta
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
Ron
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
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
Psychophant
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...more
Malquiviades
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...more
A
Oct 02, 2012 A rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Markus Jevring
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.
Mya
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
Duncan
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
Jack
Apr 16, 2010 Jack rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
Jim-mike
A pretty cool story line, but the ending left me a bit flat.
Jim
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.
Gateacre
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.
Allan
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.

Robert
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
William
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!
Lauren
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.
Rachel Nowakowski
Don't normally read this type of sci-fi but really enjoyed the story. What a thrilling book. I was n the edge of my seat through most of it and the moral message in it was pitched perfectly through the story. I'd recommend it to sci-fi lovers.
Tom Zunder


Some new interesting social ideas from Asher, in a tale that feels rather like a classic Dr. Who.
I just saw the entire plot instantly and that spoiled it for me. Maybe I just need a break from Asher for a bit.
Antabaka
In case Ian M. Banks should stop writing Culture novels, I hope that Neal Asher continues writing Polity novels. Rich strutured science fiction involving high velocity physics and human drama. Couldn't put it down.
Dennis
Story set about 2000 years from now. Humans with all sorts of enhancements and the world run by AI. War on a planet inhabited by enhanced humans in trouble because of an alien entity.
Good read.
Althepal


not too bad.. but it seems to lack characterisation.. or its confusing who to identify yourself with while reading .. its got me interested enough to look for other neal asher books ...
Gavin Adams
From the Polity universe. A good read but the dramatic space opera scope that I love about Neal Asher's books just wasn't there. Characters were well developed and the plot did move along.
Emmanuel
Almost a standalone story with some loose links to the Polity. Kept trying to see more Polity universe connections than there actually were. Maybe something in future stories.
John Ries
Not that interesting. The plot was very simplistic and direction it would take was obvious from
the start. The result was very little suspense in what was going to happen next.
Ron
Reasonably diverting read, though I would have liked a lot more about the inscrutable alien and a lot less details about the battleships attacking each other.
Niklas
Neal Asher shows a Universe full of different species and technologies, which crash together in a story of shadows, where you cant be sure who has which goal.
Simon Parsons
Just what you would expect from Neal Asher - new worlds and inhabitants and something that needs some Polity help to sort out. Well worth a read.
Kip
Very good. You don't need to have read any other Polity novels to dive into this one.
Celestial Elf
Great story, gripping pace and well developed characters, good sci fi.
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56353
I’ve been an engineer, barman, skip lorry driver, coalman, boat window manufacturer, contract grass cutter and builder. Now I write science fiction books, and am slowly getting over the feeling that someone is going to find me out, and can call myself a writer without wincing and ducking my head. As professions go, I prefer this one: I don’t have to clock-in, change my clothes after work, nor scru...more
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