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Gridlinked (Agent Cormac, #1)
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Gridlinked (Agent Cormac #1)

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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  4,982 ratings  ·  223 reviews
Gridlinked is a science fiction adventure in the classic, fast-paced, action-packed tradition of Harry Harrison and Poul Anderson, with a dash of cyberpunk and a splash of Ian Fleming added to spice the mix.

Cormac is a legendary Earth Central Security agent, the James Bond of a wealthy future where "runcibles" (matter transmitters controlled by AIs) allow interstellar tra
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Paperback, 423 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Tor Science Fiction (first published March 23rd 2001)
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Shane Culture books have a similar style. You'll like those if you liked this. Peter F Hamilton's space operas are fantastic. I'd also suggest Altered…moreCulture books have a similar style. You'll like those if you liked this. Peter F Hamilton's space operas are fantastic. I'd also suggest Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan, and the novels that follow it, for a faster pace.(less)
Ready Player One by Ernest ClineOld Man's War by John ScalziThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsAnathem by Neal StephensonAltered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
Best Science Fiction of the 21st Century
63rd out of 339 books — 3,079 voters
Old Man's War by John ScalziStarship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinPandora's Star by Peter F. HamiltonRevelation Space by Alastair ReynoldsOn Basilisk Station by David Weber
Excellent Space Opera
53rd out of 286 books — 1,534 voters


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Community Reviews

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Felicia
Taking a break from fantasy/romance/mystery, i picked this book up because my brother recommended it. And it was TOTALLY worth it! If you read a lot of my reviews you know I adore Iain Banks' work, and this book felt like a cousin of his work. Basically we're dealing with a deep future society depended on vast machines, and an overarching mystery of a sabateur, a James-Bond-like main character, and a side-plot of a psychopath's ruthless need for revenge at any cost. I dunno how to describe it mu ...more
Stephen
5.0 stars. Excellent debut novel and a terrific read. Never boring, great characters and even better world-building. Will definitely read more from this author. Recommended!!
Jason
4 Stars

My first Neal Asher novel and it did not let me down. I have had his series on my to-read list for far too long.

Sprawling, creative, dark, and dirty space opera. Artificial Intelligence run the Polity universe, a place like ours in the near future. There is plenty of creative science in here and Asher often spends time detailing his creations. Political wars, common enemies, and god like monsters to fear.

Cormac is a good lead protagonist, a high tech 007, who is not afraid to do things h
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Gavin
Perfectly serviceable mystery-space-op-sci-fantasy. Not up there with Banks or Bear or Watts at their best but if you're after a book where an FTL culture still allegedly lives in a pre-scarcity economy and follows an action-lit plot-line you could do far worse.

Two criticisms I've had to pick out, if only because of the extreme strange-ness, though:

SPOILERS
1. Asher didn't seem to realise that our favourite characters were The Baddest Baddies: Pelter and Mr Crane (in fact, the series titular char
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Ric
About 85% done according to Kindle: a brawny, masculine book about an insensitive super agent. The story is more about action than sense or motivations. Characters are introduced and killed without compassion. A cold book that reminds me of action movies such as Mission Impossible or Captain America, where the entertainment is in the blasting, furious activity, tantalizing the eyes but light on the humanity and eminently forgettable.

I realize that Asher wrote many books in the same universe and
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Michael
This book is just bad. Let's list some things:

Interstellar "dragon" that acts as histrionic and pathetic as a chubby junior high goth kid? Check.
Amateurish attempts at creating false tension by using the word "as" (as in "he moved slowly as he pulled out his gun" [my quote, not from the book:])? All over the place.
Use of the word "suddenly?" You betcha.
Horrendously awkward sexual encounters? Of course.
Seemingly random motivations and wild mood swings amongst the protagonist and antagonist? Don't
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Adam
First of all, a big shout-out to Ellen, the owner of Colophon Books in Ithaca, NY, who recommended Neal Asher to me when I was in her shop earlier this year. (You can check out the shop's website at www.colophonbooks.us)

Gridlinked starts out with a bang and I really enjoyed it from the outset. However, I got really bogged down in the middle section of the book and it took me forever to finish. I finally finished it while traveling over the course of the last couple of weeks and remembered what
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Mark
Aug 21, 2007 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of cyberpunk and spy novels
Shelves: britishsci-fi
Yet another of the cadre of great British science-fiction writers (which, I maintain, is where all the best new sci-fi is coming from these days).

This is a spy story. The protagonist is James Bond-ish, but with a critical weakness -- he's been hooked into the AI net for so long that he's lost his connection with his fellow humans. So, the AIs cut him off and he's now forced to do his job -- which involves thwarting the plans of an enigmatic alien -- without his usual advantage. Kind of an intere
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Tudor Ciocarlie
This book is a fantastic melange between intelligent plot, great action, interesting characters and some very profound questions.
Jim Mcclanahan
The positive side of Gridlinked revolves around the author's ability to create interesting characters, set forth a compelling conflict among those characters and describe the action using descriptions of biology and technology that are almost sufficiently detailed to qualify as "Hard SF". However, in the end, Asher writes Space Operas. Which is fine because that's what I like.

On the negative side, for this novel, the author seems to intoduce a few too many elements (and perhaps characters) into
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Tripp
f you are looking for creative, colorful, violent, and frightening science fiction novels, then pick up a Neal Asher. In the past few years I read Cowl and the Skinner, and I just read his first, Gridlinked. His books are set in the shared Polity universe, generally set a few hundred years from today where human society is ruled by AIs, connected via instantaneous travel and beset by enemies like the crablike Prador and the human Separatists. Holding back these terrors is Earth Central Security ...more
L
Sep 09, 2008 L rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: sci-fi
This was essentially a great read, with the rushing about space; good guys & bad guys (with some complexity); a bit of romance; the need to save, if not humanity, at least a good portion of it; high tech, and more. Asher has quite the imagination, and I think his handling of linking & augmentation is better than most. In terms of character, he's got some of the usual "usual suspects" (for scifi) and some exceptionally wonderful characters.

So why only 3 stars? At times Asher gets too cau
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Simon
Another recent author I've been meaning to try for a while. Well, I've read a short story or two but this is the first novel. This, apparently, is an introduction to the world of Ian Cormac, a legendary ECS agent on the side of law enforcement. He's had his brain hooked up to the information grid ("gridlinked") for so long that he's losing his edge and now he's expected to carry out his next mission without it in an attempt to restore his humanity. But there is more to it than meets the eye and ...more
Kristin
A most excellent book! A faced paced science fiction book as science fiction should be written in my opinion. A bit space opera, a bit interstellar intrigue, a bit cyberware. The kind of book I like to read.

This is the first book with Ian Cormac, agent extroidinaire. I believe there are now 5 more books in the series. There is much I wish to discuss about this book, but don't want to give anything away.

Go read the book! 'Nuff said.
Jesse Whitehead
I’ve been trying lately to pin down, in some quantifiable way, how I read books. When I first started my blog I started giving everything a rating. It didn’t make sense after awhile so I abandoned it. I decided that my reviews have to stand on their own. So I’ve been trying to find a way to describe why some books fill me with pure hatred and others with pure glee. For instance I don’t know why I love Robert Jordan’s books but read Dan Brown with the kind of loathing that is actually joy at all ...more
Aurel Mihai
I was expecting to read a cross between the grittiness of Neuromancer and the epic storyline of Dune. I can only assume that's what Neal Asher was going for by writing us a cyberpunk plot full of cheap death and shady characters set in a pan-galactic universe where faster-than-light travel is a trivial matter. Unfortunately, the story is terribly rushed. Where Neuromancer and Dune are full of details that add life to those stories Gridlinked glosses over anything that isn't gore or action. Both ...more
Princessjay
Written as a breathless sci-fi thriller, with shifting perspectives to tell the story of Earth Security agent a la 007, Ian Cormac, as he is re-finding his own humanity after 30 years of mindlink to AI. Hounded by the inexplicably-insane terrorist Arian Pelter, Cormac investigates the malfunctioning and explosion of a runcible (teleportation devices which renders time and space meaningless) that destroyed an entire planet.

Set in a world ran by AIs that easily passed version x of the Turing test;
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Harold Ogle
Before this, I'd only read Asher's The Skinner, a tale of pirates, superheroes, undead, revenge, and science fantasy that impressed me greatly, so I had high hopes for Asher's first novel. I was not disappointed; Gridlinked is outstanding. Like Ian M. Banks and Alistair Reynolds, Asher writes gritty, space-operatic science fantasy about events that occur on the fringes of highly civilized, tremendously indulgent galactic human societies. They differ primarily in two regards: how they treat AI, a ...more
Allan
Ian Cormac has been gridlinked for far longer than is recommended and it's affecting his humanity. The solution is separation from the grid and, along with having to deal with the loss of that support, he's plunged headlong into an investigation as to why a runcible gate exploded on Samarkand, killing thousands.

Cormac also has enemies and one, Arian Pelter, in particular will stop at nothing, sacrificing the lives of anyone in his way, to kill him for the sake of revenge. Along with Pelter and h
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Duke Duquaine
I read the book “Gridlinked”. I found this book very interesting mainly because it was in the future. Man has learned how to traverse space with ease and also has created giant teleporting stations called Runcibles that are controlled by AIs. Ian Cormac is sent to deduce why one of these Runcibles has exploded killing hundreds of thousands of people.

The main character is Ian Cormac and he works for Earth Central Security. He is a legend in his own time but this mission is different he is going
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Ren the Unclean
Aug 22, 2007 Ren the Unclean rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Asher
Shelves: sci-fi
Gridlinked is really interesting, though not quite as good as Brass Man or Cowl. It does serve as a really good introduction to Asher's main character for this universe, Cormac.

Cormac is believably badass in this book, unlike so many other heroes of this archetype (the covert government agent) who are ridiculously unbeatable. Asher keeps this characterization in the other works I have read with Cormac in them. He does his job well and manages to solve the problems he is presented with, while giv
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Jeff Young
Nov 17, 2008 Jeff Young rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who loves space opera
While it is not the beginning of the series, this is an excellent stepping off point for Neal Asher's Polity.
Cormac is burning out. He's been linked to the information grid for so long that his reactions are becoming mechanical. Excised from the grid he is sent to divine the reason behind the destruction of the instantaneous transport device or runcible on a remote world. Cormac finds himself playing a deadly game of cat and mouse between the immense alien Dragon and the separtists who are resp
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Aneel
I found this pretty disappointing. The world didn't make much sense to me, which I think is a pretty bad failure for SF. Why are these people squabbling over petty change when they have energy surpluses large enough to quickly terraform ice planets? Why do the AIs let humans make the important choices? If linking human and AI minds leads to such amazing advances, why has it only been done once? If the main character's antique weapon is so powerful, why doesn't everyone use things like that?

Overl
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Ashanan
This book was absolute dogcrap. The kind of book you need to read sometimes just to remind you how god awful some of the books out there are. I love sci-fi, but I forget how much futuristic crap there is out there. Seriously, just because your main character talks in a gravelly voice all the time doesn't mean your book is gritty. One of the more important secondary characters is an immortal Japanese guy who picks up a Southern drawl half-way through. These are only some of the many, many problem ...more
Hali Sowle
The very first book in the "agent cormac" series is a bit of a thriller and a bit of a ride through a future where AI's run everything (after all "what human would trust another human to run a world?"). We are introduced to Runcibles and Spoons - the way things go from place to place (think of a big transporter)

Cormac is some sort of a super agent that has been Gridlinked to the AI's for 30 years which is an unusually long time and when we meet him he seems no better than an automaton. His job i
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Carol Lindsey
Yup, I like Utopian sci fi, too. This book is well crafted, complex, and a perfect intro to an author I admire. As is typical of my preferences,this book is loaded with secret agents, cool tech, sex, and alien myth (or is that just tech too advanced for mere humans). First or second or third in a series, I can't tell- any phrase migt end up its own novel, so far as Asher is concerned. No monoliths, I promise.
Crusader
A gripping, action packed sci-fi romp. Glorious weapons, AI, androids and many interesting concepts and tech. Slightly difficult to get into at first, but once you get used to the world you can't put it down. Both Cormac and Mr Crane are enjoyable characters. I can't wait to read the rest in the series.
Lisa
There's nothing like spies in space. No, really....it's a genre I never tire of, especially if it's well done. In Gridlocked, we get the flawed, tired super spy, thrown into a new mystery but intentionally handicapped (yes, its tropey, but still fun). Asher follows the traditional spy formula of keeping the readers in the dark; the hero has figured it out, but have you? In my case I had about 66% of the twists predicted, so had one nice cathartic surprise at the end. I wouldn't call this book ex ...more
Ernest
I saw this when it came out, but John Berlyne, who was one of our (SFRevu) reviewers, had already reviewed it when it came out in the UK. Now I'm sorry I didn't get to it anyway. Asher's Space Opera is up there with the best of them.
Marc D.
Just one word: garbage.
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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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Other Books in the Series

Agent Cormac (5 books)
  • The Line Of Polity (Agent Cormac, #2)
  • Brass Man (Agent Cormac, #3)
  • Polity Agent (Agent Cormac, #4)
  • Line War (Agent Cormac, #5)
Brass Man (Agent Cormac, #3) The Line Of Polity (Agent Cormac, #2) The Skinner (Spatterjay, #1) Polity Agent (Agent Cormac, #4) Prador Moon  (Polity Universe, #1)

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“Cormac was completely aware that he was being manipulated, but how he could not see. He reckoned that when he did find out, the surprise would be a nasty one. That was how it usually went.” 5 likes
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