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The Polity Collective is the pinnacle of space-faring civilization. Academic and insightful, its dominion stretches from Earth Central into the unfathomable reaches of the galactic void. But when the Polity finally encounters alien life in the form of massive, hostile, crab-like carnivores known as the Prador, there can be only one outcome — total warfare! Starships clash, planets fall, and space stations are overrun, but for Jebel Krong and Moria Salem, two unlikely heroes trapped at the center of the action, this war is far more than a mere clash of cultures, far more than technology versus brute force... this war is personal.

220 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 2006

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About the author

Neal Asher

135 books2,716 followers
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 scrub sensitive parts of my body with detergent. I think I’ll hang around.

Source: http://www.blogger.com/profile/139339...

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 378 reviews
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,965 followers
February 9, 2017
Very readable and extremely quick-paced action adventure with buggy aliens vs AI-enhanced humanity in some distant future.

Sound familiar? Well, yeah, it is. But still! Lots of modern concepts thrown in, from virtual realities, fake-matter pocket universes, and bio-enhanced pheromone-enslaved monstrous race of aliens.

Add elements, mix well, and let the fur fly!

Seriously, I've read much worse and the quality *is* pretty top notch. There's even a few easter eggs for you peeps who want a little poetry or introversion with your pew pew action.

All in all, it's pure popcorn, from the peace delegation to the rending of limbs at same, to the dire fates of whole worlds and their humans and AIs.

Oh yeah, and humans never really get their shit together, do they? Sometimes, but it's sooooo easy to subvert them, isn't it? I wonder if those aliens are the same.... :)

Funnily enough, even with all these overt differences between the races, one thing is abundantly clear.... we're all damn weird aliens. :)
Profile Image for Connie.
64 reviews37 followers
June 22, 2012
2.5 stars.

Neal Asher makes Alastair Reynolds look like soft science fiction, and Vernor Vinge look like fantasy.

I picked up this book after hearing that a) Neal Asher was a lot like Alastair Reynolds, and b) that this particular book was a good place to start his Polity series. And, I will admit, the plot sounded just ridiculous enough to be a good summer read: humans finally meet their first non-human sentient species, only to be appalled to find that they're ginormous carnivorous crab-like critters, that immediately start pillaging and, wait for it, eating people!

But, the book itself I found to be utterly mediocre. First of all--it's not at all like Alastair Reynolds. The book was only about 1/3 of the length of an Alastair Reynolds book, and had about 1/5 of the complexity and depth. The characters were flatter than flat--as in, the sociopath narrator, a few paragraphs into his narration, has to tell you that he's a sociopath. This is necessary information, I suppose, because all of the characters behave exactly the same, sociopath or no. The plot was just as expected from the back cover--linear, predictable, etc. Which wouldn't be too bad if there had been support, but there wasn't.

I was also really bothered by the fact that there were a lot of typos in the book. I was singing the praises of Wool Omnibus Edition a couple of weeks ago--because, in that self-published book, there was not a typo to be found from first page to last. And yet this was a fully edited book (as far as I know), and yet it had a plethora of typos, missing articles, and so on. It just kept giving me the impression of sloppiness--if they can't fix the typos, what about the rest of the book?

What it comes down to, is that this is one of those books that exists solely to be the author's vehicle to share his vision for the future, and for the technology that said future contains. And if you go for that kind of stuff, then maybe this book was great. I will admit, there were a few flourishes that were pretty cool. However, though I might have been misinformed when I was told that this was a good starting point in the series, damn it, a lot of the technology just made no sense. It was one of those classic books that just drops you in to TONS of gibberish, with no explanation, or description, so you don't even really know what the technology that is being described looks like, much less what it does. And unfortunately, the book wasn't really in depth enough or fleshed out enough to give the reader time to learn and become comfortable with the gibberish as the book progresses. In all too many cases, it seemed as if the author wrote his characters into a corner, got stuck, then a character would go "but Ahhh! This piece of tech will get us out of here, let me just concentrate a little harder."

So, the book wasn't terrible, and if I find myself in an airport with nothing to read and a long plane flight ahead (unlikely), and I happen to see a Neal Asher book, maybe I'll pick it up, but otherwise, I can't see myself returning for another of his books.
Profile Image for Claudia.
954 reviews534 followers
February 9, 2019
This was my first Neal Asher novel and although I can’t say I found it amazing, I did like it a lot and hold my interest enough to check out the following books.

The Polity universe is quite interesting: a multitude of worlds inhabited by humans and run by AIs. Some like it, some don’t. This story here follows the first encounter between humans and an alien race, Pradors, resembling crabs. As expected, they are not a friendly one and war ignited between the two.

The accent is put on action; there is no respite. Page after page there are battles, strategies and schemes. There are also a lot of characters and I found it hard keeping track of them, mostly because they are not very well defined. I didn’t have this problem in PFH’s books and he has a lot more of them. Well, after half, it became easier to grasp who is who and what they were up to.

There isn’t much worldbuilding except the stage in which the war takes place, however I do expect to find out more in the following novels. Another minus for me was that the timeline was not well established: one character managed now to kill in first encounter a Prador, the next moment he has become known worldwide being the only one who has killed tens of them…

Anyway, it’s a fun read and Neal Asher knows how to alternate horror scenes (there are plenty of them) with hilarious ones. Humans may not be his strength, however the Golems, AIs and Pradors are very interesting characters.

I’ll visit Polity again soon.
Profile Image for Scott.
290 reviews300 followers
September 21, 2019
War, in space, but with giant crabs! GIANT CRABS!!!!!!

That’s what this novel boils down to, and if that isn’t a great pitch for Jerry Bruckheimer/Michael Bay film, I don’t know what is. I expect Neal Asher will be getting a massive advance for Prador Moon, to be filmed as Crab Harbour: Age of Crustacean (IN SPACE, NO-ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCUTTLE.) sometime soon.

Seriously though, while reducing the novel to that simple premise makes it sound well…. Rubbish, this is actually a fun and engaging novel that flies along at a rapid clip. It’s pure reading pleasure.

This is the first book in Asher’s Polity universe - a scenario where most of human civilization – The Polity - is run by vastly intelligent AIs who benignly administer human affairs.. There are shades of Iain M. Banks and his Culture novels (never a bad thing to be compared to) but with a few differences: not all of humanity lives under AI supervision, and there are human groups actively trying to destroy what they consider to be computerized despots.

The Polity has yet to encounter another sentient race, so when the Prador - a gigantic race of sentient crabs - is discovered there is high hope that cooperation between species, fruitful trade and interstellar Kumbaya-ing are all on the cards. A first contact meeting at a space base is organised and… ah, let’s just cut to the chase – a space crab war breaks out! SPACE CRAB WAR!!!! CRABSTICKS FOR EVERYONE!!!!

The Prador have a penchant for eating/enslaving everyone they meet, so it doesn’t take long for the conflict that ensues to escalate to all-out total war between humanity and their crabby enemies.

And it’s a doozy of a war. It’s gory. It’s ultraviolent. It’s big scale. The Prador are well-drawn, interesting aliens with a fascinating biology and society. The AI-Human society is also well painted, and the drama is shown from both sides – the aggressive, heavily armored Prador ships, vs the under-prepared and outnumbered human Polity.

We follow the paths of several interesting characters – Jebel Krong, a human warrior who has become a legend for his close-quarters slaying of Prador, a Prador ship captain who rules his underlings with pheromones and capital punishment, and Moria Salem, an augmented scientist working on instantaneous matter transporters much like the farcasters in Hyperion. Behind them all human separatists are looking to ally with the murderous Prador are working to undermine The Polity, with disastrous results.

It’s high-adrenaline stuff, and there’s not a dull page in this book. For every ten Starship Troopers clones out there, for every pile of bad milSF books that are released, there’s a novel like Prador Moon, which marries great concepts, good writing, and exciting action into a menage a trois of crab-explodey awesomeness.

This is the sort of SF you can binge-read in a few hours, just flying along with the breakneck flow of the story, always keen to turn the page to see what Asher has in store for you next. It’s a hell of a ride and it's well worth your time.

Four crab cakes out of five.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,861 reviews369 followers
February 13, 2022
Artificial intelligences are in vogue these days and they appear in the Polity series. Although they don't feature as heavily as I would have expected. Augmented humans get the starring roles here.

The Prador are an alien race that humans have been communicating with, but have not yet seen. The book opens with the first physical meeting of the two species. Of course things go horribly wrong. The Prador are enormous crab-like creatures with a taste for humans and a tendency to eat each other as well. If they had moustaches, they would twirl them like Snidely Whiplash. Unfortunately, they must instead clack their mandibles in unholy joy when their villainous plans are successful.

Our main human protagonists are Jebel Krong and Moria Salem. Krong was present at that disastrous first encounter and saw his lady love die there. As a result, he has become a Prador hunter extraordinaire. He occasionally threatens to reduce them to crab paste or to use mines to blow them to bouillabaisse. Moria, on the other hand, chose the wrong augmentation surgeon to go to and ended up with an unusually powerful aug. She becomes a protégé of one of the AIs and gets seconded to assist in the war effort.

This would make an excellent cartoon. It is very melodramatic and there are plenty of guns and bombs. Lots of stuff goes boom. I'm sure those drawing it could find some way to suggest all the death and dismemberment done by the Prador without being graphic.
Profile Image for Dirk Grobbelaar.
550 reviews1,064 followers
December 21, 2021

The most impressive thing about the Polity Universe is how consistent the quality of the output is.
By all accounts, Neal Asher appears to be fairly prolific. At the time of my writing this he has written nineteen Polity novels (encompassing the various internal sequences) since Gridlinked was published in 2001. Roughly a book a year.
To be fair, I have not read all of them (yet), but I still have to come across one I didn’t really enjoy.

Case in point: Prador Moon.

The Occam Razor surfaced from U-Space and hurtled towards the planetary system. Massive capacitors and laminar batteries stacked up power from fusion reactors, enormous weapons carousels began powering up, replacement parts stood ready in robotic hands for lasers and masers, and the entire internal structure of the ship began to reconfigure for battle.

Like Shadow of the Scorpion, Prador Moon is a prequel. It is an important one, though, detailing the first contact with the Prador and subsequent events leading to the rethinking of Polity warfare policies and how runcible technology can be used.

In a nutshell: first contact quickly turns into a nightmare for the (fairly naïve) Polity. The Prador aren’t particularly interested in niceties and, in a nasty twist of fate, find human flesh a real delicacy, which doesn’t go a long ways in changing their outlook. Things quickly go from bad to worse since over-reliance on runcible technology (allowing humans to transport between worlds through “runcible gates”) has inversely impacted ship production (why build a lot of space ships if you don’t need them, right?). Unfortunately, this also includes warships, an oversight that the Prador gleefully exploit as they lay waste to the Polity worlds.

I’ll stop there, before I come dangerously close to spoiler territory, other than to say that when the tables do get turned it gets done in spectacular fashion. As with many of the Polity stories, everything boils down to events at a certain location that eventually have widespread ramifications. Due to some good foreshadowing I was able to predict at least some of what takes place in the grand finale.

”I look forward to our meeting. It is a shame we cannot meet in the flesh, but alas I have a war to help win and no time to peel that admirable vessel to find you.”

Prador Moon touches on quite a few concepts that are integral to the Polity series. It explores the relationship between the Polity A.I. minds and humans, and gives us some insight into the motivations of the separatists. This is an often uncompromisingly brutal future, but one you can easily lose yourself in. The Polity books, along with Alastair Reynolds’s Revelation Space books, are easily in my top ten when it comes to this sort of thing (not entirely sure what it’s called, though, “Hard Space Opera”?).

This book should really be getting two ratings. One rating pertaining to the role it fills as a Polity prequel, and another pertaining to its merits as separate novel (I would give it 5 and 4 respectively – it is really good, but it helps if you have read some other Polity books already, since this isn’t as fully fleshed out as newcomers to the series might hope).
Profile Image for Stevie Kincade.
153 reviews100 followers
September 13, 2016
Prador Moon is like a perfect pop song. When done right it seems deceptively simple, even obvious - but underneath we can see the workings of a genius applying their craft. Prador Moon is an intensely focused blast of sugary Science Fiction action-goodness. It achieves the rare feat of being incredibly exciting from the first page to last.

Normally if I read SF reviews that describe "epic space battles" "lots of action" even "evil aliens" I would immediately avoid it as I tend to HATE action and military orientated Sci Fi. I prefer my SF more on the thought provoking end of the scale. It is welcome then that Asher comes across as a slightly more jaded Ian M Banks with elements of cyber punk and hard SF thrown in for good measure. While not as strong on characters and dialogue as Banks, Asher is a LOT better at action and has a talent for condensing a lot of detail into as few words as possible. If Peter F Hamilton wrote this story it would be at least 600 pages.

I heard about Neal Asher when researching what the best new space opera series were and came across this article that painted a very interesting picture of the Polity universe.

I liked the focus on biology and AI's. I stayed for the gruesome glee of the Prador.

The opening of the novel is described on the back cover but let me just say that it turns the "first contact" trope right upside it's crusty ol carapace. From that moment on Prador Moon Just.Does.Not.Let up....
We follow Moria as she installs her AI enhancements and gets "Gridlinked" a concept familiar to any cyberpunk reader. We get plenty of action centred around our protagonist Jebel Krong.

As compelling as these stories were, I would constantly flip ahead to find When is the next chapter from the Prador perspective?

These unconventionally alien aliens steal the show and I could not wait to learn more about their bizarre world. I rubbed my mandibles together in anticipation each time we would return to the Prador ship.

Asher manages to create a rich, technicolour world with an economy of words. There isn't a whole lot of stuffing around in Prador Moon, it is a non stop adrenaline ride I knocked over in 2 or 3 days.
Asher's world is immediately familiar but also distinct and different enough to stand on it's own. I often forget most of what I have read within a few days of reading it but despite having read this book 5 months ago it still feels clear and fresh in my mind.

I loved every minute of the wild ride that was "Prador Moon". I then read "The Engineer reconditioned" which includes a novella and collected short stories and was similarly engrossing. I followed with the first Cormac novel "Gridlinked" which was a bit of a slog but I believe in Neal Asher. I love the universe he has created and will soon get stuck into reading the 9 or so Polity books I have stacked up on my "to read" table. If you were thinking about possibly getting into Asher I recommend starting with "Prador Moon".

One criticism I have heard is that after sucking us in with the Prador we have to read 5 or so Polity novels before they start rearing their ugly heads again. As I say though I am all in on Neal Asher
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,159 reviews103 followers
September 7, 2020
Though lacking much depth, originality or subtlety, this is good, fast paced first contact military sci-fi, which, at least conceptually, brought to mind Heinlein's Starship Troopers, though with even more focus on space battles, high tech nitty gritty and weapon porn. Asher also lays out some interesting transhuman aspects of Polity society through the use of augments, i.e. networked tech embedded directly in the human brain. The alien Prador take a wholly different approach, shunning any form of AI and instead preferring to embed organic neurology within artificial constructs, including their warships and drones.
Profile Image for Jason.
1,179 reviews255 followers
September 7, 2015
4 Stars

I am a huge Neal Asher fan and absolutely loved the Spatterjay series. I have read several other novels of his and decided to go back to the beginning. Wow, it really paid off being well versed in world of the Polity. I loved this book and could not put it from down. This is an action novel and a thriller about alien contact. It works as a state to the massive world of the Polity and the Prador. Jebel U-Cap Krong is one serious bad ass dude that I loved.

What a fun read and amazing start to Asher's wonderful series.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Carlex.
505 reviews90 followers
July 15, 2017
3 1/2 stars

"Tom Clancy goes to space"

I think "Prador Moon" is a good example of the so-called new (or modern) space opera (or not so new, at least for the last two decades). However, I think this novel -my first, I don't know for the rest of the series- do not reach in excellence other authors known in this subgenre like the masters Peter F. Hamilton or the missed Iain Banks.

What is about “Prador Moon”? In two sentences: The Polity is an human interstellar empire ruled by artificial intelligences. When the the first alien encounter finally occurs it leads to (of course) a war.

The story, the technology, the space battles and the worldbuilding is good and captivating, but in my opinion the author is not really innovative. To give two examples with the authors previously mentioned: the super evil alien leader, Immanence, I think is a good villain but is heir of Peter F Hamilton's MorningLightMountain (for the superbs "Pandora's Star" and "Judas Unchained", published two years before). And the AIs are likely the Minds in Iain Banks's Culture series.

That said, I consider that Neal Asher is very good in "spaceopering"; and for the rest of the "writing stuff" is just correct. For those who enjoy space battles and alien monsters “Prador Moon” is a very, very entertaining reading; and for me this is enough, so I will read more Neal Asher novels.

Profile Image for The Girl with the Sagittarius Tattoo.
2,128 reviews269 followers
March 17, 2021
omg, this was AWFUL! WHY did I listen to the entire thing?! I'd like to say it was a bad audiobook experience, but there's blame to be had all around.

The voice narrator reminded me of:

Q from Star Trek

And the aliens are eating people like:

The dialogue was awful, and the science tried too hard to make up for all the shortcomings. I just - no. No no no.
Profile Image for David Firmage.
216 reviews42 followers
October 30, 2020
First physical book I have read since May. Really love this world Neal Asher has created. The Prador are a great adversary.
Profile Image for M Hamed.
526 reviews53 followers
October 22, 2017
this is no space opera, minus two ships running after each other for a brief period.

on par with The Culture books,you can also catch two ships running after each other there also ,and now that i thought about ,there is also people who rebel against the AI machines as a main theme in the story (Ha 4 alsos that must be a record )

and i have read recently an article about how the brain works ,and it sends all the mind augmentation theories to the shitter
and most of the science here is super pretentious .
Profile Image for Michael Mayer III.
96 reviews12 followers
February 8, 2022
I have entered the Polity Universe ready to get my figurative head handed to me on a Prador platter. Well, they don't use platters, but all the same. After doing some initial research, the most informative of which being on Neal Asher's website where he explains the different ways you can read his work in the Polity Universe, which is roughly 20 books long. The main options appeared to be reading them in publishing order or in chronological order. I chose the latter since it's easiest for me to understand what is going on when I read it chronologically. It appears that, no matter which way you go, Prador Moon should be your entry into Asher's dark mind. I found Prador Moon to be a fun romp through the start of an interstellar war that was at times comical, brutal, bloody, and fun.

The Polity Universe is one in which Artificial Intelligence and it's benefits as well as it's boons are a constant subject of conversation. You have Separatists who can't stand the Polity (AI) and want to destroy them. You have other humans that get Augs installed in their head to give them enhanced abilities. You have some that are so entwined with the AI that they aren't even human anymore. It's a fascinating, not too hard to envision of our future. Everything goes south when big, bad space crabs come knocking on a space station's door and start maiming, killing, and eating anything that is fleshy, otherwise known as the Prador.

Prador Moon follows multiple points of view from, literally, all types of angles. You have Jebel Krong, military goon turned superhero who only wants to frag more crabs, Moria the newly aug'ed number-cruncher who can calculate faster than the greatest mathematician, a couple of captains, a sociopath, and, yes, even a Prador! I have to admit, aside from Jebel's POV's later in the book, Captain Immanence's bits are my favorite. I loved going inside of the mind of the coolest crab I've ever known, and you get to see how the Prador hierarchy works. Sometimes it reminds me of the Terran mirror universe in Star Trek in how they rise and fall from power. There's surprisingly a lot of comedy in what is a very dark and bloody book. Also, I don't know how common it is, but I saw the end coming about halfway through the book and I'm pretty proud of myself since I don't think it was too obvious. I feel like it made for a satisfying conclusion.

My main gripe with this story are the characters that are very flat and not at all personable. The good news is there is a difference between each that it doesn't feel like they are interchangeable. They all have their different motives at least. There's just not much in the way of character development of any sort and there's no backstory or caring about anything else other than the task at hand. Moria is quite bland to read and I have no idea who she is or that she even had a life before the beginning of the book. Another frustration, and some of this has to do with the formatting of the book, is that there is often no warning when a POV switches and sometimes the extra space between paragraphs isn't there at all. It was quite disorienting to read at times and the flatness of the characters only made it more difficult when it was mostly headspace exposition. Maybe this is why I enjoyed Captain Immanence's POV so much, there was no doubt when it switched over to him!

Another gripe is the story itself and how quickly events unfold. It was often confusing as to how much time had passed between chapters and sometimes references would be made of big battles or events and all of the characters seemed to just shrug their shoulders and move on. It would be like watching a long movie and whole segments would just be on fast forward until you get to another scene days, weeks, or possibly even months later for all I knew. The pacing of the story is fine as there's constant action. I just wish there were another couple hundred pages in here to let the scale of the war breathe a little and not seem so rushed.

The best thing that can be said about a book in a massive series set in the same universe, is that, when you finish, it has you wanting to come back for another round. Despite it's flaws, Prador Moon has done just that. I knew what to expect going into it, and Asher fulfilled my expectations while instilling in me a need to find out what happens next. For Book 1 of 20, what more can you ask for? Next up in chronological order: Shadow of the Scorpion

Polity Universe
Prador Moon - 7.5/10
Shadow of the Scorpion - 7.0/10

Agent Cormac
Gridlinked - 7.5/10
Profile Image for Mallory.
496 reviews43 followers
May 25, 2013
Many of you, like me, may have gone to a grocery store, and noticed the crappy mascots on the store brand cereals. This sort of feels like a store brand version of Iain M. Banks's Culture series, but it's still entertaining for all that.
Profile Image for Chris Berko.
466 reviews115 followers
November 19, 2017
Another A+superior outing from Asher. This is the thirteenth book I've read by him so I knew what to expect and i wasnt disappointed. Drones, AIs, space battles, person to person combat, augmented humans... everything you want in a science fiction book, with a few, yay, go humans! scenes thrown in.
Profile Image for spikeINflorida.
154 reviews17 followers
August 18, 2016
If Neal Asher would have passed the rough draft of this story to Alistair Reynolds (House of Suns) for help with character development, this book would have been five stars. Not quite as enjoyable or convincing as the author's Spatterjay Trilogy, but still a very enjoyable read. And a shout out to the bad-ass commando Jebel Krong...hooyah!
Profile Image for Rachel.
41 reviews8 followers
December 27, 2016

I tried to chalk my dislike of this novel up to the fact that military sci fi isn't really my genre, but that's not it. I don't dislike military sci fi when done well. This book was simply not done well. However, if military sci fi is your genre, you might be able to overlook some of its flaws.

First of all, the book is riddled with typos and quite poorly written. I kept getting pulled out of the story because of the awkwardness of a sentence, or because a passage was rendered incomprehensible on first read by a grammatical error (I am, of course, hyper-aware of my own writing after this criticism!). Even without the typos and errors, the writing was clunky. Additionally, the story transitions between character perspectives, which are not well marked. I read it on a kindle, so it's possible that a print book would be better demarcated, but even so, the fact that I couldn't tell there had been a perspective shift until several paragraphs in is not a great sign.

In fact, that brings me to my next criticism: the characters could hardly be differentiated between. They had different skills and different locations, so they were useful for explaining different parts of the story, but they did not seem to have different personalities. The sociopath, the formerly tech-resistant convert, and the soldier all read as basically the same.

The aliens whom the humans are fighting are so cartoonishly evil that I kept rolling my eyes a bit at their over-the-top absurdity. They have no redeeming qualities and, while they are portrayed as aggressive and skilled fighters, their lack of imagination and inability to adapt in the face of human ingenuity suggests to me that they should have been defeated by basically every alien species they've encountered.

It gets two stars instead of one because I didn't loathe it - I just didn't particularly enjoy it. And I do think that readers for whom military sci fi is what the traveling fantasy epic is for me would like it. It's fast-paced, and there are some intriguing moments, particularly in the exploration of the "alien" nature of the Prador, although I found them ill-developed and unexplored.

228 reviews4 followers
March 16, 2017
2 1/2 stars. I should have known better before reading Asher's Polity Universe prequel, because the SFX blurb on the cover said something about "sex and violence and excellent aliens". Well the sex scenes were scarce and boring, while the violence was abundant and explicit. And the aliens cartoonish. In fact, what saves Asher from a 1 star rating is that he knows that, and plays into the pulp and trash genre:
Newsnet services she auged into carried the same incredible comic-book stories. [...]
The images she saw were just too cartoonish, too ridiculous, so the only explanation seemed to be that her aug was somehow scrambling up the newsnets with a fantasy virtuality.
and later on:
"Fuck me, B-movie dialogue."
Asher's language is utilitarian. His characters are distanced and not engaging - hell - the cartoon aliens are emotionally more interesting than the humans!
I honestly wanted to give Asher another chance after the disappointment I had with the first book I read by him, Dark Intelligence. I'm sure Asher's a nice bloke and he obviously knows what he's doing, given his success. Alas, it's not for me.

At least the read was quickly over.
197 reviews6 followers
October 4, 2010
The basic premise of the book is that monstrous aliens have invaded human occupied stystems killing and eating anything in their path, and now humans must find a way to hold them off. The story was entertaining, albeit not too original. Asher gives the reader two main points of view with a few others scattered along the way including the aliens. Some of the tech is interesting, but considering the length of the book nothing is really expanded on, much like the two main characters who are only iteresting up to a point. The thing that really irritated me was the way Asher structures alot of his sentences. Reading this book became something of a chore at times as I found myself having to repeatedly go back to a sentence or passage I had just read not only to understand the structure of what was just said, but also to picture what Asher was describing, which most of the time was extremely confusing and convulated. The techno babble didn't help either.
Profile Image for Robert  Finlay.
15 reviews
December 27, 2008
Unadulterated shlock. Gigantic crab-like, intelligent, space-going creatures with a taste for human flesh. You hope they don't phone home. Go for it, Peter!
Profile Image for Lady*M.
1,069 reviews99 followers
March 21, 2015
When I read Dark Intelligence, I was aware that I lost 20-30% of the content because I haven't read the rest of the Polity Universe series. I decided to go back to the beginning and start with the first chronological book in the universe - Prador Moon.

The novel describes the beginning of the war between the Polity (human/AI union) and crab-like Prador. While they do not possess artificial intelligence, they achieved the technological advancement on their own and it is uniquely suitable for war. The Polity suffers terrible losses and has to learn quickly in order to fight back.

Two main characters are Jebel U-cap (Up-close-and-personal) Krong and Moria Salem. Jebel witnessed the first meeting between the Polity and Prador that turned into the bloodbath. He lost his fiance during the battle. His determination to get the revenge and his successes turn him into the hero of the Polity we have seen in Thorvald Spear's memories in the Dark Intelligence. Moria is working with runcible (gate) technology. After hitting the proverbial sealing of human capabilities, she decides to get augmented. But, instead being fitted with Earth Central Technology, she does it in private clinic by Dr Sylac, infamous researcher of illegal and dangerous augmentation technology. Her new capabilities draw attention of runcible AI and she is elevated to his assistant. Each of them fights their individual battles until their paths cross and they have to join forces. Add the group of single-minded separatists who hate the AIs into the mix and you have an explosive (literally) combination. The book describes Polity's great losses and the first major victory at the beginning of the war.

What I came to understand after reading the two books at each end of the Polity universe history is that it is the Polity that matters most, not the individual characters. The stories are designed to paint the better picture of it and deepen our understanding of it. Having said that, I still liked the characters better here and connected better with them, especially Jebel. Also, and excuse my MCU pun, everything is connected.

The horror of the first meeting with Prador is well described. The story line of Occam Razor (battle ship AI) and its human co-captain Tomalon demonstrates the advantages of human/AI union. This is a quick paced, short, fun romp that holds your attention. Recommended. And moving on to the next one. :)
Profile Image for Coan.
64 reviews5 followers
January 6, 2013
A fun and action packed space opera adventure, Prador Moon is a first contact story told with plenty of firepower. This is the first Neal Asher book I've read and I understand it is a prequel of sorts to his other novels set in the 'Polity' Universe -a future where humanity has colonised a number of worlds but has left the running of civilization to AIs who are also the only ones capable of using FTL gateways.

While the story is simple and the antagonists unapologetically and irredeemably evil (particularly the crab like aliens -the 'Prador'), the characters have a reasonable depth to them. I found the two main human characters interesting while it was particularly noteworthy that Asher introduces one of the villainous prador (the main antagonist) as a character as well. This is always an addition I like in my sci-fi military stories as it gives the other side some exposition. Albeit here it is a primary technique to show just how evil the Prador are and to cheer on the Polity human forces, it also shows how alien the prador race is. Another author that has done this well is Peter F Hamilton in the Commonwealth saga (two linked books) with his 'MorningLightMountain' alien intelligence, although Hamilton takes great liberty with the size of novels whereas Asher's Prador Moon is tightly written.

In fact the size of the novel is noteworthy, only 200 pages or so for such a massive scope of war. This means some interesting battles and opportunities for description of high tech warfare is lost in order to keep the story going at a brisk pace, but there are still a few battles included with decent description and events that had me happy to see the prador dealt a bloody nose (or shell as the case may be). Asher also makes use of the shorter length with all characters and scenes used and linking well to the overall plot.

On the downside, I did find the basic nature of the story too obvious and somewhat overdone. In fact the characters themselves make fun of the Prador being 'evil aliens with huge mandibles with a taste for human flesh'. One of the main military characters also tends to switch a bit too readily from not taking himself or the situation very seriously (as exemplified above) and then becoming deadly serious with a self-aware short monologue.

I'd best describe this as a short, fun holiday read for those looking for a sci-fi adventure. 3.5 stars and I'll be looking into other Neal Asher stories.
Profile Image for Stephen West.
Author 1 book13 followers
September 11, 2013
As I’m also currently reading Ian M Banks’ Surface Detail, I couldn’t really help comparing and contrasting the two. Both are space operas featuring a human spacefaring civilisation (Asher’s Culture equivalent is called the Polity) and both authors are known for their gritty and somewhat dark depictions of violence and brutality. But when I was plowing through another of Banks’ breezy discursions on the wonders of the Culture, the power of Asher’s economical exposition really became apparent. Prador Moon is a non-stop thrill ride, and yet the fact that I knew nothing about the Polity before I began reading it never seemed to slow down the action for an instant. The book’s construction is almost cinematic in the way that each scene begins as late as possible, and ends as soon as possible. Nothing is wasted. The plotting is tight and satisfying.

The level of invention and originality on display in the creation and description of all the various bits of technology and battlecraft is impressive enough, but where Asher really shines (although perhaps that is the wrong word!) is in the creation of the Prador themselves, surely among the most horrifyingly repulsive creatures to inhabit a fictional universe, and yet utterly compelling for all that.

I’ve already bought the next book (I’m going to read them in internal chronological order) and I can’t wait to get the next dose of fast-paced and gripping action.
Profile Image for Bryan Brown.
231 reviews5 followers
August 2, 2014
I liked this book it was like a documentary with no narrator just jump cuts for one critical or interesting scene to another. While that made the book fascinating it was also hard to read.

In internal chronological order this is the first book in a series of Neal Asher's Polity stories. Some of the books are stand alone novels while others are part of a story arc. I don't think he intended this book to be an introduction to his world but it is where I started. Story wise it has the format of a disaster movie. There is no real main character just slotting multiple characters into world changing events and seeing how they do. While that is not my favorite story type it did work here. I expect it answered a lot of questions for fans who had been reading in published order.

This was advertised as a space opera but without a primary character (or trio) to latch onto it didn't generate any of the emotional involvement of a space opera. Hence my description of This as disaster story instead.

The next book in internal chronological order is the most recently published The Shadow of the Scorpion. I am curious enough about this wold to continue reading his books and since I started where I did I am going to continue in this order

Profile Image for Marc Jones.
35 reviews9 followers
April 20, 2015
Prador moon isnt exactly high art, its a combination of hard science meets sci-fi horror with a does of camp and its non the worse for it.
Sure theres not much character development, sure the whole thing seems a bit disorganized, the end is fulfilling and it lapses into techno babble BUT its enjoyable.
Theres a profound sense of childish joy and reading about giant murderous well armed crabs tearing across human world.
Somehow super camp badguys, space battles and crab death matches make up for the short falls in the writing.

Profile Image for Paul  Perry.
373 reviews205 followers
May 23, 2018
Neal Asher's books are pure pulp SF - fast paced, ultra violent and darkly fun reads, complete with big ships, lasers railguns and nukes (oh my!) and, in this case, giant crab-like aliens intent on conquering human space and enslaving or eating all humans.

Strangely, it reads less silly than it sounds.
Profile Image for Kelly Flanagan.
396 reviews46 followers
July 21, 2014
Of course I am giving this a 5 out of 5. Any Neal Asher book deserves that I've found! How this man is able to do damn good space opera at any length is beyond me (ha ha) but it is a calling I guess.
Profile Image for Ken.
2,164 reviews1,322 followers
May 31, 2018
First in Asher’s ‘Polity’ series. This standalone sees the humans encounter the aggressive Prador race, these crab like creatures which is the catalyst of an epic interstella war.

A highly enjoyable Sci-Fi story, setting up the rest of the series nicely.
Profile Image for Shabbeer Hassan.
587 reviews38 followers
October 6, 2019
An utter tosh of a book with cringy ideas, rampant xenophobia/speciesism and machoism, fit more for a Hollywood, CGI filled movie than serious sci-fi. If this is a universe, then I would rather like to give it a miss.

My Rating - A big pile of stinking poo/5
Displaying 1 - 30 of 378 reviews

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