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The Gabble and Other Stories. Neal Asher

(Polity - stand alone short stories)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,272 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The Gabble - and Other Stories A collection of stories set in Neal Asher's amazing Polity universe. Full description
Paperback, 371 pages
Published September 2nd 2011 by Tor (first published October 21st 2008)
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I decided to go all out and even read the short stories surrounding some of the memorable and unknown peeps in the connected universe that Neal Asher has made.

I mean, why not? He has a very engaging splatterpunk Hard-SF style with tons of great alien environments, interesting aliens, AIs, enormous constructs, ancient dead alien cultures, cyborgs, regenerative immortals, and more bullets and interesting ways to kill stuff than you can shake a railgun at.

These stories are all pretty fun. Of
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The Gabble and Other Stories is a collection of short fiction set in the universe of the Polity series by Neal Asher. I’ve been curious about his books for a long time now, especially since his work has been described as being close to Splatterpunk, a sub-genre often characterized by its depiction of gory graphic violence, fast-paced action, and a tendency to push the boundaries especially in horror-themed sci-fi.

I was
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The stories in this collection:

Softly Spoke the Gabbleduck
Gard and Geronamid
The Sea of Death
Alien Archeology
Acephalous Dreams
Snow in the Desert
The Gabble

First, look at that cover. The gabbleduck in all it magnificence. So cool.

While the ten stories all happen in and around the Polity, they are centered on the more exotic elements of Aher's world. From the mysterious gabbleduck, aliens ensconced in ice to albino immortals, the range and depth of Asher's imagination
Michael Fierce
After separately reading the short story, Snow in the Desert, included within, I picked up this book of short stories by Neal Asher, based in his Polity Universe, and though I do like the cover art of the edition I purchased, I prefer the cover below a bit more.


*Going to be a perfect read for when I swing back into reading Space Opera!
Guy Haley
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ten tales of the Polity from the entertaining Mr Asher.

I love Asher's futuristic hard men, weird monsters and chillingly pragmatic AI. This book serves up a dozen "short" stories set in his Polity universe (we say "short" because some of them scrape novella length). I'd like to grumble, his heroes are similar to one another (all super-tough killers, with the occasional journalist or researcher thrown in) but we just can't. Fact is, Asher's stories do have a fairly narrow range of themes to them,
Ben Bates
I have to state up front that I love Neal Asher books so I knew I would enjoy this. In all honesty there are few others for whom I'd bother reading short story collections. I generally believe that short stories, if they are of any merit, will be developed into novellas and so what you have in a short story collection is ideas that didn't make the cut but where the author didn't quite want to bin them either. Is this the case with the Gabble? Yeah, sort of. Some of the stories here are little ...more
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge Neal Asher fan girl so its really unfair of me to rate this book, when I pretty much love everything the man writes. I bow to his world building skills and I must say that "The Gabble and Other Stories" just impresses me all the more. There are several stories which hark back to his Spatterjay and Ian Cormac sagas, blending tech, biology, energy weapons and weird science into tales of betrayal, love, revenge and nobility. Truelly for Asher fans, this one is a must!!
I really like Asher's novels and the universe in which they are set, but his short-stories, although set in the same universe (and therefore in theory benefitting from all that background) are somehow unsatisfying. They feel... thin. A recurring problem is insufficient character development, in other cases not enough happens in the plot. I liked the book, but I'm not surprised that he didn't manage to sell his short stories until after his novels were successful.
Apr 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
As a collection of 13 short stories set in Neal Asher's Polity Universe, this is an excellent excuse for a break from reading a whole novel and keeping your fingers dipped into the realms of AIs, golems, Hooders, ECS agents, reifications, murder lice and of course, Gabbleducks.

A thoroughly enjoyable interlude and well recommended.
Jim Mcclanahan
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
A series of short stories set primarily in the Polity universe, I found them to not only be entertaining, but also informative on several fronts regarding detail of things in his novels which are not clearly spelled out otherwise. Aiding in this are a set of thumbnail blurbs for each tale which provide context. Anyone reading the Cormac tales will love these.
Collection of stories set in the Polity, that introduces characters and history that are explored more fully in the novels. A high quality collection, and not a dud among them---

Adventure story set on Masada, an encounter with the mysterious, ought-to-be-smarter-but-somehow-not gabbleduck.

Corporate assassin comes to planet where descendants of corporate-enslaved miners were once abandoned. Nefarious plot ensues.

What happens when a planet
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
have you acquired a taste for Neal Asher yet? if you love sf, you will. he specializes in dense but compulsively readable adventures set in a dark but inexhaustibly inventive far-future that seems to have arisen out of combining an Edward Lear sensibility with hard science and a positively viral imagination. this volume consists of ten essential stories that shed much light on some of the larger questions of this universe, including the nature of the biotech human extremadapts, the intrigues of ...more
Marco Paganini
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Gabble: And Other Stories" is a collection of short stories, some of them focused on the super interesting fauna of Masada (Gabbleducks, Heroynes, Hooders, etc) and the search for their origins. I really enjoyed reading these stories, and I recommend readers to pick this book right after "The Line of Polity", where the author introduces Planet Masada and its unique fauna. Some of the stories had only been published once, in article format (which means I'd probably never had found them.) Of ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Collection of short stories in the polity universe.
I'm a bit torn on it.
Some of the stories are great, other feel a bit unfinished and one would like for them to continue. Worth reading if you are into the polity universe, not the right thing as a first book to read by Asher.
On a side note, escapepod have Ancephalous Dreams as free very well read audio podcast:
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've just found Neal Asher on Goodreads. I'm not going to leave a review, except to say that I own every. single. one. of his books in paperback. Books are expensive in South Africa, and I *really* don't have a lot of money. I buy them anyway, and cut back on other costs for the month. He's that good.
Lee Belbin
These short stories are a gutsy version of Asher's longer novels, meaning more gore and sex (and not related thankfully). If you have read any of Asher's SF, then these relate to many of the scenarios you have run across, but that said, are self-contained. The ideal holiday dip-into reads when you have a break from work or kids or...whatever.
Pawel Dolega
Definitely not a bad bunch of short stories. It would definitely be worth one star more for readers accustomed with Polity universe (that would be 4).

As for chronology - You should read it after Line War and before The Technician.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short stories, IMO slightly better ones than the previous bundle. Moving on to Spatterjay series now.
Bill Ramsell
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Very fun! Quite a lot of backstory to the Polity Universe.
Jerri Brissette
Short stories are not my favorite thing, but these are pretty good, if you can just get past the fact that many terms used are not explained. Some can be guessed, I think pretty accurately, but others, not. I expect in a full-length novel, those things are made clear.
Tim Hicks
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a good addition to the set if you have read some previous Polity work, and not a totally bad place to start if you haven't. You'll soon get the idea that the Polity universe is huge and has to be absorbed and understood over several books or more.

This one reminded me that Asher does get a little carried away with his formula of cynical hero is deadly warrior who carries an incredibly deadly (sin gun, railgun, thin gun, etc. etc) in case he meets the incredibly deadly (hooder, gabble
Mark Cheverton
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, anthology
Ten short stories (some not so short) make up this collection. Almost all of the stories are strongly aligned with the themes in his novels, and I was pleased to see Asher using the opportunity to fill out some of the interesting creatures in his macabre menagerie. He is just as good at short form story telling as knocking out a novel, and he has definitely honed this craft since The Engineer, which certainly wasn't up to this standard. I had a lot of fun reading this collection and would ...more
Tufty McTavish
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this collection of short stories; something I tend to avoid normally. That they're all set within the Polity Universe and connections to others books I've already read are peppered throughout adds a lot. There's a little bit of connectivity between some of the stories too, though being a collection means we only have a short while to become acquainted with the characters each time.
What surprised me about this short story collection is how constant the quality is, even spread through many years. None are really world changing, but they are correct, worthy additions to the Polity future that Asher has constructed through the years. The form is used to explore some aspects and characters that are nor well suited for a longer form, such as a suicide mission or a different but predictable love story.

For those who enjoy the Polity books.
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is something grand about the imaginative and interlinked space operas Neal Asher writes. These short stories, some of them not very short, complement the novels by exploring some of the creatures and ideas found in his longer work. This collection features several stories about gabbleducks, one of his weirder and more fascinating creations.
Pippa Jay
As a group of short stories, I thought this would be a good introduction to an author new to me. Overall Asher's writing is on the grim and chilling side, sometimes macabre but always thought provoking. Some of these stories disturbed me, some puzzled me, and others intrigued me. Looking forward to reading another, but I'm not swearing eternal devotion just yet.
Dec 08, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
New collection of short stories by UK author Asher.

His sci-fi is messy and smelly, with bio-tech and physical augmentation leading the way.
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every story excellent.. my favourite is Mr Snow trying to figure out why someone has a reward out on his testicles...
Simon Parsons
One of the best book of short stories I have read. Neal Asher's sci-fi worlds are dark and entertaining.
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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 ...more

Other books in the series

Polity - stand alone (5 books)
  • Prador Moon  (Polity Universe, #1)
  • Shadow of the Scorpion (Polity Universe #2)
  • The Technician
  • Hilldiggers (Polity Universe #15)