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Asher's Polity Form

Brit authors Neal Asher and David Gunn return to the US for more fingerlickin' sci-fi.

By Pat Ferrara     April 28, 2008

Line War of Neal Asher's Ian Cormac Series
© Tor Books

American fans of Brit SF guru Neal Asher have long since dealt with delays between the UK and US release dates of his work. Being published through two different companies, Tor UK/Macmillan in Britain and Tor US in the states, has resulted in Polity novels hitting the shelves a full quarter or more after their UK release… if they’re released at all.

Line of Polity, the second hard sci-fi novel in Asher’s Ian Cormac series, is still widely unavailable here in the US although it debuted across the pond in 2003. Tor’s reason for the book’s absence here: it’s simply too big. Apparently when a novel comes close to 175,000 words it becomes completely unmarketable to the rampaging masses of American consumers.

Yet Asher fans don’t have to wait anymore for another dose of his space opera-meets-cyberpunk fiction. Tor Books is releasing a paperback version of 2007’s Polity: Hilldiggers while Night Shade Books is re-releasing the following novel in the series, Polity: Shadow of the Scorpion, also on paperback. The concluding installment of the Ian Cormac sequence, which began in 2001 with the author’s first novel Gridlinked, is finally here with the hardback release of Line War.

In other British science fiction news David Gunn’s new novel, Maximum Offense, luckily doesn’t suffer the same delays as Asher’s Polity volumes. The follow-up to last May’s Death’s Head, Maximum Offense continues the far future military SF escapades of Lieutenant Sven Tveskoeg and the borderline satire of Gunn’s testosterone-fueled wit.

As an aside to last week’s discussion on J.K. Rowling’s pending lawsuit with RDR Books, there’s been another announcement that’s sure to rock the Harry Potter canon, and its creator, once more. Film director John Carl Buechler is resurrecting his original TROLL movie for an updated 2009 release. The movie, which features a protagonist named Harry Potter Jr., first debuted more than a decade before Rowling’s Philosopher’s Stone and is sure to raise a few eyebrows on the transparency of character names. Though laden with a 1980s’ amount of cheese, the redux of TROLL is boasting a big budget and the casting call for Noah Hathaway’s replacement is already underway at the TROLL site (Be sure to note the legal disclaimer at the bottom, now that’s covering your ass).

New in Hardcover:

Ian Cormac: Line War, Neal Asher (Tor Books)

The final volume in the Ian Cormac series after 2006’s Polity Agent.

Death’s Head: Maximum Offense, David Gunn (Del Rey)

The sequel to 2007’s Death’s Head. Stay tuned to Mania for a full review later this week.

Incandescence, Greg Egan (Night Shade Books)

Iron Angel, Alan Campbell (Spectra)

The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, Michael Swanwick (Avon Books)

Nano Comes to Clifford Falls and Other Stories, Nancy Kress (Golden Gryphon Press)

On Stranger Tides, Tim Powers (Subterranean Press)

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. 2B, Ed. by Ben Bova (Tor Books)

Bringing eleven of the best SF novellas from 1929 – 1962.

Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson (Subterranean Signed Limited Edition)

The critically acclaimed cyberspace romp gets an exclusive redux with the help from illustrator Patrick Arrasmith.

New in Paperback:

The Godless World Trilogy: Winterbirth, Brian Ruckley (Orbit Books)

A great series opener, check out the interview with Brian Ruckley and stay tuned for a full review later on this week.

Annals of the Chosen: The Ninth Talisman, Lawrence Watt-Evans (Tor Books)

Finding Battlestar Galactica: An Unauthorized Guide, Lynette Porter, David Lavery, Hillary Robson (Sourcebooks, Inc.)

Necronomicon: Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft, H.P. Lovecraft (Gollancz)

Starfist: Firestorm, David Sherman & Dan Cragg (Del Rey)

Rifters Trilogy: Starfish, Peter Watts (Tor Books)

Second Foundation, Isaac Asimov (Spectra)

Featuring The Mule, one of the coolest characters in all of science fiction, the Foundation series is still one of the best.

Star Wars Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice, Karen Traviss (Del Rey)

Warhammer 40k: Relentless, Richard Williams (Games Workshop)

Mainspring, Jay Lake (Tor Books)
KOP, Warren Hammond (Tor Books)
I, Robot, Isaac Asimov (Spectra)

Great novel, terrible movie.

Multiverse: Hell’s Gate, David Weber & Linda Evans (Baen Books)

Foundation and Empire, Isaac Asimov (Spectra)

Foundation, Isaac Asimov (Spectra)
Earthbound, Richard Matheson (Tor Books)

Earth Ascendant, Sean Williams (Ace)

The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Ed. by Ellen Datlow (Del Rey)

A collection of 16 original works.

Warhammer 40k: Brothers of the Snake, Dan Abnett (Games Workshop)

Black Collar: The Judas Solution, Timothy Zahn (Baen Books)

Polity: Hilldiggers, Neal Asher (Tor Books)

The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Fantasy, Ed. by David Pringle (Carlton Publishing Group)

Illustrated encyclopedia with a foreword by Terry Pratchett.

Steampunk, Ann & Jeff VanderMeer (Tachyon Publications)

Inheritors’ Cycle: The Queen’s Bastard, C.E. Murphy (Del Rey)

Starkissed, Lanette Curington (Samhain Publishing)

Polity: Shadow of the Scorpion, Neal Asher (Night Shade Books)

Sagramanda: A Novel of Near-Future India, Alan Dean Foster (Pyr)

Rogue Angel: Renaissance, Alex Archer (Gold Eagle)

Includes the novels Destiny, Solomon’s Jar, and The Spider Stone.

New Amsterdam, Elizabeth Bear (Far Territories)

Endgame, Andy Secombe (Macmillan UK)

Aldabreshin Compass: Eastern Tides, Juliet E. McKenna (Little, Brown Book Group)

Hythrun Chronicles: Warlord, Jennifer Fallon (Tor Books)

The Vampire’s Betrayal, Raven Hart (Ballantine Books)

Treasure Forest, Cat Bordhi (Ace)

Time of Legends: Heldenhammer, Graham McNeill (Games Workshop)

Saga of Recluse: Natural Ordermage, L.E. Modesitt, Jr. (Tor Books)

Gillian Key Paradoc: Key to Conspiracy, Talia Gryphon (Ace)

Carlotta Carlyle Mysteries: Flashpoint, Linda Barnes (St. Martin’s Minotaur)

Fallen, Tim Lebbon (Spectra)

Draw One in the Dark, Sarah A. Hoyt (Baen Books)

Riley Jensen Guardian: The Darkest Kiss, Keri Arthur (Dell)

Raine Benares: Armed & Magical, Lisa Shearin (Ace)

Line of Polity, Neal Asher (Tor Books)

Japanese Dreams, Ed. by Sean Wallace (Prime Books)

New in Audiobook:

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: The Harlequin, Laurell K. Hamilton (Brilliance Audio Abridged)

Narrated by Cynthia Holloway.

Whipping Star, Frank Herbert (Tantor Media Unabridged)

Narrated by Scott Brick.

The Sunrise Lands, S.M. Stirling (Tantor Media Unabridged)

Narrated by Todd McLaren.

That’ll do it for this week Maniacs. Check back next Monday for all the latest info on current sci-fi, fantasy, and horror book releases. Questions or comments? Hit me up at


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kaybar 4/28/2008 9:28:01 AM
I can't wait to see how this new TROLL movie plays out, especially with Rowling and WB's camp. Although it came before Rowling's Harry Potter series, I'm sure Warner Brothers will try to argue that the film is trying to take advantage of the specific similarities to J.K.'s universe to boost sales/popularity... which is pretty much what they are doing.


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