Tuesday, 19 May 2009
SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Shadow of the Scorpion - Neal Asher
Raised to adulthood during the end of the war between the human Polity and the vicious arthropoid race, the Prador, Ian Cormac is haunted by childhood memories of a sinister scorpion-shaped war drone and the burden of losses he doesn't remember. In the years following the war, he signs up with Earth Central Security, and is sent out to help either restore or simply maintain order on worlds devastated by Prador bombardment. There he discovers that though the old enemy remains as murderous as ever, it is not anywhere near as perfidious or dangerous as some of his fellow humans, some of them closer to him than he would like. Amidst the ruins left by wartime genocides, he discovers in himself a cold capacity for violence, learns some horrible truths about his own past and, set upon a course of vengeance, tries merely to stay alive.
Whilst a huge fan of Neal’s work usually, I always have a niggle when an author writes a prequel. Why? Basically its because you know that the central character is in no danger as s/he, has to be alright for the rest of the series to continue. It really does niggle me as it takes a lot of the drama out of the tale. Don’t get me wrong, its what you’d come to expect from Neal’s work, epic battles, snappy writing, all wrapped up in a neat package but without the suspense about the characters survivability it lacks a lot in the telling for me. Still solid reading and perhaps a book to give to the uninitiated for his writing as an introduction to what is to come.