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The Departure (The Owner) Paperback – February 5, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Neal Asher was born in Billericay, Essex, and divides his time between here and Crete. His previous full-length novels are Gridlinked, The Skinner, The Line of Polity, Cowl, Brass Man, The Voyage of the Sable Keech, Polity Agent, Hilldiggers, Prador Moon, Line War, Shadow of the Scorpion, Orbus and The Technician.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Owner (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597804479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597804479
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By cybermage.se on September 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Welcome to a future where a lot of things have gone wrong. Democracy is a thing of the past. The bureaucracies of the world have taken over. The Commission sounds suspiciously close to the European Commission which I guess is not something Neal Asher is fond of. The environment is unpleasant and overpopulation needs a final solution. At least that's what the people in power seem to be planning. Rebellion is hard since the Commission controls orbital laser weapons that can destroy any riot in seconds. They also dispatch robots troops straight out of the war of the worlds to pick up any ringleaders for torture and brainwashing.

It is a chilling world where people are classified after their usefulness to society. Zero-assets are more or less dumped to fetch for themselves. Usefulness is of course assigned by The Commission.

This is the world where this electrifying story takes place. Saul is a man with extraordinary skills and intellect but who can't remember what the things you put on your feet and walk in are. He wakes up in a box on the verge of incineration but escape bent on revenge. We get to follow his trail through what is left of Europe and Russia as he learns the world again. In a way this reminded me of a story by A. E. Van Vogt named Tyranpolis (aka Future Glitter from 1973) where the hero instead has a scientific breakthrough in an all-seeing kind of technology while Saul here goes for the AI interfaced brain that Neal seems so fond of (See Gridlinked).

The Yin of the story is a woman called Var who probably is Saul's lost sister. She struggles at the abandoned colony on Mars where the political officer is trying to kill off all none essential people to make the resources last longer.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dominic Keeley on March 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Departure received suprisingly mixed reviews considering that Neal Asher seems to attract such a devoted following so I picked up the book with some trepidation. I was releived that the book passed the only test of any real importance to me - I read it through to the end in a very few sittings. I understand that this may not be to everyone's taste and perhaps the detailed descriptions of the 2 central conflicts take up a disproportionate part of the book but still this introduces a world in a socio-economic/environmental crisis that is intriguing as much as it is horrifying and the vast scale and scope of the changes facing it are very much in the Asher mould.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By OZARKFLIER on February 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
After seeing the negative comments of some reviewers, I have to wonder whether we read the same book. The observations made by two of them led me to believe the wheels would fall off the story at 100 pages. But it didn't; if anything, the pace picked up and pushed through all the way to the end. The end leaves you dangling--really a conclusion rather than an end of story--but this was expected since I understood the book to be an introduction to an ongoing new series. I also don't agree with the reference to shallow or two-dimensional characters. Though the story is told in a much different contextual background, the development of the major protagonist, Alan Saul, very much reminded me of the introduction to Ian Cormac in "Gridlinked." I will admit that the parallel story about Var on Mars did not mesh well with the story-in-chief, but it didn't seriously detract from it either.

I think some of the Asher fans were disappointed because they were expecting "The Departure" to be another Polity-like novel with a fresh cast of characters. Well, it wasn't that at all: Asher completely broke the mold this time to create a darkly dystopian future more reminiscent of the works of Philip K. Dick and George Orwell. I highly recommend it to all fans of hard SF and look forward to the release of the next installment in the series.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Simnsays on October 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book was a good read and I will read the rest of the series but I did not like it as much as the Polity books. This was politics, science and violence without the humanity and humour in his other series. I hope the rest of the series is better.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on July 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I generally love Neal Asher's work: Gridlinked (Agent Cormac 1), The Skinner (Spatterjay, Book 1), ... I think I have every book he's ever written). He's one of my favorite authors. That being said, "The Departure" is truly a "departure" for Asher -- for the quality of the storytelling.

Before purchasing it, I was shocked to see the relatively low ratings (for Asher) this book received, but decided to purchase it anyway on the basis of his previous work, and because of the political slant to many of the comments. I really detest the way so many reviewers these days criticize a book because they don't happen to agree with its political overtones, or vision of the future. You're going to slam a book because the all-knowing, all-powerful government of the future turns out not to be benign? Really? I suppose you slammed Orwell's 1984 as well? The whole point of science fiction is to explore alternate future realities, not to match a particular reader's personal view of how the world should be. If you don't like a book because it's too dark, or too optimistic, just say so. If you don't like the stated politics, just say so. But I don't think it's a good idea to rate science fiction novels on the basis of whether one happens to agree with the explored vision, and I really don't like the increasing pressure for even science fiction authors to champion social welfare and big government. Is there not a place, even in science fiction, to explore the possibility that it just might not be so wonderful?
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