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Zero Point: The Owner: Book Two Paperback – September 3, 2013
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Part of the Owner trilogy (after The Departure, 2011) finds Earth in massive disarray. Thanks to the actions of the (alleged) terrorist Alan Saul, global government has been shattered; disastrously overpopulated, and with no way of keeping order, it seems the planet is doomed to chaos. Enter Serene Galahad, one of the surviving members of the government, with a plan to save humanity. The problem is, her plan is psychotic; she is nothing short of a megalomaniac (to save humanity, she honestly seems to believe she has to murder large chunks of it—we’re talking billions of lives here). Meanwhile, aboard the space station Argus, Saul is trying to find a way to stay alive until he can prove he’s not the perpetrator of the genocide on Earth; and on Mars, Var Delex is desperately fighting to keep Antares Base from falling to rebels. Asher, who writes sf on a grand scale, has created some of his most memorable characters here. Saul, with his unique physical and AI augmentations, is almost a new species, an intermediate between man and God, and Serene, who behaves like she’s a god, is deliciously evil, a woman so nasty that we can’t look away, even as she commits the most gut-wrenchingly awful crimes. Familiarity with The Departure is helpful but not required. And, anyway, after finishing this book, most readers who haven’t read the earlier one will immediately start searching it out while simultaneously waiting with bated breath for the trilogy’s conclusion. A must for sf fans. --David Pitt
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He is incredibly effective anti-communist/socialist invectives were simply an added bonus to this amazing and oh so very dark story. He applied his incredibly sharp insight and wit to an even more current and more obvious problem.
Neal Asher carries on in the tradition of Orwell in terms of warning the masses of the horrors that lie within the technological and philosophical suppression of free will in the interests of tyranny. With the insight that 75 years of technological advancement have given Mr. Asher, his warnings and his predictive abilities have only become more accurate, more realistic and more horrifying than Mr. Orwell's could have ever hoped to have been.
Beyond its technical and storytelling achievement, this story serves as a Cassandra like warning to those who would consolidate unrestricted and unopposed power within the face of centralized government.
If all men were angels, why would we need a God? If all men were Devils, of what use would a God be?
Asher continues to be, as he has been for at least the last decade, one of my five favorite top science fiction authors of all time. I can't wait for the third one.
Asher clearly sees his characters and their numerous flaws as normal, and well he should be. He writes them into his universe of the real, unabashedly and unapologetically because the fact of the matter is, that is how life really is. We live in the pre-sent universe, that is, WE have sent the 'now' to ourselves because we are an extension of the Creative Universal Mind. Perhaps Asher is only projecting one of the possible future realities that we might already be living in that future now...and if that turns out to be the case, you had better hope that if you incarnate in HIS universe, that you choose a part of his reality which is safe.
Neal Asher is a genius visionary writer and I look forward to the next fifty or the next one hundred books that he writes.