Fragile Things: Short fictions and wonders by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman’s latest short-stories and poems, at last in mass-market paperback! Notable pieces include “A Study In Emerald”, originally published in Shadows over Baker Street. Let’s face it: Holmes and the Mythos were the original fan-fictions, and it was inevitable that they would get together. Also notable: “Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire”, “the Problem of Susan” and “the Monarch of the Glen”. And the Introduction, where he explains how each story came to be.
Recommended for Gaiman fans.
The Line of Polity by Neal Asher
Sequel to Gridlinked, and prequel to Brass Man. This one opens with Ian Cormac, the dracoman known as Scar, and the Golem Gant, attacking a separatist base that contains a biophysicist named Skellor, who may have defected or may have been kidnapped. Either way, they are to get him back.
After this, the action switches to the planet called Masada, where a religious overcaste that lives in orbit is controlling the lives of the proles on the surface with orbital laser platforms and the fact that the planet is only livable with the use of technology or, that being unavailable to the proles, weird symbiotic life forms. But there is an underground, and the Polity is actively seeking people who want Polity membership. With Ian Cormac on his way, how can the conflict not ramp up?
This is the book where a lot of things referenced or used explicitly in future stories first appear: the Jain technology, for instance, seems likely to be the bogeyman of the future books. The Hooder and Gabbleduck are mentioned in The Voyage of the Sable Keech, as well.
The titular line, by the way, is the edge of Polity civilization. Beyond the line are independent governments.