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#287 Neal Asher: Africa Zero - Off in the distance
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The Bellinghman
Date: 2008-09-06 15:38
Subject: #287 Neal Asher: Africa Zero
Security: Public
Tags:books, reviews
Neal Asher: Africa Zero

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Cosmos; New title edition (15 Nov 2006)
ISBN-10: 0809556642
ISBN-13: 978-0809556649
Category(ies): SF

Not a fat book by today's standards, this comprises two stories, both set in a northern Africa of a couple of millennia hence. A new ice age has happened, under the effect of cometary impact, and reborn mammoths roam what used to be the Sahara. In the midst of this, the Collector (no other name is ever given) is effectively immortal, and spends his time collecting the DNA of interesting species, and sometimes recalling them (for instance, those mammoths) and sometimes meddling in the creation of new species (the Great African Vampire, who may not have Dracula's shape changing abilities, but who is a horror in the night, what with his tendency to swoop down, to rip of your head, and to drink from your neck).

In the midst of all this, then, the Collector is a bit like a cyborg Tarzan. He spends most of his time consorting with animals rather than people, though he's friendly with the local tribes. It's when another cyborg appears, slaughtering the mammoths and leading the Collector to have to do something about it.

This pair of stories is middle rank. They're not bad, per se (though in both stories, Asher does indulge in his bad habit of setting up a bunch of gullible yet nasty people so that they can be killed in nasty ways: here, they're religious extremists), but neither are they particularly memorable. Perhaps that why his usual publishers have not published this one.

(An annoyance is the poor binding quality - for the first time in year, I had a page detach from the spine.)

Asher playing outside the Polity.
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kit
User: mizkit
Date: 2008-09-06 18:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's a beautiful, eye-catching cover, though! :)
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2008-09-06 21:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yep, it is that. Having a quick look over the Wildside Press site, they do appear to believe in decent cover art, unlike (the late publishing house) Big Engine did. BE's covers were dire, and I do wonder if that's partly why an enterprise that managed to sign up Charlie Stross managed to go under so quickly.
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