Hardcover: 260 pages
Publisher: Wildside Press (3 Feb 2006)
Once upon a time, Neal Asher released a collection of short stories. No, not Runcible Tales, but a professional, proper book, collection, called The Engineer.
It went out of print.
Here is a new version, with 'added waffle and additional stories'. In the waffle category, Asher tells of how the stories connect, and some of their history. Some of these prefigure the Polity books, while there is another sequence, the Owner stories, that could take sort of place in the Universe, but which probably don't. There's one that references Cowl, some that mention Jain technology, and so on. Much of what is here is Asher practising his world building, preparing his backgrounds.
And there are one or two really weird pieces, such as The Gurnard, which posits a religion actually caused by a parasitic life cycle.
In general, I enjoyed this selection: this is a proper collection of nearly a dozen Asher short stories.