Neal Asher. The Other Gun. (Asimovs, April/May 2013)

asimovs130405Another fast-paced story in a sequence that has previously graced Asimovs (Softly Spoke the Gabbleduck, and The Gabble). Very fast-paced, but with plenty of invention in there, as the techno (at times almost technoporn) is described in loving detail, pretty much the only thing slowing the story down.

The Other Gun is a weapon hidden in the ‘body’ of the main character, who has lost a lot of his body, and some of his memory, and some of his humanity, the threat of the use of which part of the story thread hinges on. He’s in the employ of a bone-chilling entity, and has a Mesozoic raptor as a sidekick (see cover pic), and is chasing down some lost tech.

It’s like reading Alastair Reynolds on speed (either the reader on speed, or Alastair Reynolds on speed). There are a couple of instances of one of my pet hates – no, not the use of the word atop, but references to 20th/21st century things – ‘stacked up like aluminium suitcases’ comes to mind : why would someone hundreds or thousands of years hence refer to these?

The Other Gun is eventually used (bit of an anti-climax really), and as the protagonist is missing quite a bit of his mind, and there are hints that other participants know more about what is happening than he does, it’s difficult to get engaged as you are on a hi-speed rollercoaster, and you know that there will be ups and downs, twists and turns, but you know you will end up safely at your destination.

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