Friday, March 26, 2021

Who Reads my Books? Gotz Roderer


Just me – around the time of Spatterjay

Hi! My name is Götz, and, yes, I know, this is a complicated name. Why I love the books by Neal Asher? They are intricately woven (just like the technology of the Atheter), address a variety of interesting scientific topics without ever pushing them before the storytelling, and are plainly always great fun to read – especially stories about the drones. Or about Spaterjay. Or about … you know.

Myself I am a Physicist from Regensburg deep in the south of Germany. Up to very recently I worked in a big global, Japanese-led company, being responsible for research and development in Europe, working my way through numerous projects and meetings with people from 25 nations on board (literally), and loved it. Got my fair bit of travelling around the world, but sometimes a bit too much travelling, so after twenty years I recently decided to switch my professional career over and became a Professor at a German Technical University, working with young people and driving new technology.  


My favorite place for beer-and-smoke when abroad

Which hopefully gives me a bit more time for my family (wife and daughter; the cat recently died). 

And for reading – there are some unread books even by Neal Asher. And for my other hobbies, like making music. Or some occasional sky diving (every birthday I get thrown out of a plane by my loving – and grinning - wife Annemarie). But especially writing, since this is something I have done since I was about 14. 


Writing … at least trying to write

For me, it is purely by-the-side-profession; I do mostly Science-Fiction shorts and storylines for Perry Rhodan (the biggest and oldest SF-series in the world) or articles about science topics (and two books, you can google up if you like). And that’s  why I came in contact with Neal Asher in his manifestation as a “internet-person”. He is really, really good in digging up interesting science stuff. 

  And then he puts this stuff into his fantastic books. It is a big part of the magic of his books.


Me – waiting for the next book to arrive

And even in his most dystopian scenarios (looking at you, Jain), there is hope, there is the drive to find a way out and to somehow create a good future. There is curiosity, all the way to the drones. I think, curiosity brought me to Science Fiction, and Science Fiction to Physics, and both let me really enjoy the books of Neal Asher!

Götz Roderer

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Who Reads my Books? Jonathon Fletcher

Jonathon reads my books. I swiped the below from his website here, where you can read the rest of the biography below:

This is a little background about my life and how I became a writer. I was born and brought up near Stockport, England. I grew up with science fiction, right from sitting on my Dad’s knee watching Doctor Who starring Tom Baker in the seventies. I was a huge fan of Star Wars (I still have my collection) and also loved Blake’s 7, Space 1999, Knight Rider, Star Trek... If it was vaguely sci-fi related, I watched it. I guess it’s the complete fantasy that appealed to me. I would spend hours in my bedroom making Lego models of Airwolf or Daleks and acting out scenes with them.

In science fiction there are no boundaries to your imagination. You can create whole worlds, even galaxies, far, far away. I always loved a great sci-fi gadget, spacecraft or weapon; from a lightsaber to the drop-ship in Aliens, or a Martian tripod war machine. I used to make models of things that I liked out of cardboard cereal packets and loo rolls when I was younger and I guess that's where my model making career sprouted from. After studying Art & Design at school, I went on to complete a Foundation course in Art at Stockport College and then opted for a degree in Media Production.

I’ve been working on the #SpaceNavy universe on and off since I started my degree (Media Production including Animation BA/Hons) in 1992 at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, U.K. I first started working on the story ideas for the Unity story arc when I was in my first year and I still have my big red sketch book with my original scrawled ideas and drawings inside. I would doodle the designs for spaceships, aliens, robots and so on. Some of those designs have even made it onto the covers of my books. I always knew I would do something with them, I just didn’t know what at the time.

It was when I was undertaking the degree that I discovered a magical thing called a “film script”. I didn't actually take the script writing course, but a lot of my best friends did and I picked up a great deal from them, especially Paul Bird and Mark Collins. I worked on several other student films, mostly creating sets, props and various effects. Then I decided that I wanted to make my own sci-fi epic, called "Unity"! . . .


Friday, March 12, 2021

Who Reads my Books? Tony Brown

  Alas poor Tony Stark, I knew him well.

Who reads your books? Well I do, Neal. I was born just before JFK took that fateful trip past the grassy knoll in Texas. I'm Geordie of origin but have lived nearly all my life in the Lucky Country, Brisbane Australia, my parents being 10 pound poms. I am so grateful for them for having the guts to pack their meagre belongings and kids and sail half way around the world to who knew what. I began my love of books at the age of 10 when our library teacher read a passage from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. After the lesson I immediately sought out that book and read it cover to cover, and so began my love of reading. I recall devouring The Alfred Hitchcock Three Investigator series of books as a young lad and as I grew older then discovering horror, with Stephen King and Dean R Koontz being my main diet. I also discovered pot and Michael Moorcock around the same time and then broadened to anything from James Clavell through to Wilbur Smith. I somehow ended up doing apprenticeship and became a carpenter after leaving school and did all manner of work from constructing high rise buildings to building lobster tanks for restaurants.


Stop over in Greece 1964 Mum and me.

I eventually grew bored of this and joined the Air force in my early thirties and after a few years got an all expenses paid trip to the Arabian Peninsular. It was some time around here in the Air force that I stopped reading books. I think this was due to me living on base and the rise of the internet and online gaming, which I embraced. Moving on 5 yrs or so, after getting married and leaving the air force to work as a civvie, one day someone left a copy of Alistair Reynolds Chasm City in the lunchroom, I took it home and decided to read it and that was it, I was back in the reading groove. I read all of Reynolds books and was blown away by them and then was looking for something new. At the time, much to the disgust of the wife, I had embraced and was obsessed with home brewing beer to the point of winning a state title and a trip to America. I was on a home brew website one day browsing the off topic thread where someone had asked for a good read and someone else replied The Skinner by Neal Asher, I googled it and saw this awesome blue skinned, evil, bizarre looking monster and thought "That's for me" I got it  and was totally blown away by the world of Spatterjay and the flora and fauna ecosystems Neal had created. I read all his works and alternated between him, Reynolds and then discovered the brilliant Reality Dysfunction by Hamilton to keep me reading between Neal's releases. Then one day not too long ago, knock me down with a feather! I discovered he would actually talk to his readers on his Facebook page, I was totally blown away and embraced it and hope I don't annoy him too much.  I've recently reread the Cormac series, just finished Lockdown Tales and am currently on Owning the future. 

The Family at Stradbroke Island about 1hrs drive and 40 min ferry trip from home.

I love listening to Pink Floyd, playing a bit of bass and am building a full sized 3D printed Mark 85 Iron Man suit just for something different (I love Iron Man). I have two boys, 15 and 13 and they keep me more busy than I like, driving them to various sports and sports training just about every day of the week. Oh well, as they say, there is no rest for the wicked.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Who Reads my Book? Dean Edis

Hi Neal! I don't know if you've got enough 'Who Reads My Books' fodder, but I thought I might add my humble blurb to the pile.  I won't be offended if I don't 'make the cut' - I mostly just wanted to say thanks for all the books!  

Apologies for the grammar…

My name is Dean Edis (43) and I come from Cambridge in the UK, living with my wife, two kids, and two cats.  My ‘Asher’ journey started an eternity ago with ‘Gridlinked’ and I _think_ I’ve read every book he’s published since then.  To avoid sounding too stalker-y I should point out I also enjoy reading Richard Morgan, Ian M Banks, and most recently R. R. Haywood.

I’m currently re-re-reading The Owner series - An awesome trilogy and worth looking at if you haven’t already!

My day job is a software developer (mostly C#/C++), so the COVID lockdown thankfully hasn’t affected me too much.  As such I’ve had years of training to enjoy my own company and being a bit socially awkward. Still, after nearly a year it is getting a bit tiresome…

In my spare time I alternate between rebuilding an old Sinclair C5, making a near full-size Arduino-powered BB8 robot, and writing GPU-powered ‘shaders’.  These ‘shaders’ are written in entirely in computer code from the ground-up, not requiring any 3D models or art packages, and with a clever application of vector math and algebra you can make some pretty cool scenes which run in ‘real time’ on even a modest PC. 

If anyone is interested I usually put my efforts on YouTube and Twitter.

Right – I’m going back to ready a bit more ‘Zero Point’ now.  I’m juuust getting to the finale…

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Who Reads my Books? Chandra London

Surprise, I’m not a beardy middle-aged pale dude! (To be fair, I did marry one.) I am, however, a big ole nerd from childhood. My interest in science fiction and fantasy probably started around age 6 when I saw my mum reading The Lord of the Rings books and wanted to know who those little guys on the cover were. She handed me a copy of The Hobbit and off I went. My dad was not much of a fiction reader, but he did love futurism and had a subscription to Omni magazine. Whenever it arrived in the mail I would immediately snatch it up and read it cover-to-cover, and of course my favourite parts were the short stories. There, I was introduced to most of the SF greats from Asimov to Zelazny, as well as some others that I came to love such as Spider Robinson and Richard Kadrey. My nerdiness extends to RPGs, comics, board games, video games, non-vascular plants, invertebrates and rocks. I have a favourite lichen (that fact says everything about me, really). Going for walks with me is apparently annoying because I’ll stop to look at all the little plants and creepy crawlies. 

I got into Neal Asher’s books by picking up a copy of The Skinner sometime around 2007. I immediately fell in love with Spatterjay’s ecosystem and the Polity AIs. I’m now known for pushing this book on anyone who asks for a book recommendation, and have managed to get several friends hooked. I’ve got 20 of your books at this point, still gotta catch ‘em all.

What does a gal do when she’s not reading Neal’s books? Since I’ve had a lot of time at home over the last little while due to waves at the fuckery I decided to organize my book collection. I purged about 10 boxes of dross and am now left with about 1400 books currently shelved in actual alphabetic order and catalogued using LibraryThing. 

Don’t worry Neal, you were safe from the purge!

What else do I do? I’ve been a geologist exploring for gold in the Arctic and oil in northern Alberta, an environmental technician, a residential geothermal designer, a delivery driver and a parent of weirdly tall children (seriously, paint ‘em blue, they’d look like something from that Avatar movie). I am on the lookout for my next career--since I’m learning geographic information systems (GIS), hopefully something in that? I currently live in Edmonton, Alberta, though I spent my childhood throughout the wilds of northern Canada living in places you had to fly to get to.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Who Reads my Books? Henry Wolfe

Hi Neal,

I've been an avid reader of SF from a very young age, I can't really remember what I first read but likely to have been Asimov or A C Clarke. As a kid I spent a lot of time in librarys looking for the yellow Gollancz book spines. From there, moved onto Harry Harrison and very much to Larry Niven's works.

Fast forwarding into the near past, I had been getting heavily into P F Hamilton and I had got an E Reader and now that physical space was no longer a problem! I started actively trying to fill this up as much as possible so subscribed to several sub-reddits on SF books and looked for recommendations.

Always loving military and epic scale Sci Fi/Space Opera it didn't take long for your name to show, hence I was introduced to your works via Prador Moon. Well I was hooked from there and have since got every book you've done. I'm trying hard, but can't think of a dud yet, which is pretty impressive. Stand out favourites for me are the Spatterjay and Agent Cormac books. Jain related stories are breathtaking in scope, but take a fair amount of reading to get your head around. Your stories incorporating natural or biological elements make a refreshing change from the norm too.

Oh yes, about me?

Well I spent a shade over 20 years working for the UK's largest wholesale magazine  & news distributer in a variety of roles from part time Packer Driver to SAP Implementation team, then eventually onto 'Special Projects'. Then I became sentient and, because of a whole lot of various tragic family dramas, I pulled in close with my family and embraced this change in lifestyle whole heartedly (I don't really do half measures).

Family life, is probably more tiring and hard work than any of the 14 hr shifts I ever did at 'work' but ultimately a lot more satisfying. I now spend my days caring for my family, including my disabled wife, autistic daughter, and two traumatised and damaged grandkids. I should throw in the blind cat and half blind dog into the mix too I suppose.

And you know what? I couldn't be happier. Busier but very fulfilling.

Life sometimes has a way of making you appreciate things in a different way from expected.

Not sure if it's any good, but it's what I have!

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Who Reads my Books? Aaron Spuler

Joining the ranks of those that have submitted to Neal's question of who reads his books.  Not sure what the relevancy is of the pattern, but there defintely seems to be a pattern of folks with beards featured here...

I've been a fan of science fiction for as long as I can remember.  I am a voracious reader, averaging 40 - 60 books a year for over three decades. 

I've dipped my toes in to Arthurian legends, Robert E. Howard, HP Lovecraft, Stephen King, David Weber, John Ringo, Joe Haldeman, Robert A. Heinlein, Ben Bova, Ursula K. Le Guin, Dan Abnett, JRR Tolkien, Robotech, William H. Keith, Norvell Page, David Gemmell, Andy Remic, Graham McNeill, Louis L'Amour, Travis S. Taylor, John Ringo, and hundreds of other authors. I defnitely read much more SF than other generes, but do enjoy horror, fantasy, military, zombie apocalypse, mystery, crime, and western generes as well.  Given the option, I would prefer to read than watch something on television.

Part of the big draw to me for science fiction is the promise of the future.  It really is neat to read something set decades or centuries in the future, then start to see the inklings of those imagined technologies in every day life just a few short years later.

Another part is just simple escape.  Escape from the dullness of everyday life, a getaway to a different place/time where your problems/concerns can't follow, or just something completely different.  There's plenty of times that the inside of my head may be 30,000 - 40,000 years away from the present day.

At the end of the day, I'm just a regular guy from Texas who loves guns, listens to metal, and has a deep love of reading.  To pay the bills, I have worked at one of the 'big four' credit card companies hacking their applications for the past 15 years. These days I don't get as much time to get my hands dirty as I lead the global internal hacking group.  A personal side project for the last 11 years has been sharing my love of firearms as founder and editor in chief at The Weapon Blog -- Neal, you did mention that self-promotion was permitted! I get to share every day with my wife, two boys, two dogs, four donkeys, four chickens, and two goats, especially now more than before with the times we find ourselves in."

In closing, I'll echo what Mr. Waters stated: "My name is Aaron, and I read Neal Asher!"

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Who Reads my Books? Matthew Leigh

Hi Neal,

I thought I should take my opportunity for a few moments of internet fame.

I don’t remember exactly when I discovered your books but I do know it would have been in the Waterstones on Oxford street. I was working in a cocktail bar in the west end and the time spent on public transport reignited my joy in reading and I steadily worked my way through the sci-fi section. I think Cowl was my first. Growing up our family all read and we had lots of books the whole family read, most memorably the Duncton wood series, where in turn we would all laugh and cry at the same parts. The hobbit was also a firm childhood favourite but Lord of the Rings not so, starting on multiple occasions but never finished, to this day. My taste slowly changed from fantasy to sci-fi. Favourites now revolve around you, Alastair Reynolds, Iain M Banks, Richard Morgan and Frank (and grudgingly Brian) Herbert. 

I live in Brentwood, Essex but grew up in Suffolk. The distance from London is perfect. Close enough to work but far enough to be near real countryside. 

For work, I am a commercial electrician but came to it in my 30’s after years of managing pubs and bars in various parts of London. After dealing with drunk/angry/overly happy people for years building sites are quite tame. 

In my spare time I’m getting back into cycling for fitness, scale models (stop laughing) and as a family we have an allotment (plot48b on Insta) where I can live out my The Good Life fantasy. 

Well thanks for the interest in who reads your amazing work, I feel I’m in good company. 


Pictures: Ivy, Nicole and our glorious compost heaps.