Review of Neal Asher’s Novelette “Monitor Logan”

neal asher books

Cover images of several of Neal Asher’s novels as found on his website.

“Monitor Logan” is a novelette written by bestselling science fiction author Neal Asher for the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology World War Four (2019). Since my short story “Joey” also appears in the anthology, I can’t review that book or any part of it on Amazon (goodreads may be another story), but I can review Asher’s tale on my blog.

This story takes place in Asher’s Polity Universe, though in terms of chronology, I don’t know where it would fall. I was first introduced to Asher’s work and the Polity via his novel Dark Intelligence which I previously reviewed.

The title “Monitor Logan” might as well be rendered “Marshall Logan,” and this wee missive could easily be an American western. Lawman rides into town after the previous lawman is gunned down. Town’s run by corrupt mining corporations that enslave an indigenous population to do their labor, while paying off a local gang of bandits. Lawman comes to punish the guilty and protect the innocent, but he’s got a secret agenda and a thirst for revenge.

As I was reading, I couldn’t help but recall the 1973 film High Plains Drifter, which is the first western Clint Eastwood starred in that he also directed. If you’ve ever seen that movie, you have a lot of the plot to “Monitor Logan.”

Asher again presents us with his affinity for sapient artificial intelligence, human/droid alliances, human/alien hybrids, high technology in low tech settings, devastating weapons of war, and what I refer to as “medical atrocities.”

I must admit, one thing bothered me. The anthology’s theme is a war that occurs after (presumably) Earth’s third world war, so I’m not sure how this story fits. Then again, I don’t know enough about the Polity Universe to say it doesn’t.

That said, I had a good time reading “Monitor Logan” and am inspired to go back and read the older Polity stories. If this sort of SciFi tale sounds interesting, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of “World War Four” and read what Asher and the other contributors (including yours truly) have offered up.

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