Cover by Vincent di Fate
Neal Asher was born on February 4, 1961. His first published story was “Another England” in 1989. He began his long-running Polity series in 2001 with the appearance of the novel Gridlinked. His 2006 novel, Cowl was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award.
“Owner Space” was published in 2008 in Gardner Dozois’ anthology Galactic Empires. The story is the fourth Asher wrote about the Owner, following “Proctors,” “The Owner,” and “Tiger Tiger.” Three years later, he would publish the Owner trilogy, beginning with The Departure, in which he explored the Owner’s origins. For the purposes of “Owner Space,” however, the details of who the Owner is and how he got to where he is are unimportant, making him something of a deus ex machina in the story.
Neal Asher introduces a complex world in “Owner Space,” offering readers three separate groups to follow. He opens the story with refugees fleeing about the spaceship Breznev and quickly introduces the crew of the spaceship Lenin, chasing after them. With these two assemblages, Asher provides the context of an doctrinaire culture which tries to control all aspects of its people.