So I'm thinking of a trilogy. It starts out with the main character infiltrating an office that stores genetic information. It's a dystopia, with people being chipped for identification. He has an AI inside his head that helps him out. Later, he busts out a top scientist from a government facility. Then he finds out he has a sister, she's on the moon directing something. The scientist helps him incorporate the AI, so now he can take control of construction robots and he uses them as weapons. His opponent also gains that ability, and they have a fight in a habitat.

Edit: So I read this pretty recently, probably within the year. So there are basically two classes of citizens. Some that the government finds useful, which are basically kept in gated communities and the rest, which are, like, dead weight. Everybody is chipped, and it's illegal to remove that chip. A chip can detect if it's been removed from someone's arm, etc. Anyway, he was a scientist and he was close to inventing something that the government wanted. But he didn't want to give it to them. So before the story starts, he was captured/tortured/experimented. Then sent to a disposal facility. He wakes up on the conveyor belt, and the AI with which he communicates helps him escape. He knows some stuff, but is oddly missing other: at first he doesn't know what feet coverings are called (shoes).

There is a group of rebels as well, which he coopts to fulfill his own goals. There is a spaceport, with rockets that lift off, and he gets there in a car, which he abandons moments before it explodes.

  • How does the fact he erased his memory come up? Does he regain it?
    – DavidW
    Oct 25, 2019 at 1:10
  • Do you remember what year you read these, which language/country they were in, and anything about the covers?
    – Liesmith
    Oct 25, 2019 at 3:04
  • Some of the details are very reminiscent of A.E. van Vogt's 1948 novel *The World of Null-A", but I'm not sure everything fits, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_of_Null-A Oct 25, 2019 at 7:54

1 Answer 1


The Departure by Neal Asher. It's the first book in The Owner trilogy.

The Departure

The scientist is Alan Saul and he wakes up in a crate that is being sent for incineration. The AI in his head is called Janus. The useful citizens live in luxury on a space station called Argus, while the rest are forced to live on an Earth that has become a wasteland.

The incident with the shoes comes when Saul has just attacked the driver of the vehicle taking the crate for disposal:

Paul fired and lightnings shorted to the ground all around the driver as he jerked and grunted into unconsciousness. Saul stared for a long moment, considering what he now knew. The Inspectorate had obviously had him in their cells and then sent him off for disposal. He had been a marked man but was now supposedly a dead one. He walked over to the driver and searched him, finding cash money, a palmtop and little else. No papers, but the man wouldn’t need them, since he’d have an ID implant embedded in his arm. Saul then took off the fellow’s foot coverings and held them towards the nearest cam post.

"What are these?"

"They are boots," Janus supplied.

"Boots are the rear compartments in ground cars," he argued.

"Nevertheless, what you are holding are also boots – or perhaps shoes."

The words just weren’t there in his head and their absence both frightened him and locked inside him a sudden determination. He pulled on the footwear and stood up, then walked round and climbed into the transvan.

  • This is it exactly! I knew it was published recently, and by one of the top authors. As soon as you said the Owner by Neal Asher, I recognized it, even without reading the rest of the post. :)
    – yulerule
    Oct 25, 2019 at 11:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.