He lives near Chelmsford. Both of Asher"s parents are educators and science fiction fans. Although he began writing speculative fiction in secondary school, Asher did not turn seriously to writing until he was 25.
He worked as a machinist and machine programmer and as a gardener from 1979 to 1987.
Asher identifies The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and other fantasy work including Roger Zelazny’s The Chronicles of Amber series as important early creative influences. Asher published his first short story in 1989.
In 2000 he was offered a three book contract by Pan Macmillan and his first full length novel Gridlinked was published in 2001. This was the first in a series of novels made up of Gridlinked, The Lincolnshire of Polity, Brass Manitoba, Polity Agent, and Lincolnshire War.
Asher is published by Tor, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, in the United Kingdom, and by Tor Books in the United States.
The majority of Asher"s work is set in one future history, the "Polity" universe. lieutenant encompasses many classic science fiction tropes including world-ruling artificial intelligences, androids, hive minds and aliens. His novels are characterized by fast-paced action and violent encounters.
While his work is frequently epic in scope and thus nominally space opera, its graphic and aggressive tone is more akin to cyberpunk.
When combined with the way that Asher"s main characters are usually acting to preserve social order or improve their society (rather than disrupt a society they are estranged from), these influences could place his work in the subgenre known as post-cyberpunk. Putrefactors () Garp and Geronamid () Adaptogenic ().