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The Skinner by Neal L Asher

The Skinner (original 2002; edition 2005)

by Neal L Asher

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7311912,849 (4)29
Title:The Skinner
Authors:Neal L Asher (Author)
Info:Tor Books (2005), Edition: 1, Kindle Edition, 433 pages
Collections:Your library, E-Book, Sc-Fi

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The Skinner by Neal Asher (2002)


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English (17)  French (2)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Feels like I'm reading an action movie. Kinda heavy on the gore even for a book called The Skinner.
I enjoyed all the hints and links to the Neal Asher universe I knew from the Polity series but this book will work great as an intro too. ( )
  MickeNimell | Aug 24, 2013 |
The ocean world of Spatterjay is home to some of the most vicious life forms imaginable, and the worst of them are the "leeches": large wormlike creatures that feed by taking chunks of flesh from their living prey. The leeches also transmit a virus which makes the lifeforms it infects very nearly immortal, able to survive unbelievable amounts of physical damage and regenerate lost tissue. All the better to be fed upon again and again, you see. And here's the real kicker: the virus is also capable of infecting humans. Although, if you're not careful, you might not be entirely human anymore when it gets done with you...

I got this book last year through the SantaThing exchange. (And I'm afraid the fact that I'm only getting to it more than six months later really says something about the state of my TBR.) I have to confess, I wasn't too sure about it when it showed up on my doorstep. I'd never heard of this book, or its author, and from the cover and the description, it looked like it might be the sort of SF novel that's right up my alley, but equally well might be just mindless, poorly written cheese. Turns out, I really should have trusted my Santa's tastes! Because it was a surprisingly enjoyable read.

The world-building requires some suspension of disbelief, but once you've managed that -- and I found it pretty effortless -- the result is kind of cool. The descriptions of Spatterjay and its ecosystem are vivid enough to make it feel very much like a real place, albeit not one I'd ever actually want to visit. The plot is fairly complex, with lots of different (but ultimately related) agendas coming together, and a gradual revelation about events in the story's past and how they've shaped events in the present. While the characters are far from nuanced and deep, they at least all feel like people with interesting stories. And there's both a lot of fun action and some very effective horror elements. (The worst of which, by the way, have less to do with Spatterjay's gory ecosystem, and more to do with sentient beings doing things to each other that... Well, let's just say this probably isn't a novel for the faint of heart.)

I see there are also a couple of sequels to this. The next volume is definitely going on my wishlist. ( )
2 vote bragan | Jul 4, 2013 |
Reread this and realized that not only is Asher very inventive, but that one of the reasons I am fascinated with his novels set in the Polity universe is that he describes or implies a very complex, coherent universe. There is depth, in this sense, to the settings of his novels--this one connects to the Polity novels and to the Prador War. Asher must do a lot of thinking about his universe, and his characters, as well as his plots. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
The word for world is ... Ocean (apologies to Ursula Leguin). This is Spatterjay, a waterworld populated by decidedly hostile fauna, backdrop for a richly imagined multi-threaded story that rivals the best SF books of the 2000s. Quite a tour-de-force worthy of multiple re-reads, and deserving of the lofty 4 rating on Goodreads. Here we meet Sable Keech, the most interesting of a long list of characters, a reification (resuscitated dead person), following the centuries old trail of a criminal. And here too is the Spatterjay virus, delivered by truly eek-inducing giant leeches, turning ordinary sea-faring humans into perpetual, self-repairing leech-meal. Asher casually drops in the imaginative quotient of the whole Foundation series to produce an entertaining space opera that has not paled over the years. With this further expansion of his Polity universe, [a:Neal Asher|56353|Neal Asher|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1207862001p2/56353.jpg] convinces me that his is a more engaging vision, compared to say, [a:Iain Banks|7628|Iain Banks|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1304977070p2/7628.jpg]'s Culture, which now seems too perfect and intellectual. In [b:The Skinner|240297|The Skinner|Neal Asher|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1316638195s/240297.jpg|1757149], staged on the boundary of the Polity, I find a grittier world populated with strange creatures. At the beginning of the book, it seemed I had walked into an alternate version of [b:Perdido Street Station|68494|Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon, #1)|China Miéville|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327891688s/68494.jpg|3221410], with all the squishy, mushy beasts, all of whom seem to have an inimical nature. But the story quickly takes on a unique voice and brings the reader along on a truly wild ride. The one nit is that it has no ending to speak of, but sort of fades to black to leave plot threads to be resolved in the sequel. Otherwise, highly recommended. ( )
  ricaustria | Apr 5, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neal Asherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burns, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rawlings, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765350483, Mass Market Paperback)

Neal Asher, whom Tor introduced to the American audience with Gridlinked, takes us deeper into his unique universe with an even more remarkable second novel, The Skinner.

On the planet Spatterjay arrive three travelers: Janer, acting as the eyes of the hornet Hive mind, on a mission not yet revealed to him; Erlin, searching for Ambel -- the ancient sea captain who can teach her how to live; and Sable Keech, on a vendetta he cannot abandon, though he himself has been dead for 700 years. This remote world is mostly ocean, and it is a rare visitor who ventures beyond the safety of the island Dome. Outside it, only the native Hoopers dare risk the voracious appetites of the planet's wildlife. But somewhere out there is Spatterjay Hoop -- and Keech will not rest until he brings this legendary renegade to justice for hideous crimes committed centuries ago during the Prador Wars.

While Keech is discovering that Hoop is now a monster -- his body and head living apart from each other -- Janer is bewildered by a place where the native inhabitants just will not die and angry when he finally learns the Hive mind's intentions for him. Meanwhile, Erlin thinks she has plenty of time to find the answers she seeks, but could not be more wrong. For one of the most brutal of the alien Prador is about to pay the planet a surreptitious visit, intent on exterminating all remaining witnesses to his wartime atrocities. As the visitors' paths converge, major hell is about to erupt in a chaotic waterscape where minor hell is already a remorseless fact of everyday life . . . and death.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:44 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

To the remote planet of Spatterjay come three travellers with very different missions. Janer is directed by hornet Hive mind, Erlin comes to find the sea captain who can teach her to live & Sable Keech has unfinished business with a notorious criminal.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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