A “perpetual” tourist working for the Hornet Hive Mind…
A Planet so dangerous that it can give wedgies to Harry Harrison’s Deathworld…
A virus that grants virtual immortality and indestructibility…
A centuries old AI war drone with an attitude and “authority” issues…
An ancient enemy of humanity looking to start smack and raise a ruckus…
A psychotic, sadistic bitcharoony with a serious case of the crankies.
There are zillions of genre authors vying for my attention when I browse...more
The Skinner by Neal Asher is one hell of an awesome creature feature meshed in a hard science fiction world.
“The Skinner was complete again and Janer had never before witnessed such a terrible sight. For here was a real monster: a blue man four metres tall and impossibly thin, hands like spiders, a head combining elements of warthog and baboon with much of a human skull, evil black eyes and ears that were bat wings, spatulate legs depending underneath the long jaw like feelers and, when...more
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. An...more
This is the book that changed that view. The Skinner follows many of the Space Opera conventions, including big adventure, big guns and bigger than life characters. Much bigger than life in this novel, as coping with inmortality, and boredom, and past mistakes and crimes, is one of the common threa...more
It's also the first Asher I've read, and I find his writing broadly similar to both Alastair Reynolds and Iain M. Banks in the setting and even type of story being told. That said, it's definitely distinct from either of those, most notably through the heavy reliance on nanotechnology and the different approach to Artificial Intelligences (the ones here are more similar to Banks' Culture drones, but they're much...more
And then I seriously think someone took Asher aside and shook him by the shoulders, yelling at him, "Get down to business...more
In this sea world planet we have a virus that grants amazing strength and regeneration capabilities(virtual immortality) to every being that comes to be infected with it via a leech bite - the world is packed full with them leeches! Beware that the virus can have a very adverse effect on humans if they don't take certain precautions - it is sai...more
Three humans have come to Spatterjay, each with their own agenda...Sable Keech, a Polity monitor dead for over 700 years but still seeking the last of the eight people he swore to bring to justice for crimes against humanity during the Prador war; Erl...more
So the question then is if th...more
Published in 2002 by TOR Books
Cover Illustration by Jim Burns
Artwork located via Amazon.com
It was not until half way through the novel, which clocks in at 424 pages in the edition owned, that the name of the planet Spatterjay was read correctly. It kept looking to be Splatterjay up until that point. In the context of the novel, either could work superbly. Spatterjay evokes a more artistic element, which as the book progresses is slightly more disturbing, and...more
The first thirty pages seemed to offer little in the way of innovation, and Asher's writing style seemed pedestrian, but the more I read the more his style seemed to suit his subject.
This is not thoughtful sf but it IS kinetic, visceral and thrilling. The world on which this story takes place is a brutal and hostile environment, and Asher does a first rate...more
Reading updates from Goodreads.com:
09/22 marked as: currently-reading
25.0% "Going okay. It feels like the middle of a story."
35.0% "Chugging along. I can't wait for the story and action to really kick in. Fun character, though it feels like I'm missing a lot of their backstories and what makes them so cool."
50.0% "Okay, the story has really kicked in. It's a pity I was advised to start reading Neal Asher here though, as I have a...more
The most fleshed out character was probably Keech, who was only slightly interesting. I'd say the main character in this book is Spatterjay, the pl...more
I am a bit of a sucker for books featuring thought-provoking alien ecologies, and this certainly qualifies. Spatterjay is a planet in flux; its entire ecology is still adapting to the appearance, millions of years ago, of a virus which essentially makes everything on the planet (including people) immortal and able to regenerate from severe injury. To drive home the implications of this the book contains a lot of casual violence, which...more
So, the book is about one of those killer worlds that seem to pop up now and then in science fiction. Latest example I ran into was Tuchanka in the game Mass Effect, in case that helps paint the picture for you. Everything wants to eat you and your dog too. Plus, this very special planet has leeches that, if they bite you, make you into Wolverine if he was drawn by Rob Liefeld.
That's the setting. The main characters? We've got K...more
On the planet Spatterjay arrive three travellers: Janer, bringing 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 seven hundred years.
This remote world is mostly ocean, and all but a very few human visitors keep safe inside the island Dom...more
The world that Asher creates in this trilogy (of which this is the first book) is intriguing. A sea-based world where almost every creature is a deadly predator bent on violence populated by crazy 18th century like sailors made virtually immortal by the poison of a leech that lives on the planet. A poison which means insanity and worse if the infected can't eat 'dome g...more
Here's the real deal. The Skinner is SF...more
My first time reading Neal Asher was a far future bizarro science fiction short novel called Africa Zero. This is a longer more epic tale, but it is also one of the most bizarro modern Sci-fi novels I have read. It has sold me on Asher as a bold new voice. Entertainment weekly called it Dune meets Master and Commander and I can't disagree with that. The plot and and setting are so strange that I struggled a little bit trying to explain it to others.
It takes place in the same “universe” as Asher'...more
Dans cette histoire, on suit les périgrinations de toute un tas de personnages sur une planète rien moins qu'hospitalière (elle m'a d'ailleurs fait penser à l'étrange monde de L'incident Jésus). Outre son côté hostile, cette planète a également la particularité d'abriter un virus rendant quasi-immortel - et accessoirement fort comme un turc.
Comme vous pouvez le voir, le décor est tout à fait impressionnant. Tel...more
People infected with the Spatterjay virus are, essentially, immortal...although the virus, in its quest to keep the host alive, is capable of mutating those humans into something very terrifying indeed. My favourite parts of the book were those deal...more
Aw yeah, this book has everything! Vicious wildlife; invincible sea captains; undead cops; hive minds; psychotic space crabs; smart-alecky AIs; and of course blood, torture, and gore, courtesy of a twisted monster named the Skinner who ain't just skinning apples.
When a science-fiction novel is this overstuffed, it either falls apart or becomes totally awesome, and fortunately Neal Asher's The Skinner takes the latter course. The main char...more
Once I got past the forest of confusion I did start to get into the story. It was a bit more swashbucklin...more