The Skinner (Spatterjay #1)
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 ...more
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.
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
There are zillions of genre authors vying for my attention when I browse ...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
And then I seriously think someone took Asher aside and shook him by the shoulders, yelling at him, "Get down to business ...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
Spatterjay is a water world with extremely hostile fauna and was once a site of a terrible war crime - a group of criminals exploited the local virus that turns humans into hooders, making them nearly indestructible. Then they sold them to the alien Prador to become the slaves - blanks with their minds destroyed - or food. For seven hundred years, a Polity cop turned into a reification - basically resurrected corpse - had been hunting them throughout the universe. He, an adventurer work ...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
Once I got past the forest of confusion I did start to get into the story. It was a bit more swashbucklin ...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
Okay, so I kinda liked this book. It was my first real sci-fi novel and I enjoyed it. But it was far from perfect.
Throughout the whole book I felt that it could've been shorter. Plus the enormous amount of characters didn't help one bit. It was hard to get attached to anyone or to even imagine what they looked like.
I will say, though, that I liked Sniper a lot and I hope to see him again. He was quite funny and rather sarcastic, which I appreciate a lot. A lot.
I didn't care much for the ...more
As fast paced, techno-military sci fi goes, this is one of the most satisfying I have read in a very long time.
Looking forward to seeing how the others in this series play out.
P.S. Don't swat any hornets...
The star of the book is really the nasty, extreme version of Australia (basically) that Mr. Asher has created, that lets him revel in grotesqueries like leeches biting off "plugs of meat" from people, who then regenarate it back... because the world of Spatterjay is an aquatic worl ...more
Neal Asher is a great visionary, maybe an acceptable writer, certainly not a poet: the joy in reading Asher is in the worldbuilding, strange ecologies and technological visions.
where it isn't that great, can get outright painful in fact, is in the writing itself: characters are flat and we are not sure we should or want to care for them, plot is secondary, often convoluted, language is at least tedious, at worst grammatically incorrect. Also, Mr Asher ...more