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The Voyage of the Sable Keech (Spatterjay, #2)
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The Voyage of the Sable Keech

(Spatterjay #2)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  3,124 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Sable Keech is a walking dead man, and the only one to have been resurrected by nanochanger. Did he succeed because he was infected by the Spatterjay virus, or because he came late to resurrection in a tank of seawater? Tracing the man's last-known seaborne journey, Taylor Bloc wants to know the truth. He also wants so much else - adulation, power, control - and will go to ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published by Tor Books (first published February 2006)
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,124 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Does anyone remember the time when SF was all about the weird and wonderful? When it was all about the strangest aliens and incomprehensible worlds? When awe met terror, spiced it up with truly amazing worldbuilding, and then threw us into a really F***ed up world?

I do. I've been chasing that feeling ever since I was a kid... and then I read these Spatterjay books and I'm an 8-year-old again, getting terrified out of my mind by all the things I imagine might be out there if not exactly terrified
May 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
Oooh boy, where to start. Having loved the HECK out of The Skinner, I think my expectations for Voyage may have been a bit too high. Let's see.

The Good
We're back on Spatterjay with its tremendous fauna, whose cast includes a 20-metre tall whelk with eyes the size of dinner plates. Whoa. Plus, of course, attendant leeches and the rest of Hooper's carnivorous food chain. Also, hooders. HOODERS! Awesome.

The Bad
While in The Skinner, we were introduced to said food chain via a story unfolding alongsi
Jason Kelley
Jun 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave it four stars not because it's brilliant, but because it's pure Asher. The followup to The Skinner. It's the same story. Not really, but sorta. There are almost all the same major players as last time, strange sea creatures, drones, Prador, etc, etc, etc. A bunch of stuff is happening and everyone has a hidden agenda. As the story unfolds all those agendas are revealed as all events and actions merge to become a great climax. Sounds pretty normal for an Asher book huh? Reads like a movie ...more
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second book set on the world of Spatterjay. The setting manages to combine old style pirates with far future tech and an incredibly dangerous ecology. Asher's writing style is a joy to read and there are some great characters in here (especially the AIs). I also love the little snippets about what the local wildlife is doing (mostly eating each other). A brilliant book by a brilliant author.
Feb 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2015
3 Stars

Neal Asher is one of my favorite authors and Skinner book one of the Spatterjay series was fantastic. The Voyage of the Sable Keech, book two was simply just OK. Where book one was an original piece of a science fiction horror creature feature, this one is simply just more. I really would have thought that I would enjoy this one more as all the cool creatures, characters, and The Captains are back for another adventure. Instead, The Voyage of the Sable Keech just feels long. It is crazy
Tim Hicks
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Good fun. I just finished a Greg Egan novel and I needed something lighter. Not that this is fluff. Asher has built an intriguing and complex set, filled it with interesting and complex characters, started them going in mostly-credible ways, and figured out some plot complications to nudge the plot along.

He may have overdone it a little with the enormous cast of nasty creatures, but I'll credit him for a lot of work in figuring out how they must all interact.

The Old Captains are a great idea
Mar 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
2.5 stars

While it had some interesting scenes and, like always, war drones and Old Captains rock, The Voyage of the Sable Keech was mainly mind-blowingly boring. Yes, that is right. It is certainly one of the weaker books in the series. It was as if Asher was so fascinated with Spatterjay world, which he caught so well in the previous book, that he couldn't let it go. When the big part of the book revolves around murderous fish, the main antagonist is a boring, mustache-twirling villain and one
John R. Goyer
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such an amazing imagination - how do you create an entire universe and all the life-forms that evolve in it? Great story and interesting characters - and a great blurring of the lines between alive and not quite... The Hive mind didn't quite impress me, but otherwise this series is highly recommended - along with pretty much anything Mr Asher writes.
May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite as kinetic, horrific, and high-paced as the first book in the series, but good enough to have me buying the third in the series by the time I was half way through it.

Plenty of wince-inducing brutality, coated in grim humour, set in one of the most voraciously aggressive ecosystems I've read of.

When I finish the third book I'm confident I'll move on to more of Asher's work.
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Further awesomeness from Asher. Continues with the adventures of our friends from the Skinner, and adds some good plot twists. Plus a hooder, and a really big whelk. Slightly insane characters and hive minds also come in for a share of the action, and our favorite war drone takes delivery of a new body. Loved it!
Aug 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neal Asher's "The Voyage of Sable Keech" (2006) is the 12th novel in his "Polity Universe" series and the 2nd in his "Spatterjay" sub-series. Even though the book reads very much like the other books in the "Polity" series, I do have a couple of issues that are probably related to "book time" vs "author time." In "Dark Intelligence," Asher brings up a "relationship" between Hooders and Jain technology that should have affected some behavior in this book. "Dark Intelligence," though situated 3 bo ...more
Ben Hatfield
While not nearly as good as The Skinner, still a good book, and a deeper look into the world of Spatterjay. Most rewarding are the unorthodox characters of an abandoned Prador, and probably the best character in the book a giant whelk (sea monster). The passages about the whelk are always interesting following its inner battles between instinctual impulses vs rapid consciousness brought on by the need to learn and seek revenge. One particular sequence would have Japanese tentacle fans squealing ...more
Kam Oi
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I haven't finished the book.

This book is the sequel to The Skinner, which I really enjoyed. And it has all the same cool stuff as the first book -- sailing ships, a virus that renders people practically immortal, a planet full of lethal wildlife, reanimated dead people, and so forth. The problem is, I got more than a third of the way through this rather thick paperback and there doesn't seem to be anything new yet. It's the same world and mostly the same characters with a few new fac
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One more great adventure taking place on the Spatterjay planet.
Luke Burrage
Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #261.
Nicola Hawkes
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps almost inevitably this did not quite live up to my expectations the first time of reading, and its still not as enthralling as the Skinner (#1 in the series) for me on my return to it, but nonetheless pretty good. We return to the world of Spatterjay alongside Janer and the hive mind; Erlin manages to enrage a giant whelk that pursues her and Ambel's ship around the seas; and reifications are converging in their hundreds, under the leadership of arch-villain Taylor Bloc and aboard the hu ...more
Nia Sinjorina
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having loved The Skinner, book one in the Spatterjay series, and having survived the vicious lifeforms of that planet, I immediately moved into book two and felt as though I'd never left. Reacquainting myself with old characters whilst meeting quite a few new ones, the book shot off in a very logical continuation of the original and I adored it.

Full of action, great pace, and wonderfully comic moments, Asher also delves into discussion of the metaphysical re the two Golems and allows it to form
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved The Skinner, but this follow-up did not deliver for me. I found the plot disjointed, there was no character I could even vaguely identify with, and the fascinating snippets on the local fauna and flora that informed and guided me through the plot in The Skinner seem formulaic and gratuitous here. I am a seasoned Sci-fi reader, but my suspense of disbelief was rather stretched in this volume. Maybe this is because I have formal training in Zoology and animal genetics - that whole rapid on ...more
Chris Ellis
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1.) Can Neal Asher write a bad book? doubtful
2.) Polity novels rule
3.) Spatterjay is an awesome world

I read The Skinner in 2005 and enjoyed it very much then, but can't say I retained much of the story. I don't think this reading suffers too much from that, but I do recommend that his series novels be read closer together than a decade....

That said, this was still a great read, with a little something for everyone I imagine.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book, much improved from the first one. The italicized parts are much better than in the previous book, they are now purely details regarding the different native lifeforms on Spatterjay. There is also fewer descriptions of the captains fishing, something that was very irritating in the first book. The story itself was not that exciting, the most exciting thing being the Prador presence and the consequences of that, this is what I want to read about and I hope the 3rd book explains it.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've just found Neal Asher on Goodreads. I'm not going to leave a review, except to say that I own every. single. one. of his books in paperback. Books are expensive in South Africa, and I *really* don't have a lot of money. I buy them anyway, and cut back on other costs for the month. He's that good.
Jeremy Cox
This wan't as good as the first book in the series, but still quite enjoyable. Back to many of the same characters, with lots of twists. Not as many surprises, but still pretty good. This one doesn't stand alone quite as well as the last - there are bigger open questions that roll into book 3, so plan to read both.
Peter Moyes
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We are back with Prador, Polity and Spatterjay virus. A cult leader gets a huge ship built in order to simulate the passage of a resurrected being, it doesn't go well. Neal Asher takes us on another rollercoaster of a story which has both deep philosophical thoughts and those great interplanetary explosions we know and love.
Daniel Nissim
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A whopping big fish story in a Sci-fi setting. A page turner.

The narrative is a little loose with a sizable list of characters that make for a fun read. I'll have to leave it at that, my Kindle has kicked me back to the book 3 times while I've been typing this review
Lee Belbin
This second in the series was way too scattered (perhaps spattered?)- it was just trying too hard and consequently, the story is all over the place. It should have been more focused. Too many characters, critters, more unbelievable scenarios, too many interactions. It was a headache at times.
Damon Austin
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great book by Neil Asher and Macmillan books showcasing SF. I read this before the skinner so thought good with its triple (at least) parallel plots, albeit on the same world (intensional). Doing this, I missed some of the pre-detail and character building but would still recommend!
L.R.J. Allen
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While not quite as good as The Skinner, it does have its predecessor's sense of relentless forward momentum. Brass Man and The Technician are definitely Asher's best works but the planet of Spatterjay is by far his best creation. It makes the rest of his Polity universe look tame in comparison.
Joel Steele
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another absolute winner from Neal, it has a nice xeno-flora and fauna focus which adds a good depth to the story and the polity universe.
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Spatterjay series is my favorite from Asher thus far. This one is number two of that trilogy.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
See my review of The Skinner.
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I’ve been an engineer, barman, skip lorry driver, coalman, boat window manufacturer, contract grass cutter and builder. Now I write science fiction books, and am slowly getting over the feeling that someone is going to find me out, and can call myself a writer without wincing and ducking my head. As professions go, I prefer this one: I don’t have to clock-in, change my clothes after work, nor scru ...more

Other books in the series

Spatterjay (3 books)
  • The Skinner (Spatterjay, #1)
  • Orbus (Spatterjay, #3)
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