The Skinner (Spatterjay Series #1)

The Skinner (Spatterjay Series #1)

by Neal Asher

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The Skinner 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
macha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this was, although full of newfangled stuff like nanotech, hiveminds, AI, basically an exhilarating oldfashioned romp. the central image is the vicious Great Chain of Being cycle on the planet in question, and what it means for the question of character change in an arena of unstable competing imperatives, give the nature of the (post)human condition and the ex machina operations of quite a lot of aliens pursuing their own sometimes dastardly agenda. there's even a brisk look at how to parse redemption in various circs. and the fun part's partly in predicting where they'll all end up if this, or that, or you know the other thing. think i better go collect the whole Polity series and read them all in chronological order.
candlemark on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as grotesque as I was led to believe from the jacket copy, this book was nonetheless something of a challenge. It's fairly hard sci-fi, but not technical/mechanical sci-fi - rather, it deals with some very alien biology, and its effect on humans. 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 dealing with this alien transformation, and the ways humans on Spatterjay cope with the fact that everything - EVERYTHING - wants to kill and eat them. The alien species are detailed and strange and yet utterly plausible, in light of the setup with the virus, and the xenobiology is well-executed without being pedantic.Some of the dialogue and language is stilted, and many of the characters - really, everyone but the Old Captains and crazy Rebecca - aren't terribly well developed. But the biology is enough to draw you in, at least if you're a geek like me.I'd've liked to know more about the Prador, and the origins of the war...and more about the Polity and the Wardens and other unexamined parts of this future society. But learning about Spatterjay and following along on everyone's intertwining quests was a lot to ask of the book to begin with.Favourite part? The hornets. Absolutely the hornets. I'd read a book solely about the hornets...
cissa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well-crafted SF action-adventure here, with a nice complicated (though not all that twisty) plot that resolved satisfactorily. Long but recommended.
voodoochilli on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really thought I was going to enjoy this book. It is full of so many ideas: virus's that give the victim immortality, massive pirates with muscles so big they have to be careful they don't accidentally rip other people apart, weird aliens, bodies resurrected with the use of AI software, hive minds and sentient computers. I just didn't like it. I am sorry to say I read just over 100 pages then just couldn't take any more. I kept reading page after page thinking it was going to get better but it didn't.I think the problem with the book, for me anyway, isn't the content or ideas as there are plenty. It's something about how the book is written. I found it hard to follow, not because what was said didn't make sense but somehow the words just didn't flow. I understand this is one of Asher's earlier books so maybe things have changed. Maybe it's just my own personal preference. Anyway, I'm not writing off the book, I'm just saying that for me personally it wasn't as enjoyable as it would seem. I have been reading a lot of Alistair Reynolds lately, and it might be that the bar is set too high in terms of great writing.
woodge on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Never a dull moment in this wicked fun tale. The story is sort of mix of Dune, Moby Dick, Star Wars, and The Thing. The action takes place on the dangerous planet of Spatterjay. With the exception of a few islands and tiny atolls, Spatterjay is mostly a vast ocean teeming with very hungry, very aggressive wildlife. One of the most common life forms on Spatterjay are the leeches. The leeches are anywhere from finger-sized to elephant-sized things who want to eat anything and everything. If you spend longer than a few seconds in the water you're going to have some chomping on you. (Spatterjay doesn't do well as a vacation destination.) To get bitten by a leech is to become infected with a virus. One of the side-effects of this virus is near immortality. And wounds seems to heal extremely quickly. But if you're then not too careful about your diet you'll find yourself slowly turning into a leech. It's happened. These immortals, known as Hoopers, are very tough to kill and the older they are, the stronger they are. Spatterjay was named after a pirate named "Spatter" Jay Hoop, a man hated by everyone for reasons I won't go into. About seven centuries ago, Hoop and his crew did some very bad things and one man, Sable Keech has been relentlessly hunting them down ever since one of Hoop's crew killed him. Huh, what? Yeah, Keech is a corpse, a reification who has some of his original brain left and one eye and the rest of his body is kept from rotting away by a special filtration system. He's sort of a cyborg-corpse and very dangerous (as some contract killers find out). Keech is intent on finding Hoop himself who is known as the Skinner for gruesome reasons you could probably guess at. And get this, the Skinner's head and body are living apart. I could go on and on about this cool book. Some other elements in it involve some nasty aliens, war drones, a planetary AI monitoring system, an intelligent hornet hive mind, dragons that work as sails for the Old Captains of Spatterjay, and some very tricky characters and nasty villains whose paths all intersect in one crazy, exciting sci-fi yarn, that's equal parts adventure, revenge tale, and horror story. What a rush. I loved it.
Uffer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On the planet Spatterjay, sudden death is the normal way of life. It's a planet with a savage thing-eat-thing ecosystem and a virus that permeates everything native that means that those things that don't get eaten live more or less forever. Including some of the human beings, those who have been bitten by the leeches at the top of the feeding chain and survived.Some eight hundred years ago, during the Polity/Prador war, the planet was the base of operations for as unpleasant a bunch of sadistic psychopaths as you could hope to avoid meeting. Led by Jay Hoop, who rumour says is still out there in the islands somewhere, there were terrible things done by and for The Eight, as they came to be called, that have taken until now to come home to roost.The book is well and densely plotted, as I've come to expect from Asher, with the usual depth and colour of the Polity Universe. The only thing that struck a bit of an off note here was the final resolution of the relationship between old war drone Sniper and the planetary AI, Warden. You'll probably see what I mean when you get there - it's ironic and funny, but it doesn't really make sense to me that this could happen.That aside, I really enjoyed the book and look forward to further developments in this Universe.
scowby on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good read with some very intersting ideas. I found it hard to get into initially and it required a fair bit of concentration early on to understand the setting. Once I got the hang of this the story moved quickly and was very enjoyable.
Shrike58 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Disregard the blurb on the cover that describes this novel as being a cross between "Dune" and "Master and Commander." A better description would be Harry Harrison's "Deathworld" meets Iain Banks' 'Culture' novels. Not that this is a bad thing, what with the conjunction of whacked-out galactic cultures, smart-alleck artificial intelligences, and the legacy of genocidal slavers coming together on a planet where in between surviving the lethal local fauna you can achieve radically extended life.While the implications of radical life extension intersecting with the demands of justice are the nominal themes of this book, things do blow up real good in the end; plot action being a bigger virtue than character development here. In fact, if I have to mark down this book for anything, it's that most of the nominally human characters lack the flair of the other sentient races described, or of the AIs.
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Mostly a water planet, Spatterjay has Earth-like gravity with a breathable atmosphere, but the planet is overrun with hostile native life forms. There is nothing remotely similar like them in the known galaxies. Each inhabitant contains a virus that turns them into nearly invincible creatures, but at a cost. Once the virus has you, you must remain native or die. Overwhelmingly most of those few humans who reside here are infected; for those who are not they have a slim chance of survival.................................. Three off-worlders arrive that will shake the planetary order. Once a resident of Spatterjay, Erlin wants to die. Her only hope to live rests with her former lover superhuman Old Captain Ambel, if she can find him and he gives her the will to live. Deceased police monitor turned cybernetic cop Keech seeks the abusive psychotic murderers who supported the vicious Prader in the great war seven centuries ago. On a top-secret mission, Janer serves as eyes and ears for the Hornet Hive. These three and others including a rogue Prader come together on an island that is home of a horror that should frighten all of them, the Skinner................................. As he did with the exciting GRIDLINKED, Neal Asher furbishes an exhilarant action-packed adventure science fiction thriller. The Spatterjay escapades hook the readers as they become acquainted with the various players, species, monsters that occupy this feral orb. This is defiantly not Kirk¿s Star Trek, as readers will quickly understand the underlying theme of atrocities caused by species virus or sentient. The final confrontation on Skinner¿s Island will have fans wondering how Neal Asher will top this jaunt into a wild world.................................... Harriet Klausner