the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Neal Asher’ Category

The Skinner, by Neal Asher

published in 2005

where I got it: borrowed from a friend

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So often in science fiction, immortality is found through technological means – we upload, or become cyborg, or some such. How refreshing to come across a biological method of immortality  in Neal Asher’s The Skinner, and that’s just the first of many refreshing concepts presented in this unique space opera.

Discovered around a thousand years ago, the planet known as Spatterjay is unique in the universe. The environs of the planet are so harsh and the poisons coursing through the bodies of its indigenous species so volatile that every life form on the planet has evolved to survive. Nearly every life form on the planet is teeming with a native virus, that for all intents and purposes, makes its victims immortal. On Spatterjay, the most valuable commodity is permanent death.

If you could survive any injury, how would it change how your life? To the citizens of Spatterjay, decapitation puts a crimp in one’s afternoon, not one’s life. Those with a weak stomach may want to skip The Skinner, as Asher has quite a bit of magnificently disgusting fun putting characters through the physical ringer.

The story begins with the arrival of three off-worlders.  The depressed yet curious Erlin who is searching for a famous ship captain who keeps a monster’s head in his sea chest; Keech, the cyborg corpse cop who has a score to settle with the remaining pirates who were involved with enslaving the citizens of Spatterjay; and Janer, who tries to convince every one he’s a simple tourist employed by a hive mind.  And circling high above them all are the snarky subminds of the Artificial Intelligence who manages the government of Spatterjay.  And we can’t forget the semi-intelligent long-necked large-winged living Sails, who are an integral part of the fishing industry on Spatterjay. If you read The Skinner for no other reason, read it for the Sails.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.