To the remote planet Spatterjay come three travellers with very different missions. Janer is directed there by the hornet Hive-mind; Erlin comes to find the sea captain who can teach her to live; and Keech - dead for 700 years - has unfinished business with a notorious criminal.
Spatterjay is a watery world where the human population inhabits the safety of the Dome and only the quasi-immortal hoopers are safe outside amidst a fearful range of voracious life-forms. Somewhere out there is Spatterjay Hoop himself, and monitor Keech cannot rest until he can bring this legendary renegade to justice for atrocious crimes committed centuries ago during the Prador Wars.
Keech does not realise that Hoop's body is running free on an island wilderness, while his living head is confined in a box on an Old Captain's ships. Nor does he know that the most brutal Prador of all is about to pay a visit, intent on wiping out all evidence of his wartime atrocities. Which means major hell is about to erupt in this chaotic waterscape.
Listen to more in the Spatterjay series.
©2009 Neal Asher (P)2010 Audible
Plotting to take over the world since 1969
This was my first Neal Asher story; the authors style is very good, an interesting mix of science fiction, action adventure, space opera, humour, and horror.
The reader is also excellent, his wide range of voices is veery good. The choice of rural english accents may seem odd to american listeners but works very well. Sniper in particular is very well characterised.
The only real failure - as noted by other listeners - is the odd choice of the editor to not leave audible gaps when the character viewpoints change. Its not too distracting as it quickly becomes apparent, but still could do with changing.
This book has led me to listen go/read most of Neal Ashers novels. While they're not in any way mold breaking, they are ripping good yarns, entertaining, and with sufficient intellectual and emotional content to satisfy most readers.
I've now got to the end of the trilogy, and it has proved an interesting voyage. Personally I'd like to hear more of Sniper and 13 adventures, Mr Asher... more please!
The opposite of bravery is not cowardice but conformity. --Robert Anthony Contentment is, after all, simply refined indolence. --Thomas C.
This is not a space opera like many of Asher's works, instead it's largely confined to one planet. And there is no Cormac, although it takes place in the same universe. If you're a fan of his other Cormac works, why listen to this one? Well, for one, the droids are among the best ones he's written in any of his stories.
And despite being largely planet bound there is tons of action & great characters. Good listen & a great intro to the rest of the spatterjay trilogy!
audible listener!! :o)
I only wish that Neal Asher's Gridlinked books (written in the same universe but with different characters, although there is some overlap...) were also in audio.
For the uninitiated - Lots of AIs. Space travel through warping. Seriously funny & snarky writing. LOVE the characters. Spatterjay trilogy has very inventive life forms on the planet that are neat and drive the plot along. Highly recommended.
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
Spatterjay is mostly a water world. Almost every creature in the sea is deadly. The native humans, called hoopers, are almost immortal. They become immortal after one of the many leeches that inhabit the world bites them. The leeches fall from trees, swim in the ocean and can be as small as a bat or as large as a whale.
One of the main characters is a Zombie, he has been dead for 700 years. The book has leeches, sentient AI's, Supermen, a hive mind, a living head, a creature that acts as a sail for ships, rhinoworms, humans who are called blanks because they are mindless slaves to lobster like aliens called Pradors, a woman who lives in another woman's body, etc etc.
The action is constant and Asher's imagination is fantastic. There is lots and lots of gore. At the beginning of the book I was extremely excited and really thought I had found a new fantastic author. Toward the end I was getting worn out and was ready for the book to finish. I will be reading more of Asher's books, I just hope he shortens them a little.
As far as the production and the narrator, I was very disappointed. NA changes from one scene to another and then back again very quickly and often the scenes he is switching to have similar action going on, so I often got confused on what characters I was following. The narrator, who is following how the book is written, uses British accents, which combined with the changing scenes made it hard to follow. The zombie is actual called a reif, but they had to say reif about fifty times before I understood what he was saying.
If you like Card's book "Treason" or Harry Harrison's "West of Eden" or Koontz "Frankenstein" or "Moby Dick" you should like this book.
I'm almost done with this, but I just don't care anymore. It drags on forever. I gave up 5/6ths of the way through. Now I listen when I'm on my commute, finished with other titles and I haven't bought something new. And it still hasn't caught me. The narrator adds to the dullness . I've never written a review like this. Sorry to author Neal Asher, I'm sure he spent a lot of time on it, and there are imaginative ideas. As a package though, it's a bore.
Enjoy the adventure
I can be easily tempted to listen to Sci-Fi which includes AI’s (artificial intelligence), exotic worlds populated by creatures that hunt and eat humans, and life or death battles using futuristic weapons. All included in “The Skinner”.
Echoing some reviews, I found the book hard to follow. Maybe, it was the editing which failed to provide clues that the scene had changed. Maybe, Neal Asher (author) included so many characters and subplots that I became confused. Or maybe, this is a book best read vs. heard. Whatever the reason, I frequently found myself re-listening to sections of the book.
This book is a very interesting mixture of good science fiction and biological theory. The story is not easily predictable and the characters are rich. There are a lot of concepts I have not seen in other sci fi.
Mr. Gaminara's range of voice and accent is wonderful. He is a great reader. I will buy other books that he has narrated without knowing much of about them because I'm sure that he improves the experience of the story.
A Sci Fi junkie who occasionally goes slumming to read other literature.
I tried but just couldn't finish this book. I never became invested in the characters, the constant gore became distracting, and the narration was not great.
The narrator's regular voice was OK, but his interpretation of characters was poor.
The Skinner was a great story, happy to be moving on to Spatterjay, book 2, The Voyage of the Sable Keech. Many thanks to Neal Asher for this.
Really good solid and captivating science fiction. Really well read with different voices for different characters. But please add pauses between the chapters.
"First class horror Sci-Fi"
This is my first Asher and as far as I'm concerned he's up there now in my top three for concept SF, along with Banks and Reynolds. However I have to agree with Thomas about the seamless transitions in the narration makling the plot difficult to follow. This is a shame as otherwise the reading is excellent, and I'm still giving five because the book is that good. It's a complex plot with a large number of characters so it helps to have a printed copy to refer to if you get confused. I'll be moving on to the other two volumes in the set and then...more Asher please, Audible!
"Adventures on Alien and Predatory High Seas"
An exciting and imaginative work set on a beautifully realized sea world swarming with many intriguing and dangerous creatures, some of which carry a virus that can prolong human life. Most of the planet is covered in water, with a smattering of tiny islands. The lords here are long-lived sailors and captains, strong and almost indestructible mutated humans, who sail on low-tech vessels harvesting the seas for various creatures and substances. A little bit Master and Commander, except that some of the sailors are female and some of the masts and sails are sentient creatures.
Three companions arrive on Spatterjay for different reasons and find themselves up to their necks in events, danger and trouble of many exotic kinds. The characters are fine, if a little remote - not as deeply explored as I might like - although I did become invested in what happpens to them. There are some very evil baddies, and some very dangerous creatures as well as viruses and other problems to be overcome. In spite of the relentless dangers, there are humorous moments and some of the best characters are non-human, from war drone to Wind-cheater, and laconic AIs. It's rollicking good fun and has some great gory set-pieces and battles.
William Gaminara's reading is perfect. He uses wonderful accents and voices to breathe life into all the characters and helps to add excitement to the unfolding adventures.
Overall this is an absorbing and enjoyable book, and especially engaging on the issue of how humans might deal with much longer lives. It makes things very interesting when much of the motivation is curiosity and the search to alleviate boredom. I will definitely be listening to book 2.
"Just sort of drifted over me"
Couldn't associate with any of the characters nor did I have any idea who I should be concerned for. Well read and probably a good book, just didn't ever grab my attention.
"Very unique Sci Fi fantasy"
Somehow a Sci Fi story has been successfully mashed with a sea tale for this ambitious but interesting book. It was narrated well but sometimes it was a struggle to work out which ship the narrative was following. Overall though I loved it and will probably listen to it again in a year or two.
"Didn't realise it's potential"
The author does a grand job inventing and communicating the detail of alien worlds, life forms and practices but along the way the story gets lost.
I had high hopes and the created realm is certainly different but overall I was disappointed.
Needs less detail and more pace.
"Bits of meat"
Lovely messy hardcore SF, no mucking about.
Complex, multi threaded story Coming to a dramatic climax.
Excellent performance, Gaminara brought life to all the characters.
Laughed out loud at some of the set pieces. Gaminaras' timing just added to the humour
An excellent book, consummately performed. Thank you.
"Pratchett-esque humour and imagination - loved it!"
Listened to the engineer first (read in American voice) and was intrigued enough to give it a go. Was completely surprised upon listening to this though due to English narrator - the nuances of English accents made this so much funnier to listen to.
The plot line leading up to a crescendo, the quirky characters and humour, and the clearly thought out universe of the polity and beyond make this an absolute 5* read, particularly for UK listeners. I'm a complete convert and cannot wait to listen to more Neil Asher !!!
"Persevere and be rewarded."
This was my first Meal Asher and so Polity universe read. I initially felt thrown in at the deep end. I decided to let it play out, not trying to understand every detail our reference. The result was a story that holds up in its own right. It has many characters with steadily revealed back stories. The Spatterjay biosphere is an ingenious creation by Asher with a lot of potential. Continuing on to part two...
"Brilliant book from a great author"
Intelligent, funny, gruesome
I love the universe created by Neal Asher (alien nanotech, super-intelligent fatherly AIs, war machines with graveyard senses of humour, etc) and this book is a great addition to the collection with some neat ideas
All of it, his characterisation, particularly his relaxed northern drawl for a super intelligent, quietly psychotic war drone is brilliant
Here comes the BOOOM!
Can you please get more Neal Asher on to Audible
"Good but not quite there.."
As the story is very enjoyable and gripping I have given four stars. The characters in this book definitely stand up on their own and some I will look forward to hearing the back story or future escapades. The story is let down by some unconvincing actions that certain characters take as the story line develops being somewhat unbelievable. Another problem I personally had was the inevitability of the history of humans on spatter-jay and their attitude towards polity technology. Although there were attempts throughout the book to convince readers I feel the reasoning was pretty weak.
I would recommend the book to someone who likes Iain M Banks' books and hold high hopes for Ashers other work. All said, this is not one of my top 20 sci-fi books and I would not be using it to try and impress someone into the genre.
The performance by Gaminara is one of the best I have heard on Audible. I think that it is heavily let down by editing, there is virtually no pause to let you know that you have switched threads in the story making it hard to follow, usually this is where Gaminaras brilliant pallet of accents comes in to the rescue.
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