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Publisher's Summary

2020 Audie Award Winner for Best Science Fiction

Audible narration by Jason Isaacs (Star Trek: Discovery)

What will become of our self-destructed planet? The answer shatters all expectations in this subversive speculation from the Hugo Award - winning author of the Broken Earth trilogy.

An explorer returns to gather information from a climate-ravaged Earth that his ancestors, and others among the planet’s finest, fled centuries ago. The mission comes with a warning: A graveyard world awaits him. But so do those left behind - hopeless and unbeautiful wastes of humanity who should have died out ages ago. After all this time, there’s no telling how they’ve devolved. Steel yourself, soldier. Get in. Get out. And try not to stare.

N. K. Jemisin’s Emergency Skin is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.

©2019 N. K. Jemisin (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

Emergency Skin, by the award(s)-winning Jemisin, is part of a sensational project called Forward, which brings together six writers, each telling a story about Earth’s imagined future.” --Spine Magazine

“Narrator Jason Isaac’s voice is the perfect mix of insistent, pedantic, and scornful…This brief but clever tale is truly best enjoyed on audio.” (AudioFile - Earphones Award Winner)

“The tale is a fascinating experiment in story structure…Thoughtful and interactive.” (LOCUS)

  “This is exactly how I like my techno-anxiety…Happy bingeing!” (Audible, an October Editors Pick)  

What listeners say about Emergency Skin

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NK Jemisin is a genius

The prose on this one was interesting, as you never hear the voice of the protagonist. Like always, the author explores the things we take for granted in our society. It's a good intro into the author's work of you're unfamiliar.

8 people found this helpful

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Blown away!

The amount of inventiveness and detail in this story is staggering. Pride excellence. I want to read the written version because the plot sometimes went too fast for me to catch everything. I will definitely listen to this audiobook again.

7 people found this helpful

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Try to avoid getting clubbed by the message...

Another short story from the Forward collection. This one has a message that is delivered with all the subtlety of a brick to the side of the head. Rich, white, racist men are bad and if about two dozen of them would just leave Earth the rest of us would magically all come together, play nice and save the world from climate change, nationalism, gender crisis, and overall bad behavior.

6 people found this helpful

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Cute. Ignore the racism, sexism, and socialism!

It's a fun concept...our spacefaring protagonist is on a dangerous mission to a long-dead planet to retrieve biological samples critical to the survival of his homeworld. He is accompanied by a voice in his head that provides instructions, warnings, and the prejudices of his home world that are of no use on the world he finds. This new world is not dead, but thriving! It began to thrive when the white-blond-male overlords fled from the planet they had pillaged, plundered, and raped shortly before they estimated the planet would be dead. Freed from this despicable serfdom, the remaining inhabitants saved their planet by becoming the perfect model citizens of a Utopian communist ideal. Applause and knowing nods and winks. A story so right for our time! But wait...if the horrible overlords had been described as female the story would have be loudly shouted down, rightly, as sexist. And if the bad people had not been safely white and blond the story would have been rightly seen as a racist affront to an exploited people. And, unfortunately, the utopian concept of people-helping-people-in-a-perfect-socialist/communist harmony has only ever resulted in larger tyrannies, inequities, and environmental destruction than its horrible capitalist counterparts (review the history of the Soviet Union and China). But it sure sounds great! Oh, I remember, this is science fiction fun. Except when it preaches sexism, racism, and the failed, false, and jealous god of communism. The reader does a good job of navigating a difficult script as the jarring voice-in-the-protagonist's-head becomes more strident and threatening and conflicts with the other voices in the story.

12 people found this helpful

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Excellent!

post-apocalyptic, sci-fi-fantasy, short Bought on the recommendation of a sci fi fan even though it is not my preference. I found it a brilliant tale of hope for geopolitical mankind and very thankful that it also came as audio. Jason Isaacs was perfect as narrator!

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What a grand tale, almost wish it were true!

The author really blew me away with this story. I hate to use another reviewers words bit someone said this book was the smartest story she had ever read and I totally agree. Jason Issacks' narration was wonderful.

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Wonderful!

I adore N.K. Jemisin and this is another brilliant tale that catches you from the start. The narration captures the story perfectly.

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chuckling all the way

what a fun listen and the narrator was great! this combo would be worth trying again!!

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One you must download!!

loved it!! must get audiobook. highly recommend. Enjoyed this better than any in the series

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Lazy effort from a brilliant writer

N. K. Jemisin is one of my favorite writers, but this was a lazy effort. The concept was clever, and I was drawn in initially. But it quickly turned into a heavy-handed political lecture that was uninteresting, even if you agree with the message.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Diane Severson
  • 09-26-19

Absurd, subversive, fun

I really, really enjoyed this short story! It’s hilarious. Using absurdity Jemisin illuminates a hopeful attitude of how we could change our world for the better. I listened to the audio book narrated by Jason Isaacs who is nothing short of brilliant.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Miss P.
  • 02-16-20

Funny and extremely thought provoking

Really enjoyed this short story. Excellent narrationaw well. Must look out some of their other work.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nelo
  • 09-24-20

Brilliant!

Absolutely brilliant. This was a hot to listen to I can't believe I didn't read this sooner. The best way to describe this book is that it's intelligent writing. you are listening from the POV of a Nagging A.I and a revolutionary "alien". The earth N.K created is one I want to live in. This is an excellent introdutory to her writing.

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  • Maisy Mulgrath
  • 09-21-20

Incredible

Why have I never heard of this author before? This story was briliant. I didn't know it was possible for someone to write so amazingly. My review of this story can't do it justice because I haven't the author's way with words. I too am obsessed with immortality, but this story delves into what the consequences of eternal life might be, and what such an existence would entail. Should we want for longevity at any cost? And yet the vibe of the author's storytelling is also quirky in a smart clever way. So glad I've found a new favourite author to read! Well, listen to audibooks. And this one being narrated by Jason Isaacs is brill. He's so good at accents it seems he's really born where he's talking from.

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  • Miss Ruth
  • 09-14-20

Wow this is good, thoroughly enjoyed it.

Very short but don’t be put off by that, as it’s really very good, a definite must listen to. Clever in the way it’s told, you wouldn’t think it’d work but it just does.

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  • Amy Ella
  • 07-01-20

Boom!

This one hit me hard. A quick read (listen) to smash your senses. Beautiful. Read it.

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  • Heather Law
  • 06-28-20

Perfection

I was riveted to the spot from beginning to end. Jemisin's prose and Isaacs' performance combined to create a perfect storm of compelling story, plot and characterization. I particularly love the narrative conceit of the 'voice in the head' . I'm going to annoy everyone I know by recommending this forever now.

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  • B
  • 04-16-20

really interesting

I really enjoyed the clever way it was written in that the central character didn't have its own voice. The story itself was an interesting insight into the world we live in today and where we might end up, and will no doubt be relatable to everyone

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-11-19

NK Jemisin is actually a genius

Everything she writes it’s brilliant—the prose is accessible, yet complex and layered if you are prepared let it take you deeper. So when I saw this short story on audible, there was no question I would add it to my library! Jason Isaacs performs it beautifully, this was a joy to listen to. Will re-listen again for sure, wish I could give it 10 stars!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-17-19

Just TERRIBLE. dont be tricked..

Didn't realise it was only 1 hour long. I wasted a credit on this. This is my genre but it was unlistenable. I am an idiot.

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  • Susan
  • 10-08-19

Stunning reading

Great story, unbelievable reading. In the hands of Jason Isaacs I suspect this story is more powerful as an audiobook than as text.