• The Skinner

  • The Spatterjay Series: Book 1
  • By: Neal Asher
  • Narrated by: William Gaminara
  • Length: 15 hrs and 58 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (324 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Is immortality worth the price?

The savage ocean planet of Spatterjay draws visitors with very different agendas. Erlin is immortal and seeks a reason to keep living. Janer hosts a hive mind, which paid him to find this planet. And Keech is an agent of Earth who’s been dead for 700 years – but still hunts a notorious criminal.

On Spatterjay’s vast waterscapes, only the Old Captains risk the native life forms and their voracious appetites. However, they are now barely human. And somewhere out there Keech’s target – the Skinner – runs wild. Keech pursues the Skinner for atrocities committed in a centuries-past war, fought with the alien Prador. But one of these Prador is fast approaching Spatterjay to exterminate witnesses to his own war crimes. And he won’t spare its visitors.

©2009 Neal Asher (P)2018 Macmillan Digital Audio

What listeners say about The Skinner

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Biology gone wild

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.

15 people found this helpful

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Loved this book - great Neal Asher story

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.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A good story and reader; spacing needs edit

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!

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great Asher story

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!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Too Gory

I had to bail-out early. It's like listening to a splatter flick; too bad since their may be a good story amidst the gore.

4 people found this helpful

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Still Has Buzz

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.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed and moving on to Spatterjay, Book 2 thnx!

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • G
  • 03-19-14

Goes on Forever

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.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Couldn't finish....characters, gore, narration

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

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.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator's regular voice was OK, but his interpretation of characters was poor.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

excellent

original and well read as as for being too gory , the title is the skinner

2 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas
  • 09-01-11

Teenager SF

The most noticeable fault with this audiobook is that the cut between scenes are seamless, which makes it quite confusing. In the printed book I guess it is visually obvious when we enter a new scene, one second of silence would have done it for this audiobook. But the words are just flowing in a long stream broken into a few chapters, while the scene cuts can be counted in hundreds.
Apart from that the narrative is good, William Gaminara manages to make an entertaining difference between all of the characters in the book.
Neal Ashers story is well written, loaded with sensations and quite thrilling. But that's about all it is, I finished it two days ago and I have already forgotten the names of more than half of the characters. The name that will probably stick longest is "Sniper", which isn't even a person but a war drone. I guess that says it all about personality development throughout the book.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel
  • 07-26-13

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.

9 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Shetlander
  • 03-24-19

difficult to follow

it must be an interesting story to physically read, but I really couldn't enjoy the audiobook version. the narration seemed to go from chapter to chapter without pause for breath. it would take a while to realise he was suddenly taking about a different story line, and required relistening to section after section to work out what was going on.
maybe it just didn't grip me enough?

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tamlin
  • 12-01-11

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!

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • 04-28-20

Very original and well written

This is one of the best sci-fi books I’ve listened to over the years. The world it’s set on is truly original.

The narration too is excellent.

Well worth a credit.


3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Petteri
  • 02-28-19

5 star Asher quality

Never a boring moment! Subtle voice acting. I thought it lackluster at first but revised my opinion after few hours.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • A.Wright
  • 06-29-15

I wanted to like it, but couldn't.

What disappointed you about The Skinner?

The story just never grabbed me, its the first book in my library that I haven't finished. I felt nothing for the characters and couldn't care less how their lives turned out.

Has The Skinner put you off other books in this genre?

Nope, putting it down to bad recommendations and moving on.

Would you be willing to try another one of William Gaminara’s performances?

Not in a hurry to listen to this narrator again, its not his fault, but we need some time apart.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • SuzyDiamond
  • 03-27-15

Didn't realise it's potential

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

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.

Which character – as performed by William Gaminara – was your favourite?

Keach

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I had high hopes and the created realm is certainly different but overall I was disappointed.

Any additional comments?

Needs less detail and more pace.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Singels
  • 08-16-21

Great 👍

Very enjoyable if somewhat hard to follow because of the jumps. Some sort of transportation would make it better.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert Sweatman
  • 06-11-16

The first Audible book that I've given up on

Would you try another book written by Neal Asher or narrated by William Gaminara?

No

What could Neal Asher have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Make sure there is something that captures the readers interest in the first hour

How did the narrator detract from the book?

As others highlighted.. no gaps between chapters

Any additional comments?

This is the first Audible book in more than 4 years (and more than 80 books) that I've given up on. It maybe that after the first hour it came to life but the only thing that remotely I engaged with was when the hornet background was first described.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-04-21

Great Sci

Great use of the past with future Tech. Concept and story was solid. I felt like 1800s area captain with 25 century tech and opportunity. I'm hooked!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David Humphreys
  • 08-26-19

Great performance by the voice artist

William Gaminara's reading really helps to differentiate & keep track of the many characters & narrative threads, without sounding too "actor-y". Will look for more read by him.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Adrian Smith
  • 01-09-19

Dingle !!!!!!!!

Great book - enjoyed it thoroughly but bloody dingle instead of jungle every single time - arrrrggggh and its the same in the next installment come on

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Adrian
  • 07-01-17

Science fiction for young adults

A very basic story line, nauseating character development and the emotional content made me retch, it is that awful. Rubbish