Try an audiobook on us

The Skinner

The Spatterjay Series: Book 1
Narrated by: William Gaminara
Length: 15 hrs and 58 mins
4 out of 5 stars (178 ratings)
£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

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 members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    90
  • 4 Stars
    51
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    8

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    64
  • 4 Stars
    35
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    62
  • 4 Stars
    34
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    4
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Rachel
  • Dromahair, Ireland
  • 26-07-13

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Love Neal Ashurs books!

Neal has created a huge universe with wonderful characters and monsters. It can be a bit dark but thats offset by regular comedy. We need more Ashur, I know there are three books in the pipeline but its not enough. What about Prador Moon, Agent Cormac,Mr Crane and all the other great stories and characters?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Sci-fi action adventure

Indestructible super humans, hive-mind hornets, A.I.s with attitude, and a cop who is a member of cult of Anubis Arisen. And that's just the beginning!!!

I think I have heard this for the 5th time now. Always entertaining. Love sniper!!!!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good Neal Aaher

totally loved it. slow to get going but then the best ones usually are. can't wait to listen to the next one in the series

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book. Great narrator. Needs pauses...

Any additional comments?

This a terrific story, well read. The world is distinctive and original. Can't wait to read the rest of the Spatterjay books.

The characters of Sniper, Ketch and the vile Frisk are superbly drawn. And it's a joy to read a high-tech drone battle that is both creative and yet seems to make visual sense.

One nitpick.
Would the producers of the audio please please please please make the pauses between scenes longer than the pauses between normal sentences! It is SO confusing – especially in a book that has cross-cut scenes with three different ships – to run the sentences on. It often takes about a paragraph to realise that the new text is not a continuation of the previous scene.

It is the norm on all audio books, so I can't understand why it was not done on this title.

Thanks.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant performance

A fantastic story that I'd read before, I'm extremely impressed by the narrator's performance, highly recommended!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent intro to Neal Asher

loved it !!! Cant wait to get started on the next book in the trilogy.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • 26-08-11

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 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Emily
  • 03-10-11

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 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • WendyT1
  • 03-10-11

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 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Eric
  • 10-05-12

A good mixture

What did you love best about The Skinner?

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.

What about William Gaminara’s performance did you like?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 12-04-12

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 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • 05-02-14

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 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • SciFiSurfer
  • 24-02-11

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 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alexa Tackel
  • 12-07-18

Great characters!

This novel is all about the interaction of characters. Setting is fantastic of course. The Asher created Polity universe is rich and detailed as usual. Also, as usual the setting serves to enhance a really great story about compelling characters.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 22-11-17

Very good.

Great book: excellent story, world building, and presentation. I would recommend this to anyone that likes sci fi, or shadowrun style games.

My only complaint is with the editing. The story jumps perspective between characters inside chapters, but there are no pauses or breaks in narration to indicate any shift. It makes the some places in the narrative very confusing. However if you can get past that, the story is worth it!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dmitry
  • 11-08-17

Deathworld on Sea

Neal Asher at his best nitrates with gusto. Will be listening to the next two books.