Book: The Skinner by Neal Asher

Pretty good science-fiction novel

Neal Asher
The Skinner
Tor, 2002
ISBN: 0-765-35048-3
424 pages

The Skinner is set on the planet Spatterjay, which is mostly ocean. The indigenous life there is extraordinarily violent and dangerous, but the planet is also home to a virus that, over time, causes people infected with it to be able heal terrible wounds extremely rapidly. Still, newcomers need to use considerable caution. As the book begins, three people arrive on Spatterjay: a sort-of policeman who's pretty much a zombie kept sort-of alive by technological means, a woman who has a plan she's not talking about, and a human employee of a wasp hive-mind. They and some other folks will deal with the repercussions of a long-ago war.

There are some interesting ideas in the novel and some very interesting characters. There's even a bad guy whose head was detached from his body and both continue to function reasonably well. But I found the pacing a bit slow and the plotting a bit disorganized. The Skinner is by no means a bad book, but there are others you might read first.

There are a couple of minor editing errors: there's "rabid" where "rapid" is wanted (p. 293) and "tale" where "tail" is wanted (p. 301). Also, someone involved with the book's production should have known that water's density does not change under pressure (p. 370).

Posted: Sun - September 23, 2007 at 04:30 PM   Main   Category: