The Skinner by Neal Asher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It's almost unfair just how good Asher is with his space opera. I mean, there's hardly any space in this one and I'm flabbergasted at how much awesome alien life can be crammed in a single book.
Of course, it could happen in no other place than the most f***ed up planet in the universe.
Spatterjay. The place where life just holds on. And on. And on. Nothing dies unless it gets THOROUGHLY destroyed. And that means every life form, once infected, is effectively immortal. ALL life forms. I swear, if I didn't know this was SF, I would immediately assume it's a Lovecraftian horror. And it's FANTASTIC. :)
Enter equally messed-up characters, including one that refuses to go full AI despite having been dead and carrying around his corpse for 700 years... can you imagine what happens to HIM on a world where dead doesn't exist? Add a hive mind, a girl on a quest to live, and enough Prador on personal missions to make Prador Moon seem like a happy memory.
Beautiful setup, right? Well, it gets better. I got the distinct impression I was reading a ghost story with all the chills and frights. With the obvious twist where nothing dies, of course. Add a bit of Captain Ahab gigantic monsters that can only be taken down with VERY heavy artillery, giving even AI drones a run for their money, and I just have to say.... PLEASE, LET ME NEVER TAKE A VACATION HERE.
So delightfully wicked.
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