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Skinbrain (Cerebrodermus Fantastica) [Kindle Edition]

Stephen Euin Cobb
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

On a planet far from Earth, remains of a long dead alien civilization have been found. But this news has not reached the authorities—nor will it. Fourteen murderers—a mixed bag of human and alien criminals—have seen to that by killing the team of forty scientists who discovered the remains. These professional criminals combine their talents to search through the rubble for a hypothetical alien super-weapon. Leather thinks she's got what it takes to rub shoulders with the worst of them but soon realizes she’s in way over her head. Worse, as conflicts struggle to tear it apart, she learns just how unstable a team of criminals can be. Call it anything you like: treachery, betrayal, or just reducing the number with whom one must share the final spoils. Here, as in all of life, cowards and the dead reap nothing.

Cast of Characters

Leather -- A runaway teenage girl. Tough and bold, she is learning to scrape out a living in the alleys of the largest city on Big Sandy: one of several dozen human inhabited worlds. Sleeping under bridges and in the dusty basement of an abandoned church, she takes the name Leather because it makes her feel tough, and she is determined to survive. She falls for a con-man named Johnny Bopp, and runs off with him straight into an assorted gang of mostly alien criminals.

Peter -- An evil little physicist who lusts after Leather and dreams of securing her to his torture rack, which at the moment holds an alien physicist he'd kidnapped weeks earlier, and from whom he’s been extracting scientific secrets. Peter plots to kill all the other gang members and capture Leather alive and undamaged so that he can damage her slowly and repeatedly for his morbid sexual enjoyment.

Breensdil -- A large and gentle insect-bearing alien. His people are peace-loving and nonviolent, and he is their greatest living physicist. Unfortunately, he is being tortured for secrets of advanced physics by Peter who intends to use these secrets to create more powerful weapons he can then sell to his Neo-Nazi allies on the colony world of Ironfeld.

Pug -- An easy-going frog-like alien of vast power and wealth who secretly owns and manages this galaxy. Each of her people own and manage one galaxy; by their laws anyone not up this task is aborted even if they are an adult. She causally decides which civilizations within her galaxy will live and which must be destroyed. She likes this new human civilization, and has an odd fondness for Johnny Bopp.

Johnny Bopp -- A happy-go-lucky human con-man and jewel thief who enjoys the company of aliens. A xenophile, he is forever seeking new things to see and do and taste and experience.

Eve Adams -- A beautiful and voluptuous android containing, and controlled by, a pair of octopus-like aliens who think as one because they are permanently mated. Driven by their obsession to studying human beings, they attempt to seduce Johnny away from Leather using their sensuous android body.

Aristat Sookirat -- Johnny Bopp's loyal friend. A bright red alien criminal who has more than once killed to protect Johnny. And needs little provocation to do it again.

Keuzleev -- Pug's dutiful assistant. A short alien shaped somewhat like a ten-year-old human with a white bed sheet thrown over her.

The Spee -- The extremely effective crew of Pug's ship who are obnoxious only because they are so competitive and playful and noisy. They are small insect-eating aliens with a vague resemblance to fat hairless toddlers.

Baby -- Leather's alien pet which she raises to adulthood after finding it abandoned. It has secrets too.

Electra -- A skull in Peter's display cabinet from a prostitute he'd kidnapped months ago. Peter had raped and tortured her for weeks, until she was so emotionally exhausted that she could no longer display fear and so was no longer sexually exciting to him. He misses her, but feels hopeful that Leather--with her large dark eyes which can so wonderfully display fear--will make a nice replacement.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1568 KB
  • Print Length: 500 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0055FDRIC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,967 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A creative story that includes concepts ranging from future and theoretical physics to god's of the universe manipulating the progress of sentient species. For those with an interest in physics this will be a particularly entertaining read. I have an interest in all things science and loved it. The alien species are well described and appropriately alien. The human characters range from inherently good to despicable.

There is some really heavy and detailed theoretical physics included in this book that the author separates with a disclaimer which may be skipped without affecting the story. I skipped these sections and really appreciate the author being conscientious to the more casual reader. Those with a more than passing interest in physics will no doubt find these sections fascinating. The story is easy to follow, well paced and nicely layered.

Intelligent, imaginative and creative science fiction. Well done.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced & sucks you right in! June 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Stephen Euin Cobb's work every since I read "Bones Burnt Black" back in 2004. Fantastic book! You should read it if you haven't yet.

Let me tell you, Skinbrain was not at ALL what I thought it would be and was, as to be expected with Stephen's work, well steeped in hard science, that was very understandable. My favorite part was that he had a strong female lead who didn't need a man to define her OR to rescue her.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! Hard Sci-fi at its finest. July 14, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book completely. The details of the alien's throughout of the story line was impressive. I recommend this to anyone interested in the hard sci-fi! As a side comment, I really enjoyed the spree alien speices (think oompa loompa but in space). I also listened to bones burnt black, Stephen's audiobook, twice. Keep up the good work!.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book June 27, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
With outstanding attention to detail, Mr. Cobb puts you right in the middle of the action from the beginning. If your looking to escape into the future for a few hours, and enjoy a great Scifi read, this book is for you.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story, but needs editing July 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Stephen Cobb's "The Future and You" podcast and also greatly enjoyed his free audiobook "Bones Burnt Black." So I thought I'd throw a little moulah his way with "Skinbrain." I'm currently about halfway through it and am loving it. The storyline is very engaging and the characters are well fleshed-out. The cosmologist in me is even enjoying the captured bug-alien's discourses on the deep physics of the universe.

I would like to give this book 5 stars, but can't. The reason is that it is suffering from poor editing. While the novel seems to have been run through a spell-checker, I have found numerous instances of grammatical mistakes. Examples include transposed words, and numerous instances of putting in apostrophes where they don't belong (e.g. it's instead of its or researcher's [possessive] instead of researchers [plural]). For a grammar-Nazi like me these are annoying distractions that break my flow of thought.

Aside from the grammar issues though this is a fine book, well worth the $3 I paid for it, and I am looking forward to finishing reading it.
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More About the Author

Stephen Euin Cobb has interviewed over 350 people for his work as an author, columnist, magazine writer, futurist, and award-winning podcaster.

A contributing editor for Space and Time Magazine; he has also been a regular contributor for Robot Magazine, HumanityPlus Magazine, Grim Couture Magazine and Port Iris Magazine; and he spent three years as a columnist and contributing editor for Jim Baen's Universe Magazine.

Stephen has spoken to over 150 audiences at 30 conventions. He has lectured, participated on discussion panels (often moderating the panels because of his experience conducting interviews), and assisted in teaching workshops about how to write with greater clarity and power.

Since 2005 he has produced nearly 400 episodes of his weekly podcast, The Future And You, which explores (through interviews, panel discussions, and commentary) all the ways the future will be different from today.

Stephen is also an artist, essayist, game designer, transhumanist, and is on the Advisory Board of The Lifeboat Foundation.

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