Listen free for 30 days

  • Emergency Skin

  • Forward collection
  • Written by: N. K. Jemisin
  • Narrated by: Jason Isaacs
  • Length: 1 hr and 4 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

1 credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
The Plus Catalogue—listen all you want to thousands of Audible Originals, podcasts, and audiobooks.
$14.95 a month plus applicable taxes after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Emergency Skin cover art

Emergency Skin

Written by: N. K. Jemisin
Narrated by: Jason Isaacs
Try for $0.00

$14.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy Now for $2.49

Buy Now for $2.49

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Tax where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

2020 Audie Award Winner for Best Science Fiction

Audible narration by Jason Isaacs (Star Trek: Discovery)

What will become of our self-destructed planet? The answer shatters all expectations in this subversive speculation from the Hugo Award - winning author of the Broken Earth trilogy.

An explorer returns to gather information from a climate-ravaged Earth that his ancestors, and others among the planet’s finest, fled centuries ago. The mission comes with a warning: A graveyard world awaits him. But so do those left behind - hopeless and unbeautiful wastes of humanity who should have died out ages ago. After all this time, there’s no telling how they’ve devolved. Steel yourself, soldier. Get in. Get out. And try not to stare.

N. K. Jemisin’s Emergency Skin is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.

©2019 N. K. Jemisin (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What the critics say

Emergency Skin, by the award(s)-winning Jemisin, is part of a sensational project called Forward, which brings together six writers, each telling a story about Earth’s imagined future.” --Spine Magazine

“Narrator Jason Isaac’s voice is the perfect mix of insistent, pedantic, and scornful…This brief but clever tale is truly best enjoyed on audio.” (AudioFile - Earphones Award Winner)

“The tale is a fascinating experiment in story structure…Thoughtful and interactive.” (LOCUS)

  “This is exactly how I like my techno-anxiety…Happy bingeing!” (Audible, an October Editors Pick)  

What listeners say about Emergency Skin

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    39
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    40
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    41
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant

Hard hitting speculative science fiction, of a future that isn’t at all hard to imagine since that’s where we’re headed. Access to Space will be dominated by the ultra-wealthy who will chose to save themselves, hoard resources, and abandon Earth and it’s inhabitants to the mess the ultra-wealthy created. Which leaves the poor, the marginalized, and the global south to clean up the mess that they, for the most part, didn’t create. It’s also completely believable that some of those colonies would adopt eugenics and fascism and an enforced rigid racial-class system.

I love this novella because there’s hope within it. That even if the billionaires and executives and board members of resource extraction companies, tech companies, industrial agriculture, fast fashion brands, etc, and the high-level politicians and the “worthy” abandon us here, we may genuinely be better off because they are the the ones who stand in the way of adopting and implementing policies to avert our impending disaster and improve the quality of life of *everyone*. Without the obstructionists, we may actually have a real chance.

It’s short, it makes you think, Jemisin masterfully and organically introduces you to an entirely different culture and world-view without it feeling like exposition, highly recommended.

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

Short but good.

This story will pop up in my head now and then. I liked the narrator as well.

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

PERFECTION

I will admit there's a part of me that is inherently curious as to what happens next but this ending was perfect. I love open-ended stories that are left to your interpretation because it means that the story stays with you and you tend to find yourself constantly thinking about it. 10/10

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

Great Story

A little blunt on the equality messaging, but I enjoyed it (and the equality messaging). With more distinct voices (from the voice actor), it would have been clearer at times.

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

Wonderful Novella - is it fable or warning ...

From the start, especially if you like SciFi you almost immediately know where this is going, but the take on it is so well done.

This short story will deftly (albeit not always subtley) deal with climate change, elitism, misogyny and racism. The main protagonist is a voice I needed to hear, but it is a struggle - and that is where the tale is so well done.

All this, and marvellously narrated by Jason Issacs.

This audio was less than a cheap cup of joe, and was so worth the paltry amount I spent.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chris
  • Chris
  • 2020-04-10

Try to avoid getting clubbed by the message...

Another short story from the Forward collection. This one has a message that is delivered with all the subtlety of a brick to the side of the head. Rich, white, racist men are bad and if about two dozen of them would just leave Earth the rest of us would magically all come together, play nice and save the world from climate change, nationalism, gender crisis, and overall bad behavior.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Steve T
  • Steve T
  • 2019-10-08

Cute. Ignore the racism, sexism, and socialism!

It's a fun concept...our spacefaring protagonist is on a dangerous mission to a long-dead planet to retrieve biological samples critical to the survival of his homeworld. He is accompanied by a voice in his head that provides instructions, warnings, and the prejudices of his home world that are of no use on the world he finds.

This new world is not dead, but thriving! It began to thrive when the white-blond-male overlords fled from the planet they had pillaged, plundered, and raped shortly before they estimated the planet would be dead. Freed from this despicable serfdom, the remaining inhabitants saved their planet by becoming the perfect model citizens of a Utopian communist ideal.

Applause and knowing nods and winks. A story so right for our time!

But wait...if the horrible overlords had been described as female the story would have be loudly shouted down, rightly, as sexist. And if the bad people had not been safely white and blond the story would have been rightly seen as a racist affront to an exploited people. And, unfortunately, the utopian concept of people-helping-people-in-a-perfect-socialist/communist harmony has only ever resulted in larger tyrannies, inequities, and environmental destruction than its horrible capitalist counterparts (review the history of the Soviet Union and China). But it sure sounds great!

Oh, I remember, this is science fiction fun.
Except when it preaches sexism, racism, and the failed, false, and jealous god of communism.

The reader does a good job of navigating a difficult script as the jarring voice-in-the-protagonist's-head becomes more strident and threatening and conflicts with the other voices in the story.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jardin Joyner
  • Jardin Joyner
  • 2019-09-24

NK Jemisin is a genius

The prose on this one was interesting, as you never hear the voice of the protagonist. Like always, the author explores the things we take for granted in our society. It's a good intro into the author's work of you're unfamiliar.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for omni osi (viral vinyl)
  • omni osi (viral vinyl)
  • 2019-09-30

Blown away!

The amount of inventiveness and detail in this story is staggering. Pride excellence. I want to read the written version because the plot sometimes went too fast for me to catch everything. I will definitely listen to this audiobook again.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David Strom
  • David Strom
  • 2020-08-21

I am an outlier, I guess.

I thought the premise was interesting, but the story was underwhelming. To me it seemed to be a screed against white supremacy, capitalism, and individualism. Sure, white supremacy is vile. But it is hardly the cause of all humanity's problems. And the idea that all we need to do to solve all the world's problems is to get rid of awful, nasty, selfish people is absurd.

I guess my basic problem with the story is that it promotes the idea that the only problem with the world is that there are bad people in it, and that's it. Get rid of a few thousand selfish folks and nirvana will arrive? Hardly. Even the most cursory familiarity with history dispels this myth.

I'd love for us to achieve nirvana. But pushing the idea that what stands between us and nirvana is a few "bad" people is not only puerile, history shows that when people buy this BS the result is a push to get rid of those "bad" people. And since sending them off in FTL ships isn't available, less peaceful means are used.

Writing is OK, but the political message is more appropriate to a Sophomore year bull session.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John Fenton
  • John Fenton
  • 2019-10-26

Lazy effort from a brilliant writer

N. K. Jemisin is one of my favorite writers, but this was a lazy effort. The concept was clever, and I was drawn in initially. But it quickly turned into a heavy-handed political lecture that was uninteresting, even if you agree with the message.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Heather Sanders
  • Heather Sanders
  • 2020-03-05

What a grand tale, almost wish it were true!

The author really blew me away with this story. I hate to use another reviewers words bit someone said this book was the smartest story she had ever read and I totally agree. Jason Issacks' narration was wonderful.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kindle Customer
  • Kindle Customer
  • 2020-08-31

Good until the heavy handed political lecturing

I was actually enjoying the story until the author decided to push their unrealistic political fantasy.

Narrator did a great job.

This story will make me think twice before listening/reading something else by this author.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Stuart
  • Stuart
  • 2020-08-15

A Perfect Trifecta

Disappointing. Anti-White, Anti-Male, Anti-Capitalist. A perfect trifecta of Woke horse manure. With Antifa peaceably burning down our cities, shame on you, Audible.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jan
  • Jan
  • 2020-02-15

Excellent!

post-apocalyptic, sci-fi-fantasy, short

Bought on the recommendation of a sci fi fan even though it is not my preference. I found it a brilliant tale of hope for geopolitical mankind and very thankful that it also came as audio.
Jason Isaacs was perfect as narrator!

6 people found this helpful