Snakeskins

SF thriller novel, published by Titan Books, May 2019

Caitlin Hext’s first shedding ceremony is imminent, but she’s far from prepared to produce a Snakeskin clone. When her Skin fails to turn to dust as expected, she must decide whether she wishes the newcomer alive or dead.

Worse still, it transpires that the Hext family may be of central importance to the survival of Charmers, a group of people with the inexplicable power to produce duplicates every seven years and, in the process, rejuvenate. In parallel with reporter Gerry Chafik and government aide Russell Handler, Caitlin must prevent the Great British Prosperity Party from establishing a corrupt new world order.

SNAKESKINS is an SF thriller examining the repercussions of rejuvenation and cloning on individuals’ sense of identity and on wider society, with the tone of classic John Wyndham stories and the multi-strand storytelling style of modern TV series such as Channel 4’s Humans.

Trade paperback: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com
Audio download: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com

Cover quotes

“Startling imagery, deft storytelling, and assured and engaging writing make Snakeskins simply unmissable.” Tim Lebbon

“John Wyndham meets Black Mirror in Tim Major’s scintillating novel, a parallel world thriller, which takes as its themes duplicity, paranoia and what it truly means to be human. Snakeskins wrapped its coils around me and wouldn’t let go.” Mark Morris

“A premise worthy of Wyndham becomes a twisty political SF thriller in the hands of Major. Snakeskins is full of action and surprise, keeping me reading, but the real hook lies in the rich seam of humanity within.” Aliya Whiteley

“Another great page-turner from Tim Major! We follow Caitlin, a teenage girl, whose ability to produce ‘snakeskin’ clones causes emotional ripples that spread more widely than she’d ever anticipated. It’s a gripping and thought-provoking tale, with Major exploring the wider implications of cloning and extended life-spans in the growth of a corrupt new government which has consequences for all.” Alison Littlewood

“The world-building is subtle and convincing, a plausible alternate UK where isolationist foreign policy has retarded the country’s technological and economic progress. A cautionary tale for our times.” James Brogden

“Whether as page-turning thriller, coming of age story, or timely satire on a broken Britain, Snakeskins is a delight.” Robert Shearman

“Tim Major has a talent for combining big ideas to create something exciting. With Snakeskins he gives us a SF thriller brimming with questions about identity.” Priya Sharma

Reviews

“Tim Major masterfully weaves his plot strands together, studding Snakeskins with images of duality and metamorphosis to create a dark and compelling vision of corruption and conspiracy with a subtly satirical edge.” Financial Times
(also selected as one of the FT’s best books of summer 2019)

“Government conspiracy and magic of the unknown intertwine in an uncanny tale. … Each chapter shows a bit more of the different narrators’ various perspectives on events, gradually creating a delightfully tense parallel story that begs the reader to guess what will happen next. This novel earns its verbosity using tact, mystery, and a strong voice, and readers who stick with it will feel well rewarded.” Publishers Weekly

“It’s an unusual setup for an intricate political thriller that coils in on itself, tightening the tension as it circles toward satisfyingly shocking answers.” Barnes & Noble

“Good books are different, unlike anything you have ever read before, and good books stay with you. Snakeskins by Tim Major is better than good. … unflinching characterisation and at times deadly prose … he’s set the bar high if he’s going to top this.” Interzone

“This taut and fast-paced sf thriller ably plays around with its central device, exploring the ramifications being duplicated has on society and the self.” Booklist

“Major’s skill is that he keeps a tight rein on a story that could easily have become unwieldy. Often big ideas can get in the way of an emotional connection, but Major’s focus on his characters ensures that the reader not only is made to think, but is allowed to feel as well.” (4 stars / ‘Must Read Now’) SciFiNow

“Thought-provoking … Not all questions are answered, but enough is revealed about these mayfly doppelgängers to keep you hooked.” (4 stars) The Sun

“A heart stopping & thought provoking read, which will make you question how you would see your own identity in those circumstances & challenge your perceptions of acceptance.” (5 stars) Paperbacks and Pinot

“I read a lot of YA, yet this adult SF novel is by far one of the most convincing portrayals of burgeoning maturity I’ve ever read. … It’s a remarkably thoughtful consideration of identity and humanity, as the best sci-fi thrillers invariably are.” The Frumious Consortium

“The thriller aspect of this tale truly drove home my love for the book as Major consistently kept me on my toes by flipping through the alternating narratives and ramping up the action in each of them. If you’re curious about science fiction or a veteran reader in the genre, I highly recommend giving SNAKESKINS a spot on your TBR!” What Jess Reads

“The writing kept me hooked and I have no doubt that the sci-fi lovers will absolutely adore it … different and utterly wonderful.” Lina’s Reviews

““…bizarre, and deeply resonant … There are a lot of John Wyndham comparisons flying around and while I definitely see that (along with glimpses of Adrian Barnes and Atwood at her very weirdest) Snakeskins is resolutely and unflinchingly its own thing. Somehow otherworldly and yet so incredibly human, politically relevant but also touching on universal themes of identity and mortality, Snakeskins is a novel I will be thinking about for a very long time.”  Folded Paper Foxes

“Snakeskins is an excellently crafted and often horrifying look at identity and what it means to be human. … A keen look at human nature and the workings of a corrupt government” Pythia Reads

“I really went into this one not knowing what to expect, and ended up devouring it in two days! It’s fast-paced, the characters are well developed, it’s weird, and it’s totally British … I think folks who are into things like The X-Files or Orphan Black would love this!” Grimdark Dad

Snakeskins has so much more in it than you might first imagine. It’s packed full of slowly revealed alternate history, it has mystery that unfolds at a great pace, and characters who aren’t superheroes but real people with believable motivations and personal stories. I read Snakeskins in one day because I couldn’t put it down, but the story, the world, and those who inhabit it will stay with me much, much longer.” Set the Tape

“This is an intriguing SciFi conspiracy novel which, as with all good SciFi, uses high concept ideas to explore prescient issues about our society’s treatment of people, and it’s bloody good too.” The Hebridean Reader

“Snakeskins will wrap itself around you and you won’t want it to let go! A great read for sci-fi/dystopian fans I highly recommend.” Not Another Book Blogger

“A biting social commentary, a mysterious thriller and engaging characters to root for. Tim Major has created something pretty unique.” Kirstyes

“I really loved the low-tech feel of Snakeskins, and the subtle science fiction vibes and slowly building mystery made it feel like an old black-and-white Alfred Hitchcock movie at times. … Ultimately, readers who enjoy thoughtful speculative fiction with a dash of danger and some pretty big surprises will really enjoy this book. Major raises ethical questions about cloning and comes to some unique, thought-provoking conclusions.” Books, Bones & Buffy

“In Tim Major’s latest novel, he takes an intriguing concept of alternate selves and creates a unique world and puzzle for the reader to crack. … A strong tale and lots of promise.  I think if you enjoy thrillers like Orphan Black or Humans then this may be a really interesting story for you.” Runalong the Shelves

“Major’s inventive and imaginative talents are on fully display when telling the story of Caitlin and the world of the Charmers … Major is quickly becoming a star of contemporary science fiction.” Bookgasm

“The pace is sprightly and the characters engaging.” SFX

“Major takes a unique concept and creates a compelling plot with engaging, multidimensional characters. Recommended for SF readers and mystery lovers who are willing to expand their horizons.” Library Journal

“It’s an intriguing piece of worldbuilding … Neatly plotted and characterised, this is an enjoyable SF horror tale.” (8/10) Sci-Fi Bulletin

Guest posts and interviews

Press

Snakeskins Instagram tourSnakeskins blog tour

Book soundtrack

See blog post for commentary on track choices.

Extracts

Snakeskins Titan newsletter bannerTor SF-May19

Tim Major – writer & editor

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