Body, Inc. by Alan Dean Foster


Science FictionBody, Inc. by Alan Dean Foster Body, Inc
Alan Dean Foster; Ballantine Books 2012

In The Human Blend, Whispr and Dr. Ingrid Seastrom become an unusual team when they discover some new technology that no one can decipher. In their world, people can genetically and medically manipulate their bodies almost any way they want – for the price. Melds are so common it takes a lot to make someone blink twice. Whispr, a man out for a quick buck, has manipulated his body extremely thin – he can barely be seen when he turns sideways. Dr. Seastrom is a Natural who has seen too many Melds gone wrong in her medical practice. The thread technology they possess is something she has seen taken out of the brains of some teens whose Meld had gone wrong. She wants to know what it is. He wants the money it can bring.

In Body, Inc., Dr. Seastrom and Whispr have come to South Africa. SEAC, the corporation responsible for the thread and its secrets, is based in South Africa. They want to find the concealed top-secret research center who produced the thread. They were nearly killed by a paid assassin while in Namerica. They don’t believe they were followed, but Whispr is paranoid. He makes sure they keep moving and changing their appearance as they try to get more information.

Whispr’s instincts are correct. The assassin from Namerica has followed them. SEAC has put the word out, so others are hunting them as well. Dr. Seastrom and Whispr follow their leads and their hunches. They visit a witch doctor. They go on a safari. And they trek across the savannah in their quest, barely one step ahead of the assassin.

Do not read Body, Inc. if you haven’t read The Human Blend. It is a bridge book to The Sum of Her Parts. If you have started this trilogy, Body, Inc. continues the story. Enough history from the first book in the series is sprinkled throughout for the reader to catch up to the action if there is a time gap between reading. But Body, Inc. goes on the assumption that the reader knows about Melding and the body manipulations that are possible in this future, dystopic setting.

The setting for the Tipping Point Trilogy is fascinating. People have gone beyond plastic surgery, genetics, and tattoos to look more attractive or younger. Some have extra arms added, people have eyes replaced with electronic readers, legs enhanced for speed, ears moved from the side of the head to the top, feathers added for appearance, and much more – look at what Whispr has done to his body. More “enhancements” are described in this book.

I enjoyed Body, Inc. I had been waiting for my library to get it in, but my local system. Fortunately  they are part of a county and state wide consortium. I finally found it there. Although it has been a while since I read the first book, I quickly was pulled back into Whispr’s and Dr. Seastrom’s world. The action is fast, and there are some close encounters with wild animals and with the assassin.

This is a good series and Body, Inc. is a solid bridge book.

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