The Human Blend by Alan Dean Foster
The Human BlendIn a future where a person can be anything many choose to stay natural as well. No one blinks twice at a teenager wearing a natural feather mohawk walking with another who has three eyes with another who is completely natural.
Whispr is a meld whose body and limbs are very thin, willowy, and lengthened. He and his friend Jiminy have mugged a tourist in their home town of Savannah. Jiminy grabs the amazing robotic hand from the dead man. Whispr notices a small metal thread that he takes before the two run off with their loot. They are immediately followed by the police. The police are quite determined. Jiminy doesn’t survive when he is caught. Whispr barely keeps ahead of the, leaving trouble in his wake. He asks for help in identifying the thread but no one can figure out what it is.
Dr. Ingrid Seastrom is a very unusual doctor. She visits at least half her patients in their homes. She is called to a home where a 15-year-old had a bad meld – probably black market. Although Ingrid is a natural, she treats many people with melds. She is able to help the girl, recommending a good doctor to fix it. She also happens to find a strange piece of metal that doesn’t belong to the meld or the girl’s brain. She takes it back to her office and examines it further. It disappears before she can run many tests.
After Whispr is injured after eluding arrest, he is directed to Dr. Seastrom’s office. He is told she will treat him without notifying the authorities. She treats him. He promises her payment when he is able to determine what the thread is, then fence it. She looks at it with interest. Then she demands her payment. Instead of the money, she will join Whispr as they go to find someone in his world who can figure out what this thread is and what is contains.
Unfortunately, The Human Blend is the first book in the Tipping Point Trilogy. The next one isn’t due out until December of this year. While Alan Dean Foster concludes the book, it’s no where near done. There aren’t any real conclusions in The Human Blend – that always drives me crazy. But this time I don’t have the subsequent books yet. So now I wait.
Foster has set up a fascinating future dystopic world. Surgical body enhancement has gone beyond strange to normal and accepted by all classes of people. Although on the wrong side of the law, Whispr is a likeable character whose connections are all shady. These connections all work under the radar for a price. Ingrid is a straightforward, conventional woman drawn into circumstances beyond her knowledge.
The world Foster has imagined has changed topographically. Water is encroaching on land masses around the world. Florida is now ocean. It has changed technologically. Surgical body enhancement has gone beyond strange to normal and accepted by all classes of people. Thread information storage is commonplace. His imaginings are solid, giving Whispr and Irene’s world a reality.
Check out The Human Blend – you may want to wait until all three are published – or not. It will pull you into an intriguing world.