This was a great book. The mystery was well plotted, the main characters nicely fleshed out, and the world so weird and full of life and beyond what I expected when I picked up the book. The melds were great – biotech allowing humans to meld their DNA with other critters to create temporary decorative fetishes, or full body changes like Whispr’s friend the alligator man. Of course, with any well established tech, you get those who aren’t licensed and can sell or create what you need on the street for fast cash. So there’s all sorts of crazy characters in this book. It was never a dull moment listening to this novel.
For much of the book, we follow Whispr, a once fat kid who became a fat adult, who decided he wanted to be rail thin for the rest of his life. So he made it happen with the right blend of DNA and a melder. Living on the edge of society, taking the odd job here and there, stealing and/or mugging to make ends meet, he probably isn’t the standard role model hero. But I got to know him, watched him struggle, treat his few friends decently. So I was already attached to him before we really got quality time with Dr. Seastrom, a very upstanding citizen. She’s OK too, and it was fun to watch her struggle with her own prejudices and moral quandaries of joining forces with Whispr to unravel the mystery of the metallic threads.
Set in a swampy, humid Savannah for much of the book, the world has learned to deal with a changing ecosystem. The world has heated up and plants and animals have easily moved into the expanding muggy, humid ecosystems. Many locals opt to have gills melded in or water proof skin for feet to aid in fishing or other jobs that require a long slog in the swamps on a daily basis. I really appreciated how Foster created this environment and then through in the bio tech, and that all of this influences the characters and bears upon the plot. Masterful!
The Narration: David Colacci did quite well. I enjoyed his range of male and female voices and his accents. I could definitely listen to him again.
Catch more at Dab of Darkness: http://dabofdarkness.com/2013/12/23/the-human-blend-by-alan-dean-foster/