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WesternSFA
The Human Blend
by Alan Dean Foster
Del Rey Trade Paperback, $15.00 242pp
Release Date: November 22, 2011

In a new series set in a not-too-distant future, Foster gives us a believable future and interesting characters. The world is mostly recognizable, global warming has melted most of the polar ice-caps, and flooding has changed the shape of the continents and put a premium on land. Most cities have large areas on stilts.

Power is mostly via solar or biomass. People have options called melds; these have the ability to change nearly anything about yourself into anything you can imagine. There are people with specialized hands, extra fingers, tools built in, eyes with magnifiers, extra eyes, vision outside the normal spectrum, etc. Whispr has a relatively simple meld: he is thin, unnaturally so. At a shade over six feet he is less than a hundred pounds but perfectly healthy.

In the course of a mugging, Whispr discovers a small storage device in the form of a metallic thread in a hidden pocket. As he attempts to have it decoded, his partner is killed, he is being chased by the police, and he is forced to go further and further from his comfort zone.

Dr. Ingrid Seastrom, while helping a young lady with a botched meld, discovers a small nano-bot made of metastable metallic hydrogen. Besides being impossibly small and made of a material that shouldn’t exist, it turns out it is also quantum linked and it disappears as soon as it is subjected to analysis.

Highly Recommended. ~~ Bob LaPierre

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