Title: A Miracle of Rare Design
Author: Mike Resnick
The SFBC sent this to me by mistake and never billed me ... I would have been disappointed if I had picked and paid for it. Iím not a fan of Resnickís African planet stories, so it languished on the bottom of the reading pile, until I needed something short and quick to read (178 pages). Surprise, surprise, itís short stories put together as one story........
Xavier William Lennox is an obnoxious and arrogant travel writer. He is fascinated by the Fireflies of Medina, golden-skinned bipedal natives with vestigial wings. He tries to infiltrate their society, gets caught, and they mutilate him.
Back home, the Department of Alien Affairs offers to alter him surgically to become a Firefly, if he can negotiate a treaty for the Ďdiamond pipesí of Medina. His brain, central nervous system and his heart will remain unchanged. Adventures follow, adventures over by page 110. The rest of the book is three more aliens, and the obvious ending. You never come to care for this man at all....greedy, self-centered. Although Resnick tries to show that heís changed, it doesnít work.