In this unusual story, Philip José Farmer tells the story of Paul Eyre, a mediocre middle-aged man with a mediocre family and friends who starts off as no likeable. I was a bit reluctant to reading that story at first because I found the main character so unattractive. But as the story progresses, it makes sense to put a mediocre character in an extraordinary situation and find out what makes him tick.
Paul Eyre is the recipient of alien genes inside his body which he happens to absorb while out with his dog to hunt. He meets a beautiful half-lion half-woman whom he thinks is a dream. What happens to him afterward is a series of transformations both physical and mental which makes the story more compelling as it progresses. People’s reactions around Paul go from disbelieving to sinister. We see a nice example of human interactions from worse to even worse.
Although this type of story has been done in one form or another by others before and since, Philip José Farmer’s talent makes this novel a page turner. Some of the secondary characters are entertaining; even fun like Leo Tincrowdore who is also “stealing the show” every chance he gets. His own motives are not always clear until the end.
Overall, this is a fascinating read. I am looking forward to discovering other Farmer novels.