I took out a book from the bookmobile in (1989?), and have never been able to track it down again. Memorable because it was one of the first adult sci-fi books I read, and I've been trying to track it down off and on for 15 years.

Plot details

It was a sci-fi novel where people had three forms: human, animal, and wind. They could stay in the wind form forever, but had a limited amount of time in the others.

There was an advanced spaceship that looks like a manta-ray or a sting ray. I think that the ship could cloak?

It was an adult book, with enough sex scenes that they probably shouldn't have let me take it out of the library.

Book Appearance Details

I remember it having a photo of the ship on the cover, and being around 300pages in length.

That's all that I can remember, any help would be appreciated.

Books it is not

  • Walls of the World - James Tiptree Jr.
  • Any of the Timothy Zahn "Manta" series
  • Of Man and Manta - Piers Anthony


  • Wind Dancers - RM Meluch (I don't think this is correct, but some plot points are similar. I've purchased this (and the sequel) to confirm.
  • This sounds vaguely like Up the Walls of the World by James Tiptree, Jr. I will double-check and see how closely the plot points match.
    – Kenny
    Jun 23, 2021 at 14:20
  • Never mind about Up the Walls of the World. The only thing that matches is there is wind, and there are manta-ray-shaped aliens. The wind isn't alive, there is no spaceship, and although there is astral projection and body-switching, nobody is actually changing forms from wind to human to animal.
    – Kenny
    Jun 23, 2021 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


It's been a long time since I read this, I don't recall the description of the spaceship at all, but intelligent winds that can shape themselves into animal and human forms makes me think of Wind Dancers (1981) by R.M. Meluch.

The blurb reads:

The Morts were turning up all over Aeolis, the Eden-like planet named for the unexpectedwinds which sprang up from nowhere and swiftly faded away. But unlike the winds, the Morts didn't just fade away. These unidentifiable corpses - which on closer examination proved far from human - posed a bizarre threat to human control of Aeolis. So the Serviceship Halcyon XLV was dispatched to the planet to solve the secret of the Morts, a secret whispered by the winds every day - a secret older than mankind, which could spell the end of human life on the planet...

  • Thanks so much! I don't think this is it, but it was long enough ago that I've ordered it to see if the rest of the plot fits what I remember.
    – menzaremba
    Jun 22, 2021 at 14:16

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