Yeah, I know this one is late too….
I’ll be honest here, I haven’t gotten to read “Manta’s Gift” yet and I haven’t seen “Avatar” so I’m certainly not qualified to talk on this subject, but here’s the back cover to “Manta’s Gift:”
Matt Raimey had his whole life ahead of him when fate got in the way. One moment he was skiing down a tricky slope, the next he was flat on his back, paralyzed. His girlfriend left him, and his anger at the unfairness of it all drove away all of his friends.
Then Jakob Faraday of the Jupiter project came to ask if he’d like to go to Jupiter and be our emissary to the Qanska, the huge sentient creatures Faraday had discovered in Jupiter’s atmosphere, by becoming one of them. Be some kind of a freak halfway across the solar sustem? No way. Then Matt considered his one alternative: spending the rest of his life staring up at the ceiling.
So he went to Jupiter… and began a strange adventure that opened up his eyes to the wonder of a completely alien existence. But Earth’s ruling Five Hundred then decided he had to spy on his new ‘family’… and Matt knew that there’d be trouble for him and the Qanska. There’s only one way to avert a disaster that could wipe out the entire race, and it all depends on him…
Tell me that you’re not envisioning tall blue aliens when you read that?