Simply Human: Baen Books, August,
2000. Assaulted by random chemicals,
solar radiation, and genetic manipulation, the human gene pool
was falling apart. The solution: simplify it, making it
redundant and self-correcting, then in a thousand years, when
the planet was clean again, change it back. In the meantime,
"Simplified" humans would keep civilization going. But after two
thousand years, the automated monitors still register
intolerable mutation rates.
Achibol the Sorcerer, dilapidated cyborg troubleshooter, is repairing them one by one, but someone something doesn't want him to succeed. The urchin Benadek, Achibol's apprentice, only wants good food and a warm place to sleep.
But nothing is ever what it seems including Benadek and nothing human is ever ... simple.
"L. Warren Douglas has created an intriguing future for his new series. He posits that we will pass through a period when corporations will use genetic engineering to exploit people quite dreadfully - adding the genes of bears to humans, for instance, so that workers will hibernate during the off season and the corporations won't have to feed them. The result will be seven variants of the familiar old-human line of humanity - bearlike bors, elfin wends, otterish mantees, nomadic fards, sulfurous tarbeks, polar ikuts. Each is adapted to a particular environment - bors to mountain caves, fards to deserts, mantees to water....The thousands of worlds of the Xarafeille Stream are overseen by the old-human Arbiter, John Minder XXIII. He does not rule; he keeps the peace by manipulation and negotiation; only when that fails may he call upon a hidden space fleet and planets full of old-style warriors; awareness of that possibility helps him in his quieter maneuverings.
Fortunately, there are copies of the data blocks. They are
scattered on several worlds, squirreled away where no one may
what they are. If he can just lay hands on them....
Fr4om Tom Easton's review in Analog Magazine.
Bright Islands in a Dark Sea, Del Rey Books, 1993. An archaeological SF novel set in the far future, when the height of high tech is an oxcart. But once Mankind had reached for the stars: what had happened? Only the sinister alien "gods" of the Church of Pharos know. They claim humans are incapable of piloting ships in the hostile interstellar environment. But antiquarian Yan Bando has discovered an ancient wrecked starship, with human skeletons at the controls, and he can prove the ship's last planetfall but one was definitely not Earth...