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I'm trying to identify a book, where several different races (I think at least 3) who all have just one particular sense (seeing, hearing) must cooperate as a mixed group in some kind of competition or race that involved navigating a kind of obstacle course, building, or maze, that possibly involved challenges, where each of the senses and sometimes their combination was necessary to advance.

I think the races initially hated each other (prejudices), but the representatives of at least one group involved in this competition learned to respect each other during the events.

Must be older, before 80s. I read the novel in German, but it was translated from English, as most SF here was at this time. I've no idea if it was aimed at adults or young adults. I don't remember names. I don't remember the perspective. The race was at least a substantial part of the book. It might have been a small book. That's about all I can remember.

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    I'm willing to bet you can remember more. Have a read through the checklists here to see if there's anything else you can come up with. How to ask a good story-ID question?.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 14:53
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    Were they aliens? What did they look like? Did the race have a prize? What kind of race was it? Were there any humans involved? Did you read the novel in English? Was it aimed at adults or young adults? What form did the competition take? What were the names of the various protagonists? Was it told from the perspective of an outsider? Was the race the entire book or just a small part of it?
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 14:55
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    I read the novel in German, but it was translated from English, as most SF here was at this time. I've no idea if it was aimed at adults or young adults. I don't remember names. I don't remember the perspective. The competition involved navigating some sort of obstacle course, building, or maze, possibly with challanges, where each of the senses might be used in one way or another, but I don't remember details. I suppose it had some form of price, but can't remember. The race was at least a substantial part of the book. It might have been a small book.
    – dirkt
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 16:38
  • I wasn't aware of the checklists. I read through them, but nothing new. I remembered another detail though, and edited the question.
    – dirkt
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 16:43
  • How do you know it was translated?
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 16:46

1 Answer 1

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This sounds like Thousandstar by Piers Anthony (the 4th novel in the Cluster series).

The three races were the Hydr'o (primary sense taste), the Squam (primary sense hearing), and the Erb (primary sense sight), and their combat abilities formed a ring of Tactical Rock Paper Scissors - a Squam's claws could cut a Hydr'o, a Hydr'o's water jets could penetrate an Erb, and an Erb's drill-like leaves could cut through a Squam's scales.

The competition involved many more than those three races, but every other race participating was physically represented by a Hydr'o, a Squam or an Erb, hosting the mind of a member of another race via "Kirlian Aura Transfer" (the primary method of interstellar travel in the Cluster series).

The protagonist was a Hydr'o named Heem - he was representing his own race in the competition, but he was still hosting a mind from a race not directly involved in the competition (a human) in order to gain an advantage.

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