The novel had rocks discovered on some planet that were sentient. Humans used them for cell phones. They wanted to be free and enlisted some sort of geneticist sometimes called "a bodybuilder" to help them. Along the way, humans are found to be de-evolving. The novel kept using the line "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny". The geneticist was turned into a woman at one point and sexually assaulted by a sheikh. He also met the pope. In the end, all the humans became the rocks.

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    I've no idea what it is but I really, really hope someone IDs it, so I can take steps never to read it. <marvin> Sounds awful. </marvin> – Moriarty Aug 18 '17 at 3:36
  • I confess I agree with that assessment, @Moriarty - although I also thought it sounded a little like a Jack L Chalker story. Weird aliens, body transformations. I think I've read most of his stuff, and this doesn't match up with anything I recall. And, there's very little of his I'd classify as straight-out awful. Really freaky, but not truly awful. – RDFozz Aug 18 '17 at 21:54
  • @RDFozz, It sounds kind of like something Chalker would write but that's as close as I can come to an answer. – ShadoCat Aug 19 '17 at 0:07

"Phylum Monsters" by Hayford Peirce.

The Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide's review mentions:

  • people communicating via sentient, telepathic Martian rocks

  • Robert Claybom, life-stylist

  • 29,354 men created from his most popular custom design starting to regress to apes

  • Martian Oneness, the overmind of the rocks wanting Robert to liberate the animas of the individual rocks by finding organic bodies for them.

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  • That is it! You are officially the greatest person in the universe. – Scotsman Oct 21 '17 at 4:21

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