Around 2000 I read a novel where one thread was about a far future where humans evolved into species with progressively less intelligence. The framing device for this thread was a small military team (one woman, two or three men) whose stasis device malfunctions and they awake in the far future. The first vignette the no-longer-humans were only slightly less intelligent than current humans, but the passage of time is shown by the team waking up from stasis to find that some but not all components of their clothing have disintegrated.

At one point there was some tension because one or more of the male team members expected the sole woman to have children with all of them to perpetuate the human species in this future. That was just in passing, I think, and at least one of the men had sex with the not-quite-human women.

I'm not sure why, but I think eventually the humans ran into a bad situation and triggered another round of stasis to escape. At which point the evolution of the no-longer humans had continued and they were even less like us...

One of the later vignettes had our no-longer-human primate descendants walking on all fours and being herded by intelligent rodents. "After all, there are worse fates than being herded by rodents."

The one-way time-travel vignettes were framed by chapters of "current" political and social dynamics which were less memorable, but dealt with (I think) social and ecological collapse.

It doesn't seem to be Timescape by Benford.

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    Hello and welcome to SFF! You have a good start here but can you take a look at this guide and edit in any extra details you remember.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Apr 13, 2018 at 13:40
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    minus the stasis, this sounds like a book I read around the same time (early 2000's), Im highly tempted to say its Baxter....Ill have to have a look around
    – Nick
    Apr 13, 2018 at 15:34
  • Yes, @Nick, you nailed it. It seems I'm remembering the later chapters of Evolution by Baxter. (Which is odd considering how well and fondly I remember the early parts.)
    – arp
    Apr 13, 2018 at 15:47
  • I was just looking at the entry (dont have it in front of me atm) and was convinced I was right! Answer inbound.
    – Nick
    Apr 13, 2018 at 15:48
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    You already have an accepted answer, but you might be interested in Kurt Vonnegut's 1985 novel Galápagos. It also explores the topic of future humans losing their intelligence as they evolve. Apr 13, 2018 at 20:03

1 Answer 1


This is Evolution by Stephen Baxter (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_(Baxter_novel))

Your memory of "current events type stuff" may come from...the extinction of mankind!

Blockquote Human extinction (or the extinction of human culture) also occurs in the book, as well as the end of planet Earth and the rebirth of life on another planet. (The extinction-level event that causes the human extinction is, indirectly, an eruption of the Rabaul caldera, coupled with various actions of humans themselves, some of which are only vaguely referred to, but implied to be a form of genetic engineering which removed the ability to reproduce with non-engineered humans.)

Nothing about people in stasis, but there is an element, towards the end, of evolved rodents herding Elephant like humans.

  • nice that stapledon is acknowledged as an influence. his last and first men is crazy in its details, lacking in character dev.
    – releseabe
    Jan 7, 2023 at 19:36

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