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This is not a novel, but "longish" short fiction, novelette or novella. I read it around 1984, in an already used book containing half a dozen or so stories, in a cheap hotel in the US. There were several such books on a shelf, there. I also read another, very similar one, that contained "Nightwings" by Robert Silverberg. After checking all collections containing the latter published before 1985 (thanks, Jenayah !!!), I got to the conclusion those were two different books. It is not a bad story, but it did pale compared to "Nightwings" !

A man, on our Earth, is contacted by a bizarre agency who offers him to get his mind transferred to a body in an alternate Earth, in order to save, either some polity from an external enemy, or the queen of some polity threatened by an "internal" cabal, I forgot. Why he accepts is not clear, since when will he be able to use the money he is offered? No return seems promised.

He gets there, and meets several species of humanoid beings. They all have names that contain the word "man" in the local language, but I forgot how that sounds. One species is a "snow-man", a huge and frightening Yeti (but not the most agressive species in that world) who lives in the eternal snows of a high mountain range (or, possibly, of a polar cap, I forgot). Another is a "Cave-man", without eyes because they live in deep caves with no light. A third one is amphibious, "Water-man" or "Sea-man" or "River-man", I am not sure. One species practices cannibalism, and they file their teeth better to tear flesh. I forgot if it is one of the latter two, or still a fourth one. Finally the ones he is supposed to help are essentially like us.

Our hero crosses all these obstacles, reaches the polity he has been hired to help, and saves the queen from the cabal, or possibly the entire polity from the enemy. I don't remember the end well, but he never goes back to our Earth.

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    Hi, Alfred! If you want to improve this (already very nice) question, see this awesome guide! – Stormblessed Apr 28 at 17:42
  • @Stormblessed Thanks for the guide (and your own edit !). Where did my comment disappear ? Well, once more. There is really nothing more that I remember about the story itself. But the connection with "Nightwings" is a time indication even if there were in two different collections, I really don't remember. It is the first time I ask about it on a forum, I did try to find it by myself by looking for it with keywords, but to no avail. – Alfred Apr 28 at 18:40
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    For what it's worth, here is a list of the publications "Nightwings" appears in. If you can take a look, see if jogs any memory :-) and if you find it, don't hesitate to post it as a self-answer in the field below. – Jenayah Apr 28 at 19:04
  • @Jenayah Thanks so much for the list you sent me. Alas, I tried all the different books (I did not yet check every single one of the lines that had the same title but different editors or publishers). None of the novellas and novelettes (it is clearly not a short story) in those collections seemed to be the right one. In fact I now believe that there were at least two different collections in that hotel, probably both of the 70's, Nightwings being in a different one than the one I am looking for. – Alfred Apr 28 at 21:54

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