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I remember reading (some) of a series of novels in the 1980s (or earlier, I read old books then), where the protagonists were transported to a world that was divided into different habitats suitable for different types of intelligent species. The habitats were not necessarily compatible (some Earth-like, some suitable for chlorine-breathers, etc). People transported to it were transported into a body suitable for the habitat, even if it wasn't the species they were originally.

The main plotline, if I remember correctly, involved the hero trying to find out what was going on, and why this was happening. I don't remember many details.

The author wrote a lot of books where body changing was a major feature. One stand-alone novel featured a pair of heroes conscripted by an alcoholic demon to collect items from alternative worlds, to give the demon the power to destroy an Earth-killer asteroid. They were "injected" into the minds of their counterparts in the alternative worlds, for good and for bad. There were at least two other multibook series with body-transforming protagonists.

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    Sounds like something Algis Budrys would write. He liked that theme. See if any of his novels ring a bell: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algis_Budrys#Novels
    – jo1storm
    Nov 24 at 15:45
  • I figured this would be a duplicate, but most of the Jack Chalker answers are about his other series. Nov 24 at 15:53
  • You might want also to check James White - "Space hospital" series.
    – walkingRed
    Nov 25 at 9:02
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Sounds very much like Jack Chalker's 1977-2000 Well World series:

The Markovians experimented in species design on the Well World, sending the more successful ones into the new universe to populate one of these planets. By the time of the stories in the series, the Markovians have vanished...

The Well World's surface is composed primarily of 1560 large hexagonal regions—called "hexes"—each with an independent and often dramatically different climate and ecosystem...

In the first book, Midnight at the Well of Souls:

At the Well World, Brazil and his companions set off to track down Skander and Varnett, to stop them from gaining access to the central computer there and do untold mischief to the universe. The complication is that travelling through the polar gate on Dalgonia has transformed all of the humans, with the exception of Nathan Brazil, into members of the various species which inhabit the planet.

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  • Yes, it does sound very much like Jack Chalker's Well World series. That allowed me to find the other works by Chalker I remembered as well: "And the Devil Will Drag You Under" and the Soul Rider series. Nov 24 at 16:00
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    Series starts out relatively fun, but later entries feature more body horror and enslavement. Nov 24 at 16:32

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