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I read the book in German maybe 30 years ago. The story is about a private investigator that can enter a parallel world via his cabinet. There his assistant is a female sentient gorilla. His friend, a female actor(?) was temporarily turned into a fighter space ship. The plot partially plays in a hollowed-out asteroid that is built and inhabited by sentient whales and dolphins.

I did research on Google and ChatGpt, but apart from ever-repeatimg hints to David Brin's Uplift series (which is not the right thing)… I found nought.

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  • You could improve this question by going through the checklists here and editing in any relevant info you can think to add.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 15, 2023 at 16:28

1 Answer 1

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This is almost certainly The Venus Belt (1980) by L. Neil Smith, the the second book in the North American Confederacy series.

Parts that match: The story is about a private investigator that can enter a parallel world via his cabinet.

Match. Edwin "Win" Bear is a Denver police officer turned private detective. In the Venus Belt he travels between the worlds using a probability broach in a back closet/room/office.

There his assistant is a female sentient gorilla.

Match. In the parallel worlds apes (including gorillas) are sentient. His assistant is a female.

His friend, a female actor(?) was temporarily turned into a fighter space ship.

Partial match. His friend Lucy Kropotkin is loaded into a mobile 'droid body, not a fighter ship.

The plot partially plays in a hollowed-out asteroid that is built and inhabited by sentient whales and dolphins.

Match. Has some great descriptions of how it is built and works.

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    An excellent find. I've added a copy of the cover that's most likely to be the one that OP saw
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 16, 2023 at 15:27
  • The ideal antidote to Hamilton.
    – hobbs
    Commented Oct 24, 2023 at 4:18

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