id needed for a Sci-fi/Fantasy novel....mid to late 1980's.
The only thing I can remember was the book was set in the future. There was a guy (main character) who was on a quest. He had several companions with him. The one that stands out in my memory was a cat who had been 'gene-spliced' 'manufactured' with human DNA and had the brain/intelligence of a human. The whole society was super into genetic modification.

the cat was a girl...and maybe the face of the cat was that of a woman and not a cat's face..

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    wouldn't that make the cat dumber? – Oldcat Apr 14 '15 at 0:33

This might be James Kahns "World enough and Time" (which is 80s fantasy and has a cat/human hybrid). From an Amazon review:

Along the way, Joshua and Beauty make new allies and defeat many enemies. Among the former are Isis (part teenage girl, part black cat), Jasmine (a centuries-old Neuroman, essentially a robot driven by a human brain), Lon (a magnanimous and stately Vampire), and Sum-thin (another Neuroman with a taste for philosophy and opium). Among the latter are Jarl (a huge, talking bear king), Poseidon-worshipping religious fanatics, more Accidents, a genetically engineered dragon, some evil scientist Neuromans, and - of course - the three original villains who had kidnapped Rose, Dicey, and Ollie. Of these, Isis, Jarl, and all of the Vampire characters are sharply defined and interesting.

While this is the first part in a a trilogy ("New World Trilogy") you probably want to skip parts two and three ("Time's Dark Laughter" and "Timefall") which are just as clumsily written but miss the naive charme of the first installment.

Here is another fun review (don't read if you want to retain fond memories of the book) from a reader who wasn't particularly thrilled, either:

World Enough, And Time (1980) is the story of a post-Apocalyptic fantasy world, in which genetically-modified monsters threaten to wipe out the remaining population of humans.


Having chapter after chapter of lengthy, pseudo-scientific rationalization doesn't help me suspend disbelief, it merely bludgeons to death any lingering excitement I may have had.


As the book limped to its action-packed, yet ultimately meaningless, conclusion, I was stunned to find an ultimate reveal of... nothing. The big bad fizzled, the relationships built on the journey dissipated (there was a lot of shagging about for a pair of married men), and everything culminated in a lot of standing about and avoiding one another's gazes. Had I read this book backwards, it would've essentially been exactly the same story. I have no doubt that there's meaning in this - every leaf of every tree in World Enough, And Time is packed with meaning - but I have absolutely no desire to seek it out.

If there's one positive about this book it is that, although Kahn deluged the reader with world-building and philosophy, he spared us any poetry. I appreciate the self-restraint.

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  • this correctly identifies the book. :) – sheila Apr 16 '15 at 11:43

Could it be Andre Norton's The Starman's Son?

  1. Published in 1985 - Check
  2. Set in the future - Check
  3. A guy (main character) who was on a quest - Check
  4. He had several companions with him - Check
  5. A cat who had been 'gene-spliced' 'manufactured' with human DNA - Check
  6. It had the brain/intelligence of a human - Check
  7. The whole society was super into genetic modification - Check
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  • no it wasn't The Starman's Son :( – sheila Apr 14 '15 at 20:11

It doesn't meet the criteria for the 80's, but Accelerando, has a human-level intelligence cat in a society that is very into gene / intelligence modification.

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    Not to mention being a fantastic story. – MackTuesday Apr 14 '15 at 17:13

The book might have been Norstrilia. It is the only novel published by Paul Linebarger under the pseudonym Cordwainer Smith.It occasionally shows up in print is it is still one of the most intriguing books ever written.

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