David Zindell, 1988, Sci-fi
This book is far-future space opera, set in a universe where humans have colonized thousands of worlds with FTL ships. It explores what it means to be human, how humanity might evolve in the future, and does so in a reasonably good way. Most sci-fi confines itself to "What might happen in the next 2-300 years?"; this asks, "What might happen in the next 10,000 years?" The results Zindell achieves are worth reading. Insanely powerful computers, really fast ships, and the ability to create supernovas have not really improved people. Zindell's characters still fall in love with the wrong people, behave crassly, seek revenge, and do dumb things in pursuit of power. It's all a fairly good read.
The book was originally written as a standalone, and can be read that way, but there are 3 sequels.
This book received far too little attention, and may not be in your local public library.