Playing God by Sarah Zettel
Playing God gives a well-drawn picture of another intelligent species evolved on another planet. It also gives food for thought on humanity, its conflicts and its future.
The Dedelphi species evolved so that births are of several genetically identical females. (Males are only the result of older adult females transforming into non-intelligent males.) This has resulting in fierce bonding between birthing sisters and their children (who share one's genes), and a matriarchal social structure. The flip-side of the coin is there are fierce divisions between groups based on the real or perceived distance in blood ties. Countries are thought of like vast extended families. For centuries the countries have been warring, finally reaching a point where somebody's bioweapon has become a threat to the entire planet's population. They lack the technology to take care of it themselves.
Faced with extinction, the major countries are trying to form a Confederation and bring in Earth's Bioverse company to eliminate the threat and restore the planet. It is determined the problem is so bad the only way to fix it is to take the entire Dedelphi population off the planet and house them in space habitats while the planet cleanup is carried out. Dedelphi leaders try to maintain a ceasefire so this process can begin.
However, suspicion between the different countries runs very deep. Each country's leaders are at least nervous about how the evacuation, space habitats, etc. will affect in actual practice the balance of power between the countries. Factions in each country are intent on sabotaging the process and/or using it in favor of their particular country.
The cleanup plan is incredibly expensive. Bioverse hopes to make money on it by finding uses for unique life forms and biochemicals it finds during the cleanup. But there's only so much risk they're willing to take, especially when the ceasefire breaks. Humans are kidnapped. And then one Dedelphian faction hijacks a space habitat with intent to use it as a weapon.
One character considers the question: when do you let the disputing parties handle the conflict themselves and at what point do you take it out of their hands and play God.
There is good characterization of both key human and Dedelphian individuals. There are interesting threads in the story, such as those involving contact with humans being toxic to Dedelphians. Also, at one turning point a key Dedelphian character finds herself facing the Change to becoming a mindless male.