Hominids

Hominids

Book - 2002
Average Rating:
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Robert Sawyer's SF novels are perennial nominees for the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, or both. Clearly, he must be doing something right since each one has been something new and different. What they do have in common is imaginative originality, great stories, and unique scientific extrapolation. His latest is no exception.

Hominids is a strong, stand-alone SF novel, but it's also the first book of The Neanderthal Parallax , a trilogy that will examine two unique species of people. They are alien to each other, yet bound together by the never-ending quest for knowledge and, beneath their differences, a common humanity. We are one of those species, the other is the Neanderthals of a parallel world where they, not Homo sapiens, became the dominant intelligence. In that world, Neanderthal civilization has reached heights of culture and science comparable to our own, but is very different in history, society, and philosophy.

During a risky experiment deep in a mine in Canada, Ponter Boddit, a Neanderthal physicist, accidentally pierces the barrier between worlds and is transferred to our universe, where in the same mine another experiment is taking place. Hurt, but alive, he is almost immediately recognized as a Neanderthal, but only much later as a scientist. He is captured and studied, alone and bewildered, a stranger in a strange land. But Ponter is also befriended-by a doctor and a physicist who share his questing intelligence and boundless enthusiasm for the world's strangeness, and especially by geneticist Mary Vaughan, a lonely woman with whom he develops a special rapport.

Meanwhile, Ponter's partner, Adikor Huld, finds himself with a messy lab, a missing body, suspicious people all around, and an explosive murder trial that he can't possibly win because he has no idea what actually happened. Talk about a scientific challenge!

Contact between humans and Neanderthals creates a relationship fraught with conflict, philosophical challenge, and threat to the existence of one species or the other-or both-but equally rich in boundless possibilities for cooperation and growth on many levels, from the practical to the esthetic to the scientific to the spiritual. In short, Robert J. Sawyner has done it again.   Hominids is the winner of the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
Publisher: New York : Tom Doherty Associates, 2002.
ISBN: 9780312876920
0312876920
Characteristics: 444 p. --

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b
billybotts
Jan 11, 2014

Really enjoyed the parallel universe scenario. Can't wait to read the next two books.

4
4thGlobal
Jul 19, 2013

1) Full of product placement - Coke, Taco Bell, Tim Horton's, McDonald's, Ford Explorer, CTV, Global etc. 2) Having made enough on the product endorsements, who needs a story? A man from another dimension arrives, then leaves. 3) We are subject to preaching about how bad we are as homo sapiens and summaries of anthropological studies. Choose the research instead. 4) The characters make unbelievable decisions: the worst is that three humans are quarantined in a house with a Neanderthal from another dimension and all two want to do is have sex and smoke pot. They are supposed to be scientists and yet they seem to have no interest in asking this guy about his world! I quickly lost interest.

Vero_biblio Aug 23, 2012

If you're interested in paleoanthropology, this is a Sci Fi book that you won't be able to put down. It's a fast read!

KileyP May 04, 2012

This sci-fi book is pretty hard to describe, but fantastic to read (and Robert J Sawyer is Canadian - yay!)! Parallel universes collide, one is our world and the other is an alternate history where neanderthals evolved into the superior race. Those who loved the classic Stranger in a Strange Land will be able to appreciate the alien aspect of this book, and all humans will begin to ask "what if?".

b
BlueMoonGirl
Aug 26, 2011

I found this to be very thought provoking. Loved it.

q
QuinEli
Jun 23, 2011

Sounds awesome

m
mhughson
Jun 21, 2011

One of my favourite SF books of all time. This was the first Robert J Sawyer book I read, and have since read almost everything he has written. One of the best SF authors out there.

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