2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Portal for philosophy?
Sawyer's "poetic licence" must run many pages, imposing few constraints. Travel permits are included. He takes us across many borders - between nations, between universes, between species, and over into gender relations. We tour around many fields - geophysics, genetics, cosmology, and, of course, paleoanthropology. If any writer can keep the science in...
Published on March 26 2003 by Stephen A. Haines
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unable to stand on its own
Any book should be able to stand on its own. This book fails horribly in that regard.
What happened to the shooter? Why isn't Ponter accosted wherever he goes as a result of Tukalla's (I hope I got that right) response to the shooting? What happened to the High Gray Council's objections to free travel between the Earths? What's the deal with the game theorist and...
Published on Nov. 16 2003 by J. Hazelip
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5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than the first!,
Even better than HOMINIDS, which I didn't think was possible. 2 scenes standout, one at the Vietnam wall and the other might be the hottest bedroom scene in all of Sci-Fi. I can't wait for HYBRIDS.
4.0 out of 5 stars You Can't Hit A Home Run Every Time,
For Sawyer, this is probably just a double. Lose the
soliloquies and what's left is gem of a novella. Worth
reading, but go to the public library.
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN,
The neanderthal parallax is simply the best series of books ever written. There's not even a point in writing any more. Simply the best.
1.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like it,
I wanted to like this book , but the heavy handed religious tone and the rather neurotic female character were a real let down.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is Hugo material??,
By A Customer
I read this (and Hominids) in the library.
I have read science fiction and this isn't it.
The writing is pedestrian, the ideas are let down by their development, and the characters are wooden. A lot of people equate science fiction with all three, I hate seeing them proved right.
Spider Robinson has despaired for the state of science fiction... this is why. It's been taken over by Harlequin.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Portal for philosophy,
Sawyer's "poetic licence" must run many pages, imposing few constraints. Travel permits are included. He takes us across many borders - between nations, between universes, between species, and over into gender relations. We tour around many fields - geophysics, genetics, cosmology, and, of course, paleoanthropology. If any writer can keep the science in "sci-fi," it's Sawyer. It's a fascinating journey, undertaken at a headlong pace. Through it all, we follow the complex lives of human Mary Vaughan and Neanderthal Ponter Boddit. If all this seems heady stuff, fear not. Sawyer's skillful prose and vivid portrayals will keep you reading steadily. It's all realistic, if not real.
Writing a trilogy has inherent dangers. A second volume must stand alone, which this one does. The characters must build and not slip into static postures. Sawyer accomplishes this by the simple expedient of increasing the interaction of the two protagonists. The plot must move in new directions. This is also achieved, not least by Ponter's return to this "Earth" and Mary's journey to the Neanderthal universe. In their respective universes, Mary and Ponter encounter new people, achieve new levels of interaction and struggle to resolve contentious issues. This last, of course, is but partially successful. This is, after all, a trilogy.
Most readers of this book will have read Hominids, and will go on to finish the trilogy. Readers must be warned, however, Sawyer has a poorly hidden agenda. As in many of his other works, Sawyer seems intent on bringing us to his god. An astonishing amount of time is spent in both volumes on discussions of faith and, that old bugaboo, the "afterlife." Little of Ponter's science is discussed, but his personality is drawn as cool, rational almost to an extreme. A major scene in this novel, and its most inconsistent one, is Mary and Ponter's visit to Washington, DC. For reasons wholly inexplicable in a Canadian who wished to keep Toronto's CN Tower in view from Rochester, NY, she drags him to the Viet Nam Memorial, engaging him in another sermon about "faith." This time, unlike in Hominids, where he resolutely rejected her ideas, he waffles. Volume three, Hybrids, is almost certain to have him converted. After all, against all logic, he claims to be in love with her. What is motivating Sawyer in these efforts remains a mystery. Perhaps it's time for him to produce a non-fiction statement of his philosophy.
Even with the "faith" shortcoming and some severe bending of anthropology and cosmology, this book remains an excellent read. Sawyer's writing is masterful and his use of real science, no matter how contentious the topics, must be applauded. If he "takes sides" why should we condemn his choices? The final volume will be welcome and the entire trilogy a valuable asset as an exhibit of his skills and the readers' taste.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Thinly veiled socialist propaganda in novel form,
This review is from: Humans (Mass Market Paperback)
Though I generally consider it in poor taste to comment negatively on someone else's work, Robert J. Sawyer's recent "novel" Humans, the sequel to his deservedly well-received Hominids, filled me with such loathing that I felt compelled to warn off other readers lest they waste their valuable time and money on this arrogant, elitist, and virulently anti-American piece of tripe. Whereas Hominids was a fairly exciting adventure novel with just a dash of PC inspired politics thrown into the wash, Humans reads like a pedantic Berkeley sociology professor's lecture on the many, many virtues of bisexual authoritarian socialism. I don't know anything about Robert J. Sawyer's personal life, but it would greatly surprise me if he has ever lived more than a quarter of a mile from a Canadian university campus at any point in his adult life, worked in the private sector, or met a woman who did not define herself as "exploited." Yes, this book is that bad and no, I'm not exaggerating.
So painfully and self-consciously PC that it is sometimes difficult to read, Hominids spares no effort when it comes to placing the full blame for all of the world's ills squarely at the feet of that whipping boy of college intellectuals everywhere, American Society. While reading its admittedly competent prose, once can practically see the author sitting in a coffee house, his three thousand dollar Ibook perched atop his knees, reading the latest copy of Mother Jones while solemnly shaking his head in disbelief a the antics of my nation's unwashed peasantry. The book moves breathlessly from condemnation of private property to praise of affirmative action to an advocation of the constant observation of a genetically engineered, forcibly pacified and disarmed population by an all-knowing benevolent socialist state with the sort of unselfconscious, know-it-all ease that can only flow from the pen of a Canadian academic. Yet it is, at the same time, an uninspired regurgitation of the sort of tired, worn out Baby-Boomer ideas that those of us under the age of fifty have come to expect from our increasingly unstable and whimsical elders.
In the words of that truly great sci-fi leftist George Orwell: "doubleplusungood"
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Humans by Robert J. Sawyer (Mass Market Paperback - Sept. 15 2003)
CDN$ 8.99 CDN$ 8.54