5.0 out of 5 stars SENSATIONAL Differences - Humans and Neanderthals
This is the second book in The Neanderthal Parallax trilogy. The other two being Hominids (book 1) and Hybrid (book 3).
In this book Ponter Bonditt ( Neanderthal physicist) and Mary Vaughan (human geneticist) continue to develop their relation ship .
A permanent portal is created between their two worlds and both cultures travel to the other side...
Published on Jan. 10 2012 by fastreader
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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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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Many Facets of Science in One,
Rare is the speculative fiction author who deals with one or two types of speculation in a given book, and does it this well. Sawyer has in his Neanderthal series included quantum computing, quantum mechanics, anthropology, archeology, environmental science, psychology, sociology and just plain good story telling.
5.0 out of 5 stars Every bit as good as HOMINDS,
This series is on its way to being a true SF classic. While HOMINIDS concentrated more on science, HUMANS revels in philosophy. It's a deeply moving novel, and a very worthy follow up to HYBRIDS. Well done, Mr. Sawyer!
5.0 out of 5 stars A great continuation of a fabulous trilogy...,
Robert J Sawyer has written over 10 novels now and each one has taken me in a new direction, but unkikle most modern SF, the directions Sawyer's books take take are not, necessarily, external. Although Sawyer's novels fall firmly into the speculative/science fiction category, it is the thought-provoking philosophical situations that keep drawing me back.
His newest book, Humans, is no different. Following up the first volume of the parallax trilogy (Hominids), Humans tells the story of an alternate earth - one on which neanderthals became the dominant species, not humans. In this world, though geography is the same as present-day earth, the direction that scientific development has taken is much different from that of humans. In Hominids, through an accident of quantum physics, a portal opens up between our earth and the parallel earth of the neanderthals. A neanderthal physicist (Ponter Bodditt) slips through the portal and experiences what our version of earth is like. This begins what will eventually become a large-scale pursuance of cross-dimensional exchange.
Humans tells the continuing story of Ponter and his relations with a human geneticist on our earth. Using Ponter's "Stranger in a Strange Land" style arrival on earth, Sawyer manages to brilliantly call into question elements of our society that we may take for granted. using the unique perspective of an educated outsider, Sawyer makes the reader think about the worth of agriculture, nationalism and privacy among other things. But where others have failed, Sawyer's philosophical musings succeed in their ability to not bog down the action in Humans.
Fast-paced, thought-provoking and very well-written, Robert Sawyer has given us another great piece of speculation. I can't wait for the final book in the trilogy.
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