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5.0 out of 5 stars SHOCKING conclusion to Neanderthal / Earthling series
This is the third book in The Neanderthal Parallax trilogy. The other two being Hominids (book 1) and Humans (book 2).

In this book we find Dr Mary Vaughan (human geneticist) and Ponter Boddit (Neanderthal physicist) continuing their relationship that developed when they first met. Mary has gone over to the parallel Neanderthal world to learn more about their...
Published on Jan. 10 2012 by fastreader

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic let down...
The Idea of Neanderthals crossing the dimentional divide via a Quantum singularity, who couldn't be intrigued by such a notion?
Unfrotunately for the reader it appears the author was one such person, where the book could have illuminated and inspiered it merely plodded along...The main character Mary Is simpering and paranoid in the extreme. The main lesson to...
Published on Nov. 5 2003 by L. Cowhig


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4.0 out of 5 stars cave man boogie part 3, May 29 2014
By 
Richard Schwindt (Kingston, Ontario) - See all my reviews
I guess we will never know what dramas took place when Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals hung out on the same turf. Likely it was ugly but we stayed and they went, though Ozzie Osbourne apparently retains some of their DNA. Sawyers trilogy has fascinated me from the beginning; it is a work of great imagination that in the end plays with a different paradigm of what humanity could be. In that way it is a bit of a Utopian/Dystopian hybrid. Maybe in a better world we could all be bisexual, chasing down mastodons with spears for fun. I'm not sure it holds up to much scrutiny but the books are fun and stimulating. Hybrids is perhaps the weakest; being a little more preachy than the prior two novels but it remains worth the read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bought for Friend, May 18 2014
By 
Michael Kearney (Labrador, NL, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hybrids (Mass Market Paperback)
Haven't read this. Sci-fi. I have read this author in other works but can't comment on this book. Maybe someday
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5.0 out of 5 stars SHOCKING conclusion to Neanderthal / Earthling series, Jan. 10 2012
By 
fastreader - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Hybrids (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the third book in The Neanderthal Parallax trilogy. The other two being Hominids (book 1) and Humans (book 2).

In this book we find Dr Mary Vaughan (human geneticist) and Ponter Boddit (Neanderthal physicist) continuing their relationship that developed when they first met. Mary has gone over to the parallel Neanderthal world to learn more about their culture.

From the first books we have learned that in the Neanderthal world:

1) The population has been limited to 185 million
2) All the men live on the outskirts of town and all the women live in the middle
3) The women live with their woman mate and children
4) The men live with their man mate
5) Every 25 days the men go into town and visit their woman mate for 4 days
6) Conception is limited to once every 10 years thus aiding the ZPG
7) Regressive genes (violence, disease etc )have been bred out of the population
8) While they have helicopters they don't have airplanes
9) They don't use fossil fuels but rather solar power
10) They have a strong opinion about religions, because they don't have any
11) They have an implanted electronic companion that records everything they do so crime and violence is rare

Mary and Ponter want to have a child however their chromosomes are different so it would not be possible. They meet a disgraced Neanderthal geneticist who may have solved that problem and smuggle out her equipment that has banned to be used.

However her boss, Jock, who works for the military designs an airborne virus that will only kill Neanderthals and leave their idealic world available to the humans.

The race is then on with Ponter and Mary trying to stop Jock. There are other minor story arcs that add variety to the book and it is highly entertaining

While this book is the third in a trilogy it stands alone as a great read. The background from the other two books, at least the highlights, is included in flashbacks to flush out the story arc.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Midwest Book Review, Feb. 3 2004
By 
Laurel Johnson (Kansas USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hybrids (Hardcover)
The Neanderthal hero, Ponter Bobbit, and his homo sapiens lover, Mary Vaughan, are back to bring The Neanderthal Parallax Trilogy to a satisfying climax. As we have come to expect from Hominids and Humans - the first two books in this fine series - the interaction between human and Neanderthal provides unusual and exciting scenarios.

This time around, distinguished Neanderthal scientists have crossed from their universe into ours via the portal created and maintained with Neanderthal technology. Their scientific skills far surpass those of humans, and yet the world in which they live remains pristine. Primeval forests thrive; water and air are pure and sweet; the oceans abound with life and no animals have gone extinct from over-hunting. Their work with DNA rivals anything humans have discovered. The trusting Neanderthals believe the more information exchanged between worlds, the better, but their human counterparts are not so idealistic. Human conditions are overcrowded, the environment fouled by fossil fuels and littered with garbage. One powerful man sees the Neanderthal world as the new Eden and devises a horrifying plan to claim that rich wilderness for humans.

Humans and Neanderthals socially, emotionally, and philosophically gain greater understanding of each other in Hybrids.. Still, there are many problems. Humans cannot grasp the concept of a world without satellites, war, gps systems, cell phones, highways and airplanes. Neanderthals cannot understand a species that would pollute the world they live in and greedily deplete all resources. Meanwhile, Ponter and Mary plan to officially bond and have a child together. Theirs will be the first hybrid offspring between Neanderthal and homo sapiens, if they can utilize technology that has been banned in Ponter's world.

Hybrids is ethically and technologically intriguing.. The characters are fully developed and unique, whether they be good or evil. Dangers threatening both worlds are realistic and mirror a multitude of problems present in our lives today. Although Hybrids is the third and final book in Sawyer's Neanderthal series, the story could stand alone. I do encourage you, however, to read this excellent and well written series in order. As writer and story teller, Sawyer is deserving of every award he's won so far.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic let down..., Nov. 5 2003
By 
L. Cowhig "daveboru" (Co Kildare Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hybrids (Hardcover)
The Idea of Neanderthals crossing the dimentional divide via a Quantum singularity, who couldn't be intrigued by such a notion?
Unfrotunately for the reader it appears the author was one such person, where the book could have illuminated and inspiered it merely plodded along...The main character Mary Is simpering and paranoid in the extreme. The main lesson to gleaned according to the author from our connection with another universe? well rather perversly it is that Man, to be more accurate white Men, are all Evil, Bar one or two exceptions who are not actually in this book; the reason for our extraordinary Evil and general vileness, why of course, Testosterone and the Y chromosome!!! Talk about sweeping, inacurate, ignorant and offensive statements. There are numerous such pages where men (always white men) are recounted for their general lack of humanity. It gets quite boring after a while.Swayer shows a lack of genetic anthropological and historical adeptness in his writing only rivaled by his poor characterisation and plot lines. Avoid this book it will only let you down. A pity as ponter could have been very very cool.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Really Bad, Jan. 14 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Hybrids (Hardcover)
This book is one of the reasons I dislike trilogies. I read the first two books which represented very good, inventive science fiction. When the third book (which I looked forward to reading) turns out to be wretched, I felt cheated.
Hybrids is chiefly a treatise on the wonders of Canadian socialism, and a blunt object to beat on Americans, Christians, and white males. This constant antagonism squelches what little interest there is in Sawyer's overly clever plot, and makes his characters difficult, if not impossible to connect with.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Better than Humans, but that's not saying much, June 14 2004
By 
John Howard "jrh1972" (Jacksonville, Florida) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hybrids (Hardcover)
After reading Homonids, the first book in this series, I had high hopes for the series. Because, despite what I thought was too much focus in that book on Mary Vaughn's personal problems, I still really enjoyed the book, and thought the premise was very interesting. However, in the second book, Humans, Sawyer takes the story completely in the wrong direction, focusing almost entirely on the relationship between Mary Vaughn and Ponter Boddit, and ignoring the more interesting story of the comparison and contrast between the two different Earths.
While this book was better than Humans, with a little more focus outside of their relationship, it still is way too heavily skewed towards that storyline. While that mediocre story plays out in detail in each chapter, a much more intresting story goes almost undeveloped in little snippets at the beginning of each chapter. I also found myself wondering how the Neanderthal technology would have managed to progress like it had without a population anywhere near that of the Gliksins. It seems that with the limited population and without so much war to drive technology, they would have moved much slower.
I will continue to look for more from Sawyer in the future, but nothing else from this series. I think Sawyer could have done a much better job with this story, but he just went down the wrong path. If you read the other two books in the series, you will want to read this one as well, but don't expect anything great.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The literature of ideas is alive and well, Dec 13 2003
By 
Jon Jackman (Tonawanda, NY, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hybrids (Hardcover)
It's become fashionable in some circles to denigrate the term "science fiction" .... in favor of "speculative fiction," or some such .... and to treat the "literature of ideas" .... science fiction's venerable nickname .... as pejorative. Robt J. Sawyer proves both those movements misguided. Here is real science fiction, with cutting edge science (anthropology, quantum physics, genetics, and more), and new and interesting ideas on every page. The whole Neanderthal Parallax is worth reading .... and Hybrids finishes it off in high style.
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5.0 out of 5 stars But will it work?, Nov. 16 2003
By 
Friederike Knabe "Books are funny little port... (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hybrids (Hardcover)
Interracial human relationships hold their own fascination. At the same time, they usually present the partners and their surroundings with distinctive challenges. Yet, these must pale in comparison to a love bond between a homo sapiens and an evolved modern-day Neanderthal. Ancient DNA expert Mary Vaughn of Toronto met Physicist Ponter Boddit of Saldek (the Neanderthal equivalent to Sudbury in Northern Ontario) after he was thrown into our version of earth by a quantum computer accident. After various exploratory visits, mainly by scientists, between the parallel universes, a constant portal is established allowing a regular exchange of scientific knowledge and philosophical ideas. The two lovers are determined to bring the two parallel realities closer together.
With great skill and immense empathy for this alternative to the homo sapiens' world Sawyer builds a far-reaching vision of Neanderthal society covering all aspects of its environment, its people and their accomplishments. Exploring the scientific innovations of "Barast" culture provides him a platform for discussing the latest thinking in genetics, consciousness studies, brain research, and physics. His comprehensive knowledge and enthusiasm for scientific subjects shine through all levels of the narrative without becoming heavy or too demanding for the reader. At one level, the Neanderthal version of the universe is presented as a mirror of what could have been in our world. Take the environment: the dialogue between Ponter and Jock, Mary's boss, during a copter flight over New York beautifully illustrates the differences between the two versions of earth as it leaves a deep impression on Jock: Manhattan IS the "Island of Hills" - devoid of skyscrapers, people and traffic. It makes him wish that we "could start all over again with a clean slate".
As Mary spends more time in Ponter's world she learns to accept the differences, up to a point. Many aspects of Barast society are so markedly different that it is not be easy to adapt. For one, our concept of individual freedoms does not mean much here. For example, while the ubiquitous communication system allows instant contact between people, it is monitoring all movements and discussions for the archival record. As one result crime is almost non-existent. Men and women live pretty much separate lives, each with a same-sex mate and their monthly four-day heterosexual coming together - 'Two become One', is treated like a holiday. Children are born according to a predefined generational schedule, allowing the society to maintain population levels stable. Besides the timing, the lovers' wish to conceive a child appears impossible due to the difference in their chromosomes. Sawyer just loves to explain complex genetics in layperson's terms! But DNA research has advanced, mainly in Ponter's world, and new possibilities emerge. The technology is also open to abuse and causes ethical dilemmas. There are more complexities to delve into concerning genetics, above all the potential existence of a specific set of genes, a "God organ". The question of religion has been a major theme throughout the trilogy and here it ends in a dramatic climax.
Sawyer's fluent style and clear, lively narrative make this one of best reads around. At the same time, you learn about some fascinating new research and scientific discoveries and can ponder some important questions about the society we live in. If you have not read the first two volumes of the Neanderthal Parallax, don't feel discouraged. The indispensable background to understand the story is sprinkled throughout this volume. Still, reading it from the beginning leaves you better prepared to savour its different layers. [Friederike Knabe]
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, moving, joyous, Nov. 14 2003
By 
Allan Destry (Appleton, WI USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hybrids (Hardcover)
I am amazed at some of the silly readings people have made of this book. There's a complex, subtle vision at work here, not some simplistic message. Although it's true that the NEANDERTHAL PARALLAX series examines the role of male violence, we see during the course of these three books a number of good men (even Mary's ex-husband gets a very sympathetic on-screen portrayal in this volume). The message of HYBRIDS is very clearly that it is evil and wrong to blame all men for the bad acts of some. Indeed -- mild spoiler here -- Sawyer brilliantly contrives a situation in which we think for a time that his main character Mary Vaughan, who has good reason to be very angry with at least one man who has raped her, has come to this simplistic conclusion. But that's not what Mary is thinking AT ALL, as Sawyer makes clear in a very satisfying reversal.
Like the Hugo Award winning HOMINIDS and the equally deserving HUMANS before it, HYBRIDS is a story of big ideas and all-too-human and fallible characters. If you're used to sci-fi about gleaming heroes ... the kind of stuff Baen publishes ... you may indeed find the complex, error-prone, conflicted people populating this book unfamiliar ... except when you take your nose out of a book and look around at REAL HUMAN BEINGS, which is what Sawyer excels at writing about.
The plot here involves multiple levels of hybridization: cultural and personal. There's a quest for the best of both worlds, a mid-ground between the harshness of the Neanderthal system (yes, harshness -- I'm astonished that so many people seem to gloss over the flaws that Sawyer so clearly paints in the Neanderthal system) and our own. And there's a quest for Ponter and Mary to have a child, despite their differing chromosome counts. And, for those who (wrongly) think Sawyer has been unfair to Americans, the president of the US, who delivers a long speech broken up into small sections at the beginnings of each chapter, comes off as thoughtful, humane, and visionary -- just the sort of person we often indeed have had in the White House.
Sawyer has written a thriller combined with a love story combined with a philosophical speculation of the first water. This whole series is excellent, but this final volume is the best of the three, mostly because of the surprising twists and turns and the way Sawyer draws everything together in ways that aren't at all obvious. Read it; you won't be disappointed.
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Hybrids by Robert J. Sawyer (Mass Market Paperback - Nov. 1 2004)
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