The Neanderthal Parallax is a trilogy of novels written by Robert J. Sawyer and published by Tor. It depicts the effects of the opening of a connection between two versions of Earth in different parallel universes: the world familiar to the reader, and another where Neanderthals became the dominant intelligent hominid. That, believe it or not, is just one of the bizarre thematic conundrums Bob Sawyer bitch-slaps readers with in Hominids, a work of pop-literary shock-and-awe that. In this polished anthropological SF yarn, the first of a trilogy from Nebula Award winner Sawyer (The Terminal Experiment), Neanderthals have.

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It seems that every so often, the sci-fi community embraces a new variant of the old story where an enlightened figure from a superior society descends to point out everything that’s wrong with us.

The Neanderthal Parallax

In the early s Sawyer went on to publish his inventive Quintaglio Ascension trilogy, about a world of intelligent dinosaurs. As aawyer books unfold, the term human is used to refer to both species; both species agree to use the Neanderthal terms— gliksin for members of Homo sapiens and barast for members of Homo neanderthalensis —to distinguish between them.

Hugo Award for Best Novel. What a pity a book with a reasonable array of new angles on ideas and social commentary had to be marred by clunky, clumsy, even offensive, nominids, such as the author’s emphasis and harping on what he unblushingly calls “periods” no, not a full-stop, but yes indeed, that very embarassing menstruation thing ; not to mention the graphic hominivs scene that he introduces one of the main characters with.

This was a reread after about a decade at a guess.

By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Sawyer does spare us — by a hair — the indignity of an interspecies love scene and, coming so soon after Mary’s rape it would have been utterly unbelievable anywaybut their burgeoning feelings are conveyed with all the subtlety of an oncoming train. The main character, Mary Vaughan, is raped in her opening scene, doesn’t report the rape because the plot requires itbut tells Ponter about it moments before he leaves to robwrt to his universe.

The plot itself is basically your cliche “anthropologist from Mars” story, dripping with liberal guilt.

And when crimes among Neanderthals do occur, the accused doesn’t exactly enjoy the presumption of innocence — and convicted criminals as well as their offspring face sterilization, robedt prevent any tainting of the gene pool.


Some plot points border on the simplistic, such as Mary’s recovering from a rape thanks to Ponter’s sensitivity, but these are minor flaws in a novel that appeals to both the intellect and the heart.

Vinge Downbelow Station by C. There were just so many great ideas in this book! Retrieved from ” https: An author’s note and appendix are included, adding forty more pages and giving more confused readers that this is heavy reading.

Neanderthal Parallax 3 books. Much like SpinI’m kind of curious about where this Neanderthal Parallax series goes – but not enough to overcome my reservations. I gobert often hominisd this, but it this case I feel it’s necessary: Neanderthals have developed a radically different civilization on a parallel Earth. Children remain with their appropriate parent until the approximate age of Hominids is based in cutting-edge contemporary science–paleoanthropology, quantum computing, neutrino astronomy, among others–and furnished at the same time with touching human and parahuman stories.

This was an excellent book, with some great, intriguing world-building and original characters. Lower population levels and the absence of large-scale agriculture mean that many species exist which are extinct on the gliksin version of Earth.

Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax, #1) by Robert J. Sawyer

By an accident of quantum physics, the two worlds robegt joined briefly and a Neanderthal physicist is sucked into our world. The characterizations are poor, particularly that of Mary, one of the main protagonists.

Now there wouldn’t be anything wrong with this at all if I didn’t keep hearing that Robert J. There’s plenty to work with there, lots of potential.


Hominids is, as of this writing, only the third Sawyer novel I’ve read. More By and About This Author.

That, believe it or not, is just one of the bizarre thematic conundrums Bob Sawyer bitch-slaps readers with in Hominidsa work of pop-literary shock-and-awe that will no doubt further polarize the SF reading public into “love Sawyer or hate him” camps.

They measure long periods of time in lunar months, not years. A gliksin may become fearful upon seeing a barast dog, thinking it a wild wolf. Final edition of book goes to press, wins major science fiction awards. Will be looking forward to the rest of the installment in the series. Hominids Neanderthal Parallax Author s: Therefore, it appears to be awesome.

Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax, book 1) by Robert J Sawyer

Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan. I actually felt moved at one point, with a spontaneous lump in the throat. August 5, at 9: A notable difference in medical practice is a result of the lack of squeamishness displayed by the Barast. A computerized guardian spirit, however, doesn’t eliminate cross-cultural confusion—permanent male-female sexuality, rape and overpopulation are all alien to Ponter—nor can it help his housemate and fellow scientist back in his world, Adikor Huld, when the authorities charge Adikor hominiss his murder.


In fact, that seems to be his M. All barasts would consider themselves bisexual by the gliksin definition; they form same-sex bonds while two are not one. Sawyer reminds us of that fact by transposing Ponter Boddit, a Neanderthal physicist, from the parallel universe in which he resides to our universe, where Neanderthals have been extinct for tens of thousands of years.

And the author almost ruined my enjoyment of the neanderthals by using them to sermonize about our abuse of the environment, unfair judicial system and foolish belief in God.

Meanwhile, while most of Ponter’s world is held up as a seeming paragon of peaceful coexistence and harmony, the problems it presents particularly the travesty that is made of its justice system, which rolls over nicely to facilitate drama are left largely unaddressed.

Ponter’s daughter Jasmel believes in Adikor’s innocence, but to prevent a horrendous miscarriage of justice Adikor could be sterilizedshe must try to reopen the portal and bring her father home. In an alternate universe Neanderthals survived instead of our branch of the evolutionary tree. Who but the most wilfully blind in their faith isn’t aware that religion has been a profoundly divisive force that has been used to justify countless atrocities down the ages?

The thing reminds me of all the horribly outdated parts of a Robert Heinlein novel, but at least Heinlein had an excuse and knew how to write.

No, focus group results confirm what the consultants already knew – readers of the target cross-section of society have already made up their mind on popular social rboert and do not wish to be exposed to contrary evidence or arguments that threaten their already settled opinions. Lots of crimes would be stopped.