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In this polished anthropological SF yarn, the first of a trilogy from Nebula Award winner Sawyer (The Terminal Experiment), Neanderthals have developed a radically different civilization on a parallel Earth, as both sides discover when a Neanderthal physicist, Ponter Boddit, accidentally passes from his universe into a Canadian underground research facility. Fortunately, a team of human scientists, including expert paleoanthropologist Mary Vaughan, promptly identifies and warmly receives Ponter. Solving the language problem and much else is a mini-computer called a Companion implanted in the brain of every Neanderthal. 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 with his murder. Ponter's daughter Jasmel believes in Adikor's innocence, but to prevent a horrendous miscarriage of justice (Adikor could be sterilized), she must try to reopen the portal and bring her father home. The author's usual high intelligence and occasionally daunting erudition are on prominent display, particularly in the depiction of Neanderthal society. 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.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Ponter Boddit, a physicist in a world in which Neanderthals are the dominant primates, is performing a quantum computing experiment in a Canadian mine, where cosmic rays won't disturb the test's delicate parameters. Suddenly, he is transferred into a heavy water tank in the same mine, but in the universe in which humans predominate. Human scientists are alarmed, then amazed by the spluttering Neanderthal in modern clothing with a curious AI implant in his wrist. Ponter's scientific partner, Adikor, is equally shocked, but what's more, he now faces an inquiry into his best friend's disappearance and suspected murder. Ponter is a most winning creation--thoughtful, brave, and charming as, facing the loss of everything he loves, he befriends a wounded female scientist in the strange human world. The smaller-scale, peaceful, environmentally savvy world of Ponter's people is equally well realized, though Sawyer loses a little steam trying to pin humanity's woes on organized religion. An engaging, thought-provoking story to read after either The Clan of the Cave Bear or Greg Bear's Darwin's Radio (1999). Roberta Johnson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Creation and universe construction theories are a little outdated. Would have liked it better without the religious references. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Old Texan
I look forward to reading the rest of this series. It is true science fiction, where the plot is based around science that doesn't quite exist yet, and is explained through... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jenny
My brother recommended this trilogy to me. Even though there is a lot of scientific jargon ( more his area than mine) I couldn't put the book down. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Darlene K.
I really enjoyed this book. The scientific portions were explained in a way that I easily understood. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jan Spindler
I really enjoyed Robert Sawyer's view of an alternate universe that might have evolved if it weren't for who we are as humans.Published 3 months ago by Barbara Benz
Very good, actually - just bought the next book in the series and can't wait for the week-end to delve into it.Published 5 months ago by SublimingSun
I found the storyline fascinating. The premise of the narrative is that we exist alongside a parallel universe in which humanity developed along the Neanderthal branch of our... Read morePublished 5 months ago by M. Spears
Turns into an engaging, romantic hard (for me as least) science fiction novel!
Just the right antidote to my struggling enjoyment of more literary fiction.
Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax #1)
by Robert J. Sawyer
I read this back when Robert Sawyer was one of my favorite authors, though even at the time I couldn’t help... Read more