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Hybrids (Neanderthal Parallax) Hardcover – September 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Series: Neanderthal Parallax (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312876904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312876906
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,473,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Canadian writer Sawyer brings his Neanderthal Parallax trilogy to a close, leaving some loose ends that beg for a follow-up further exploring the interaction of two parallel worlds: the overcrowded and polluted one we're used to and another inhabited by highly intelligent and civilized Neanderthals. In the earlier books (Hominids and Humans), physicist Ponter Boddit got translated from the Neanderthal world to ours, where he fell in love with geneticist Mary Vaughn. The couple joined with people of good will from both worlds to keep the link open. Now, though, it's time to consider the implications of such a continuing connection. If people have trouble getting along because of such distinctions as sex and race, how will they be able to co-exist with members of another species? Some individuals see anyone different as a rival, a threat that must be destroyed. Others coldly calculate how to seize new territory for "humanity." Sawyer's characters are less interesting for who they are than for what they are-or what they represent. Still, his picture of the unspoiled Neanderthal world is charming, and he raises some provocative questions. If, for example, only Earth-humans have brains capable of religious belief, should Ponter and Mary genetically design their child with that ability or not? It all amounts to some of the most outrageous, stimulating speculation since Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land questioned our tired, timid conventions.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

In the conclusion of the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy (Hominids, 2002, and Humans [BKL Ja 1 & 15 03] precede it), scientists and lovers Mary Vaughan, who is human, and Ponter Boddit, who is Neanderthal, embark on the harrowing adventure of conceiving a child together. To overcome the genetic barbed wire of mismatched chromosomes, they must use banned technology obtainable only from a Neanderthal scientist living in the northern wilderness, alone but not isolated, for Neanderthals prefer a nonprivate society in which injured persons are quickly rescued, theft is unknown, and personal violence is contained, thanks to permanently implanted personal monitors--a society whose benefits Sawyer persuasively describes. The Neanderthals' electronic surveillance is compatible with their basic peacefulness, however, and can't begin to cope with human craftiness or the malevolent racism of one of Mary's colleagues, who considers Ponter's world as a plum ripe for picking. If his ambitions constitute one alarming threat to a society, the imminent collapse of Earth's magnetic field constitutes another, for it is feared that this will wreak havoc with human consciousness. In an excellent closing twist, a New Year's celebration is disrupted in a very alarming, uniquely human manner as a few Neanderthals watch dumbfounded. A fine combination of love story, social commentary, and ecothriller closes a terrific series with a bang. Roberta Johnson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer -- called "the dean of Canadian science fiction" by the OTTAWA CITIZEN and "just about the best science-fiction writer out there" by the Denver ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS -- is one of eight authors in history to win all three of the science-fiction field's highest honors for best novel of the year: the Hugo Award (which he won for HOMINIDS), the Nebula Award (which he won for THE TERMINAL EXPERIMENT); and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (which he won for MINDSCAN).

Rob has won Japan's Seiun Award for best foreign novel three times (for END OF AN ERA, FRAMESHIFT, and ILLEGAL ALIEN), and he's also won the world's largest cash-prize for SF writing -- the Polytechnic University of Catalonia's 6,000-euro Premio UPC de Ciencia Ficcion -- an unprecedented three times.

In 2007, he received China's Galaxy Award for most favorite foreign author. He's also won twelve Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards ("Auroras"), an Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada, ANALOG magazine's Analytical Laboratory Award for Best Short Story of the Year, and the SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE Reader Award for Best Short Story of the Year.

Rob's novels have been top-ten national mainstream bestsellers in Canada, appearing on the GLOBE AND MAIL and MACLEAN'S bestsellers' lists, and they've hit number one on the bestsellers' list published by LOCUS, the U.S. trade journal of the SF field.

Rob is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences, teaches SF writing occasionally, and edits his own line of Canadian science-fiction novels for Red Deer Press.

His novel FLASHFORWARD (Tor Books) was the basis for the ABC TV series of the same name. He enjoyed spending time on the set and wrote the script for episode 19 "Course Correction."

His WWW trilogy, WAKE, WATCH, and WONDER (Ace Books), is all about the World Wide Web gaining consciousness.

Next up is TRIGGERS, April 2012. Set in Washington D.C., TRIGGERS is a science fiction political thriller about the nature of memory.

For more information about Rob and his award-winning books, check out his web page: http://sfwriter.com

Customer Reviews

HOMINIDS, the first book in this series, won the HUGO AWARD.
Gerald Dennett
Sawyer obviously needed her religiosity to explore theology and mirror its lack of logic and reason.
I could go on and on but then I'd just be getting as boring as this book was.
Jean Beaulieu

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Maattii on November 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Like most of the other reviewers, I too found this final book in the trilogy quite a let down and had to flog myself to finish reading it. My reaction to the end was more outrage at Sawyer for inflicting such a farce on us than anything else.

Perhaps the most unsatisfying aspect of the book, and indeed the whole series, was the superficiality of the characters. In particular the central female, Mary Vaughn, is shallow and one dimensional. And, for a doctorate in genetics, she seemed to have a strikingly random intelligence. For example, she loved her neandertal man Ponter dearly and wanted to "marry" him but it didn't occur to her until well into this third book that their chromosonal incompatibility would render then infertile. Sharp thinker, that Mary.

Also, her obsessive Catholicism made her appear ridiculous and confused. Sawyer obviously needed her religiosity to explore theology and mirror its lack of logic and reason. The goal was met, but at the cost of one of his primary character's credibility.

The other peripheral characters were stock and embarrassingly devoid of personality too. Cornelius was a totally unbelievable bad guy, too much irrational ranting about women and the general unfairness of the world to be anything but a caricature; Louise Benoit, the hottie French quantum physicist, is a brunette version of Pamela Anderson and just about as flimsy; Dr. Reuben, a shaven-headed black Haitian more benign that even a fantasy physician has the right to be. What a rainbow of characters! What a bunch of cardboard people!

The creative underpining of the series - divergent species of humans allowed to evolve into their own culturally distinct potentials - is excellent, and especially well realized in the first book.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'm a big fan of Sawyer. I loved the first two books of this trilogy, and Hybrid lived up to what I've come to expect from Sawyer. It was a real page turner -- UNTIL about 2/3rds through the book.
Did Sawyer just get tired of writing this trilogy?
All of a sudden, the book turns to silliness. It's almost a parady of Sawyer's work. The theological thoughts are no longer delightful little subplots of a page or two, but drag on and on into endless garbage. The ending reads like a B-Movie from the 1950s with a crazed individual trying to destroy a world. At the stroke of midnight on New Year's -- well, I don't want to spoil the ending for you. It was bad enough for me to have to read it myself.
I often recommend Sawyer's books to friends, but I can't recommend this one. Hopefully this doesn't reflect Sawyer's future work.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Burgoine on October 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This was phenomenal! In the first two books, "Hominids," and "Humans," Sawyer deftly described the 'alien' in the form of the Neanderthals in such a way as to show us our own failures as human beings, but at the same time, with such a light touch that it did not come across as preachy. If you haven't read those two, then stop now, head on over, and pick up "Hominids," first.

The story in the first two books introduced us to a wide range of neanderthal and human characters, living on parallel earths, and rudely made aware of each other when a single neanderthal, Ponter, falls through into our earth. In the second tome, relations are opened between the world, and a Synergy Group formed. Ponter's relationship with a human woman, Mary Vaughn, grew toward love, and the differences between their two cultures began to show the startling way in which humans have really failed. Indeed, in this book, one of the characters, Jock, begins to see just how poorly humans have handled their world.

There is much to this book that is easily missed - Sawyer has put gender issues, sexuality issues, racism, violence, criminal systems, enviromental practices - all of it is on display in this series, and in the third book, it is in the character of Mary that we get to explore both worlds with her biased human eye.

As the collapse of our Earth's magnetic field continues (it flips now and then, and is doing so now), Jock, Mary, and the rest of the Synergy group are slowly realizing what it could possibly mean to humanity, while at the same time Mary explores options of potentially creating a hybrid child with Ponter, the neanderthal she has fallen in love with.
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29 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Josh Bardeen on July 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Robert J. Sawyer's first book in this series, Hominids, was enjoyable, in spite of the hand-waving explanation of the connection between the universes. The characters, especially Ponter, were interesting and well-drawn.

The second book, Humans, represented the beginning of Sawyer's descent into one-world kumbaya utopian preaching.

This volume, Hybrids, consists of a thin plot grafted onto Sawyer's personal PC worldview.

Everyone in the Neanderthal world is an atheist bisexual environmentalist and their world is just about perfect, cue John Lennon. And let's not forget the obligatory Dan Brown-ish attack on the Catholic Church, can't have a enlightened book these days without that.

Among other ludicrous lines, the sapiens world North Vietnamese government is described as kind. Not as bad as many totalitarian regimes? Sure. Not as corrupt as the South Vietnamese regime? Could well be. Kind? Oh dear lord.

Sawyer quotes Solzhenitsyn's phrase that the line between good and evil runs through each human heart, but very tellingly fails to include the entire statement. I quote from The Gulag Archipelago Two:

Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person. And since that time I have come to understand the falsehood of all the revolutions in history: They destroy only those carriers of evil contemporary with them.

The full context of Solzhenitsyn's quote is precisely contrary to Sawyer's portrayal of an atheistic neo-Marxist Neanderthal paradise.
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