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Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer
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Hominids (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Robert J. Sawyer

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1,338365,791 (3.61)43
Member:davidhburton
Title:Hominids
Authors:Robert J. Sawyer
Info:Tor Science Fiction (2003), Edition: 1st, Mass Market Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer (2002)

  1. 00
    Kin: Descent of Man by Gary Frank (hobreads)
    hobreads: Another author's take of contact between Neanderthal man and modern humankind.
  2. 00
    West of Eden by Harry Harrison (MikeBriggs)
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» See also 43 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
The first book in this series was very good, by the second book I got tired of the author's attitude toward religion (he pretended to have his main protagonist be "religious" but she really wasn't), and by the third book I was actively rooting against the heroic Neanderthals, hoping they would just die out (again). ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
Reading Sawyer’s first book in his Neanderthal trilogy, I was struck by how simple a read it was. He did not get into a super-pretentiousness when he would do a little world-building. His descriptions of the Neanderthal alternate-Earth were in some ways veiled criticisms of our judicial system (in their world, you’re guilty until proven innocent) and lack of privacy (everyone has a computer, a Companion, grafted to them when they are recently born) as all your actions are recorded at a central database.

The other Earth, us, is a recent future where a Canadian company, INCO, is doing heavy water experiments in an old mine, cleaned up and rocking with a few goofy, cardboard-cut-out scientists.

The main character in our Earth is Mary, whom Sawyer creates as a sympathetic character by having her raped. Sorry but I thought this was unnecessary and graphic. I think the reader could have had some sympathy for her without her being violated. Further, we hear nothing more about the rapist for the rest of the book! What happened to him?

Despite this tragic scene, nothing is made much of it. Mary is nervous around men but that’s about it. When Ponter, the Neanderthal scientist, gets sucked into our world, Mary becomes infatuated with him. A touching scene at the end of the novel wraps that up a bit.

A third of the book is dedicated toward the trial of Ponter’s best friend, who is being tried for the supposed murder of Ponter, since Ponter disappeared and the idea of falling into an alternate Earth is just beyond anyone’s reality.

Last Thoughts: Decent pacing, good science. Love how the media is portrayed as a bunch of wolves after a story (same in the Neanderthal world – called Exhibitionists!). The relationship between Mary and Ponter could have been better explored, as well as further developing the scientist Louise and her new boyfriend.

So far I’m reaching for the next in the trilogy, “Human.”


( )
  jmourgos | Sep 12, 2014 |
This was one of my Hugo book club that I hadn't read before. I liked and loathed the book at the same time. The rape in the early chapters of the book seemed completely unnecessary as if that would be the only way Mary would be interested in Ponter later on in the book since he isn't a human male. The Neanderthal culture was interesting and I would have liked to have seen more of it. I did think that the AI upgrade on Pointer's recorder made for an easy out for communication. The story just seemed to find the easy way to deal with things to complete goals in the story arc. The only time things seemed hard were in the Neanderthal side of the story when it looks bleak for Adikor. And again of they have devices that people wear strapped to them why don't they have cameras to record things where the signal is blocked. I don't think I will bother with the rest of the books. So far this is the second series by Sawyer I have started and didn't feel compelled to finish. ( )
  Glennis.LeBlanc | Jul 8, 2014 |
preachy escapism. ( )
  bke | Mar 30, 2014 |
Hominids won the Hugo award for best novel in 2003. My takeaway from that is that some people thought this was a pretty good book. I generally look at most of these awards with some degree of reservation because I see some excellent ones lose or even ignored. In fact, when I look over a list of winners from the last 20 years or so I do a lot of hmmmm-ing and think, is this really the best we can do? That said, this was a pretty good book. Anthropological science fiction. Yum.

I don't want to say too much and spoil the story, although the rear cover of the novel outlines most of the major plot points in some detail. This, as it happens, is a parallel world story - on another earth Neanderthals became the dominant species, and the neanderthal world inadvertently during an experiment intersects with our own. Sawyer builds a complex society for them. It makes for a very interesting, if unbelievable story. 'Clan of the Cave Bear' society I could buy in to. This convergent evolution one not as much. Not that it couldn't be, I just, well, never mind. There was a lot that defied sensibility. The whole courtroom drama in Neanderthal earth I found extremely absurd. Despite thinking this, we have a well written story here that I enjoyed a lot even though I think we got a little carried away with a Neanderthal version of a sort of strange new world Utopia. Still, this IS a science FICTION story, and it is done well enough to be a very good read.

First of a three part series, the follow-up novels are 'Humans' (Hugo nomination for 2003) and the finale 'Hybrids'. I will continue with this series soon I think. ( )
  RBeffa | Oct 31, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert J. Sawyerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hartwell, David G.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Marcel Gagné and Sally Tomasevic, Dude and The Other Dude, Great People, Great Friends
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The blackness was absolute.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765345005, Mass Market Paperback)

Hominids examines two unique species of people. We are one of those species; the other is the Neanderthals of a parallel world where they became the dominant intelligence. The Neanderthal civilization has reached heights of culture and science comparable to our own, but with radically different history, society and philosophy.

Ponter Boddit, a Neanderthal physicist, accidentally pierces the barrier between worlds and is transferred to our universe. Almost immediately recognized as a Neanderthal, but only much later as a scientist, he is quarantined and studied, alone and bewildered, a stranger in a strange land. But Ponter is also befriended—by a doctor and a physicist who share his questing intelligence, and especially by Canadian geneticist Mary Vaughan, a woman with whom he develops a special rapport.

Ponter’s partner, Adikor Huld, finds himself with a messy lab, a missing body, suspicious people all around and an explosive murder trial. How can he possibly prove his innocence when he has no idea what actually happened to Ponter?
 
Hominids is the winner of the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:55 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Hominids examines two unique species of people. We are one of those species; the other is the Neanderthals of a parallel world where they became the dominant intelligence. The Neanderthal civilization has reached heights of culture and science comparable to our own, but with radically different history, society and philosophy. Ponter Boddi, a Neanderthal physicist, accidentally pierces the barrier between worlds and is transferred to our universe. Almost immediately recognized as a Neanderthal, but only much later as a scientist, he is quarantined and studdied, alone and bewildered, a stranger in a strange land. But Ponter is also befriended-by a doctor and a physicist who share his questing intelligence, and especially by Canadian geneticist who share his questing intelligence, and especially by Canadian geneticisty Mary Vaughan, a woman with whom he develops a special rapport. Ponter's partner, Adikor Huld, finds himself with a messy lab, a missing body, suspicious people all around and an explosive murder trail. How can he possibly prove his innocence when he has no idea what actually happened to Ponter?… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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