Hominids

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Hominids

by Robert Sawyer

April 16, 2002 | Hardcover

Hominids is rated 4 out of 5 by 4.
Robert Sawyer''s SF novels are perennial nominees for the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, or both. Clearly, he must be doing something right since each one has been something new and different. What they do have in common is imaginative originality, great stories, and unique scientific extrapolation. His latest is no exception.

Hominids is a strong, stand-alone SF novel, but it''s also the first book of The Neanderthal Parallax, a trilogy that will examine two unique species of people. They are alien to each other, yet bound together by the never-ending quest for knowledge and, beneath their differences, a common humanity. We are one of those species, the other is the Neanderthals of a parallel world where they, not Homo sapiens, became the dominant intelligence. In that world, Neanderthal civilization has reached heights of culture and science comparable to our own, but is very different in history, society, and philosophy.

During a risky experiment deep in a mine in Canada, Ponter Boddit, a Neanderthal physicist, accidentally pierces the barrier between worlds and is transferred to our universe, where in the same mine another experiment is taking place. Hurt, but alive, he is almost immediately recognized as a Neanderthal, but only much later as a scientist. He is captured 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 boundless enthusiasm for the world''s strangeness, and especially by geneticist Mary Vaughan, a lonely woman with whom he develops a special rapport.

Meanwhile, Ponter''s partner, Adikor Huld, finds himself with a messy lab, a missing body, suspicious people all around, and an explosive murder trial that he can''t possibly win because he has no idea what actually happened. Talk about a scientific challenge!

Contact between humans and Neanderthals creates a relationship fraught with conflict, philosophical challenge, and threat to the existence of one species or the other-or both-but equally rich in boundless possibilities for cooperation and growth on many levels, from the practical to the esthetic to the scientific to the spiritual. In short, Robert J. Sawyner has done it again.
 
Hominids is the winner of the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 448 pages, 8.6 × 5.9 × 1.6 in

Published: April 16, 2002

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0312876920

ISBN - 13: 9780312876920

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Brilliant! Thought this was a brilliant idea for a book. Loved the story line, and Sawyer's style of writing is very easy to get into. There are not many other books like this out there, which is another reason why I liked it - it was different, however it still had the anthopological aspect to it :)
Date published: 2010-11-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Best? This is going to be one of those reviews where I'll sound much more negative than I really feel, so please bear with me. Is Neanderthal Parallax really the best Canadian Sci-Fi has to offer? I ask the question seriously because I've been told repeatedly that this series is the finest Canadian Sci-Fi and that [author:Robert J. Sawyer] is Canada's finest Sci-Fi writer. If this is really the case then Canada is a Sci-Fi ghetto. After all, Sawyer is no Iain M. Banks (Scotland), no Richard Morgan (England), no Neal Stephenson (USA), no William Gibson (USA/Canada...what? wait a sec), no Margaret Atwood (Canada...see what I mean?). He just isn't as good as any of these authors, and there are countless others I've not the time or space to mention who beat him with all their work. Robert J. Sawyer is just okay, and Hominids is equally okay. Why is he just okay? Well...he's okay because he's not quite as good as Michael Crichton in his pomp, and he is nowhere near excellent like the aforementioned authors. I willingly concede that Sawyer has some good ideas, and he expresses them with a level of just okayness that is okay for anyone who enjoys okay Sci-Fi, which I do if the mood takes me, but he never goes beyond okay, and Crichton was able to go beyond the okay at least once or twice in his career. Sawyer's been writing since the nineties (I will give him this...the man is prolific), but you'd think his books were written in the seventies or before. There is a retro feel to them that doesn't seem to be intentional so much as reflection of his dated influences. Now there wouldn't be anything wrong with this at all if I didn't keep hearing that Robert J. Sawyer is the best Sci-Fi writer in Canada. Quite simply...he's not (see above for two examples). I don't want to be too mean here. I liked Hominids. It was clever; it made me want to continue reading the next weekend I have on a beach somewhere; it's a cool little novel that introduces a cool little series and could make a really cool little television mini-series for the Geico set, but it's not great. It's nothing even close to great. It -- like its author -- is just okay. So make my Canadian Sci-Fi greatness Ms. Atwood or Mr. Gibson. Mr. Sawyer can remain my Canadian Sci-Fi guilty pleasure.
Date published: 2010-05-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The great start to a fantastic series... Another fabulous book by Robert J. Sawyer, this is the first in the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, and you're luckier than I am - I had to wait years between the books - all three are written now! "Hominids" explores what happens when a Neanderthal drops into our universe from a parallel universe where Neanderthal's evolved into the dominant life form on the planet. While in that parallel universe, we watch as the Neanderthal's scientist partner is accused of his murder, in our universe, the Neanderthal creates a sensation with unexpected fallout. As always, Sawyer delivers a great story, and there's more sociological and psychological depth than in your typical science fiction tale.
Date published: 2008-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must read This is an intriguing speculative fiction book. The main premise is based on Quantum theory. Parallel to our world are many other worlds. Some very close to ours and some not. In our story, Ponter Boddit, often referred to as Scholar Boddit, is one of our main characters. He is a Quantum Physicist from a parallel world. While working on a Quantum computer, he is translated into the same location in our Universe; unfortunately it is the center of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. Then the true adventure begins. Ponter is given Canadian Citizenship, which is unusual because he is a Neanderthal. One could argue however, that a Neanderthal emerging from an INCO mine in Sudbury might not be that far out of the question. Many around the world believe it is a hoax - some believe it is true and a Ponter cult begins. Some want to control him and his knowledge. In our sister earth, they have not ever had a global war, not developed nuclear weapons, or destroyed the environment the way we have. There is much we could learn from our cousins in this world. Follow Ponter as he develops friendships, experiences religion and learns that we don’t have to be homo sapiens sapiens to be human.
Date published: 2005-09-17

– More About This Product –

Hominids

by Robert Sawyer

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 448 pages, 8.6 × 5.9 × 1.6 in

Published: April 16, 2002

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0312876920

ISBN - 13: 9780312876920

Read from the Book

Hominids Chapter One DAY ONE FRIDAY, AUGUST 2 148/103/24 The blackness was absolute. Watching over it was Louise Benoît, twenty-eight, a statuesque postdoc from Montreal with a mane of thick brown hair stuffed, as required here, into a hair net. She kept her vigil in a cramped control room, buried two kilometers--"a mile an'' a quarder," as she sometimes explained for American visitors in an accent that charmed them--beneath the Earth''s surface. The control room was next to the deck above the vast, unilluminated cavern housing the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. Suspended in the center of that cavern was the world''s largest acrylic sphere, twelve meters--"almost fordy feet"--across. The sphere was filled with eleven hundred tonnes of heavy water on loan from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. Enveloping that transparent globe was a geodesic array of stainless-steel struts, supporting 9,600 photomultiplier tubes, each cupped in a reflective parabola, each aimed in toward the sphere. All of this--the heavy water, the acrylic globe that contained it, and the enveloping geodesic shell--was housed in a ten-story-tall barrel-shaped cavern, excavated from the surrounding norite rock. And that gargantuancavern was filled almost to the top with ultrapure regular water. The two kilometers of Canadian shield overhead, Louise knew, protected the heavy water from cosmic rays. And the shell of regular water absorbed the natural background radiation from the small quantities of uranium a
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From the Publisher

Robert Sawyer''s SF novels are perennial nominees for the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, or both. Clearly, he must be doing something right since each one has been something new and different. What they do have in common is imaginative originality, great stories, and unique scientific extrapolation. His latest is no exception.

Hominids is a strong, stand-alone SF novel, but it''s also the first book of The Neanderthal Parallax, a trilogy that will examine two unique species of people. They are alien to each other, yet bound together by the never-ending quest for knowledge and, beneath their differences, a common humanity. We are one of those species, the other is the Neanderthals of a parallel world where they, not Homo sapiens, became the dominant intelligence. In that world, Neanderthal civilization has reached heights of culture and science comparable to our own, but is very different in history, society, and philosophy.

During a risky experiment deep in a mine in Canada, Ponter Boddit, a Neanderthal physicist, accidentally pierces the barrier between worlds and is transferred to our universe, where in the same mine another experiment is taking place. Hurt, but alive, he is almost immediately recognized as a Neanderthal, but only much later as a scientist. He is captured 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 boundless enthusiasm for the world''s strangeness, and especially by geneticist Mary Vaughan, a lonely woman with whom he develops a special rapport.

Meanwhile, Ponter''s partner, Adikor Huld, finds himself with a messy lab, a missing body, suspicious people all around, and an explosive murder trial that he can''t possibly win because he has no idea what actually happened. Talk about a scientific challenge!

Contact between humans and Neanderthals creates a relationship fraught with conflict, philosophical challenge, and threat to the existence of one species or the other-or both-but equally rich in boundless possibilities for cooperation and growth on many levels, from the practical to the esthetic to the scientific to the spiritual. In short, Robert J. Sawyner has done it again.
 
Hominids is the winner of the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

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 these days" by The Denver Rocky Mountain News -- is the only writer in history to win the top SF awards in the United States, Japan, France, and Spain. He's also won an Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada and as well as seven Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards ("Auroras"), and he's been nominated six times for the Hugo, SF's international readers' choice award. Maclean's: Canada's Weekly Newsmagazine says, "By any reckoning, Sawyer is among the most successful Canadian authors ever," and Barnes and Noble calls him "the leader of SF's next-generation pack." Rob's fifteen bestselling novels include The Terminal Experiment (winner of the Nebula Award -- SF's "Academy Award" -- for best novel of the year), Frameshift, Factoring Humanity, Flashforward , and Calculating God . He's frequently seen on TV, including such program as Rivera Live with Geraldo Rivera, Canada A.M. , and Pamela Wallin . Rob is a Past President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and has taught writing at the University of Toronto, Ryerson Polytechnic University, and the Banff Centre for the Arts. He was writer in residence in 2000 at the Richmond Hill (Ontario) Public Libraries. Rob has given talks at hundreds of venues including the Library of Congress and the National Library of Canada, and been keynote speaker at doze
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From Our Editors

A bridge opens to a parallel Earth where Neanderthals survived to the present day and we did not.

Editorial Reviews

"A polished, exciting writer. Sawyer writes with the scientific panache and grandeur of Arthur C. Clarke and the human touch of Isaac Asimov."-Quill & Quire

"Sawyer is a writer of boundless confidence and bold scientific extrapolation."-The New York Times
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