I am a fan of alternate history, and a book about an alternate universe filled with Neanderthals fits my criteria. The book has good science fiction, decent character development, and shows an alternate society which has an entirely different social structure. You see some good and bad in the Neanderthal society (in the two later books, he loses all balance and presents them as the ultimate ideal of what humans should be). My advice is to buy this book and ignore the two later books in the series, as they are nothing like the first at all, and become nothing more than social commentary for the author's personal viewpoints.
New grandpa. Married 35 great years. Drink Batch 19,Tsing Tao, and Bohemia. Read Card, King, Hobb, Sawyer, Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction.
I am a fan of Robert J. Sawyer and this is another great read. This is Science Fiction in it's purest form. We are talking Neanderthals, parallel universes and a little physics thrown in. Character development not the best. Mainly it has neat stuff in it that leads to a lot of deep thought.
I really liked the premise of this book and thought that the story was told well although there were a few passages that seemed forced. The reading was fine, the Jamaican accent sounded more Scottish or Irish to me, but what does this American know about accents! I didn't like the intro by the author, it was self-congratulatory and also seemed like he was trying to sell me a book I'd already bought. Then the first 5 minutes of the reading were about how the author's decision on which spelling of Neanderthal to use. Start playback at 7:29 and you won't miss a thing from the story.
I have a mixed opinion of this book. On the one hand, I found the basic premise really cool and the tie-ins to the anthropology of Neanderthals fascinating. On the other hand, I found the characters and their story lines too simplistic and linear. I would have guessed this was Young Adult fiction if it hadn't started with a rape. Personally, I found the rape part to be mostly a convenience for the story. It would have worked better if the rape had been a flashback to later explain Mary's behavior. Also, I could not quite figure out if the Neanderthal society was supposed to be better or not. Again, it seemed overly simplistic. It was very cool that it was so different, but I don't think those differences were taken far enough. Definitely worth a read, but I won't be pursuing the sequels.
This was a great science fiction book of parallel universes the meet. What would it be like if they developed differently though? Humans were only a weak race that once lived while neanderthals excelled. Mary, a women in today's earth has been asked to verify the genetics after a neanderthal accidentally passes through a temporary portal. Mary is a women torn between what she once was and recent events who is trying to cope with the world not being what she thought.
This was a wonderful novel that made me think for hours after reading many sections. The largest downfall was an intensely boring section about 2/3rds into the book that I don't feel added to the story, luckily it wasn't very long but it did drop this book from a five to a four. Aside from the small part is was great.
This is one of the most interesting audiobooks I've read this year. The basic premise of Neanderthals and humans splitting off into parallel universes is novel and developed nicely. The depiction of Neanderthal culture was absolutely fascinating.
One couldn't help but love Ponter Boddit and hope that he found his way home. Adikor Huld is similarly sympathetic. Even Ponter's dog is lovingly presented.
The female characters of the book however, were not as well drawn. Adikor's accuser Balbe is thoroughly detestable, and rather two-dimensional. The adjudicator is stereotyped. So is the French scientist -- the sexy French woman. Her intellect somewhat saves her, however.
I have mixed feelings about Mary Vaughan. On the one hand, she is a sympathetic character, a woman of intellect and belief. Her reaction to the trauma of rape rang true. The scene in the doctor's library rang true. But that she almost completely overcomes it in less than a week did not ring true, especially not for this character.
This lack of skill in drawing the female characters influenced my rating of 4 stars; had they been as well drawn as the male, I would have given this book 5 stars.
Still, the premise and execution are good enough to keep one spellbound. The narration is also good, although as other reviewers have noted, the narrator needs to work on accents.
Overall, this is a thoroughly engaging read and I highly recommend the book. I was going to buy the second book right away, but after reading the reviews, I think I'll wait for a sale.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
If you've read Sawyer before you'll be aware that he has a lot of political commenting (a.k.a. complaining) in his works... this is no exception. And, no, it's not done discreetly or in flow with the story, he sorta just sticks it in at some spot he deems convenient - sometimes it doesn't clash with the story flow, but mostly it does and you'll stop and think, "now what does the government funding policy have to do with this Neanderthal?".
The narrator is okay though he attempts to do accents which are not very good or very consistent. I.e. the Jamaican accent sometimes sounds French, sometimes is not present, and once in awhile might sound sorta Jamaican, but not really.
The concept behind the book is cool and there is some exploration of how it could be "possible" which makes the sci-fi part of the novel pretty decent... it's the character development (or lack thereof) that makes this story frustrating. Instead of developing characters, Sawyer relies on stereotypes to dictate and explain behaviors: females are victims (to menstrual cycle, to rapists) men get so distracted by beautiful women they can't focus on their work, etc.
The concept is worth 4 stars, the rest of it warrants a 3, or less if you tend to choke on political grumbling. I won't buy any more in this series.
Let your imagination carry you to a world based upon...hunting/gathering, a stable population, the rhythm method (don't frown, they have lots of sex), long term contribution to society, experience prized over strength, science moves forward thru cooperation and without prejudices, violence is not tolerated, crime is very rare yet there is tremendous freedom for all, all life is precious, a very green world. Wait, don't think this is utopia; there are problems, big ones; but what interesting notions thru which to examine our own world. These books examine many foundational ideas/beliefs/principles that we take for granted; stand them on their heads and paints one (of the many possible) picture of what may fall out. The narration is excellent; distinct character voices, perfect pace, and precise pauses to let your mind extrapolate on the image/ideas. I have never written a review but was compelled to write this to give some balance to the reviews of this great trilogy. I agree Hominids was the best and I give it 4.4 stars with Humans and Hybrids close behind with 3.8 stars each (of course I have to fit into the !format! given and round all to 4); but they should really be all taken together as a whole. It probably would have been a really great but long single book. But I understand Sawyer has to pay his bills (and I want him to eat so he writes more books) also there is some suspense in breaking up a good tale. Lastly I have been listening to audio books for over 25 years and what you will enjoy is very personal, highly dependent on where you've been, where you are in life and what happened yesterday and today. So take all the reviews with a bucket of salt; listen/read to lots of different authors/narrators/genre/old books/new books/fiction/nonfiction and determine for yourself what You like/believe/and want to expand upon.
Love audio books! Been listening since they first came out on tape. What a vast improvement technology has provided!
Sounded like it would be such an interesting book but it was so disapointing. I found it insulting to the intelligence in places and very hard to finish. The characters were never developed and their actions within the story line were at most times completely ludicrous. After a supposed discovery of this magnitude, the author then wants us to believe that these scientists are more concerned with Bbq and hooking up, than in a parallel universe. The accents were atrocious - if you can't do a Jamaican or French Canadian accent, then don't try - very confusing.
Unfortunately, this rating system dosen't allow for minus stars because this book is definate candidate. If your looking for a great book, wonderfully written and read, skip this and try Day of the Triffids - superb.
This book is amazingly reminiscient of other stories which is as the author admits to in the preface. In particular, Angels and Demons is very similar. But this book leaves too many questions about why the technology used didn't include certain obvious capabilities that would completely change the story. For science-based science fiction, it required much suspension of disbelief. I recommend a little expert-review of the material before publishing next time. read Angels and Demons for a better representation of this class of story.