Love Robert Sawyer's creative work and devoured the Neanderthal Parallex.
I pictured this alternate reality and the narrator did a fantastic job.
I think I will be lost after the third book is done and probably will be hoping for a sequel about them as a blended family...
A lot of people have commented on the politics and religion in this series. My dislike isn't at all due to the inclusion of controversial topics, but rather due to the heavy-handed approach the author took to those issues. Among other problems, he apparently has not learned the show-don't-tell maxim regarding writing, which is what makes his coverage of ethical issues feel so preachy and off-putting (and as a politically-liberal female scientist, born in the US and raised in Canada, and a sexual assault survivor, I'm probably the choir he thinks he's preaching to). Benign example: cop is shouting/yelling at Ponter and then Sawyer writes "two more cops had appeared at the entrance to the interrogation room, presumably coming in the response to the shouts." The bit about presumably coming in response to the shouts is unnecessary. And since Sawyer does that with ethical issues - instead of just describing the responses and actions of the characters and letting the reader think about them, he "explains" them- it gets old fast. His characters are also incredibly stereotyped and one dimensional. He doesn't address the various nonsensical aspects of his characters either (ie. violence supposedly having been bred out of the neanderthals and yet in the only two current-day examples included in the books, they choose violence).
The premise is intriguing, which is what got me to halfway through book 2 before giving up, but that's about all I can say as a positive, aside from the narrator, who is fine.
I really enjoyed book one of this series for the unique scifi concept, so I was excited to start book two. But in book two, somehow the scifi genre morphs into a cheesy romance novel. It was ridiculous and I was bored. I'd like to get my time and money back.
Similar to its preceding book, Humans is a technically smooth novel with a pleasing style. Unlike its preceding book, Hominids, this installment mixes it up a bit. The running plot is framed by Ponter's session with a personality sculpture (what we would call a shrink in our universe)
At first the story focuses primarily on Ponter Bonditt and Tukana Pratt, who are Neanderthals from Earth from a parallel universe visiting Earth from the universe we know. With the portal between the Neanderthal world and ours is permanently reopened, Tukana works to build trade and information exchange between our two societies.
Running midway through the story, about a hundred pages in, the pacing changes and focus shifts to Ponter Bonditt and Mary Vaughn. Accompanied by Ponter, Mary travels to the Neanderthal universe and navigates the cultural and ideological differences between the peoples of the two universes.
things I especially liked:
- The various technologies from the parallel world; alibi archive, companion implant, transportation cube, and personal shield.
- The Neanderthals lack of sexual discrimination.
- The world-building of the Neanderthal universe; identical to Earth yet different.
- The concept, explanation, and examples of man-mate and woman-mate.
- The idea of sterilization as the form of punishment for serious crimes, not just for the aggressor, but any family member who share more than fifty percent of their genes with the aggressor.
- Tukana the Neanderthal ambassador to Earth.
things I didn't mind:
- The religion aspect. Not that it was preachy or uninteresting.
- The personality sculpture was, at first, intrusive. Eventually, as we move past the second half of the book, he was less interruptive.
- Rape as drama.
- The Vietnam Memorial scene.
things I could have done without:
- The length at which religion was discussed and debated, particularly midway through the story.
things I didn't expect or made me shake my head:
- Although I expected the (male-to-female) rape was to be covered, the (male-to-male) rape caught me with, umm, with my pants down.
- All the steamy sex about halfway through the story. For a bit there, I thought I was reading a Harlequin romance novel. The scene was quite descriptive.
My rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)
I'm really enjoying this world created by Sawyer. It's complex, full of interesting people, and I can't wait to continue the adventure!
I've never written a review, good or bad, but this book is a stinker. The book is filled with heavy handed political tripe, when it could have been a great story.
No! The 1st book of this series was a solid good book for this genre This one is an ape human romance novel.
The obligatory cliche' human vs Ape sex scene.
NO No! The 1st book of this series was a solid good book for this genres This one is an ape human teenage romance novel.
The Christian outlook seemed overdone to me, and intruded on the story. The repeated idea that 'our' universe may have an afterlife, and that so much of our culture is defined by that belief felt awkward. There is a long scene at the Vietnam Vet Memorial where Mary defends our wars which I really did not like. Perhaps the author is leading me to feel this way, but I felt bludgeoned by it.
Yes. I enjoyed the first book in the series a lot.
The characters had distinctive voices, easy to identify and follow.
I need to decide if I want to finish the series. I'm not particularly happy with where it seems to be going.
Although I highly recommend book 1, this follow on becomes boring very quickly and fails to inspire imagination like the first book did.
Basically, book 1 felt adventurous and it was exciting to visualize the fantastic ideas the author brought to the story, but in this book there are no new ideas and it goes from being adventurous to a boring love story with barely any excitement.Such a shame, as I was excited after the first book to know there were 2 more to follow.
Having read the reviews for book 3, it appears it doesn't get any better so I'm now searching for a new series to read.