BONUS AUDIO: Author Robert J. Sawyer explains why Ponter Boddit is his favorite among all the characters he's created.
Hunt and gather: listen to more in the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy.
©2002 by Robert J. Sawyer; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
"Sawyer is a writer of boundless confidence and bold scientific extrapolation." (The New York Times)
I focus mainly on History, Endurance Sports and Science/Speculative Fiction books.
Probably. Audible does a great job here. I have not read the book, but his might be a good example where the audible version is better than the print version.
I could say the lead character. I found him engaging and interesting. He reminded me of the primary character in the Ursula LeGuin book, The Dispossessed. He had a sanguine approach to the difficulties he was faced, yet did so with courage. I wonder if Sawyer was influenced at all by LeGuin.
I had not read Sawyer before and I think many readers will enjoy him. The story is fast paced and elements of it were like a TV show or movie. The narrator did a great job conveying this sense of action and kept the story moving.
Portions of the book reminded me of Asimov and "The God's Themselves". This story and Hominid is essentially a backdrop for a discussion of quantum mechanics and elements of string theory. I found this interesting. The hard science elements of this book were not over wrought, and made it intelligent writing on many levels.
Sawyer is a popular author and far be it from me to criticize him. At times I felt like the book was careening to a climax, something which I find to be a contrivance in a lot of current science fiction. My guess is the modern reader compares these types of stories to TV and will be bored., I my opinion it felt a bit rushed. A considerable amount happened in a short span of time. So the net here for the reader considering this book is if you like a story that is terrific, fast paced and non-stop you will be rewarded. If you like a story that provides backdrop, characterization and more depth this might not be right for you. I don't say this in a dismissive way. I personally enjoy these types of books occasionally and I enjoyed Hominid very much on this occasion. I am glad I read it, I found it interesting and it was worth the credit. I am just not sure I will return to Sawyer's universe in the short term.
Overall this isn't a bad book...the narration was super. Jonathan Davies doe a great job at bringing each character to life.
where i have a problem is parts of the story. For example (not giving away any story here) our Hero (Ponter) accidentally travels through a portal to a parallel universe and the 2nd or 3rd thought out of anyones mouth is "oh he must be from a parallel universe'"...i don't know, maybe, just maybe you explore a couple of other concepts first? And did we really need to experience a characters sexual assault? This did not enhance the book one bit for me, as a mattter of fact it diminished the story...i still cannot see where it fit into the story at all.
Also, i am really bored & tired of authors who feel the need to lecture us on all of the ills of modern society and worse: on our violent & foolish history, by having some fictional visitor bemoan, chastise & condemn us for our actions. it just seems a cheap shot and i expected more from a Hugo nominee....maybe i won't use these Hugo's as a basis for my choice of books anymore. I know i am not going to bother with any more of this series.
This is a wonderful story, I was very emotionally drawn into the story. I felt real fear when Ponder, the Neaderathal, was shifted into our universe, in pure darkness, swimming in a cavern of water, (fighting for his life) which was then shrinking. I liked the Candian perspective, and I loved the discriptions of the Nearderthal world, which were insightful, and imaginative, The alibi alcoves and such, Beautiful! Its as good as Enders Game, or Pohl's Gateway! Loved the ending, very satisfying, I give it a 93 out of 100.
Ponder, though this is not as good as Heinlien's Stranger in a Strage land, this is a Great book, Good for you Robert J. Sawyer!
All, except, he does have a weak Jamacian accent, though not that big a deal. He was very emotional, and exceptional in his reading! Wonderful!
The part whare Ponder comes to our Universe in the Nitrino tank, and the ending I almost cried! This guy is a relly good writer!
I laughed at the product placement, though I am paraphrasing,
I've been an Audie Awards judge since 2008. I have enjoyed audiobooks since the days when they were called "Books on Tape".
Two nuclear physicists have a breakthrough in the design of a quantum computer, only in doing so, they create an openning into a parallel world, only the physicists are neanderthals and one of them gets sucked into our world.
An incredible story is used to draw interesting and well educated comparisons between humans and what neanderthals could have been like. It's not great science fiction... Instead, it's great science... and great fiction.... and a little bit of a mystery.
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.
This is one of those books that really makes you stop and look at how we fit into the overall picture. I LOVE these types of books. You may, or may not agree with Sawyer's take on humanity, but it really makes you step back and evaluate where the human race is, and where we are going...
Jonathan Davis was a treat to listen to as well. Well done!
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 enjoyed Calculating God, so decided to check this out...not impressed. There's a lot of telling, not a lot of showing in the storytelling, and some of the preachy anti religious messages were over the top and unbelievable. I enjoy a good discussion; I do not enjoy using dialogue to put weak, contrived arguments in others' mouths. As far as the rest of the story goes, I find the account of Neanderthal judicial proceedings alternately frustrating and boring. On the human side, a male author using graphic rape as a character building set up for romance really kills the mood for me. The romance(s) feel contrived and profoundly unhealthy, and the quarantine sounds like an excuse not to have to show us more of the interesting repercussions on the world at large.
In case it wasn't clear, I don't recommend this one.
I enjoy a good read, tough to do while driving.
I don't know. Not right now. I got impression he is angry at something.
Great performance, I enjoyed it.
I initially bought this book because it was on sale. I really didn't know what to expect and figured I might as well try it as it was a super low price. Boy was I glad I did!
It was truly an excellent story that was entertaining, extremely well narrated, and brought up some interesting philosophical questions about the nature of people and quantum physics.
I recommend it highly.
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