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)
Sawyer took a concept that had potential for an intriguing story, then butchered it by devoting the whole series to attacking any faith system other than atheism. While the series was intended to be a platform for social commentary, it doesn't really have anything to say other than the world would be a better place if we had technologies that don't exist, men took no hand in child rearing and just stayed away from women and children, and that all would be just butterflies and lollipops if we did no homework into religion, blamed all our problems on it, and turned to the guiding light of atheism for moral clarity. Really, he could have covered that in a pamphlet. Going through that over and over in a trilogy was painful. Save yourself the frustration. AVOID THIS SERIES.
An interesting sci-fi idea - Humans reaching ascendancy in one universe (ours), and the Neanderthal species reaching ascendancy in an alternate universe, and a quantum experiment gone awry creating a momentary link between the two. All of the "science" in the book seems well thought-out and reasonably below the threshold of suspended disbelief required of a sci-fi reader. The plot, however, not so much. I found it simply unbelievable that should a living neanderthal specimen be found, the government, law enforcement, various scientific administrative bodies, and the media would react as they do in this story. That the discovering scientists would simply be driving the Neanderthal around and housing him in their home, without a government response similar to the final scenes of E.T., seems to me to be WAY ABOVE a reasonable suspended-disbelief threshold. Also, I don't go to escapist sci-fi alternate universe novels to have to read about women dealing with rape. A worthwhile subject to write about, but not in a sci-fi novel about quantum connections to alternate universes - especially since there's no insight about rape itself. It happens in the Neanderthal world too. That's it. So too, apparently, do homosexual relationships. Another aspect of the story that seemed out of place, and hard to believe or even imagine. Perhaps universal periodic homosexuality is a solution to whatever problems/difficulties there are in typical heterosexual relationships, but it too seems WAY ABOVE a reasonable suspended-disbelief threshold. You get the sense the author is trying to make some sort of socially relevant point. I suspect this book would do well if promoted by Oprah, but I couldn't recommend it for fans of hard science fiction.
I listen to a lot of books. This one was OK, but a little too basic. If you want one that really makes you go, wow, well, it didn't for me. Certainly not bad, but I'm going for deeper, more intricate stuff like Neil Stephenson. I finished it, though, with no regrets! (I sometimes hesitate to criticize because it is so amazingly hard to write a novel).
This book is the kind of ultra left wing propaganda that would stretch Stalin's face into that evil Uncle Joe grin like few other modern works. The author claims to have been inspired by the original Planet of the Apes films to create a work that will engage the reader in modern political topics while entertaining them. Obviously he is either insincere in his claim or is incapable of seeing validity except in the most absurd and deformed views of the socialists super Liberal intellectual elitist. Though he tries hard it is destined to be a weak case from a totalitarian, fundamentally Marxist, socially non-redemptive perspective which may explain why he barely ever offers an inkling that there may be a counter argument to his ridiculous vision.
The writing and story line are not too bad so if your into this type of tripe you will certainly enjoy it.
I appreciated the detail and logic used in the creation of his parallel universe. The other two books in the trilogy are in my cart!
The neaderthal universe is a fascinating and brilliant creation, and makes the book worth reading. However (as a physicist) the attempt at scientific justification of the story just doesn't work. Less detail and more imagination works better.
Trying to blend in religion, as Sawyer often does, is just wrong.
The narrator really rubbed me the wrong way with his unsuccessful attempts at foreign accents. I would go out of my way to avoid this narrator in the future.
The writing style reminds me of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
The story is a fantastic journey into a Socialistic Utopian Paradise by U.S. hating Canadian Liberal Educators.
This is a must read trilogy to understand the dementia of the left.
I had no real preconceptions about this title, I'd never heard of the writer and only got it because I have an interest in Neanderthals - but I wasn't disappointed at all! I'm not really interested in science fiction in general, Star Trek and Star Wars leave me cold! But this is really a human interest story, looking at an outsiders view of our humanity, as well as exploring what our lives might be like if our ancestors had made different descisions - for example what would we be like without religion?
I thoroughly reccomend; it is gripping, thrilling and really gets you going and wanting more! I'd want to carry on listening even when I was not driving or down the gym!
The thing that got me was that there was loads of science in it, real detailed information that was accurate and relevant to the story and that thoroughly interested me.
The world Ponter comes from is explained in vivid detail and you want to go there and see it for yourself - however, when Ponter asks Mary, Louise and Reuben about our lack of conservation and how we've destroyed our habitat it really makes you question humanity's motives and mistakes. If you want to feel positve about your species this is probably not the best book - if you want a bit of science fiction and romance this is for you!
This book was much more interesting than the title lead me to expect. How the neanderthals structured their society gave me much food for thought.
I like science - not people. I like ideas too - not fantasies. I especially alternative histories. And this story absolutely gripped me with the brilliant way it asks questions, using science and the excellently conceived alternative world of the Neanderthals. It also explores people and their issues - so you might like it too! Fascinating attack on religion with a few novel ideas to interweave makes this an entertaining yet thought-provoking listen.
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