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Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax, Book 1 | [Robert J. Sawyer]

Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax, Book 1

Neanderthals have developed a radically different civilization on a parallel Earth. A Neanderthal physicist, Ponter Boddit, accidentally passes from his universe into a Canadian underground research facility. Fortunately, a team of human scientists, including expert paleo-anthropologist Mary Vaughan, promptly identifies and warmly receives Ponter. Solving the language problem and much else is a mini-computer, called a Companion, implanted in the brain of every Neanderthal. But it can't help his fellow scientist back in his world, Adikor Huld, when the authorities charge Adikor with his murder.
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Publisher's Summary

Neanderthals have developed a radically different civilization on a parallel Earth. A Neanderthal physicist, Ponter Boddit, accidentally passes from his universe into a Canadian underground research facility. Fortunately, a team of human scientists, including expert paleo-anthropologist Mary Vaughan, promptly identifies and warmly receives Ponter. Solving the language problem and much else is a mini-computer, called a Companion, implanted in the brain of every Neanderthal. A computerized guardian spirit, however, doesn't eliminate cross-cultural confusion; permanent male-female sexuality, rape, and overpopulation are all alien to Ponter. Nor can it help his housemate and fellow scientist back in his world, Adikor Huld, when the authorities charge Adikor with his murder.

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.

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award Winner, Best Novel, 2003

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1195 )
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4.2 (544 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Kevin Herndon, VA, United States 05-03-13
    Kevin Herndon, VA, United States 05-03-13 Member Since 2011

    Checking out Brandon Sanderson's work

    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
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    40
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    "Interesting Premise"

    This is a very good story. Very thought provoking. The performance is okay. The reader has a problem with the female voices at times. But the story is very thought provoking. I found it making me think quite a bit about the ideas. Very worth the listen.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Merville, BC, Canada 10-01-12
    John Merville, BC, Canada 10-01-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    101
    4
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    Story
    "A platform for hostility"

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Union, NJ, United States 04-18-11
    Christopher Union, NJ, United States 04-18-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Lightweight Work of Science Fiction"

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bradley las flores, CA, United States 01-08-11
    Bradley las flores, CA, United States 01-08-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    "A little too basic"

    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).

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Landrum, SC, United States 08-31-10
    John Landrum, SC, United States 08-31-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Communist utopian drivel"

    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.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clarice Henderson, NV, United States 08-29-09
    Clarice Henderson, NV, United States 08-29-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    "Thought provoking"

    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!

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott BOISE, ID, USA 07-20-09
    Scott BOISE, ID, USA 07-20-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Enjoyed it"

    Interesting, thought provoking, well done.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ripley I Attleboro, MA United States 11-08-08
    Ripley I Attleboro, MA United States 11-08-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrific!"

    This was truely interesting and different! I can't wait to get the next one in the series

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Toronto, ON, Canada 04-24-13
    John Toronto, ON, Canada 04-24-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Close but no cigar"

    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.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis Looman 08-26-09 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
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    "Paradise found?"

    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.

    4 of 18 people found this review helpful
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