Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax, Book 1 Audiobook | Robert J. Sawyer | Audible.com
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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 (1077 )
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  •  
    Scott Roseville, CA, United States 08-10-09
    Scott Roseville, CA, United States 08-10-09 Member Since 2006

    Don't you just love a great story well told?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Scicen Fiction Can Be Literature"

    I found the book fast paced, well narrated and well edited. Some complain of the politics and religion but this is literature. Since we can't discuss these things at "polite gatherings" literature is appropriate except for those who wish pure escapism (While concise, entertaining and compelling certainly this is not a 'light' read).

    It won the Hugo award (Science Fiction Writer's "Oscar" as most likely know), and only rarely are such prizes awarded to art without any merit.

    Much fuss is made by some about the graphic sexual assault which is brief but absolutely key to distinguishing two cultures and a woman's feelings about a more sensitive being.

    My only critique, is I found the verisimilitude lacking in the other culture regarding their belief system. I would think any being that could contemplate its death might have different views. A line or two more explaining their reasons would have helped. That is my only critique.

    Finally, remember this is fiction. If one finds FICTION so offensive why bother reading? I can understand political or religious NON-fiction being offensive but isn't the joy of fiction that it's just "make believe?"

    The price is right considering its length.

    22 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sam shreveport, louisiana, United States 05-30-12
    sam shreveport, louisiana, United States 05-30-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Canada's answer to Clark and Asimov"

    This was the first book I ever listened to on Audible, and I still recall the magic of the experience, how I was longing to discover more even before it was over, and looking back on it all, I couldn't have picked a more perfect book to start than this. Mr. Sawyer does a wonderful job of combining cutting edge science, likeable and believable characters, and even crafts and alternate world that's totally alien, yet still relatable and easy to comprehend. I also loved the vivid descriptions of Canada (both from our world, and the alternate world of the Neanderthals), that almost made it feel like I was there with the characters, though I suppose Sawyer had an advantage as a native (and proud) Canadian. I loved how Sawyer introduces the book, and gives it the quality of being like an old friend when you've read all the books (like I have), and Jonathan Davis did a superb job narrating. For me, this was the start of a wonderful experience that still continues to this day, I only hope this book will do the same for my fellow listeners.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Guillermo Rochester Hills, MI, United States 04-25-09
    Guillermo Rochester Hills, MI, United States 04-25-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Without Good and Evil"

    I'm very glad I listened to this Hominids Book 1 without regard to the numerous member reviews that clearly were blinded by their own hidebound perspectives.

    The beauty of this book is that it shows us two entirely different civilizations each of which is in many ways blind to its own flaws and yet each of which has its own strengths and humanity.

    It's clearly not by accident that the Neanderthals call themselves human and that the Homo Sapiens call themselves human and that as a whole each civilization is short sighted.

    The flaws of the Neanderthals really are both potential and present flaws of our society, too. And the flaws of the Homosapiens are parallel flaws of our own.

    It's a book without good or evil. Each society is both compassionate and prejudiced, and each side is worthy of existing and interacting with the other.

    Finally, the main characters are for good reason benevolent and often wise. Thus individuals redeem their societies.

    Some reviewers are caught up on one side or another, on one character or another, on trivia that misses the whole point. Be willing to accept the evil to appreciate the good.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant Loving Los Angeles, CA United States 05-16-08
    Grant Loving Los Angeles, CA United States 05-16-08 Member Since 2003

    Show me your paso doble.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    63
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    "Awesome!"

    Seriously! Freaking awesome! I can totally understand why it won a Hugo award. I would have driveway moments just as I got home from work listening to the book in my parked car. It is a good sci-fi book because it focuses on the characters and their interaction to the technology. The sci-fi part itself is spectacular and raises a bunch of what-if questions. It is the kinda sci-fi where it seems like it could almost happen, that it is not so much of a stretch. Another great thing about it, is that the storyline is episodic, so you almost get several stories at once. My next Audible purchase is going to be the next book in this series. I might actually put this up there with Ender's Game, and Starship Troopers, as one of my favorite books.

    24 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael DAYTON, OH, United States 01-14-12
    Michael DAYTON, OH, United States 01-14-12 Member Since 2011

    MIke Charette

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful Story, Thank you Robert J. Sawyer!"
    What made the experience of listening to Hominids the most enjoyable?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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!


    Which character – as performed by Jonathan Davis and Robert J. Sawyer – was your favorite?

    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!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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!


    Any additional comments?

    I laughed at the product placement, though I am paraphrasing,

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Houston, TX, United States 12-27-11
    Paul Houston, TX, United States 12-27-11 Member Since 2002

    I've been an Audie Awards judge since 2008. I have enjoyed audiobooks since the days when they were called "Books on Tape".

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Another Great Story by Sawyer"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    louise prattsville, NY, United States 10-26-08
    louise prattsville, NY, United States 10-26-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very thoughtful"

    While this is a very interesting book, listeners/readers should be warned that it isn't fast paced, and the story unfolds slowly - this is not a criticism, but if you are impatient, you may not enjoy this. However, if you are willing to commit, it should be pretty enjoyable.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adi OxfordUnited Kingdom 07-09-09
    Adi OxfordUnited Kingdom 07-09-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant book - going straight to the next one!"

    I'm glad I chose to ignore some of the less good reviews this book got because I really really enjoyed it. It's a great story that shines a (not always flattering) light on our own society as well as exploring an interesting fictional world as well.

    I've gotten so involved in this novel that I've listened (unusually for me) at all sorts of times outside of my normal commute and that I'm going straight on to book 2 as soon as my next credit becomes active!

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Montclair, NJ, United States 11-07-12
    Michael Montclair, NJ, United States 11-07-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "OK but flawed"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Schaumburg, IL, United States 10-19-12
    Daniel Schaumburg, IL, United States 10-19-12 Member Since 2010

    Kugelblitz

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Overhyped"
    Would you try another book from Robert J. Sawyer and/or Jonathan Davis and Robert J. Sawyer ?

    I really don't see what other people do in this novel. The premise itself I found excellent. The author really started well, but the novel really turned into a vehicle to cram the author's social ideas onto the reader. That wouldn't necessarily be so bad if it were not for the fact that the guy posits caricatures of people to criticize them. For instance, he uses an allegedly Catholic character to contrast with his atheist neanderthals, and yet NOTHING that comes out of that character's thoughts and words reflects any reasonable representation of what a lifelong Catholic would think or believe. It was almost like the characters were taken as cartoon characters from one of the vapid New Atheist books. Yes, I realize bitter atheists will thumb down my review because they only vote for their dogma over any criticism, but this book truly was a poor attempt at positing a valid alternate society. For instance, if you read one of Orson Scott Card's novels, even the characters with whose beliefs he would never agree are given a fair place. In short, this is NOT a 21st century Stranger in a Strange Land. To do so it would need accurate human beings with which to contrast the alternate ideas. Instead you get a lot of straw characters that have little to nothing in common with the beliefs of actual people. If it were not for that, I think the novel would have so much more merit.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting aspect of the story is the depth with which the author developed this alternate society. He developed a basic naming language to make it more realistic. He built a solid culture and everything. The least interesting aspect is that he failed to accurate represent homo sapiens.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 73 results PREVIOUS128NEXT
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  • Philippa
    Reading, United Kingdom
    4/22/09
    Overall
    "Really Good"

    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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • lesley
    chesterfield, United Kingdom
    7/30/10
    Overall
    "most enjoyable"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jon
    herefordUnited Kingdom
    12/10/09
    Overall
    "Fascinating"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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