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Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the hey-those-are-like-me dept.

Space 132

robinw writes: "Hominids is the latest novel by the accomplished Canadian science-fiction writer, Robert J. Sawyer. It is also the first book in a trilogy which he calls The Neanderthal Parallax. While far from his best offering, Hominids is consistent with the quality we've grown to expect from Mr. Sawyer, and is a worthwhile addition to any science fiction fan's library."The book is centered on the Many-Universes Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. In layman's terms, for every possible decision that can be made, the universe branches out into many universes, one for each possibility. All decisions are therefore dealt with in some form, and the universes are identical except for the choice that has been taken one way or the other. Normally, the interpretation states that the parallel universes cannot communicate, but in the novel a failed experiment in Quantum Computing suddenly brings two such Universes together. The first is our modern day society, and the second is a parallel universe where Neanderthals and mammoths prospered while we perished.

The story of the two universes, and their interactions are told in parallel. After the failed experiment, a Neanderthal named Ponter finds himself in rural Ontario, in the world famous Sudbury Neutrino observatory. Back in the Neanderthal universe, his partner Adikor is blamed for his absence, and is put through an extensive trial.

Sawyer has obviously done his research. The alternate version of Earth where the Neanderthals exist is amazingly well thought out. Everything from the social ramifications of an enhanced sense of smell to the 1984-esque communicators that monitor everything the Neanderthals do is integrated into the story perfectly.

There is very little action to be found in the novel, but it remains exciting nonetheless. Personally, I was fascinated with the dialogue Sawyer presents between the character Mary Vaughan and Ponter the Neanderthal. Although I believe that Sawyer has a love for humanity and our technological prowess, he uses the conversations between the human and the Neanderthal as a way of exposing some of our atrocities in the thousands of years that have passed since we developed intelligence. You have to admire the honesty of the character Mary for willingly exposing things in our past that we'd rather forget, but towards the end of the book it almost becomes too much. In fact, I had a hard time believing that Ponter had anything good to say about us at all to his fellow Neanderthals.

The lack of privacy that the Neanderthal society lives with might be of particular interest to the Slashdot crowd. All Neanderthals are required to wear a communicator implant in their arm that transmits everything they do to a central recording center. Interestingly enough, Sawyer argues in favor of such technology, saying that it virtually eliminates crime (who would murder someone knowing fully well that it could be played back by the authorities?) and that we don't really have any privacy anyway. In fact, the book begins with a quote to that effect.

Sawyer's writing is simple and to the point. He has a way of explaining complicated concepts without being overly confusing or long and drawn out. The 400+ page novel is actually a fairly quick read. Unlike some oth-er authors that I'm familiar with, you don't have to go back and re-read passages to find details you might have missed. Don't get me wrong - although the book is easily digested, it manages to inspire. Also, despite the fact that this is the first novel in a series of three, it stands very well on its own. In fact, had I not known that there were two more novels dealing with the same characters being released over the next year or so, I would have been completely satisfied.

Hominids comes highly recommended. If you're at all interested in hard-SF, you owe it to yourself to head down to the bookstore and check it out.


You can purchase Hominids from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to submit yours, read the book review guidelines, then hit the submission page.

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WE LOVE BSD BABE! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652239)

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YOU CAN'T FOOL ME. YOU'RE A HOMO-NID. (-1)

Subject Line Troll (581198) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652281)

A HREF="f/?a=1 x f

you are a fag ! (-1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652283)

th1s e4rly ps0t 1s d3d1c4t3d t0:
0n by, CLITs O th3 sp0rks,
"kl3rck" o o 4nd 4ll
n0n o. .o 4Cs
o . . o
4nd o. .o p4g3
w1d3n3rs o o 4nd 4ls0
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tr0llz r0x0r !!! cr4pfl00d r3wlz!

Face up to it, CLIT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652400)

Sometimes an AC does beat the CLIT to a fp. You can never stop that - but if we work together, it might be possible to keep all fps as troll fps. The CLIT is indeed powerful. But the Annoymous coward is legion - for they are many.
The solution?
Join the UTM today!

Re:Face up to it, CLIT (-1)

k0osh.CEOofCLIT (582286) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652590)

Esham - KKKill The Fetus Why did you wake up in the life, in this world we livin Love ain't worth a dime, so then you nothin to give him The baby has no father, he ran out on the mother So raise him as cannibal to be like Jeffrey Dahmer You life is really worthless, you live and then you die You go to die, and bodies rot and then your wonder why And then you live in doubt, til you live or live without The facts you know, you can't afford to feed another mouth Your head is steady spinnin, the Devil's steady grinnin While you was steady sinnin from the very first beginnin Is it a boy or a girl, I think I should referral You should terminate it, because it's a lousy world You life on the line, you're out ya fuckin mind You gotta to your tape, cuz you're runnin outta time It's just another embryo, attached to an umbilical You can let that baby grow, but I'd kill it though, kill the fetus The bodies premature, the mother is a whore Contemplatin suicide so what you waitin for I think I heard a splinter, but that's a normal state Gem a hang over ya asshole until your water brake You better use some caution, yea they used up an abortion Death the only way to solve a suicide solution So here's my contribution, my suicide solution You play the game of death, but then you can't win for losin You want it and you got this, on shit you killed the fetus Live is just a waste, so then you outta just delete this Problem to society, society's a problem My suicide solution is a 38 revolver I'm your problem solver, your life is full of horror Some are born to die and some are die tomorrow Vagina tissue's dorm, your pussy's kinda worn I flipped out on a warn, if you haven't none to born Your inner one perspective, there is one conceseptent Your M.P.D. is positive, so you can let that baby live It's just another embryo, attached to an umbilical You can let that baby grow, but I'd kill it though, kill the fetus The planet's really fucked, so know ya kinda stuck You should of thought about it, before you bust a nut It is a lousy world, I live a lousy life I think I outta stab ya, wit the sunkin, wit the knife Or push you down a flight of steps, until you fall and break ya neck Did a little damage, can you manage on this carriage Life is not a choice, death is the alternative Or shit you let it grow up in this fucked up world that we live in These are the consequences, add one more to the State Census Born to die in poverty, so tell me what's the census It's just another embryo, attached to an umbilical You can let that baby grow, but I'd kill it though, kill the fetus

CLIT (-1)

CLIT (581942) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652240)

The First Post Parallax!

I kick all AC's to the curb and shit down their throats!

Re:CLIT (-1)

Dead Fart Warrior (525970) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652260)

ever farted and accidentally shit yourself?

Re:CLIT (-1)

negativekarmanow tm (518080) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652377)

I actually did that in the shower once.
That was the grossest thing *ever* for me.

Lately tho, I just swallow my own cum whenever I feel like doing something disgusting. Do you swallow your own cum when you jerk off?

Re:CLIT (-1)

Burritos (535298) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652271)

Are you my friend?

Re:CLIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652781)

You loose.
But dont' mind.
People with sexual problems often loose.

Aww hell (-1)

Burritos (535298) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652243)

I would of had first post . I am so mad. argh. why me? why?

Re:Aww hell (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652357)

Because you are not a member of CLIT or TITS.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652248)

first post - i havnt had time to read the article yet

Re:first post (-1, Offtopic)

chrisspurgeon (514765) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652257)

You got NOTHING, monkey boy.

Hominids: Die Parallaxe Neanderthal (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652250)

Hominids ist der neueste Roman durch den erreichten kanadischen Wissenschaft-Erfindungverfasser, Robert J. Sawyer. Es ist auch das erste Buch in einem trilogy, das er die Parallaxe Neanderthal nennt. Während weit von seinen besten Antrag, Hominids mit der Qualität gleichbleibend ist, sind wir gewachsen, um von Herrn Sawyer zu erwarten und sind eine lohnende Hinzufügung zur Bibliothek jedes möglichen Zukunftsroman-Ventilators.

Das Buch wird auf der Viel-Universumdeutung der Quantenmechaniker zentriert. Im Laien benennt, für jede mögliche Entscheidung, die getroffen werden kann, die Universumniederlassungen heraus in viel Universum, eine für jede Möglichkeit. Alle Entscheidungen werden folglich in irgendeiner Form behandelt, und das Universum ist außer der Wahl identisch, die One-way oder den anderen genommen worden ist. Normalerweise gibt die Deutung an, daß das parallele Universum nicht in Verbindung stehen kann, aber im Roman holt ein verlassenes Experiment in der Menge plötzlich rechnend zwei solches zusammen Universum. Das erste ist unsere moderne Tagesgesellschaft, und die Sekunde ist- ein paralleles Universum, in dem Neanderthals und mammoths sich erweiterten, während wir umkamen.

Die Geschichte des zwei Universums und ihre Abhängigkeiten werden in der Ähnlichkeit erklärt. Nach dem verlassenen Experiment nannte ein Neanderthal Ponterentdeckungen selbst in landwirtschaftlichem Ontario, in der Neutrinosternwarte Weltberühmten Sudbury. Zurück im Universum Neanderthal, wird sein Partner Adikor für seine Abwesenheit getadelt und wird durch einen umfangreichen Versuch hindurchgeführt.

Sawyer hat offensichtlich seine Forschung getan. Die wechselnde Version von Masse, in der das Neanderthals bestehen, ist erstaunlich wohler Gedanke heraus. Alles von den Sozialverzweigungen eines erhöhten Geruchssinns zu den Mitteilenden 1984-esque, die alles das Neanderthals überwachen, wird integriert in die Geschichte tadellos.

Es gibt die sehr wenig im Roman zu findene Tätigkeit, aber er bleibt nichtsdestoweniger aufregend. Persönlich wurde ich mit den Geschenken DialogSawyer zwischen dem Buchstaben Mary Vaughan und Ponter das Neanderthal fasziniert. Obgleich ich glaube, daß Sawyer eine Liebe für Menschlichkeit und unseren technologischen Prowess hat, verwendet er die Gespräche zwischen dem Menschen und dem Neanderthal als Weise des Herausstellens einige unserer atrocities in den Tausenden der Jahre, die überschritten haben, seit wir Intelligenz entwickelten. Sie müssen die Ehrlichkeit des Buchstabens Mary für Sachen in unserer Vergangenheit bereitwillig herausstellen bewundern, die wir eher vergessen würden, aber in Richtung zum Ende des Buches wird es fast zu viel. Tatsächlich hatte ich eine harte Zeit glaubend, daß Ponter alles hatte, das gut ist, über uns an allen zu seinem Gefährten Neanderthals zu sagen.

Der Mangel an Privatleben, den die Gesellschaft Neanderthal lebt mit, konnte vom bestimmten Interesse zur Masse Slashdot sein. Alles Neanderthals werden angefordert, um ein Mitteilendes zu tragen einpflanzen in ihrem Arm, der alles überträgt, das, sie zu einer zentralen Aufnahmemitte tun. Interestingly genug, argumentiert Sawyer zugunsten solcher Technologie, sagen, daß es praktisch Verbrechen beseitigt (wem jemand ermorden würde, das völlig wohles kennt, daß es durch die Behörden zurück gespielt werden könnte?), und das haben wir wirklich kein Privatleben irgendwie. Tatsächlich fängt das Buch mit einem Anführungsstrich zu diesem Effekt an.

Schreiben Sawyers ist und zum Punkt einfach. Er hat eine Weise des Erklärens der schwierigen Konzepte, ohne übermäßig zu verwirren oder lang und herausgezogen. Der Roman der Seite 400+ ist wirklich gelesen ein ziemlich schnelles. Anders als einige andere Autoren, daß ich mit vertraut bin, müssen Sie nicht zurück gehen und Durchgänge neulesen, um Details zu finden, die Sie vermißt haben konnten. Erhalten Sie mich nicht falsch - obgleich das Buch leicht verdaut wird, handhat es anzuspornen. Auch obwohl dieses der erste Roman in einer Reihe von drei ist, steht es sehr gut eigenständig. Tatsächlich ließ I nicht wissen, daß es zwei weitere Romane gab, die die gleichen Buchstaben beschäftigen, die über dem folgenden Jahr oder so freigegeben wurden, ich würde erfüllt worden sein vollständig.

Hominids kommt in hohem Grade empfohlen. Wenn Sie an ganz interessiertem an hartem-SF sind, verdanken Sie es selbst Kopf unten der Buchhandlung und überprüfen es heraus.

I've heard this before (-1, Offtopic)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652256)

Wasn't this a movie with Pauly Shore?

Get your hands off me you damned dirty apes! (3, Funny)

GerberBaby (582642) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652266)

Where is Chuck Heston when you need him.

I know what this is! (0)

The Anti-Billg (583826) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652292)

It must be a documentary on the people who wrote Outlook!

Re:I know what this is! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652524)

OMG LOL A/S/L

privacy (3, Insightful)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652293)

"All Neanderthals are required to wear a communicator implant in their arm that transmits everything they do to a central recording center. Interestingly enough, Sawyer argues in favor of such technology, saying that it virtually eliminates crime (who would murder someone knowing fully well that it could be played back by the authorities?)"

If a person is disturbed enough to make them commit a murder, putting a locator implant in their arm will not make them less disturbed. It will not lead to a happier society.

Their anger will simply be manifested differently. Would you want to work in the same office with a person like this? Would you want to live in the same building? Treating the Symptoms != Solving the problem.

Re:privacy (1, Offtopic)

bungo (50628) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652386)

I haven't read the book, but I have read the novella - it was published in 3 parts over 3 months in Analog.

You're correct that it won't change the person, but that doesn't matter.

What they do is to sterilize anyone who shares 50% of the same genetic material as the person who commits the crime. In this way, the 'bad' genes are removed from the gene pool.

Re:privacy (2)

bungo (50628) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652463)

Oh, shit. My above post may have contained a spoiler.

(a bit more explained below)
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

It's been a months since I read the story, but I think you don't find out about the 50% DNA gene pool purge until later into the story.

Sorry about that.

At least I didn't say that the lone gunmen were killed.

Which reminds me of the best spoiler I've ever seen. In the credits to, I think, Loaded Weapon, near the end, they had
Gaffer - ...
Best Boy - ....
The secret to the crying game - The girl's a guy
Property Manager - ....

Re:privacy (3, Interesting)

DerekTheRed (579180) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652684)

This is such a terrible solution to the crime problem and I can't believe that anyone knowledgeable about biology would ever discuss it without severe prejudice...

Biology does not make people into criminals, for the most part. It's criminal law that does that. But that's not my main objection, and I don't care to argue the merits of it -- my main objection is that the human gene pool is dangerously homogeneous already, and we should not, at this point, be going out of our way to make it more so.

Human beings have, since distant prehistory, slaughtered many millions of minority ethnic groups. "Parallax" does not shrink from that fact. What we are not acknowledging, however, is that their genes are gone forever. By committing so many atrocities, we have made ourselves incredibly (and nearly irreverseably) vulnerable to diseases that depend on common genetics. By killing people with different genetics, it leaves only those with similar genetics to reproduce with each other. It makes each of us genetic siblings, to a degree...and I shouldn't have to tell you why siblings can't reproduce...

Re:privacy (2)

Suidae (162977) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652944)

You should say 'wuy siblings ought not reproduce', since it is clear that they can, and indeed, occasionally do.

The genetic risks associated with interbreeding are, according to some studies, overblown. Interbreeding of closely related individuals also has benefits of bringing out other traits, which actually increases genetic diversity.

In short, the situation is more complicated than 'incest=bad'. Animal breeders regularly interbreed their stock, usually with no problems at all.

Re:privacy (1)

DerekTheRed (579180) | more than 12 years ago | (#3653426)

Sorry, a matter of semantics...You are correct, it is better to describe it as "shouldn't" rather than "can't." Inbreeding is successful quite regularly, it's just that among individuals of similar genetics, it dramatically increases the chance of genetic defects. Say you are a carrier of the recessive gene that causes Crohn's disease; it's a strong possibility that your sister does as well, having inherited that gene from the same people. And if you and your sister have children, the chance of each of your children developing Crohn's disease has just increased to 25% from the usual less-than-1% they'd otherwise have.

In addition to that, I should have also more explicitly explained that too little genetic variation makes us more vulnerable to infectious agents that depend on our genetics.

For example: at some point along this path, a catastrophic disease that might have wiped out 10% of the world's population will be successful at wiping out 40% of it, because so many more people have the same genetic vulnerabilities. I am not merely bluffing about this, it is a statistical inevitability.

Thanks for clarifying.

Re:privacy (1)

Exedore (223159) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652957)

What they do is to sterilize anyone who shares 50% of the same genetic material as the person who commits the crime

Ummm... wouldn't that mean sterilizing everybody, then? IIRC, humans share a high percentage (well over 90%) with other mammals, let alone with other humans.

WOW. YOU SPOTTED AN INCONSISTENCY IN A SCI-FI BOOK (-1, Offtopic)

Subject Line Troll (581198) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652404)

A HREF="f/?a=1 x f

Re:privacy (2)

DragonMagic (170846) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652410)

*MAY SPOIL*

In the novel, though, people who commited horrible crimes such as murder, had to have their genetic code cleansed from the gene pool. It may sound to be an easy fix for crime just there, but to ensure that any of the "bad genes" would not be around, *ANYONE* who shared at least 50% of their genes (brothers, sisters, children), were ALSO sterilized.

It makes it a little more involved to have your family ensure that you're an angel, knowing that their crimes can end your ability to have a family.

Re:privacy (1)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652478)

"*ANYONE* who shared at least 50% of their genes (brothers, sisters, children), were ALSO sterilized."

I seem to recall a similar practice carried out by some tribe or other here in our own, pleasant little universe. Fo a particularly egrigious crime, you, and anyone related to you within one degree (parents, children, aunts, uncles, first cousins, neices and nephews) were all put to death. This was, as I recall, supposed to prevent a single crime from turning into a generations-long clan feud, by the simple expediency of eliminating anyone who'd care enough about you to go to war for you, so nobody has any interest in perpetuating a cycle of revenge.

Re:privacy (2)

drox (18559) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652425)

If a person is disturbed enough to make them commit a murder, putting a locator implant in their arm will not make them less disturbed. It will not lead to a happier society.

Exactly. The disturbed-but-clever people will just find better ways to make it look like an accident or a natural death.

Oh well. It's fiction, so I suppose it's okay. Better that we devote our efforts to combating real abuses rather than fictional ones.

Re:privacy (1)

retinaburn (218226) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652470)

It would not eliminate 'crimes of passion' or accidents. It would eliminate 'serial murderers' by virtue of being caught the first time. It would also eliminate the whole 'tracking down the criminal', but not the investigation of the crime itself.

A symptom of being deranged could be a strong desire to kill people. Catching the person after the first time allows you to treat the disease, and stop the symtoms.

I would be happier if I knew that multiple-homicides were far less likely. Wouldn't you, or are you just scared you'd get caught ?

Re:privacy (2)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652506)

"A symptom of being deranged could be a strong desire to kill people. Catching the person after the first time allows you to treat the disease, and stop the symtoms. I would be happier if I knew that multiple-homicides were far less likely. Wouldn't you, or are you just scared you'd get caught ?"

No. I think this cost of catching serial murderers that you propose is too high. It forces the assumption that the majority of people will commit a crime worthy of pursuit by law enforcement. I do not want to live in a society like this.

"Those who would trade a little freedom for a little security deserve neither." -Benjamin Franklin

Re:privacy (1)

Garg (35772) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652923)

You're making the assumption that such a technology would only be used to stop behaviors we (almost) all agree are bad, such as murder. But it wouldn't be very long before the Powers That Be would start to apply it to anything that didn't fit their personal agenda.

First would come sterilization of those who took drugs or looked at pr0n. Next comes those who are too liberal, or too conservative. Then those who ever voted for the other party, or who don't worship the same God. Finally comes execution of those who favor baptism by sprinkling rather than dunking.

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Garg

Re:privacy (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652889)

> (who would murder someone knowing fully well that it could be played back by the authorities?)"

Didn't seem to stop 19 jerkwads from pulling off 9/11, did it?

Re:privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3653540)

Didn't seem to stop 19 jerkwads from pulling off 9/11, did it?

That could have been prevented except that Dubya and his cronies allowed it to happen for political gain.

Hominids (-1)

Burritos (535298) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652297)

Hominids! I remember this movie. Two thumbs up!

Murder (3, Insightful)

JJ (29711) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652305)

While absolute certainty of punishment would drive down random murder rates, it would not eliminate murder. A majority of women murdered are murdered by someone they know, normally a male.

Re:Murder (2)

arivanov (12034) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652476)

Genetic elimination should solve this over a period of time. I am glad the author has suggested it.

It has solved it for many societies on Earth after all. If you give it a thought in some societies things like pe**philia are almost unheard of.

Which one is a different matter. There are many statistic handbooks on crime - look into them and find out for yourself. This data also gives a very nice perspective on the idea of the effect "tough stance on crime - more jails and more police" and the real effect it has on crime.

Re:Murder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652870)

Bad idea. Please see HERE [slashdot.org]

Re:Murder (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652939)

Actually, most murder victims of either sex are murdered by someone they know, very often a family member, and that someone is usually male. The circumstances are often different, of course, but this fact holds true.

Note also that rates of murder conviction among women are rising rapidly; this may be an unintended consequence of the success of feminism (equal rights => equal access to and willingness to use the tools of deadly violence) or it may be simply that juries are now more willing to convict women of serious crimes, being less blinded by the belief that A Poor Little Innocent Woman Could Never Do Such A Horrible Thing. IIRC, the rates of murder convictions have been traditionally been about 90% male / 10% female but are now around 80%/20%.

Re:Murder (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3653594)

Actually, most murder victims of either sex are murdered by someone they know, very often a family member, and that someone is usually male. The circumstances are often different, of course, but this fact holds true

No, it just looks to hold true because of the way the statistics are gathered. The first part ("most murder victims are murdered by someone they know") is true. But this includes things like prostitute/pimp, drug dealer/user, and other criminal relationships. The number of females (or males) that are murdered by a "family member" is much lower when "family member" means a relationship by blood or marriage.

This myth (most people are killed by family members) was started by a bogus study done by Arthur Kellerman. One of the "statistics" that he came up with was the often repeated (and completely incorrect) "you are 43 times more likely to be killed by a family member". But if you look at the actual study (and the data) the real number is only about 5 times. And even that number includes the previously mentioned (criminal relationships) familiarity.

Re:Murder (1)

emaveneau (552950) | more than 12 years ago | (#3653217)

A majority of women murdered are murdered by someone they know, normally a male.
Yeah but when "the two become one" they are too randy to have murder on their mind. Time apart probably makes most relationships idealized and smooths over the rough points. A neat world.

As for random murder, it is reduced via genetics (the sterilization), peer influence & perhaps medication (pg 296-7 mentions family role and Mary mentions a biochemical role) and counseling which Ponter goes to control his temper. Nature & Nurture are both important.

The only person who supports sterilization in strong terms is Mary (pg 304) for obvious reasons. She may be the character used to advocate extreme views in the later books (I wonder what will become of the sample she took).

The interplay between both worlds and the reflection of our own is imaginative and stimulating. Great entertainment.

I recommend this book, "Golden Fleece", "Iterations" and "Illegal Alien". From Iterations the short story " Above it all" still gives me chills, I cannot look at the ISS in the same light now. "Iterations" has a neat idea for why SETI hasn't found anything yet (I haven't yet proved to myself yet that the idea is valid but it warrants further examination).

Re:Murder (1)

emaveneau (552950) | more than 12 years ago | (#3653346)

Sorry I meant "Calculating God" not "Illegal Alien".

jESUS was a Neanderthal! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652314)

First post!!

A pleasant surprise (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652325)

For a site that loves to be L337 and pro-open-source, I'm really enjoying the current surge in visualstudio.net adverts. Maybe it's just me that's getting more than usual? Either way, I'm proud to see slashdot being as two-faced as ever.









Hmm... (4, Funny)

Kredal (566494) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652326)

Does anyone besides me have a hard time suspending disbelief long enough to get over the idea of "modern neanderthals"? I can't get the image of a guy with a big forehead and a deer leg club going around smashing traffic lights and computers out of my head.

Either that or the Flintstones... *shrug*

Re:Hmm... (5, Funny)

DaAlbatross (79234) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652426)

seen any baseball players lately?

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652488)

I can't get the image of a guy with a big forehead and a deer leg club going around smashing traffic lights and computers out of my head.

Check out the VA Software and Slashdot offices at some point. Shocking!

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652710)

I think this [neanderthals.com] site says it all.

Re:Hmm... (2)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 12 years ago | (#3653150)

Frozen Caveman Lawyer!

I'm just a simple caveman...

Re:Hmm... (1)

good-n-nappy (412814) | more than 12 years ago | (#3653405)

Yeah, all I can think of is a really terrible book I read with the title Neanderthal [amazon.com] . It fits the mad lib profile for cheap science fiction. "The extinct species ________ is discovered living in a remote corner of the world."

Slashdot is Dying!!! (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652333)

Proof is Here

Re:Slashdot is Dying!!! (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652347)

Dude, they stripped my link. Will they do it again? [yahoo.com]

I second this review (5, Interesting)

caesar-auf-nihil (513828) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652336)

Perhaps this may be modded as redundant, but I'll say it anyway. I read this series when it first came out in Analog this year. I looked forward to each issue that came out and read it rapidly.

What struck me the most about this whole series was the striking differences in our culture and the one developed by the Neanderthal alternate universe culture. Yes, it's fiction, but it did an excellent job pointing out how historical changes can influence generations of culture, beliefs, and technology. For example, the Neanderthals decided to have everyone monitored with personal monitoring devices, so in the event of a crime, there was a 100% chance of proving or disproving who did the crime. The ultimate in police state monitoring, and yet, the entire Neanderthal culture agreed to not abuse this monitoring, and had it set up in such a way that the monitoring would only be accessed during the event of a crime. Privacy wasn't an issue with this culture, so it came as quite a shock to the main Neanderthal when he was transplanted to our universe that we had such issues.

The parallels and contrasts between such two entirely different, and yet very possible cultures that could have happened here on earth make this series well worth reading. I'm looking forward to more work from the author.

YOU'RE RIGHT- IT IS REDUNDANT. MOD PARENT DOWN. (-1)

Subject Line Troll (581198) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652521)

A HREF="f/?a=1 x f

Re: I second this review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652685)

Perhaps game theory and Zero Sum game can shed some light. According to game theory, all decision makers behave rationally, therefore all choices reguarding privacy is both beneficial to the individual and group. When a significant breach in privacy occurs and destroys rational behavior, you get Zero Sum. Everyone looses privacy.

As game theorists will say, game theory doesn't work in reality because people do not behave rationally. On a planet of completely rational vulcans, you can embed a chip into everyone. But as soon as you get some crazy Vulcans trying to incorporate their emotions into their daily existence, it falls apart.

Rob Sawyer is a good writer! (2)

farrellj (563) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652339)

And Canadian to boot!

At CAN-CON, we have had Rob and his wife Carolyn as guests many times, and they are wonderful people. Take the time to listen to either of them if you ever get a chance at a Science Fiction convention.

And, of course, read his books!

ttyl
Farrell

co-founder of CAN-CON, a conference promoting Canadian SF Writers, Poets, Artists and other creative people for over a decade!

Re:Rob Sawyer is a good writer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652440)

More books by Robert J. Sawyer here [google.com]

AND RUSH WROTE THAT COOL SONG ABOUT HIM. (-1)

Subject Line Troll (581198) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652600)

A HREF="f/?a=1 x f

privacy and a great book (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652340)

This was serialized in Analog or Asimov's. It was great! The Neandertal's had a much nicer universe in my opinion.

The "permanent record" non-privacy angle really irked me at first. Then I realized that there were strong safeguards and oversight in place.

...Which is what we in the US could benefit greatly from these days. Where's the oversight to all the new ways of watching in the US?

Re:privacy and a great book (1)

kathybt (550298) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652734)

Another interesting take on privacy issues as well as copyright issues re: the Internet is David Brin's _Earth_. This isn't my favorite Brin book, but it explores a lot of interesting issues in a new-future basically-our-world setting.

Re:privacy and a great book (1)

javaman83 (144935) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652796)

i read it in ebook form when it was serialized in analog. i couldn't wait for each month to come out.

Sawyer's site, more stories, etc. (3, Informative)

DragonMagic (170846) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652355)

To read more of Sawyer's stories and order autographed copies direct from him, visit:

http://www.sfwriter.com/ [sfwriter.com]

Best way to support an author is a direct sale. (:

who wouldn't? (2)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652356)

"(who would murder someone knowing fully well that it could be played back by the authorities?)"

How many here would willingly fight to their own deaths to start a revolution against such an authority? I would.

Buh bye. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652605)

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Re:who wouldn't? (1)

invid (163714) | more than 12 years ago | (#3653156)


I have to agree. To put monitoring devices on every person, no matter what the safe-guards, is to be one step away from a society without any freedoms at all. Whoever can control and manipulate the implants and the data from the implants can control everyone's lives.



Unfortunately, the price of freedom is to endure a certain amount of criminal violence. It's great for the Neanderthals that they belong to such an ideologically homogenious population (I assume it is, since they all agree with the monitoring). However, I think it's better to live in an ideologically diverse population, where people are willing to endure freedom and its dangers, as well as its blessings.



PS, the most heinious violent crimes are performed by people who don't care if they are caught and end up killing themselves afterwards.

What is page widening? (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652368)

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Re:What is page widening? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652390)

that

Sawyer's website: http://www.sfwriter.com/ (0, Redundant)

farrellj (563) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652374)

Check it out...lots of good information!

http://www.sfwriter.com/ [sfwriter.com]

ttyl
Farrell

My little 2c review (2, Interesting)

SetarconeX (160251) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652394)

For those who didn't know, the novel was serialized in Analog, starting January 2002, and running for about three issues.

I know the concept sounds goofy. I wasn't all that keen on reading a "Neanderthals run around Toronto" story either, considering the crap that's been made using plotlines like this in movies.

Nevertheless, the book's well researched, well written, and altogether enjoyable. You do owe it to yourselves to at least thumb through this one.

I mean, we all know someone with an Analog subscription, right? Just go bug them for a couple of back issues.

You could have read this earlier (5, Informative)

EvilBastard (77954) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652395)

It was serialized in the Jan 2002 - Apr 2002 issues of Analog [analogsf.com]

Not a bad story, but I found it to be a bit too much "Humans Bad, Neanderthals Good" to really accept it. Basically, neanderthals have no Crime, Rape, Theft, Pollution, Overpopulation, and they have far more advanced in many physical sciences.

The sole good thing he had to say about Humans was we landed on the moon,and then he figured out a way to make us look bad over that.

Hopefully the future books become a little less one-sided

Re:You could have read this earlier (2)

DragonMagic (170846) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652443)

Well, you may be a bit happier, knowing the next book is _Humans_, and the third book is _Hybrids_. The titles alone should tell you how the first book's characters end up.

Titles are a slight spoiler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652531)

Yeah, but telling us the titles is a spoiler for the next book.

Ponter: "Luke, I am your father".

Re:Titles are a slight spoiler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3653102)

Um, whats it going to spoil? My first thought when I read the plot was "Oh great, another inter-species smut book". Its an obvious conclusion. Two societies meet, ally, then intermingle (or, meet, conquer, then intermingle). If the series doesn't span hundred or thousands of years, its not believable.

Fuck that (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652427)

This is just bullshit ripped straight from Sliders, the holy-fucking-grail of Sci-Fi garbage. The Cro-Mags, and their advanced tech, and all that shit. Seriously.

Previously seen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652438)

I saw this series in analog, quite a good science fiction zine. If you enjoy both science fact and fiction, i suggest that you read it. It is very common for such greats as Greg Bear and Llarry Niven to write for it.

"Consistent with Saywer's Quality" = SUCKS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652482)

"Hominids is consistent with the quality we've grown to expect from Mr. Sawyer."?

So that means it has:
  • Bad science
  • Cardboard characters
  • Clumsy prose (Mr. Sawyer, meet Mr. Katz)
  • An unbelieveable plot


If anyone thinks I'm exagerating, I suggest they go and read Starplex, which sucks the farts out of dead cats. After reading that piece of crap I swore off Sawyer novels forever.

Nor is he any more pleasent in person. Ask him why he was so unpopular with the membership of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's of America that he had to Resign as SFWA President [gla.ac.uk] . In fact, recently he couldn't even get elected as SFWA's Canadian Regional Director.

There are at least a hundred SF writers working today who are better than Sawyer. I suggest you seek them out.

Re:"Consistent with Saywer's Quality" = SUCKS (1)

schnitzi (243781) | more than 12 years ago | (#3653452)

If anyone thinks I'm exagerating, I suggest they go and read Starplex, which sucks the farts out of dead cats. After reading that piece of crap I swore off Sawyer novels forever.


"The Terminal Experiment" did it for me. This guy should be forced to relinquish his sfwriter.com domain to someone who can actually write...

modern NTs? (0, Offtopic)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652485)

Atta boy Bobby hehe - don't we all know who the modern NTs are? all the XP Users. Alright before you mod me as offtopic think about it - aren't XP users modern NTs?
Look ma! I'm a modern NT - i have three arms but i can't use any !!!!

book prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652501)

bn 20.76 (19.72 w/ reader's advantage)
amazon - 18.17
walmart.com 18.16
alphacraze - 17.99
doublediscount - 15.97

Hmm. I'm having trouble finding an online retailer that sells for more than bn.

Just how much of a kickback do they give you, anyhow?

it figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652505)

The lack of privacy that the Neanderthal society lives with might be of particular interest to the Slashdot crowd. All Neanderthals are required to wear a communicator implant in their arm that transmits everything they do to a central recording center. Interestingly enough, Sawyer argues in favor of such technology, saying that it virtually eliminates crime

One word describes this author's ideological bent.... Canadian.

Seems very similar to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652508)

The TV series "Sliders" had a similarly themed Neandertal society.

Analog has a history of publishing Neathertal stories, where they are an advanced society in a parallel universe.

Actually, they also published "Which Way to the Ends of Time?" by Michael A. McCollum, back in 1981. The cover was an "Advanced Neandertal" with a highly technological "axe". 8-).

Mirror of the review (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652528)

Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax Posted by timothy on Thursday June 06, @09:30AM robinw writes: "Hominids is the latest novel by the accomplished Canadian science-fiction writer, Robert J. Sawyer. It is also the first book in a trilogy which he calls The Neanderthal Parallax. While far from his best offering, Hominids is consistent with the quality we've grown to expect from Mr. Sawyer, and is a worthwhile addition to any science fiction fan's library." Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax author Robert J. Sawyer pages 448 publisher Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC rating 8 reviewer Robin Ward ISBN 0-312-87692-0 summary When worlds collide, and one of them is full of Neanderthals ... The book is centered on the Many-Universes Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. In layman's terms, for every possible decision that can be made, the universe branches out into many universes, one for each possibility. All decisions are therefore dealt with in some form, and the universes are identical except for the choice that has been taken one way or the other. Normally, the interpretation states that the parallel universes cannot communicate, but in the novel a failed experiment in Quantum Computing suddenly brings two such Universes together. The first is our modern day society, and the second is a parallel universe where Neanderthals and mammoths prospered while we perished. The story of the two universes, and their interactions are told in parallel. After the failed experiment, a Neanderthal named Ponter finds himself in rural Ontario, in the world famous Sudbury Neutrino observatory. Back in the Neanderthal universe, his partner Adikor is blamed for his absence, and is put through an extensive trial. Sawyer has obviously done his research. The alternate version of Earth where the Neanderthals exist is amazingly well thought out. Everything from the social ramifications of an enhanced sense of smell to the 1984-esque communicators that monitor everything the Neanderthals do is integrated into the story perfectly. There is very little action to be found in the novel, but it remains exciting nonetheless. Personally, I was fascinated with the dialogue Sawyer presents between the character Mary Vaughan and Ponter the Neanderthal. Although I believe that Sawyer has a love for humanity and our technological prowess, he uses the conversations between the human and the Neanderthal as a way of exposing some of our atrocities in the thousands of years that have passed since we developed intelligence. You have to admire the honesty of the character Mary for willingly exposing things in our past that we'd rather forget, but towards the end of the book it almost becomes too much. In fact, I had a hard time believing that Ponter had anything good to say about us at all to his fellow Neanderthals. The lack of privacy that the Neanderthal society lives with might be of particular interest to the Slashdot crowd. All Neanderthals are required to wear a communicator implant in their arm that transmits everything they do to a central recording center. Interestingly enough, Sawyer argues in favor of such technology, saying that it virtually eliminates crime (who would murder someone knowing fully well that it could be played back by the authorities?) and that we don't really have any privacy anyway. In fact, the book begins with a quote to that effect. Sawyer's writing is simple and to the point. He has a way of explaining complicated concepts without being overly confusing or long and drawn out. The 400+ page novel is actually a fairly quick read. Unlike some oth-er authors that I'm familiar with, you don't have to go back and re-read passages to find details you might have missed. Don't get me wrong - although the book is easily digested, it manages to inspire. Also, despite the fact that this is the first novel in a series of three, it stands very well on its own. In fact, had I not known that there were two more novels dealing with the same characters being released over the next year or so, I would have been completely satisfied. Hominids comes highly recommended. If you're at all interested in hard-SF, you owe it to yourself to head down to the bookstore and check it out. AND IF YOU DIDN't HEAR IT THE FiRST TIME, HeRE IT IS aGAIN!!!!! Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax Posted by timothy on Thursday June 06, @09:30AM robinw writes: "Hominids is the latest novel by the accomplished Canadian science-fiction writer, Robert J. Sawyer. It is also the first book in a trilogy which he calls The Neanderthal Parallax. While far from his best offering, Hominids is consistent with the quality we've grown to expect from Mr. Sawyer, and is a worthwhile addition to any science fiction fan's library." Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax author Robert J. Sawyer pages 448 publisher Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC rating 8 reviewer Robin Ward ISBN 0-312-87692-0 summary When worlds collide, and one of them is full of Neanderthals ... The book is centered on the Many-Universes Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. In layman's terms, for every possible decision that can be made, the universe branches out into many universes, one for each possibility. All decisions are therefore dealt with in some form, and the universes are identical except for the choice that has been taken one way or the other. Normally, the interpretation states that the parallel universes cannot communicate, but in the novel a failed experiment in Quantum Computing suddenly brings two such Universes together. The first is our modern day society, and the second is a parallel universe where Neanderthals and mammoths prospered while we perished. The story of the two universes, and their interactions are told in parallel. After the failed experiment, a Neanderthal named Ponter finds himself in rural Ontario, in the world famous Sudbury Neutrino observatory. Back in the Neanderthal universe, his partner Adikor is blamed for his absence, and is put through an extensive trial. Sawyer has obviously done his research. The alternate version of Earth where the Neanderthals exist is amazingly well thought out. Everything from the social ramifications of an enhanced sense of smell to the 1984-esque communicators that monitor everything the Neanderthals do is integrated into the story perfectly. There is very little action to be found in the novel, but it remains exciting nonetheless. Personally, I was fascinated with the dialogue Sawyer presents between the character Mary Vaughan and Ponter the Neanderthal. Although I believe that Sawyer has a love for humanity and our technological prowess, he uses the conversations between the human and the Neanderthal as a way of exposing some of our atrocities in the thousands of years that have passed since we developed intelligence. You have to admire the honesty of the character Mary for willingly exposing things in our past that we'd rather forget, but towards the end of the book it almost becomes too much. In fact, I had a hard time believing that Ponter had anything good to say about us at all to his fellow Neanderthals. The lack of privacy that the Neanderthal society lives with might be of particular interest to the Slashdot crowd. All Neanderthals are required to wear a communicator implant in their arm that transmits everything they do to a central recording center. Interestingly enough, Sawyer argues in favor of such technology, saying that it virtually eliminates crime (who would murder someone knowing fully well that it could be played back by the authorities?) and that we don't really have any privacy anyway. In fact, the book begins with a quote to that effect. Sawyer's writing is simple and to the point. He has a way of explaining complicated concepts without being overly confusing or long and drawn out. The 400+ page novel is actually a fairly quick read. Unlike some oth-er authors that I'm familiar with, you don't have to go back and re-read passages to find details you might have missed. Don't get me wrong - although the book is easily digested, it manages to inspire. Also, despite the fact that this is the first novel in a series of three, it stands very well on its own. In fact, had I not known that there were two more novels dealing with the same characters being released over the next year or so, I would have been completely satisfied. Hominids comes highly recommended. If you're at all interested in hard-SF, you owe it to yourself to head down to the bookstore and check it out. Gr33ts go to CLIT!

Stupid book reviews... (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652552)

Why is it that every book review featured on Slashdot reads like it was written by an 8th grader following the teacher's "How To Write A Book Report" outline?

There are never any real opinions or insights in the reviews. They're completely devoid of personality. I might as well read the blurb on the back of the cover.

No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652815)

This is precisely why I read only about one in every four or five reviews on slashdot. Amateur reviewers coupled with amateur editing equals a waste of the reader's time in most cases.

I was glad to read this non-review, though, since I wasn't aware of this particular book, and it definitely sounds like something I'll want to read. If nothing else, it will help me to forget Clancy's Sum of all Fears (the novel, not the movie, which I haven't seen), a book that was so poorly written that I wish it were readily forgettable.

Re:Stupid book reviews... (2)

swb (14022) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652824)

Most books reviewed are either technology books or SF, and they seldom (ever?) reach any level of literary accomplishment.

The people writing the books don't read magazines like the Atlantic, New Republic, New Yorker, or the NYTimes Review of Books and have no idea what a real book review looks like.

That being said, the reviews here are occasionally interesting because they tend to summarize what's interesting about the book (SF plot, technical details from tech books).

I've read plenty of literary reviews that spend half their time describing the review subject's rumored anal sex experiences and how they might have influenced their writing, and that's not always helpful or insightful, either.

Serialized in Analog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652559)

This was serialized over 3-4 issues of Analog magazine. I felt it was a good premise for a sci-fi, a good start to a novel, but that it needed some editing. Is the final form of the book the same as what was published in the magazine, or has it gone through another round of editing?

Reminds me of Cirroc... (1)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652561)

"Your Honor, I'm just a caveman. Your world frightens and confuses me..."

Re:Reminds me of Cirroc... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3653235)

How many Slashdotters recognize Saturday Night Live skits?
For that matter, what would the Neanderthal version of this be?
A hairless little monkey squeaking "You're world frightens and confuses me..."?

Re:Reminds me of Cirroc... (1)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 12 years ago | (#3653570)

How many Slashdotters recognize Saturday Night Live skits?

A while back I posted something about C-3PO's vaporators line, and got a response recalling the SNL Star Wars screen tests skit, with Richard Dreyfuss auditioning for 3PO.

ATTENTION - SLASHDOT IN DANGER (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652570)

WARNING: Nobody has posted "All your base are belong to us" in a slashdot comment for over 30 days in a row. This is about to cause a paradox rift in the slashdot space-time energy field. To help save your favorite site [slashdot.org] please troll the fuck out of slashdot with "all your base" posts immediately and for the next 4 days.

Than Q.

Re:ATTENTION - SLASHDOT IN DANGER (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652682)

WARNING: Nobody has posted "All your base are belong to us" in a slashdot comment for over 30 days in a row. This is about to cause a paradox rift in the slashdot space-time energy field

Don't worry. All the trolls have done have gone underground. Your fears are completely baseless. If you are serious about belonging to the Underground Slashdot Troll Group, I recommend you help us out.

For more information, I recommend that you go to our Corporate HQ [goatse.cx] . .

this guy must be obsessed (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3652901)

Wow. I'm an avid fan of Sawyer having read about a third of his work and this is the second book which places a neanderthal in contemporary society. Someone must have mentioned this already, but he must have seen the "I'm just a caveman..." sketches on SNL one too many times.

For another interesting read on this topic check out his book Frameshift.

Not only does it include neanderthals, but it also has telepathy, genetic manipulation by a Hunntington's disease patient, and an OSI agent chasing Ivan the Terrible. What else could you want in a Sci.Fi novel...

Another good book by Sawyer (4, Informative)

Buran (150348) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652926)

I hope this isn't too off-topic. :) But hopefully I can recommend my own favorite (so far) Sawyer novel.

I've thoroughly enjoyed his Far-Seer [sfwriter.com] , which retells the story of Galileo using another planet and society (intelligent dinosaurs, anyone?) to educate. While there are changes in the empirical evidence available, done to compensate for the radically-different setting, the issues presented are the same.

While I'm already familiar with Galileo's story from reading other accounts of his life, Far-Seer put it into a personal perspective. The wonder of discovery, the process of reasoning how the solar system actually worked (including building on what others had written before) and the shock of being put on trial by society for upsetting the prevailing, comfortable world-view -- they are all here. So, too, is the punishment (again, changed, though I will not spoil it here.)

The Church didn't apologize to Galileo for 300 years. Give that some thought ...

part of a trilogy (2)

Roadmaster (96317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3652984)

after reading hominids you will realize that it purposefully leaves a lot of loose ends, since it quite likely sets the scene for something big bound to happen on the next two books on the series. So while by itself hominids might not seem like robert sawyer's best (a notion with which i disagree, so far i haven't read a rjs book i didnt like and i prefer not to rate them against each other), do keep in mind that its just the beginning of something that could be good.

I must be a real dumb ass.. (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 12 years ago | (#3653077)

"Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax"

The only word I understood in that sentence is 'the'.

sawyer's great, but this isn't his best (4, Informative)

gdulli (177638) | more than 12 years ago | (#3653124)

For what it's worth, I've read four of Sawyer's novels and I'd recommend the other three far above this one:

1. Flashforward [amazon.com]
2. Calculating God [amazon.com]
3. Factoring Humanity [amazon.com]
4. Hominids [amazon.com]

Quantum-mechanics for dummies (0)

PimpNinjaWannaBee (513315) | more than 12 years ago | (#3653590)

In layman's terms, for every possible decision that can be made, the universe branches out into many universes...

Does this mean that the, in our eyes, impossible decisions aren't made? -"Hey is that Jessica Simpson on the cover of GiantHooters(tm)?"

The first is our modern day society, and the second is a parallel universe where Neanderthals and mammoths prospered while we perished.

I see it before me:

Modern Man is born in the days of the cave man - "Shit! Where is my Palm Pilot? I'm dead before the night is here!"

My bad review (3, Informative)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 12 years ago | (#3653604)

I'm going to add another dissenting opinion to the mix. I read it serialized in Analog this winter/spring. I enjoyed it enough to finish it, but really not very much.

First, the good points. The parallel universe is nicely done, well thought-out, and interesting. That's the main reason I continued on. And, um, I guess that's about all.

Bad points, wooden characters, horrible dialog, the "points" about humanity all boil down to "we're really pretty horrible" and they're made with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

This is the first Sawyer book I've read. I hope the reviewer isn't right about it being consistent with his usual quality, but I probably won't be hunting out any more of his books any time soon.

Previously published in Analog + minor spoiler (3, Informative)

eagl (86459) | more than 12 years ago | (#3653613)

This novel was published in a multi-part format in Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine just a few months ago. It definately kept me waiting for the next issue.

Warning - minor spoiler

One issue dealt with the book was what happens when the all-knowing personal monitoring system is compromised or degraded. The ultimate ramifications were not completely explored by the end of the novel, but the chink in the armor was exposed.

Recommended.
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