Satisfying Trilogy

  • Sep 20, 2003
HYBRIDS is somewhat of a disappointment as the concluding novel of Sawyer's Neanderthal Parallax trilogy.

HOMINIDS, the first novel in the trilogy, was a very well done novel about the accidental opening of a portal to an alternative universe where Neanderthal's became the dominant hominid. It explores the Neanderthal society and the various differences between the two cultures, human and Neanderthal. There is also very good character development in HOMINIDS, which really drives the rest of the trilogy.

HUMANS in some ways has the weakness of a second novel in a trilogy because there really is not a lot of plot development. But it is an absolutely hilarious social satire on human society, with digs at the United States' culture from a Canadian point of view. HUMANS is the novel I enjoyed the most of the three.

HYBRIDS is a good novel and conclusion to the trilogy but somewhat of a let down. Sawyer presents some really terrifying situations for both Neanderthals and humans but the emotional punch just isn't there. It's like watching a disaster with complete emotional detachment. The build up and mystery needed to evoke the kind of emotions to drive the story is missing.

Nevertheless, this is a good trilogy and recommended.

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Canadian writer Sawyer brings his Neanderthal Parallax trilogy to a close, leaving some loose ends that beg for a follow-up further exploring the interaction of two parallel worlds: the overcrowded and polluted one we're used to and another inhabited by highly intelligent and civilized Neanderthals. In the earlier books (Hominids and Humans), physicist Ponter Boddit got translated from the Neanderthal world to ours, where he fell in love with geneticist Mary Vaughn. The couple joined with people of good will from both worlds to keep the link open. Now, though, it's time to consider the implications of such a continuing connection. If people have trouble getting along because of such distinctions as sex and race, how will they be able to co-exist with members of another species? Some individuals see anyone different as a rival, a threat that must be destroyed. Others coldly calculate how to seize new territory for "humanity." Sawyer's characters are less interesting for who they are than for what they are-or what they represent. Still, his picture of the unspoiled Neanderthal world is charming, and he raises some provocative questions. If, for example, only Earth-humans have brains capable of religious belief, should Ponter and Mary genetically design their child with that ability or not? It all amounts to some of the most outrageous, stimulating speculation since Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land questioned our tired, timid conventions.
Copyright 2003 Reed ...
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ISBN-10: 0312876904
ISBN-13: 978-0312876906
Author: Robert J. Sawyer
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
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