The Neanderthal Parallax series
|Author:||Robert J. Sawyer|
The Neanderthal Parallax is a trilogy that examines two unique species of people. They are alien to each other, yet bound together by the never-ending quest for knowledge and, beneath their differences, a common humanity. We are one of those species, the other is the Neanderthals of a parallel world where they, not Homo sapiens, became the dominant intelligence. In that world, Neanderthal civilization has reached heights of culture and science comparable to our own, but is very different in history, society, and philosophy. This powerful idea allows Sawyer to examine some of the deeply rooted assumptions of contemporary human civilization dramatically, by confronting us with another civilization, just as morally valid, that has made other choices.
Hominids is a strong, stand-alone SF novel, but it’s also the first book of The Neanderthal Parallax, a trilogy that will examine two unique species of people: Humans and Neanderthals.
During a risky experiment deep in a mine in Canada, Ponter Boddit, a Neanderthal physicist, accidentally pierces the barrier between worlds and is transferred to our universe, where in the same mine another experiment is taking place. Hurt, but alive, he is almost immediately recognized as a Neanderthal, but only much later as a scientist. He is captured and studied, alone and bewildered, a stranger in a strange land. But Ponter is also befriended-by a doctor and a physicist who share his questing intelligence and boundless enthusiasm for the world’s strangeness, and especially by geneticist Mary Vaughan, a lonely woman with whom he develops a special rapport. …[more]
Neanderthal physicist Ponter Boddit, a character you will never forget, returns to our world and to his relationship with geneticist Mary Vaughan, as cultural exchanges between the two Earths begin.
As we see daily life in another present-day world, radically different from ours, in the course of Sawyer’s fast-moving story, we experience the bursts of wonder and enlightenment that are the finest pleasures of science fiction. Humans is one of the best SF novels of the year, and The Neanderthal Parallax is an SF classic in the making.
Neanderthal Ponter Boddit and his Homo sapien lover, geneticist Mary Vaughan, are torn between two worlds, struggling to find a way to make their star-crossed relationship work. Aided by banned Neanderthal technology, they plan to conceive the first hybrid child, a symbol of hope for the joining of their two versions of reality.
But after an experiment shows that Mary’s religious faith—something completely absent in Neanderthals—is a quirk of the neurological wiring of Homo sapiens’ brains, Ponter and Mary must decide whether their child should be predisposed to atheism or belief. Meanwhile, as Mary’s Earth is dealing with a collapse of its planetary magnetic field, her boss, the enigmatic Jock Krieger, has turned envious eyes on the unspoiled Eden that is the Neanderthal world…
Hybrids is filled to bursting with Sawyer’s signature speculations about alternative ways of being human, exploding…[more]