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Hybrids (Neanderthal Parallax) Paperback – 28 Sep 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reissue edition (28 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765326345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765326348
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 411,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer has been described as Canada's answer to Michael Crichton. Critically acclaimed in the US he is regarded as one of SF's most significant writers and his novels are regularly voted as fan's favourites. He lives in Canada.

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First Sentence
"Mare," said Ponter Boddit, "it is my honor to introduce you to Lonwis Trob." Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 14 Nov 2003
Format: Hardcover
Sawyer's title gives the game away up front. Those not having read the previous works in this trilogy will quickly learn of the romance between a human geneticist and a Neanderthal physicist. Mary Vaughn, genetics researcher and rape victim, has cast aside the prejudicial image we hold of extinct "cave men". She dearly loves Ponter Boddit, who has crossed a quantum portal from an alternative universe. Ponter represents the high scientific level Neanderthals might have achieved had they not been driven to extinction by the rise of another hominid - Homo sapiens. These two species having been thoroughly introduced in the previous volumes, the ultimate result of their encounter must be the conception of a child - a hybrid human-Neanderthal.
The genetic obstacle to this breeding exercise gives Sawyer the opportunity to display his research abilities. How he resolves it is testimony to his writing skills. Humans, he tells us, are unique in possessing 23 chromosomes. Other primates, probably including the extinct Neanderthals, have 24. Merging genes from two such creatures is unlikely to produce viable offspring. Sawyer however, has no intention of boring you with clinical issues when there are bigger questions to address. Neanderthals are not only genetically distinct, their social structure differs in ways that would give a sociologist nightmares. Males and females live apart except for a brief period each month - Two Becoming One. Living apart means that each gender "bonds" with another of its kind for most of the month. Intrusions on this rigid social ideal aren't welcome, and Mary's insistence that couples "live together all the time" violates Neanderthal social mores. Tensions build as human and Neanderthals interact.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Friederike Knabe on 14 Feb 2004
Format: Hardcover
Interracial human relationships hold their own fascination. They present the partners and their surroundings usually also with distinct challenges. Yet, these must pale in comparison to a love bond between a homo sapiens and a modern-day Neanderthal. Ancient DNA expert Mary Vaughn of Toronto met Physicist Ponter Boddit of Saldek (the Neanderthal equivalent to Sudbury in Northern Ontario) after he was thrown into our version of earth by a quantum computer accident on his side. After various exploratory visits between the parallel universes, mainly by scientists, a constant portal is being established allowing a regular exchange of scientific knowledge and philosophical ideas to flourish. The two lovers are determined to bring the two parallel realities closer together. If you have not read the first two volumes of the Neanderthal Parallax, don’t feel discouraged. The indispensable background to understand the story is sprinkled throughout this volume. Still, reading it from the beginning leaves you better prepared to savour its different layers of the story.
With great skill and immense empathy for this alternative to the homo sapiens’ world Sawyer builds a far-reaching vision of Neanderthal society covering all aspects of its reality, its people and their accomplishments. Exploring the scientific innovations of “Barast” society provides him with a platform for discussing the latest thinking in genetics, consciousness studies and brain research, physics, etc. His comprehensive knowledge of and enthusiasm for scientific explorations shine through all levels of the narrative without becoming heavy or too demanding for the reader. In some ways, the Neanderthal version of the universe is presented as a mirror of what could have been in our world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 11 Mar 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This series started well with Hominids, a well written novel with some interesting ideas. The second book of the trilogy - Humans - was a lot weaker but very readable. This book is just dire, the author seems to have run both out of ideas and enthusiasm. I struggled my way to the end of the trilogy and wished I hadn't bothered. If you've read and been impressed by Hominids, I'd recommend you stop there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Hopper TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Mar 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought this was the weakest of the trilogy. As in Humans, there was relatively little action for much of the book, but a rather excessive, for me, amount of brain dumping on genetics. There was also the same lengthy exploration of scientific, ethical and political ideas, interesting and valid in themselves, but rather overdone and a little too unsubtle for my tastes. The constant presentation of the perfect peace loving Neanderthals (Barasts) as opposed to the violent, planet destroying Humans (Gliksins) I found a little wearing at times. No doubt this book would also give right wing anti political correctness campaigners, a breed with whom I have very little sympathy, some ammunition as the only two white males are a rapist and a scientist plotting genocide of the Neanderthals. I found the ending on our Earth rather unrealistic as well. All that said, a follow up novel about the life of Mary and Ponter's hybrid daughter facing the inevitable prejudice she would no doubt face in both worlds might be interesting. 3/5
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