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Humans (Neanderthal Parallax #2)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  3,208 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Robert J. Sawyer, the award-winning and bestselling writer, hits the peak of his powers in Humans, the second book of The Neanderthal Parallax, his trilogy about our world and parallel one in which it was the Homo sapiens who died out and the Neanderthals who became the dominant intelligent species. This powerful idea allows Sawyer to examine some of the deeply rooted assu...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Tor Books (first published February 1st 2003)
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This book is pretty terrible.

I shouldn't have gone on with the series. Now that I'm two thirds of the way through I feel like i should finish it. Just to see where this train wreck is going. It's the book equivalent of slowing down while passing a car wreck, hoping to maybe see a decapitated head.

Another reviewer called out this book as basically being an extended liberal strawman argument. Yeah, it is that.

My friend Ceridwen said something about a part of a Sawyer book she read being like so...more
I really love this author and want to read everything he's written. His books are so good that at first I thought his writing was nothing special, generic. This is because I become so wrapped up in his stories and the worlds he creates, I can't extricate myself enough to see his "style" or comment or even remember his particular wording. From page 1, I am immediately absorbed. I like his characters. I care about them. They are all really distinct and do not fall into cliches. While I know who is...more
Bruce Kroeze
The second book in this series. It won awards, though I can't figure out why.

I found the characters to be even more cardboard cutouts than in the first novel. Also, the sharp insight and extrapolations based on science were notably lacking in this one.

Of course, Neanderthals are good in every way. Handsome men with giant units, they are great and sensitive lovers of course, sweet new-age men who pull together for the good of all.

Who wouldn't love this contrived utopia where no animal has ever go...more
More human bashing using our oh so perfect yet totalitarian neanderthal cousins. Simplistic ideas tightly wrapped in bullshit and I wanted the main characters to die. couldn't finish it. Got it as an audiobook, I was sighing and rolling my eyes so much that people around me started taking it personally.
This is sci-fi for congenital idiots.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Humans is the second book in Robert J. Sawyer's trilogy, the Neanderthal Parallax. The trilogy is about what happens when a portal opens between two parallel universes - one the one we live in, the other one in which the Neanderthals (rather than homo sapiens) survived to become the dominant species. In the first book, Hominids, we spent most of our time with the Neanderthal physicist, Ponter Boddit, who had become accidentally transported into our universe. In Humans, the Neanderthals and the h...more
Aug 23, 2011 Merredith rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: archaeology and anthropology lovers
A couple of years ago, I borrowed an at the time roommate's copy of the first volume in this trilogy. It sets up that way back at the beginning of humanity, earth split into two parallel universes, and in the other, it was us who died out, and neanderthals who became the humans of the world. they accidentally open a portal to canada, and the saga begins. In this second of the three books, the main character Ponter convinces his government to let him reopen the portal, and crosses back into our r...more
Darren Vincent
An incredible book. My review of the first book in the series was that I was not all that impressed in comparison to some of his other books. This book more than makes up for whatever I felt was lacking in that book. THIS book is pure Sawyer. Pure fiction backed by (seemingly) sound science. And that is just the shell of the plot.

What makes this book so great (as well as some of his others) is the ideas he brings forth from within the main plot. There were some ideas and situations that I was no...more
D.L. Morrese
Humans, the second novel in Robert J. Sawyer’s The Neanderthal Parallax series is more romance than science fiction complete with the mandatory steamy sex scene. Unfortunately the female lead in this romance story, Mary (Homo sapiens), provokes little interest. I personally found nothing especially admirable about her and actually found her somewhat annoying. The male lead, Ponter (Homo neanderthalensis), is more interesting, but even he seems to fluctuate from being scientifically objective, as...more
This is one of those series that underscores science fiction as speculative fiction. Beyond being a compelling story, it's an amazing forum for social commentary.

By looking at the alternate world where Neanderthals became the dominant human species, rather than homo sapiens, we can easily see many roads not taken, and the consequences that followed. Things like overpopulation, slavery, and certain livestock born diseases would not exist if we were still hunter/gatherers. There would also be mor...more
Xenophon Hendrix
The straw men are dishing up copious amounts of leftist swill in this one. Mr Sawyer was manifestly uninterested in providing a competent defense of non-leftist views--in contrast to a straw defense--but if he had been, to take one example, he wouldn't have implied that defending democracy was relevant in the decision of the United States to take part in the Vietnam War. The reason that the U.S.A. fought in the war, of course, was because the American leadership, rightly or wrongly, deemed it in...more
The story line for this series continues to be interesting but as I continue to read a number of Sawyer's books in rapid succession I am becoming less and less fond of his writing.

Some of it is just annoying. For example, in this book a main character in the story is a female PhD Geneticist who works at York University in Toronto. She is offered a job in Rochester, NY, and asks "That's not far from here, is it?" Doh! It's across the lake from you lady! While in Rochester it is suggested that sh...more
Part two of Robert J. Sawyer's trilogy the aftermath of a portal being created that allows a connection between our world and a parallel world where neanderthals rule. Both worlds are intrigued, baffled, frightened and amused by the other. I didn't like this one as much as HOMINIDS as it was kind of repetitive--same philosophical debates about the differences between the two worlds. Sawyer loves having his characters vocalize discourse on heavy subjects such as religion, ethics, morality and the...more
What I said about the first book of the trilogy.

Plus: The author shouldn't have listened to whoever told him that it was time for a very explicit sex scene. You should only write about the things you know after all...

And I won't even try to understand why the Neanderthal protagonist has to become a Christian - I am afraid my head would explode if I did.
VanGogh's Beard
I had to wait a day or two before I wrote the review for this book.
The first was was amazing and offered such possibility for the exploration of a new world.
This one is such a disappointment.

What it ends up being is a weak romance/rape/revenge novel.
If you're into that kind of thing, you'll dig this series.
If you're a caucasian male and enjoy feeling responsible for all the ills of the world, this will tickle your guilt as well.

I finished it and am curious to see if the last one rede...more
Lis Carey
Note: This review is from several years ago, I'm guessing 2005 or 2006. Clearly I had a very different reaction to Humans Humans (Neanderthal Parallax, #2) by Robert J. Sawyer than to Hominids Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax, #1) by Robert J. Sawyer. I have no idea whether the quality of the two books is really that different, or the change is in me, or whether Humans simply doesn't work out of sequence, but would work better if I read them in order.

This is a 2004 Hugo Award nominee for Best Novel. No, really, it is. You can check the website.

It's also the second of Sawyer's three novels about our kin...more
I like the book because it's a cool concept. Portal opens between Neanderthal world and homo sapiens world and interesting things happen. However there are a few things that really bug me about the book.

First of all, the humans never really criticize the Neanderthal world. They only say that it's "different." Sure, we have crime and pollution and overpopulation and all sorts of unpleasantness. Ponter is completely right to criticize those things, but Mary Vaughn never seems to say, "Gee, you li...more
The world building was great. I enjoyed the various preconceptions of designs which were challenged in the Neanderthal world such as pushing buttons or rounded edges on cars. While I didn't find the book to be preachy - I found myself at many places wanted to argue the opposing point of view. I felt Mary's arguments were often very weak and missed out on the complexity. So the novel is a bit lacking for me as a social and political commentary. A concept for a novel but doesn't completely fulfill...more
Bill Purdy
Apr 01, 2008 Bill Purdy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys good, earthbound sci-fi
Backstory is important with sci-fi titles, since that's the foundation on which entire careers are launched. It seems the guiding principal of successfully writing SF (i.e., actually making a living doing it) is to develop and establish a compelling "universe," preferably one that resonates with the book-buying public, then milk that "universe" for all it's worth by first writing a trilogy, then (if you're really good) writing several more trilogies (e.g., "Volume 17 of the Ayy'k'brin Starquest"...more
Not as good as the first one but still worth reading. I'm actually about a third of the way through the book following this one now and I can state with certainty that it does get better.

The ultimate moral quandary in this particular book and one of the major ones in the series revolves around the sterilization of criminals and those with genetic diseases and disorders. Arguments are presented both for and against and the reader is more or less left to decide which side they personally come down...more
Mandy Moody
Humans is a typical sequel in the fact that it's not nearly as good as it's predecessor. Although I would have given it 3.5 stars, if halfs were allowed.
Humans picks up where Hominids left off with very little time having passed between books. Ponter is working with a personality sculptor (or a therapist) and speaking of a crime he committed while in our world. Most chapters begin with their conversation, and the story follows as a flash-back. The style was a bit disconcerting as I prefer to rea...more
Ben Babcock
When something momentous, like a Neanderthal physicist from an alternate universe visiting our universe, happens once, it's a fluke. When it happens a second time—and when the portal that connects the two universes shows every sign of lasting indefinitely—it's a paradigm shift. Society will have to adjust to having Neanderthal neighbours like Ponter Boddit, who is not only redefining what we consider "human"; he's also holding up a mirror to "human" society, forcing us to reevaluate all the prac...more
Volume 2 of Sawyer’s Neanderthal trilogy was pretty good. I think where it fails is in its making this reader curious about the events of the two cultures clashing nicely and then shifts over to a soap opera of sorts. That, I was not thrilled with!

The book picks up where Volume 1, Hominids, left off. Humans could somewhat stand on its own, but go ahead and read Hominids first.

It was fun to read about Ponter and the new ambassador and how they deal with the alternate Earth (us). As the story go...more
Fred Hughes
This is the second book in The Neanderthal Parallax trilogy. The other two being Hominids (book 1) and Hybrid (book 3).

In this book Ponter Bonditt ( Neanderthal physicist) and Mary Vaughan (human geneticist) continue to develop their relation ship .

A permanent portal is created between their two worlds and both cultures travel to the other side to see if the grass really is greener on the other side.

Mary grapples with the confusing Neanderthal relationships while also trying to deal with her rap...more
Oh, loved the ending. I also loved the beginning and the middle. Ponter admits to a crime he committed in this world, and says he'd do it again if he had the chance. What did he do? Avenged a wrong. I can't wait for the 3rd book.

I'm slightly more than halfway through the book. It's the 2nd in the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, and it's "no longer available" from, which is driving me crazy, because I want to OWN this book. Short of never returning it to the library from which I borrowe...more
Ward Bond

Neanderthal physicist Ponder Boddit, a character you will never forget, returns to our world and to his relationship with geneticist Mary Vaughn, in this sequel to Hominids, winner of the Hugo Award for best novel, as cultural exchanges between the two Earths begin.Robert J. Sawyer, an award-winning and bestselling writer, hits the peak of his powers in this trilogy about our world and a parallel one in which Neanderthals became the dominant intelligent species. This powerful idea allows Sawyer

The first book in the series was somewhat enjoyable if only because the idea of a parallel universe where Neanderthals had survived instead of us is rather interesting. But once the novelty wore off I found a very boring story. Everything feels so cliched and forced. The Neanderthal society is used to show all the ways ours went wrong. Their society evolved into a gentle, tolerant, peace loving one while ours is violent, hypocritical and prone to warfare. This has been done a million times in sc...more
This book was good enough to finish, and I moderately enjoyed it, but there was extremely little to recommend it (no snappy dialogue, intricate plot, or steamy sex, for example). Actually there was some steamy sex if you count non-humans. I unfortunately ordered the 3rd book in the series at the same time as the 2nd, so I'll probably read it though I otherwise wouldn't. I did learn a biology fact, though, so I came out ahead. It's often said that the reason that only maternal mitochondria end up...more
Steve Walker
What a disappointment. The first book, Hominids, was great and the first half of this book continued that vein. It is a great premise when you have an alien race make observations about human behavior, thought, and traditions. It's even better when the aliens are almost like you. I didn't care too much for the relationship that began forming between Ponter (Neanderthal) and Mary and I knew the sexual tension was headed to an eventual liaison. But it was not a fade to black. Far from it, it was p...more
The second book in the series. In my opinion, not as strong as the first. Maybe because the concepts were not new and Sawyere didn't realize explore new stuff. Sure, some neaderthal / sapien interaction but no real science stuff. Characters took some predictable paths, in part due to the flashback narrative provided by Ponter and his doctor.

A little much on the Mary / Ponter love story, as well. Way predictable.

I'll stick with it through the third book, but have lowered expectations and understa...more
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Robert J. Sawyer is one of Canada's best known and most successful science fiction writers. He is the only Canadian (and one of only 7 writers in the world) to have won all three of the top international awards for science fiction: the 1995 Nebula Award for The Terminal Experiment, the 2003 Hugo Award for Hominids, and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan.
Robert Sawyer grew up in...more
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Flashforward Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax, #1) Calculating God WWW: Wake (WWW, #1) WWW: Watch (WWW, #2)

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