Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Humans (Neanderthal Parallax, #2)” as Want to Read:
Humans (Neanderthal Parallax, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Humans (Neanderthal Parallax #2)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  4,768 Ratings  ·  205 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
Kindle Edition, First Edition, 352 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Tor Books (first published February 1st 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Humans, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Humans

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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
Feb 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 04, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
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
Fantasy Literature
Ponter, the Neanderthal from another dimension, is back on Earth – our Earth.

This time, Ponter has brought nearly a dozen of the most celebrated scientists and intellectuals from his world. Though we humans are a difficult bunch to deal with, the Neanderthals seem determined to make contact work. Thank goodness, since a lone gunman on our side shoots a member of their delegation as soon as he gets the chance. Mary, meanwhile, is recruited into an American think tank that is determined to figure
Feb 01, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jorid Sørli
Mar 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, that was bad. I guess the author was trying to be profound, but it was falling asleep boring! Nothing new happens in this book and the religous discussion are just anoying and neverending. I only finished because I was on a plane with no internet connection. Bad! Stop with book 1!
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
What the hell just happened here? The first book in Robert Sawyer’s “Neanderthal Parallax,” Hominids, was a science fiction exploration of an alternate dimension in which the Neanderthal society became the apex predator, and how this society evolved in a modern day Earth. It won a Hugo award, and if not perfect was at least an entertaining read. It was good enough for me to want to read the second book in the series, Humans.

This second book, well, let’s just say it is not the same. Humans now ho
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
VanGogh's Beard
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good Sci Fi. Second book in the series was as good as the first. Now on to the third.
This is an alternate universe story and it is extremely well done.
Lis Carey
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf, fiction
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 ki
Darren Vincent
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
I found Humans a better read in almost every respect than its predecessor. A more subtle and natural style, yet more action-packed, and also containing even more speculative ideas than the first one.

Perhaps, also, I had to some extent become used to Sawyers' far-fetched ideas and scenarios by now. Well, it is specualtive fiction, after all...
Scott Jann
The Neanderthal Parallax consists of three books which take us through the story of Mary Vaughn and the Neanderthal Ponter Boddit. If I had to pick a favorite book, it would be the first of the series, but it made me want to read the complete trilogy so I wouldn’t recommend reading only one of the books.

The story was great science fiction, in that it gave great insight into our present-day world. The author showed many contrasting points about the Neanderthal which made commentary on religion, o
Jeff Terrell
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love this universe by Sawyer

Book two continues the good times. This book is in some ways slower than the first, hence my four over five stars. This is still an interesting reveal of Pontor's world and continued exploration of his relationship with Mare.
Go. Read book one then run here and then run to book three... Welcome to your three book escape from reality.
Titus Fortner
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
What a disappointment. The characters are more flat than the first book, and all of the preachy moralizing about how horrible humans have treated the Earth relative to their wonderful Neanderthal counterparts was a bit much. I'm giving the third book a hard pass.
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Not quite as good as the first, but it continued the most interesting things (at least, for anthropologists): demonstrating the differences between two cultures with a similar background. The human (and neanderthal) stories kept me reading into the night.
Lots of foreshadowing for the final book, but still a good read.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent read

Little slow at first. But a nice new take on boy meets girl . Some interesting science thrown in to boot.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: male
this is the weakest of the trilogy, it's ok, but meh
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This was an enjoyable-enough novel. But Robert Sawyer has set his bar so high that I was mildly disappointed in this one. Still, it was nice to get more details on the Neanderthal world.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vedi commento a "La genesi della specie"
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
An excellent second book! That's often hard to do. I can't wait for the third. Of course, I love when a book incorporates some real parcels of science facts and contention too!
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good hard science story. Adventure, discovery, imagination.
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I very much enjoyed the exploration of the unique world the Author crafted for this series. The character's are still amazing. And it is kinda great to read a book where humans are shown as complete inconsequential primitive idiots prone to unnecessary violence.
N.B. Mary Vaughan is such an ignorant idiot! Just proves that religion fucks up everything, and especially the mind, even if it is a scientist's mind. Her idiotic semantics really diminished the pleasure of re-reading this.
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
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hugo
Roughest book in a rough trilogy. I did push thru and read the last one, and it recovers somewhat, although you can skip the first half. I've put more effort into my review of the last one, if you're interested. My thoughts: if you get thru this one, you may as well press on. If your considering stopping at 1, do so.

FYI: There's a scene in here that would make most Harlequin novels blush, I think. Careful if audible-ing with kids in the car! :)
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Kiln People
  • Blind Lake
  • Darwin's Children (Darwin's Radio #2)
  • The Pirates of Ersatz
  • Nekropolis
  • The Butterfly Kid
  • Roads Not Taken: Tales of Alternate History
  • The Planet Buyer
  • Fifty Degrees Below (Science in the Capital, #2)
  • Bones of the Earth
  • The Enemy Stars
  • Hidden in Sight (Web Shifters, # 3)
  • Courtship Rite
  • The Whole Man
  • For Want of a Nail: If Burgoyne had won at Saratoga
  • Learning the World: A Scientific Romance
  • Seeker (Alex Benedict, #3)
  • Mammoth
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 about Robert J. Sawyer...

Other Books in the Series

Neanderthal Parallax (3 books)
  • Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax, #1)
  • Hybrids (Neanderthal Parallax, #3)

Fantasy & Science Fiction Deals

  • These Vicious Masks
    $7.09 $2.99
  • The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen, #1)
    $4.99 $2.49
  • Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Once Dead (The Rho Agenda Inception #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Door Within (The Door Within, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Harmony Black (Harmony Black, #1)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Cloud Atlas
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Galápagos
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Thirteen
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Unspoken (The Vampire Diaries: The Salvation, # 2)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Mark of Fire (The Endarian Prophecy #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Star (The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke, #3)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Season of Fire (The Remnants, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Dreamsongs. Volume I (Dreamsongs, #1)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • Lethal Velocity : A Novel
    $7.99 $2.99
  • The Haunting Season
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Season of Wonder (The Remnants, #1)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • The Second Ship (The Rho Agenda, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99