Fred's Reviews > Humans

Humans by Robert J. Sawyer
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's review
Jan 25, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction
Read from August 16 to 18, 2012

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 on (at least as far as I am in the series). The question is asked whether or not sterilization is more or less humane than imprisoning someone for decades or life or even imposing a death penalty. Eugenics! Something that has occurred with disastrous results in the history of our species but something that people joke about, think about, and from time to time discuss. There must be something to it though or people wouldn't keep finding ways to bring it up.

Another central premise of this series is religion and the human capacity to feel it. Is it real, or are the feelings of mysticism and awe that we experience related more to a chemical reaction in the brain, etc. It's worked into the book and the series in such a way because Neanderthals are not capable of a belief in God due to their brain chemistry. Nor in over 40,000 years of their history have they ever developed a religion of any type. They are literally genetically predisposed to Atheism and had never even had the concept or the words in their language for a God or deity until they met homo sapiens.

All in all, good book and worth reading, but it strikes me as the classic transition novel.

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