Hominids

by Robert J. Sawyer | Science Fiction & Fantasy |
ISBN: 0765345005 Global Overview for this book
Registered by winghyphen8wing of Honolulu, Hawaii USA on 6/6/2013
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5 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by winghyphen8wing from Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Thursday, June 06, 2013
Alternate history: Volume One of The Neaderthal Parallax, but it can stand alone.

Ponter Boddit is a physicist whose work unexpectedly opens a gateway to another universe: ours. In Ponter's universe Neanderthals, not homo sapiens, became the dominant hominid species on Earth. With his sudden appearance in one world and his inexplicable vanishing from another, Ponter manages to turn two Earths upside down...but what he really wants is to go home.

I listened to an audio download of this, so the paper book is going traveling.

Journal Entry 2 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Saturday, June 15, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (6/15/2013 UTC) at Honolulu, Hawaii USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Headed off to a Canadian sweepstakes winner - enjoy!

Journal Entry 3 by wingPooker3wing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Monday, June 24, 2013
Received in the mail today! The fact that a Robert J. Sawyer book has come all the way to Winnipeg from Hawaii fascinates me for some reason. I'm not sure why. Perhaps despite the fact that Robert J. Sawyer writes science fiction and hence must be from a totally different planet, I tend to think of him as a home town ordinary boy (he doesn't live here, but I have heard him speak here). And yet his book has arrived in my hands from Hawaii which in my mind really is on a different planet, a fantasy place. Maybe one day I'll visit there. :)

I don't think I've read any of Robert J. Sawyer's work although I did once have a spanking new hardback copy of his book, Wonder in my hands. Trouble was that was the third book in a trilogy and I didn't want to read it before the previous two. So I put Wonder in my Little Free Library for the time being. It disappeared in November, 2012 and I haven't seen it since.

So my Robert J. Sawyer reading will begin with this book! Thank you hyphen8!

Journal Entry 4 by wingPooker3wing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Friday, July 12, 2013
Science Fiction is not a genre I would normally pick to read. I'm not sure why that is. I can't point to any Sci Fi novel that I have read and say it was awful. In fact, I have enjoyed most of them. I recall studying The Day of the Triffids in elementary school - grade 6, I think - and being totally bowled over. Perhaps my imagination, fascination with the fantastic, has become stunted over the years, but the truth is I prefer my fiction to be real and believable and pertinent to my everyday life and I have this idea that science fiction is not real or believable or in any way pertinent to me and so I seldom invest my time in it.

Nevertheless, as previous posts suggest, this book was a gift. Not just any old book but one by a Canadian author and set in Canada, the very sorts of books I profess to love and undoubtedly selected by hyphen8, a book lover, as a book she enjoyed and hoped I would too. So of course I had to read it and intended to do it with an open mind.

Well, that said, I have to admit, that I was surprised to to find myself, just 50 or so pages in, hooked and hooked good. I read somewhere that Robert J. Sawyer was the king of "what if" stories. I believe it. Because here I was imagining (yes me imagining) what if! What if there were two parallel earths, each hidden from the other, each evolving, only on one of them, instead of the Neanderthals becoming extinct, it was they who became the dominant species and they who had become more advanced than us? And what if, as a result of some freakish sciencey thing, one of them (a Neanderthal physicist by the name of Ponter Boddit) passed over into our earth? What if, indeed! What a hey day for the scientists and the media on our earth. Equally interesting to consider, what would Ponter Bondit's earth make of his disappearance. As it turns out Ponter Bondit's man-mate, Adikor Huld, is accused of murdering him. Well, how else to explain his disappearance from not only the physical space he occupied but from the all-seeing monitor system on Neanderthal earth?

The comparison of these two earths was endlessly fascinating to me, from clothing to familial and personal relationships, to legal and timekeeping systems (did anybody catch how Neanderthal earth got to 1-1-1. Is there a 1-1-1 and if so, what came before that?)

I truly enjoyed this story from beginning to end. Hence the 8 stars. But I do have to say that is despite what I considered a major flaw, even in a work of fiction. I still need my characters to be believable and, for the most part, most of them were. That is, all except for Mary. Sawyer's Mary so annoyed me and disturbed me that I had to box up that annoyance and simply accept that the author had made a mistake with her.

Mary is a significant character to the story. Mary is a respected geneticist, an expert on Neanderthals, a professor and a woman - an adult woman in her late thirties. And right off the hop, Mary is raped. Why? Why did that have to happen to Mary? The more difficult question for me was: how could the author expect me to believe that Mary suffers this traumatic violation and in only a few days is recovered enough to be coyly blushing and making goo-goo eyes at Ponter and considering a romantic and sexual relationship with him. That "what if" is simply not believable to me. As I say, I had to box that up and put it away. Having done so, this book proved to be a fascinating, enjoyable read and I definitely would be interested in reading the next in the series.

I plan now to set the book free, perhaps to be discovered by someone like me who might not usually read science fiction.

Thanks for this experience hyphen8!

Journal Entry 5 by wingPooker3wing at Little Free Library #2873 in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Friday, July 12, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (7/12/2013 UTC) at Little Free Library #2873 in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

To the finder of this book:
I hope you enjoy your new read.

Welcome, also, to the wonderful and wacky world of BookCrossing! Here you'll find a unique and worldwide community of book lovers sharing their books. This book is now yours! Read it, enjoy it. Keep it or pass it on to someone you know, return it to any Little Free Library or even release it into the wild. It is all up to you.

If you make a journal entry (you can do it anonymously or as a BookCrossing member) all previous readers of this book will be notified by e-mail and can follow this book on its travels. BookCrossing is free to join, completely confidential (you are known only by your screen name and no one is ever given your email address) and it's a whole lot of fun!

Journal Entry 6 by wingPooker3wing at Second Cup - 100 Osborne Street South in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (8/15/2013 UTC) at Second Cup - 100 Osborne Street South in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I'm giving this book a new adventure. It had been missing from the LFL for several weeks, but I noticed it had checked back in sometime overnight (because it was there this morning when I drove by but hadn't been when I checked on the library just before going to bed last night).

The LFL gets lots of visitors in the dark of night and I wonder who these visitors are. Are they people who couldn't sleep that said, "I know! I'll just wander down to the library and pick up a book?" Very curious.

In any event, I thought I'd bring this one to our meeting a Second Cup tonight because, unlike the other books I'm bringing, I can actually talk about it. I've read this one!

If none of the other members want to take it home, I'll leave it on the free book shelves decorating the shop.

To the finder of this book:
I hope you enjoy your new read.

Welcome, also, to the wonderful and wacky world of BookCrossing! Here you'll find a unique and worldwide community of book lovers sharing their books. This book is now yours! Read it, enjoy it. Keep it or pass it on to someone you know, return it to any Little Free Library or even release it into the wild. It is all up to you.

If you make a journal entry (you can do it anonymously or as a BookCrossing member) all previous readers of this book will be notified by e-mail and can follow this book on its travels. BookCrossing is free to join, completely confidential (you are known only by your screen name and no one is ever given your email address) and it's a whole lot of fun!

Journal Entry 7 by Matty at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Monday, September 16, 2013
I picked this up at our meeting and intend to take it on vacation for release.

Journal Entry 8 by Matty at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Thursday, December 11, 2014

Released 4 yrs ago (12/11/2014 UTC) at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

I'll be taking this to our monthly meeting.

Journal Entry 9 by winggypsysmomwing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Friday, December 12, 2014
Well, when I spied this book in Matty's pile tonight I knew I would have to break my rule about not adding to Mount TBR before the end of the year. I am a fan of Robert Sawyer and I haven't read this book. Thanks.

Journal Entry 10 by winggypsysmomwing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Tuesday, November 24, 2015
This is one terrific book but that's really not a surprise to me. I haven't read everything Sawyer has written. As a matter of fact I think I've only been reading his stuff since 2009 so this book, which was published in 2002, is new to me. However, everything I have read by him has been very good. And there is the small matter that it won the 2003 Hugo Award so many other people thought it was good too.

Located 2100 metres underground in a disused nickel mine in Ontario is the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO). It is located there because cosmic rays cannot penetrate that deep under the Canadian shield but neutrinos can. When neutrinos hit the neutron of a hydrogen atom in heavy water the collision causes a light to be emitted and this can be detected. The data gathered at SNO confirmed that neutrinos oscillate which physicists had predicted. This is important in the world of physics. In fact, the scientist who led the discovery, Art McDonald, was co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2015.

This book starts with a scientist from another reality being transposed into the SNO detector. Ponter Boddit is from a version of earth where the Neanderthals survived and homo sapiens died out. In his reality the subterranean location was the ideal spot to set up a quantum computer which is a computer that uses other realities to perform complex calculations very quickly. The computer opened a portal into SNO and Ponter and a large quantity of air were exchanged with a volume of heavy water.

Of course, the appearance of a Neanderthal in modern day Canada creates quite a stir. Mary Vaughan, a geneticist from Toronto who sequenced part of the Neanderthal genome from some bones, is asked to travel to Sudbury to authenticate that Ponter is genuine. Mary, who is traumatized by being raped, takes this opportunity to get some distance from the scene of the rape. She has not told anyone about the rape, certainly not the Toronto police.

Back on Ponter's home world his disappearance has created another stir. Everyone in that world wears an implant that acts as a personal computer and a recording device. Ponter's device cannot communicate from the reality Ponter is now in. His co-worker and man-mate, Adikor Huld, has been charged with Ponter's murder since he was the last person to be with Ponter.

As we travel between the two worlds we discover just how different they are. In the Neanderthal reality wooly mammoths still roam the earth, there is virtually no crime and the population is far less than the human world. Neanderthals still live like hunter gatherers so there is no farming. Violence has been bred out of the genome because anyone who behaved violently was castrated as were all of their relatives who shared fifty percent of their genes. It sounds pretty idyllic but maybe there are a few worms in the apple.

I really appreciated how Sawyer portrayed women in this book. I thought he showed a lot of empathy for Mary, the victim of rape. Even more interesting to me was the depiction of the sexual dynamics in the Neanderthal world. Although I did wonder why the children had to stay with the females while they were young. Maybe Sawyer will address that in later books of this trilogy. I guess I'll have to read them to find out.

Journal Entry 11 by winggypsysmomwing at Immokalee, Florida USA on Thursday, December 03, 2015

Released 3 yrs ago (12/3/2015 UTC) at Immokalee, Florida USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

I'm sending this book off to iwillrejoice as a RABCK. It has travelled quite a bit from Hawaii to Winnipeg, through at least 3 BookCrossers in Winnipeg and now off to Florida. Safe journey little book!

Journal Entry 12 by wingiwillrejoicewing at Fort Myers, Florida USA on Friday, December 11, 2015
Arrived safely today. Thank you so much for sending me this book!

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