Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer

A scientist who was testing his quantum computing device in an alternative reality where Neanderthals survived (and homo sapient died out sometime close to the last ice age) “drops“ to the our world. The idea is excellent, the book is written fairly interestingly, but the quality of the writing isn’t one of the best. Some of the plot points and characters are fairly clichéd. The world of Neanderthals is overtly utopic. No overpopulation, no violence (they are so powerful, that a single strike by them almost always kills, so their culture abhors all violence), no religion, no extinct animals (mammoths walk around in the forests of Canada - to my understanding the reason for their extinctions wasn’t so much hunting by humans as climate change after the ice-age. The human main character is also pretty much a cliché: as an opposing force for a atheist, nonviolent Neanderthal male is a religious woman (who at one point rationalizes her faith by Pascal’s wager. Wasn’t that proved as logically totally unsound in 15th century or something?) who has faced violence (a rape ) conveniently just hours before asked to take part in proving that the visitor really is a Neanderthal. There are couple of more books in this series, haven’t decided yet if they are worth of reading or not. This book is a Hugo-winner - one more proof that the other things beside quality of scincefictional writing (besides this years winner) have an effect to many voters. Of course a Canadian Worldcon gives an award for a Canadian writer…

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