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Hybrids
Robert J. Sawyer
Tor Books, 396 pages

Robert J. Sawyer
The winner of the Nebula Award in 1995 for The Terminal Experiment, Robert J. Sawyer has also won three Aurora Awards, Canada's award for excellence in science fiction. His novel Starplex was a finalist for both the Hugo and the Nebula and Hominids won the Hugo for best novel. In addition, he earned the Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada.

Robert J. Sawyer Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Hybrids
SF Site Review: Hominids
SF Site Review: Flashforward
SF Site Review: Frameshift
SF Site Review: Calculating God
SF Site Review: Factoring Humanity
SF Site Review: Illegal Alien
SF Site Review: Frameshift
Steven H Silver's Review of Starplex
Steven H Silver's Review of The Terminal Experiment

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Michael M Jones

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Hybrids Robert Sawyer concludes his Neanderthal Parallax trilogy with this book. Contact between a world where humans were the dominant evolutionary path, and a world where Neanderthals survived instead continues to heat up, as the two worlds share aspects of science, culture, history, and more. Ponter Boddit, the first Neanderthal to cross over to our world, continues his growing love affair with human geneticist Mary Vaughan, and the two begin to plan ways to be together permanently, and ways to signify their union with a child of both races. Meanwhile, a shadowy faction sees the world of the Neanderthals as a valuable resource, virgin territory that could be used for so much... if only there weren't those pesky inhabitants already there. Another group of researchers seeks to answer the ultimate question concerning the nature of religion and the existence of God. Finally, one man's search for revenge and redemption could save, or destroy, both worlds. All of these stories intertwine as the story moves to a fateful climax.

Let's face it. While there is an underlying plot to the trilogy, The Neanderthal Parallax is clearly Sawyer's way of exploring a whole host of questions, and postulating the "what ifs?" of history, society, and technology. His fondness for the imagined world of the Neanderthals is evident in the near-Utopian society he's devised, though even that society proves to have some dark clouds to it in the name of the greater good. Thought-provoking and intricately-suggested, the alternate world is almost wistful in its portrayal, especially compared to our own messed-up one. Sawyer uses the alien presence of Ponter to explore a number of issues, including religion and morality, sometimes to the detriment of the story. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed Hybrids. Sawyer rarely disappoints, and this is certainly no exception.

Copyright © 2004 Michael M Jones

Michael M Jones enjoys an addiction to books, for which he's glad there is no cure. He lives with his very patient wife (who doesn't complain about books taking over the house... much), eight cats, and a large plaster penguin that once tasted blood and enjoyed it. A prophecy states that when Michael finishes reading everything on his list, he'll finally die. He aims to be immortal.


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