Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hominids by Robert J Sawyer (8/81)

Category: Hugo Award Winners (3/9)

Hominids won the Hugo Award in 2003, which led me to pick it up to bring me a smidgen closer to completing my 999 Challenge. (My book list for the challenge is here.) I think that I have liked this one the best of the Hugo Award winners that I have read so far. I even wanted to continue reading the series that this book begins, but due to some unfortunate circumstances, neither of the two copies of the second book in my library system are available. But I suppose it will stay on my reading list, and maybe one day I'll finish the series.
Hominids is an excellent example of speculative science fiction. What if parallel worlds exist? What if there was some way to bridge the gap between worlds? What might we find? In Hominids, it is not the human race on the world as we know it that manages to bridge this gap. We are simply the recipients. It is a Neanderthal named Ponter Bodditt, a quantum physicist in his own world, who comes to our dimension. In his world Neanderthals were the surviving species, while Homo Sapiens died out. While in our world, Ponter must figure out how to communicate and survive (he is helped tremendously by an advanced piece of A-I technology that learns languages and can communicate for him), while the people he meets have to figure out what this means for our world. And back in Ponter's world, his best friend and business partner must fight off unexpected accusations of murder, stemming from Ponter's disappearence.
This really was an incredibly fascinating, enjoyable read. I loved reading about the Neanderthal's world, as created by Sawyer. He does an excellent job of giving the reader a glimpse of that world through the trial against Ponter's partner, Adikor. And reexamining the human race through the eyes of someone close to us, but not the same, brings up some really interesting questions. The story itself is fast-moving and very satisfying, all leading me to want to continue the series! Ah well, I'll just have to keep this one in mind.

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