Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Book Review: Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer

     What would it be like if Neanderthals had become the dominant race of humans on the planet? Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer explores that very idea. This book follows a brilliant Neanderthal physicist named Ponter Boddet. Ponter and his partner, while working on experimental quantum computers, accidently open a bridge between universes. The bridge leads to the world we (Homo sapiens sapiens) currently reside in. Ponter fell into our world accidently and has now become stranded here. Robert J. Sawyer is a master at taking an interesting thought experiment and turning it into a full-length novel. What would a Neanderthal world be like? What would a modern Neanderthal do if he were dropped into our world? It’s fascinating to think about. Sawyer answers those questions in a thoughtful, heavily researched, and entertaining manner.

     Ponter Boddit is one of the most dynamic and interesting characters I have ever read. He is thoughtful, intelligent, and quick-witted. He is the key to making Hominids an amazing work of fiction, and is a big part of the reason it won a Hugo Award. As with many of Sawyer’s books, Hominids has a bit of a mystery novel woven into the overall story. Since Ponter totally vanished from his own world, his partner Adikore has been accused of his murder. Adikore has been left trying to prove his innocence. The problem is that is he trying to explain a hiccup in advanced quantum computing to laymen who believe he’s murdered his best friend. Adikore’s part of the novel is a riveting legal fight taking place in the Neanderthal world while Ponter is trying to adjust to his surroundings in the other universe. There is not a single wasted word in this entire novel. I listened to this on Brilliance Audio CD, narrated by Jonathan Davis. Davis is smooth as butter, and provides so much life to the characters he reads. I highly recommend getting the audio version of Hominids if you can. —Justin Blazier for FantasyLiterature.com

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