In Hominids, Nebula Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer introduced a character readers will never forget: Ponter Boddit, a Neanderthal physicist from a parallel Earth who was whisked from his reality into ours by a quantum-computing experiment gone awry-making him the ultimate stranger in a strange land.
In that book and in its sequel, Humans, Sawyer showed us the Neanderthal version of Earth in loving detail-a tour de force of world-building; a masterpiece of alternate history.
Now, in Hybrids, Ponter Boddit and his Homo sapien lover, geneticist Mary Vaughan, are torn between two worlds, struggling to find a way to make their star-crossed relationship work. Aided by banned Neanderthal technology, they plan to conceive the first hybrid child, a symbol of hope for the joining of their two versions of reality.
But after an experiment shows that Mary's religious faith--something completely absent in Neanderthals - is a quirk of the neurological wiring of Homo sapiens' brains, Ponter and Mary must decide whether their child should be predisposed to atheism or belief. Meanwhile, as Mary's Earth is dealing with a collapse of its planetary magnetic field, her boss, the enigmatic Jock Krieger, has turned envious eyes on the unspoiled Eden that is the Neanderthal world . . . .
Hybrids is filled to bursting with Sawyer's signature speculations about alternative ways of being human, exploding our preconceptions of morality and gender, of faith and love. His Neanderthal Parallax trilogy is a classic in the making, and here he brings it to a stunning, thought-provoking conclusion that's sure to make Hybrids one of the most controversial books of the year.
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Canadian writer Sawyer brings his Neanderthal Parallax trilogy to a close, leaving some loose ends that beg for a follow-up further exploring the interaction of two parallel worlds: the overcrowded and polluted one we're used to and another inhabited by highly intelligent and civilized Neanderthals. In the earlier books (Hominids and Humans), physicist Ponter Boddit got translated from the Neanderthal world to ours, where he fell in love with geneticist Mary Vaughn. The couple joined with people of good will from both worlds to keep the link open. Now, though, it's time to consider the implications of such a continuing connection. If people have trouble getting along because of such distinctions as sex and race, how will they be able to co-exist with members of another species? Some individuals see anyone different as a rival, a threat that must be destroyed. Others coldly calculate how to seize new territory for "humanity." Sawyer's characters are less interesting for who they are than for what they are or what they represent. Still, his picture of the unspoiled Neanderthal world is charming, and he raises some provocative questions. If, for example, only Earth-humans have brains capable of religious belief, should Ponter and Mary genetically design their child with that ability or not? It all amounts to some of the most outrageous, stimulating speculation since Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land questioned our tired, timid conventions.