Humans – Robert J. Sawyer (2003)

Humans – Robert J. Sawyer (2003)

Sequel to Homonids and the second installment in the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, Robert J. Sawyer’s Humans takes up right where we left off in Homonids.

The temporary portal that had been created in which Neanderthal Ponter Boddit first crossed over from his dimension into our own, and which was recreated for his rescue, has been recreated after much deliberations from the Neanderthal ruling council. Instead of creating a small portal, a much larger and semi-permanent one is created. Ponter, who wishes to return to our world to reestablish his relationship with the human DNA researcher Mary Vaughan, convinces the council that he should be the one to go. They agree, but this time send an official ambassador along as well.

While much of the differences between the two worlds was established in Homonids, this novel focus on the relationships between the two societies as a whole and the deepening personal relationship between Ponter and Mary.

The pros and cons of creating a permanent cultural and technological exchange between the two societies are explored. Much is made of the violence in ours, but also the technological advances with respect to the Neanderthals.

A subplot centers around the courting of Ponter by the female Neanderthal that brought Ponters male companion to trial for his assumed murder in the first novel. Ponter must decide if his eventual future will be one he shares with Mary or his own kind.

While it was a fine novel, the novelty of the cross dimension Neanderthal has worn a bit thin in this second installment. I also found the attempts at intrigue to fall short of the background story presented in Homonids.

I’ll have to get to the final installment, Hybrids, soon, but I confess that I hope it has more to offer than this one.

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