[Robert J. Sawyer] Science Fiction Writer
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Press Release
For Release Tuesday, April 9, 2002

First New Robert J. Sawyer Novel in Two Years!

Following on the mainstream-bestseller success of 2000's Calculating God, Toronto's ROBERT J. SAWYER returns with another present-day philosophical science-fiction thriller aimed not just at the genre audience, but at mainstream fiction readers as well.

HOMINIDS has the same mix of contemporary Canadian settings, engaging humans stories, philosophical debate, and cutting-edge science that propelled Sawyer's last novel onto the Maclean's and Globe and Mail national bestsellers lists.

Like Sawyer's previous novels, Hominids starts with a bold premise: 40,000 years ago, when two kinds of humanity existed side by side — our ancestors (the Cro-Magnons) and the Neanderthals — the universe split into two timetracks. In one, the Cro-Magnons rose to prominence, extinguishing our Neanderthal cousins in the process. In the other, Neanderthals survived to the present day, developing their own technology and culture, and we did not.

Hominids begins with the opening of a portal between the two versions of reality at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, a real installation located 2 km down in an Inco nickel mine in Sudbury, Ontario. And through the course of the adventures — and growing romance — between York University geneticist Mary Vaughan and Ponter Boddit, a Neanderthal displaced from his world to ours, we learn about the many ways humanity's stewardship over this planet could have gone differently.

For instance, we have an ever-growing population; the Neanderthals found a way to achieve zero-population growth centuries ago. We have raped the land with agriculture; the Neanderthals have a technologically advanced — and environmentally friendly — hunter-gatherer culture. And, perhaps most intriguing of all, the majority of us believe in a God and an afterlife, notions that are completely foreign to the Neanderthals.

Drawing on extensive research and consultations with the world's leading Neanderthal experts, Sawyer, 42, has crafted a novel that lets us discover what it really means to be human.

USA Today bestselling authors W. Michael Gear and Kathleen Gear, authors of Raising Cain, say: "Robert J. Sawyer has written the most delightful novel! Why can't all authors who write about other cultures do this kind of rigorous in-depth research? Hominids takes sophisticated paleoanthropological data, cutting-edge theoretical physics, and characters that will warm your heart, and mixes them into a charming, witty, and provocative novel. Anyone who is interested in what it is to be human will be enchanted by Ponter, the story's charming protagonist. Hominids is anthropological fiction at its best."

Hominids will be the lead science-fiction hardcover for May 2002 from New York's Tor Books, the world's largest SF publisher. It is the first volume of Sawyer's Neanderthal Parallax trilogy. The second volume, Humans, will be published in February 2003, and the conclusion, Hybrids, in December 2003.

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