[Robert J. Sawyer] Science Fiction Writer
Hugo and Nebula Winner

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Review Excerpts

Robert J. Sawyer's Hybrids

"With Hybrids, Robert J. Sawyer draws to a close the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, a trio of books that will likely be looked upon as a career highlight for the Toronto science fiction writer.

"Hybrids is a novel of complex ideas wrapped in a tightly plotted, viscerally satisfying narrative, exciting and thought-provoking. It's the sort of book one wants to read at least twice; once for the headlong thrill of the story, and again to fully absorb the implications of Sawyer's ideas." — Quill & Quire

"Sawyer's picture of the unspoiled Neanderthal world is charming, and he raises some provocative questions. 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." — Publishers Weekly

"Like some of Sawyer's previous works (Factoring Humanity and Calculating God), Hybrids (and the entire Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, for that matter) is fodder for hours of lively debate. Just how advanced is humankind? Does God really exist? How tenable is organized religion when viewed through the eyes of an alien, intelligent species? Morality, gender issues, politics, faith, and genetic engineering — nothing is off limits in this fantastic, thought-provoking trilogy." — Barnes and Noble's official review

"Hybrids is a classic example of a SF story leading its readers into confronting questions that they might rather have not asked. Among hard SF writers, Sawyer most resembles Kim Stanley Robinson in his willingness to indulge in exposition and scene-setting.

"Hybrids is a novel that tells a good story, and doesn't back down from confronting the issues that story creates. It's a first-class finish to a series that ranks with the author's finest work." — SFsite

"Hybrids is fast paced and Sawyer jumps from one development to the next, racing towards a shocking, dramatic conclusion. Sawyer is sure to gather attention for this stunning series." — SF Revu

"Robert J. Sawyer is a science fiction writer, but he really knows his science. He does wonderful things in his books. He did a trilogy called The Neanderthal Parallax: Hominids, Humans, and Hybrids. It was all set in Canada, with Canadian characters. He raises the possibility what if Neanderthals did not go extinct? What if Homo sapiens went extinct instead? What would the world be like? He creates a wonderful parallel universe where that happened and then he makes a connection between the two and they meet. A scientist from our planet meets a scientist from the alternate universe, but he's a Neanderthal. He thinks differently, he's physically different, he's strong, he's big. That's what the series is about. I thought it was really neat. I like Rob's work. I have to read really serious stuff during the year and these books take me away." — Bob McDonald, host of CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks

"Excellent. If you've already dived into the Neanderthal Parallax, then this is a must read; if not and you're a fan of SF, you really should try Hominids, Humans and Hybrids." — Bookloons

"Rob Sawyer has put a cap on his Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, and what a cap it is. Hybrids is the third volume in the series, and it is the best of a great lot. I sang the praises of the first two volumes in the series, Hominids and Humans, and apparently the SF community was in agreement with me on Hominids, as it won the Hugo Labor Day weekend for best novel of 2002. Hybrids is better than Hominids. That could be trouble for its competition next year, which actually includes Humans, which came out in 2003 as well.

"A very satisfying, well-written novel, and a darned good one. Run out and get it now, if you haven't already. Oh — go buy and read the first two novels in the trilogy too, if you haven't already. I think you'll love them." — MT Void

"A fine combination of love story, social commentary, and ecothriller closes a terrific series with a bang." — Booklist (starred review)

"The basic premise was introduced in the first two volumes — that in an `adjacent' real world, reachable through a portal, Neanderthals gained consciousness 40,000 years ago and we did not — and its implications are argued out, at times brilliantly, here. That heart is a utopian/dystopian discourse of genuine, hard-hued intensity. In the end, it forces you to think." — John Clute in The Globe and Mail: Canada's National Newspaper

"The characters and the situations are engaging and involving, both intellectually and emotionally. Sawyer's doing quite well at using the Neanderthal viewpoint to give us cavemen a good look at how we've fouled our own nest." — San Diego Union-Tribune

"Science fiction has a long tradition of stories examining our hominid cousins, from early works such as L. Sprague de Camp's `The Gnarly Man' and Philip Jose Farmer's `The Alley Man' to Harry Turtledove's A Different Flesh (1988). But few such works exhibit the degree of serious research and fertile inventiveness that Sawyer brings to his trilogy.

"Certainly the most impressive accomplishment on display here is the creation of a believably odd yet empathy-inducing Neanderthal culture and mindset. From the bare bones (literally) of what we think we know about our extinct cousins, Sawyer fashions a consistent, engaging, logical history and society for his Neanderthals. Their physiology and mental capacities, so unlike ours, have resulted in a world where houses are grown from trees, religion is nonexistent and the needs of the individual are secondary to the needs of the species. All in all, it's an anthropological creation worthy of Le Guin.

"This is not to say that Sawyer neglects characterization on the singular level. To the contrary, all his characters are charmingly well-rounded, whether Neanderthal or human. The moral and ethical issues that plague Mary Vaughan are real and consequential.

"Moreover, Sawyer uses SF's particular strengths to examine in depth such hot topics as consciousness studies, the possible neurological basis for religion, and political systems, among many other topics. Ponter functions as a `stranger in a strange land,' forcing the humans to question all their assumptions — and Mary serves the same role back in Ponter's world. All of this philosophical banter flows easily and never seems forced. Indeed, the Neanderthal world functions as a near-Utopia next to ours, and much of the delight of Sawyer's trilogy is that it dares to depict a more perfect world, rather than the more common dystopias other writers love to build.

"In congenial, clear-eyed prose, Sawyer has constructed a mirror in which the brow-ridge-surmounted eyes of the Neanderthals gaze back into ours." — Paul Di Filippo in Science Fiction Weekly

"Sawyer's storytelling in Hybrids is, as always, straightforward and agreeable, pulling the reader along from one compelling chapter to the next. It's this easy-going tone that makes it all the more amazing that he can tackle race relations, eugenics, capitalism, war, personal liberty, religion, the nature of consciousness, and alternative sexuality into one tale! Sawyer gives us much food for thought; the Neanderthal Parallax (for such is the name of this series) would make interesting reading for any philosophy discussion group.

"A wonderfully entertaining, highly intelligent book, and a certainly worthy of its predecessors. I highly recommend Hybrids." — Sci-Fi Dimensions

"Hybrids features Sawyer's typically engaging prose." — Rocky Mountain News

More Good Reading

More about Hybrids: Volume Three of The Neanderthal Parallax
More about Humans: Volume Two of The Neanderthal Parallax
More about Hominids: Volume One of The Neanderthal Parallax
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What's a Rob Sawyer novel like?
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