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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Hybrids is the dramatic conclusion to Robert J. Sawyer's Neanderthal Parallax trilogy (following Hominids and Humans), a saga with a bold premise: 40,000 years ago, the universe split into two parallel timelines, one where civilization evolved to where it is today (overpopulation, global warming, nuclear warfare, terrorism, Burger King, etc.) and another where the Neanderthals weren't displaced by the Cro-Magnons and survived to the present day with their own unique culture and technology. On this planet, where Homo sapiens never existed, the Neanderthals live in a highly advanced, peaceful, idyllic world with hardly any crime, disease, or pollution.
The first two novels chronicle the very first interactions between worlds -- and species -- when a an experiment goes awry and a portal is accidentally opened by a Barast (Neanderthal) quantum physicist, Ponter Boddit. In Hybrids, strong interpersonal relationships have formed between Gliksins (Homo sapiens) and Barasts. In fact, Ponter and geneticist Mary Vaughan have fallen in love and are trying to have a hybrid baby. More and more, Gliksins and Barasts are visiting each other's worlds. Technologies and ideas are being exchanged. But then the ugly side of humanity rears its head.
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. Paul Goat Allen