Fiction 25 Oct 2004 12:23


Robert Sawyer

This is the second book of the “Neanderthal Parallax” series; if you haven’t read the first book yet, be aware that the following text may contain some spoilers.

The story begins right after the previous book ends, and we follow mostly the same characters. After a quick introduction, our world receives a new visit from neanderthals, but this time things are much better organized: they send an ambassador, who meets the Canadian Prime Minister and speaks at the United Nations. The “tunnel” between the worlds is kept open, so people from our world can visit theirs as well, and a few do.

Once more, we are presented (some times gratuitously so) with the several differences between our society and theirs, and religion plays an important part in the way the characters feel and act. The way it’s presented, their society seems almost utopic, except for a few “dark sides” here and there (and no, the total lack of privacy is not presented as a dark side). The plot doesn’t really advance much, but there are a few clues about what may be in the final book.

Still an enjoyable book, but at times it reads a little like a lesson in what the author thinks a better world would be like. The part about differences between hunter-gatherer and agricultural societies is very good, them, and contains some very interesting ideas. I’m looking forward to reading the third book.

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