Friday, May 25, 2007

Book Review: Hominids

"Hominids" is the first book in a trilogy by Robert J Sawyer. I'd been avoiding this trilogy. It just didn't seem that interesting. Then I read an interview at where he talked about these books along with some of his other stuff. It convinced me.

In "Hominids" there is a parallel universe where Neanderthals survived and Homo Sapiens went extinct. In both universes there's a really deep mine that has been modified for scientific research. We've built a nutrino detector and they've built a quantum computer. Both are in the same spot because they need shielding from everything but nutrinos and the low radioactivity of the mine.
One of the quantum processors is on a tower that vibrates and screws up the calculations. One of the scientists goes to manually brace the tower. When the computer tries to crunch a particularly large number the Neanderthal falls between dimensions and into the middle of the nutrino detector.
The story goes on to talk about how our world deals with finding him and how he deals with being here. But back in his world the scientist he was working with is accused of murdering the missing coworker.

The genetics and the anthropology discussions in the book are something you might expect to see in a scientific journal. Cultural differences are based on what little we know about their species and are filled in with differences between Canadian and American culture. There are also theological discussions and philosophical discussions worth reading. Not of the quality I saw in "Calculating God" but still better than in most books.

I highly recommend this book.

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