It’s not often that I find a book that is “award winning” to be a good read. I tend to go for the off-the-track strange.
I read the first in this series, Hominids, just last week and HAD to get the second from the library right away. That’s impressive.
How did I come to pick this up? Well, actually I was browsing the ebook library (Overdrive) from the Salt Lake City Library website. I was looking for something to read while a book I had requested a hold on came in.
Those of you that know me, know I like to read historical fiction or dystopian novels. This is neither, but close to both.
Modern era. Yes, humans have really messed up our environment. Even in Canada, the Northern Lights can not be seen unless you leave town. We have cut down swaths of trees for cities. We have billions of people, and the pollution that comes with our industrialization.
Add in some science, some alternative reality. Without giving too much out, a Neanderthal comes from another “Earth,” one where agriculture was NOT the method of choice of feeding the people, to our Earth.
There are many themes a reading club could spend hours talking about. The one I want to focus on is relationships. I’ll state for the record her I am in a monogamous relationship with a man, and I’m a woman. Very traditional, and very suited for us. But women, haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like to have a wife? To have a person, not someone “in tune” with their feminine side, but actually a woman that really understands you? Men, haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like to have a husband? A person who goes through the same ups and downs as you? Shares your hobby as only someone of the same gender really can? Disregard sexuality for a moment here.
In this alternate “Earth” you have a man-mate and a woman-mate. Men live in their own area most of the month, coming to the women’s area only for a few days. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and it seems to for these people. Oh, and also, fertility is checked by abstaining from sex during the fertile time, until a new generation is set to be born. So no pills to fake pregnancy, no condoms, that entire part of our economics geared to preventing unwanted pregnancy is out of the picture for them (and the harmful chemicals associated with it).
While I like the idea of living apart sometimes, I find, especially in the book Humans, that it makes the lives of the Neanderthal seem less real. There is a moment when Mare sees the interaction between the two husbands, Ponter and Adikor, and has a moment of jealousy. However, when the neanderthal’s are talking to each other, they do not have this emotion because the relationships are “normal” to them. Ponter and Mare go on to have a conversation about the different types of love, which is a conversation I’ve had several times in my life with different people, and I totally accept it.
But how hard would it be to accept a change like that?
Hominids is the winner of the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novel.