Recommended: The Hominids

Seven Skeletons' Lydia Pyne cites Robert J. Sawyer's The Hominids as a fiction book that gets Neanderthals right

Recommended: <i>The Hominids</i>

Because there are facts about early hominids and there are also fictions about early hominids. But when we asked Lydia Pyne which popular entertainment was the most accurate, she thought we meant movies, and she was at a loss. "A colleague of mine," she said, "once referred to Quest for Fire as Ron Perlman Goes Camping for Two Hours With No Dialogue." But with the clarification of, no, what about novels, the Seven Skeletons author was glad to recommend Robert J. Sawyer's novel The Hominids.

"It's the first book in his Neanderthal Parallax trilogy," Pyne told us. "It's set in a neutrino observatory in Canada, and it opens up a portal, and – there's Neanderthals, there's modern humans. Sawyer did extensive research for his Neanderthals. He interviewed a ton of anthropologists, spent a lot of time going through the literature. In fact, when he was doing the research, I was an undergraduate at the Institute of Human Origins, working at Arizona State University, and I remember hearing some of the professors and the postdocs having talked to him about his research for the books. Sawyer's Neanderthals are sort of a hundred years later from Quest for Fire, so we end up with a more humanized take on Neanderthals, but if you're looking for fiction about Neanderthals that's accurate – well, as accurate as science fiction can be? The Hominids is what I would point to."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Wayne Alan Brenner
All the Neighborhood's a Stage in the Drive-Through <i>Vortex Odyssey</i>
All the Neighborhood's a Stage in the Drive-Through Vortex Odyssey
The Vortex keeps things safe, sacred, and mythically provocative in their newest stage spectacle

Sept. 25, 2020

Vortex vs. Coronavirus: The Shows Really <i>Do</i> Go On
Vortex vs. Coronavirus: The Shows Really Do Go On
Melissa Vogt explains the how and the why

Sept. 24, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Nonfiction science, Lydia Pyne, paleontology, paleoanthropology, The Hominids, Robert J. Sawyer, Institute of Human Origins, Quest for Fire, Neanderthal, Ron Perlman

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle