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Old 04-28-2008, 03:29 AM
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Fiction where the Neanthertals weren't extinct?


So I was watching an Eddie Izzard DVD (Unrepeatable or Sexie - one of those) the other night and he was doing a skit about if Neanderthals had survived to this day. It was incredibly funny (if you like Izzard).

Since I'm a sucker for alternative history fiction - especially alternative history science fiction - that made me try to remember novels with the same theme. I know there's an SF novel or two about this, but I can't remember any titles. Any ideas?

ETA: I did remember Jeff Long's The Descent just now, which sort of fits the bill - a separate branch of humanity that adapted to underground life. But there has to be something else!

Last edited by Grammanaut; 04-28-2008 at 03:31 AM.
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Old 04-28-2008, 03:36 AM
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Michael Crichton's The Eaters of the Dead. It posits that isolated neandertal communities existed into the early middle ages in Scandinavia, and may have been the source of various folk tales (the book deals with a variation on the Beowulf story). Pretty good book, and I generally hate Crichton.

It also served as the basis for the truly awsome movie The Thirteenth Warrior, starring Antonio Banderas and a bunch of beefy Vikings.
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Old 04-28-2008, 05:11 AM
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Ben Bova's Orion has a neanderthal survivor element to it.
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Old 04-28-2008, 05:53 AM
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Sliders on the sci-fi channel had a race of Cro-Magsthat never died out.
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:00 AM
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Harry Turtledove's A Different Flesh posits a world in which Neanderthals were present in North America when Columbus and such got here because Cro-Magnons never made it across the Bering Straight (for whatever reason). It's a series of short stories covering the period from Jamestown to the 1980s.
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:21 AM
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Neanderthal

Quote:
Matt Morrison and Susan Arnot, archaeologists and ex-lovers, are summoned to investigate an odd find: an apparently new Neanderthal skull. They rush to Tadjikistan and foray into some of the least hospitable terrain in Asia. Not too unexpectedly, they find their quarry only to discover a long-lost mentor who is guarding unsettling moral, political, and archaeological secrets that threaten their lives and those of the reclusive Neanderthals.
I bought it from a bargain bin and it was pretty mediocre.
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:31 AM
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Both L. Sprague de Cam,p and Poul Anderson wrote stories about Neanderthal individuals in the modern world. de Camp's is The Gnarly Man (See Aristotle and the Gun and The Best of L. Sprague de Camp, or read half of it here: http://baens-universe.com/articles/The_Gnarly_Man ).
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shecky
Sliders on the sci-fi channel had a race of Cro-Magsthat never died out.
Those characters were called "Kromaggs", if I recall. They were primates who evolved on an alternate version of Earth. In the real world, Cro-magnons were Homo Sapiens, our species, and live on in anybody with European ancestry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance
Harry Turtledove's A Different Flesh posits a world in which Neanderthals were present in North America when Columbus and such got here because Cro-Magnons never made it across the Bering Straight (for whatever reason). It's a series of short stories covering the period from Jamestown to the 1980s.
Not Neandertals -- Australopithecus.

The famous L. Sprague de Camp story "The Gnarly Man" has a 50,000-year-old immortal Neandertal living in the modern world.
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:33 AM
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Turtledove's novella "Dpwn in the Bottomlands" is set in an alternative reality in which the Mediterranean basin never flooded, and what are inferentially very human Neanderthals and modern man living comfortably side by side is a minor plot element.
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:49 AM
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Jasper Fforde's Tuesday Next series has a race of Neanderthals that were cloned from mumble mumble living along with the people of England.
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:01 AM
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Hominids by Robert Sawyer is the first book of a trilogy in which a portal is opened between our Earth and one from a parallel universe where Neanderthals did not die out (and humans did). It's a reasonably good book, although I would say the trilogy gets pretty silly by the end.
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grammanaut
ETA: I did remember Jeff Long's The Descent just now, which sort of fits the bill - a separate branch of humanity that adapted to underground life. But there has to be something else!
I loved that book. Cool idea, and I dig Long's writing style. Then he wrote a sequel, the name of which I struggle not to remember, in which he shits all over all the coolness of the first book.
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:36 AM
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Waiting by Frank M. Robinson is a sci-fi thriller positing "What if Neanderthals had evolved and were still among us... and simply waiting to make their big move?" A bit iffy in the execution, but a fun read. There's a review here, which also discusses two other books in a similar vein: The Silk Code, by Paul Levinson, and Darwin's Radio, by Greg Bear.
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khadaji
Neanderthal

I bought it from a bargain bin and it was pretty mediocre.
I read it and agree with your assessment.
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:14 AM
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In the spoofy Glory Lane by Alan Dean Foster, the Neanderthals were evacuated from Earth by aliens back in prehistory to protect them from the less intelligent, but more warlike Cro-Magnons. The Neanderthals get really upset when some other aliens bring a few C-Ms out into the universe.
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borschevsky
Hominids by Robert Sawyer is the first book of a trilogy in which a portal is opened between our Earth and one from a parallel universe where Neanderthals did not die out (and humans did). It's a reasonably good book, although I would say the trilogy gets pretty silly by the end.
I agree: the first book is good, but it goes rapidly downhill and is borderline unreadable by the end of the series.

Roger Macbride Allen's Orphan of Creation features the discovery of australopithecine remains in a modern-era (post-Civil-War) cemetery, followed by a global investigation into their origins. A fascinating and little-known SF novel, well worth discovering.
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Old 04-28-2008, 12:01 PM
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Kage Baker's excellent Company series (future history Sci Fi) has various assorted Neandertals, Cro-Magnons, etc. as major characters.

In The Garden of Iden
Sky Coyote
Mendoza In Hollywood
The Graveyard Game
The Company Dossiers: Black Projects, White Knights
(story collection)
The Life of the World to Come
The Children of the Company
The Machine's Child
Gods and Pawns
(story collection)
The Sons of Heaven

And, um, I guess no one's brought up Jean Auel out of pity?
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:15 PM
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Do the Geico cavemen (and their short lamented series) count?
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emilyforce
And, um, I guess no one's brought up Jean Auel out of pity?
Clan of the Cave Bear isn't THAT bad. The series goes downhill rapidly after it, but that first book is interesting.
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emilyforce
Kage Baker's excellent Company series (future history Sci Fi) has various assorted Neandertals, Cro-Magnons, etc. as major characters.

In The Garden of Iden
Sky Coyote
Mendoza In Hollywood
The Graveyard Game
The Company Dossiers: Black Projects, White Knights
(story collection)
The Life of the World to Come
The Children of the Company
The Machine's Child
Gods and Pawns
(story collection)
The Sons of Heaven
Came in here to mention this series. I will, however, say that I think the final book in the series is rubbish. The rest of the series is fantastic, and I loved it, but the end... Ugh.
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArrMatey!
...I think the final book in the series is rubbish. The rest of the series is fantastic, and I loved it, but the end... Ugh.
Rats. I haven't read the last one yet and was planning to pick it up next week.
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Old 04-28-2008, 02:31 PM
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I'd suggest reading it just for the complete-ness of the series. There are one or two 'nice' bits in it, which I won't spoil, but over-all, it really feels like Kage wrote into a corner and wasn't sure how to write her way out of it (I could've given suggestions. Mainly involving Budu and his axe.)
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Old 04-28-2008, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baldwin
Not Neandertals -- Australopithecus.
Not Australopithecus -- Homo erectus.

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 04-28-2008 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 04-28-2008, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borschevsky
Hominids by Robert Sawyer is the first book of a trilogy in which a portal is opened between our Earth and one from a parallel universe where Neanderthals did not die out (and humans did). It's a reasonably good book, although I would say the trilogy gets pretty silly by the end.
As a counter argument, it's one of the worst books I've ever read.
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Old 04-28-2008, 05:06 PM
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As a counter argument, it's one of the worst books I've ever read.
So why did it win the Hugo for Best Novel?
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Old 04-28-2008, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
So why did it win the Hugo for Best Novel?
Politics. The year it won Worldcon was in Canada and Sawyer was actively campaigning for the award.

ETA: The author of Hominids Robert Sawyer was a prominent fixture on Canada's science fiction network and promoted himself as Canada's only full-time science fiction author.

And if you think winning the Hugo is a mark of guaranteed quality then you are in for a shock.

Last edited by Just Some Guy; 04-28-2008 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:57 PM
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Thanks very much for all the tips (and warnings)! I shall hie me to the library and bookstore and see what looks appetizing up close.
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:58 PM
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Any movie with Ernest Borgnine in it.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grammanaut
ETA: I did remember Jeff Long's The Descent just now, which sort of fits the bill - a separate branch of humanity that adapted to underground life. But there has to be something else!
Was that the basis for the movie of the same title (which was pretty good)? Sounds like it; I'll have to check that out.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baldwin
Was that the basis for the movie of the same title (which was pretty good)? Sounds like it; I'll have to check that out.
I thought so at first myself, but then I saw the trailer and it didn't appear to have much to do with it - a bunch of girls going spelunking and get picked off one by one, screams ensue, etc. And that seemed to be the main plot, no underground humanoids hinted at. But then again I haven't seen it. Could be it's loosely based on the book.

On that note, to Flyingdragonfan: I've been horribly disappointed by everything else I've read by him. It stings when that happens with an author you really really like at first.

Last edited by Grammanaut; 04-29-2008 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:09 PM
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In Mary Renault's novel The Bull from the Sea, set in the Archaic or Heroic Age of Greece and starring Theseus, the "Kentaurs," led by "Old Handy" (Nessus), obviously are Neanderthals. They riot at the royal wedding of the Lapiths of Thessaly (as much later portrayed on the frieze of the Parthenon) because they got hold of some of the wine, which affects them more strongly than H. sapiens.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:11 PM
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And if you think winning the Hugo is a mark of guaranteed quality then you are in for a shock.
So what is? The Nebula?
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:14 PM
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There's Ember From the Sun by Mark Canter, which is about a scientist taking an embryo from a frozen mummy and cloning a Neanderthal child, who then grows up among Inuits and they believe she is a shaman.
http://www.amazon.com/Ember-Sun-Mark...9499908&sr=8-1

It's interesting, I read it a while ago though. There's lots of mountain biking in it, oddly.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:44 PM
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So what is? The Nebula?
Not even close. The awards are just a measurement of popularity with a certain segment of fandom (yes, even the Nebula). Quality is secondary to popularity in most of the selections.
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Old 05-04-2008, 04:39 PM
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Asimov's "Ugly little boy" short story, and then the novel expanded from it, in written with Robert Silverberg, deal with a Neandertal child.
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:29 PM
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As a counter argument, it's one of the worst books I've ever read.
As a third counter, I loved Hominids and I liked each sequel more and more. The entire trilogy was incredibly cool, and although some of the ideas weren't exactly plausible, I enjoyed the books immensely.
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Old 05-04-2008, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paintcharge
Jasper Fforde's Tuesday Next series has a race of Neanderthals that were cloned from mumble mumble living along with the people of England.
Along these lines there's also Raising Abel by Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal where scientists recreated Neanderthals. The hero of the tale only learns of this when one of the Neanderthals is dropped into his lap after people responsible for the project are murdered. I quite liked it.
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Old 05-04-2008, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grammanaut
I thought so at first myself, but then I saw the trailer and it didn't appear to have much to do with it - a bunch of girls going spelunking and get picked off one by one, screams ensue, etc. And that seemed to be the main plot, no underground humanoids hinted at. But then again I haven't seen it. Could be it's loosely based on the book.
There are similarities in that there's an underground species of humanity. That's pretty much the only similarity actually.
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Old 05-05-2008, 04:22 AM
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In A Greater Infinity, the bad guys are a fairly nasty multiversal empire of Neanderthals from an alternate timeline where they didn't die out. They aren't the only timeline of surviving Neanderthals, either.
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