To keep things interesting, I’ve decided to add another series to the mix here. Hopeful Science Fiction, film reviews, Search Engine Q&A, and Blogging Advice will all be published on a rolling basis, as will the interviews with people who enjoy speculative fiction, which begin here next week. This post will be added to the queue once I’ve come up with several similar titles to recommend to people who enjoyed a particular book.
Jean M. Auel’s 1980 novel The Clan of the Cave Bear tells the story of Ayla, a human orphan raised by Neanderthals. Ayla’s adulthood is depicted in four follow-ups.
I chose this story to begin this series in part because I’ve seen an increase in the number of people visiting this site in search of information about Auel, her characters, and whether or not the Earth’s Children books will be adapted for television or film.
It doesn’t appear that anything is in the works at this time. If that ever changes, I’ll be the first to proclaim it from the rooftops! While we’re at it, why don’t we talk about a topic that I’m quite fond of?
My favorite story is “The Clan of the Cave Bear,” which I return to time and time again. Adventure, romance, mystery, and even a touch of the paranormal genre are all present in this intriguing plot.
To survive an ice age, 30,000 years ago, there were plenty of subplots about gathering food, making weapons, harvesting medicinal herbs and doing all the other things that were necessary to survive.
I’ve been looking for books like this and its sequels for years. I’ve read a lot about Neanderthals and how they might have interacted with humans tens of thousands of years ago or in the present day, and the following list is the best of the best.
The Inheritors by William Golding
Jean M. Auel was the first well-written book I discovered in the library as a young teen when I was looking for more storytellers like her who had clearly done their research on prehistoric life.
Mr. Golding’s depiction of how Neanderthals might have reacted when confronted with a more powerful culture was fascinating. The Neanderthals of this world were compassionate, but they were being overtaken by a more advanced and dangerous species of human. This twist, I believe, says as much about him and the time period in which he lived as it does about one of the possible causes of the extinction of this species.
Ember from the Sun by Mark Canter
After reading The Inheritors, I discovered this book and have been recommending it to other readers ever since. As the narrator spent so much time setting up the plot and explaining how his imagined events could occur using science rather than magic, it is by far the most science-fiction-oriented part of this list.
For the most part, the story revolved around a scientist who discovered a frozen Neanderthal woman’s body and discovered an embryo in her womb that was still alive and well.
If I tell you more about that particular scene, I’d have to give away a major plot point, so I’ll just say that it was possible in this universe for that to happen.
Ember was born after he implanted the embryo into a human volunteer and raised her as his own. While growing up, she began to investigate her unusual family history .’s She had many of the same doubts about her ethnicity that transracial adoptees do, and those doubts led to some fascinating plot twists that I’m still ruminating over.
The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron
This one’s subject matter is obvious from the title. We know that the Neanderthals perished at some point in time (or interbred with a much larger group of humans until their genes almost completely disappeared). In spite of this, there are many things that bones can’t tell us about a person or their culture!
So how did the last known Neanderthal’s life turn out? Compared to us, how did they differ? The only thing I can tell you about this character is that she was a joy to read about. Because the author took so long to explain some of her character’s most enduring traits, I can’t say anything else without risking spoilers.
A film based on the same name is currently in development. No, I’m not sure if it’s based on this book. In any case, I’m hoping to write a review of it when it’s released!
Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson
To me, one thing that was lacking in the Earth’s Children books is the amount of time and effort it took for the people who lived there to get by in such harsh climates. In this way, the story has always stayed true to its setting. No matter how much I wish I could incorporate aspects of a hunter-lifestyle gatherer’s into my own urban one, it should never be romanticized.
This story’s characters also formed close ties with Neanderthals. Together, they battled a harsh environment. To be fair to Mr. Golding’s point of view, I’d like to believe that the past was more cooperative than it appears to be in the present.
The Neanderthal Parallex trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer
To begin with, in Hominids, we meet a modern-day Neanderthal from a parallel universe where their species survived and humans died out thousands of years ago; this is the first book in this series.
Humans and Neanderthals had vastly different ways of life. The Neanderthals in this universe, for example, are all bisexual and have two partners, each of whom is a man. These two worlds collided in a fascinating way once the characters realized how many assumptions they had about life in one society did not apply to the other.
It’s incredible that this hasn’t been made into a television series yet. While Sawyer has written many worthwhile books, this world in particular needs to be shared with more people. It sparked a lot of discussion.