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The Museum of Second Chances (SF) - A E Warren ***

The premise of The Museum of Second Chances is very intriguing. In a future with a much-shrunk population, where Homo sapiens are second class citizens to more advanced humans, a museum recreates Neanderthals. The central character, Elise, a Homo sapiens, is recruited to be a companion to a Neanderthal, taking Elise from a squalid existence outside into the hi tech museum.

The development of the Neanderthals and the fate of the downtrodden Homo sapiens individuals is well done, with an engaging storyline that's solidly written. It's not uncommon for a first time novel that is self-published or very small press to sag in the middle, or simply lack writing skill, but the book was enjoyable and made it easy to identify with the main character.

I was a little worried by some of the science. I know science in science fiction should never get in the way of story, but this wasn't done to develop the storyline. So, for example, we are told that humans evolved from chimpanzees, a big no-no. And the author seems to think that the 'sapiens' in 'Homo sapiens' is plural. 

Most of those problems are got out of the way early on, though, and the book was heading for a four star review until I hit the ending. This seemed rushed. It didn't ruin the book, I'm still glad I read it, but it did feel as if there ought to have been some more to round it off.

Overall, though, a well-told story, incorporating some particularly interesting ideas.

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Review by Brian Clegg

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