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Far-Seer: Book One of the Quintaglio Ascension Paperback – May 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sawyer ( Golden Fleece ) postulates a world (not the earth) in which dinosaurs, called Quintaglios, have evolved to humanlike levels of civilization--cities, formal government and religion. While on a sea pilgrimage to a heavenly body known as the Face of God, Afsan, a prodigy and apprentice to the court astrologer, makes some astounding discoveries with a "far-seer" (i.e., telescope). He realizes that the stars and planets and moons are at varying distances from his world; that the world is round; that the planets revolve around the sun; that their planet is also a moon that will crash into the planet it revolves around and that they must build flying machines to save themselves. Unfortunately, the planet they revolve around is the Face of God, and Afsan's discoveries go against the Quintaglios' religion, though some see him as a messiahlike prophet. Sawyer does a fine job presenting the physiological features of Quintaglios but is less convincing in making one young stargazer play the combined roles in Quintaglio society of Pythagoras, Magellan, Copernicus, Galileo, da Vinci and Jesus of Nazareth. Science Fiction Book Club alternate.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer is the Hugo Award-winning author of Hominids, the Nebula Award-winning author of The Terminal Experiment, and the Aurora Award-winning author of FlashForward, basis for the ABC TV series. He is also the author of Calculating God, Mindscan, the WWW series—Wake, Watch and Wonder—and many other books. He was born in Ottawa and lives in Toronto.

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Product Details

  • Series: Quintaglio Ascension (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765309742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765309747
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,389,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer -- called "the dean of Canadian science fiction" by the OTTAWA CITIZEN and "just about the best science-fiction writer out there" by the Denver ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS -- is one of eight authors in history to win all three of the science-fiction field's highest honors for best novel of the year: the Hugo Award (which he won for HOMINIDS), the Nebula Award (which he won for THE TERMINAL EXPERIMENT); and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (which he won for MINDSCAN).

Rob has won Japan's Seiun Award for best foreign novel three times (for END OF AN ERA, FRAMESHIFT, and ILLEGAL ALIEN), and he's also won the world's largest cash-prize for SF writing -- the Polytechnic University of Catalonia's 6,000-euro Premio UPC de Ciencia Ficcion -- an unprecedented three times.

In 2007, he received China's Galaxy Award for most favorite foreign author. He's also won twelve Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards ("Auroras"), an Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada, ANALOG magazine's Analytical Laboratory Award for Best Short Story of the Year, and the SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE Reader Award for Best Short Story of the Year.

Rob's novels have been top-ten national mainstream bestsellers in Canada, appearing on the GLOBE AND MAIL and MACLEAN'S bestsellers' lists, and they've hit number one on the bestsellers' list published by LOCUS, the U.S. trade journal of the SF field.

Rob is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences, teaches SF writing occasionally, and edits his own line of Canadian science-fiction novels for Red Deer Press.

His novel FLASHFORWARD (Tor Books) was the basis for the ABC TV series of the same name. He enjoyed spending time on the set and wrote the script for episode 19 "Course Correction."

His WWW trilogy, WAKE, WATCH, and WONDER (Ace Books), is all about the World Wide Web gaining consciousness.

Next up is TRIGGERS, April 2012. Set in Washington D.C., TRIGGERS is a science fiction political thriller about the nature of memory.

For more information about Rob and his award-winning books, check out his web page:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Laurel Johnson on June 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
To borrow a phrase from an earlier review of Far-Seer, Robert Sawyer is the "master of biological speculation." After reading five of this author's books, I'll add my spin on that statement by saying he is the sci fi master, period. Far-Seer is a parable without equal.

Afsan is a simple country saurian, chosen as apprentice to Master Astrologer Tak-Saleed. Afsan enjoys the tranquility and peace of the night sky, entertains solitary thoughts of mysteries, and faces life with gentle humor despite his hunter's instincts. Afsan's world is one of landquakes and erupting volcanoes. His species is Quintaglio - meat eating dinosaurs. Afsan's destiny is set long before his birth.

If you believe it's impossible to sympathize with a dinosaur, think again. You'll be drawn into Afsan's life as I was, experiencing each rite of Quintaglio passage: the thrill of the hunt; his first ocean voyage to see the Face of God; his first encounter with a female. And you'll share his wonder while examining the heavens through a far-seer (telescope); his joy at proving the earth round; his horror when all signs point to the destruction of the world Quintaglios call home.

Robert Sawyer makes it all so real. This is a touching story, personable and intimate and thrilling. The saurian characters are believable as they struggle with the hypocrisies and territorial instincts of civilization. I can scarcely wait to read Books Two and Three.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John Burris on January 16, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is quite simply one of my all-time favorite books. A parable of the conflict between science and religion, Sawyer managed to create a world of such startling believabilty (and familiarity) that there is no need for the suspension-of-belief that most SF/Fantasy novels require a reader to make. You simply step into this world of sentient dinosaurs as naturally as you step out of your door each morning. Within the pages of this book I found myself reliving many of the struggles I have gone through as I sought to understand the world around me. The process of discovery that leads Afsan to conclude that much of what he was taught about the world is wrong (even dangerously so) unfolds over the course of a rip-roaring, high adventure tale. How many other books take you on a thrilling Sauropod hunt and then a few pages later force you to ponder gripping questions of existence, faith and ultimate meaning? The first and easily the best of the "Quintaglio Trilogy," no one interested in dinosaurs, evolution, philosophy and religion should miss this. Do what it takes to get it!At the risk of overstatment I have to conclude by saying that "Far-Seer" is in my opinion one of the finest dino-themed adventures EVER! May it be back in print soon!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer on April 25, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Back in the 1600s, we knew nothing of the heavens and how they truly worked. The Ptolemaic model - that of an earth-centered universe - and the concept that God created everything and maintained an active role in the universe - were accepted unconditionally as the truth. Then Galileo observed for himself the planets, their shapes and phases, and their motions. He challenged the teachings of the Catholic Church, resulting in his trial before the Inquisition and subsequent house arrest for refusing to recant.
"Far Seer" is a Galilean allegory. And Newtonian, and Copernican, and Keplerian.
It uses an intriguing blend of fiction and fact to draw the reader in. Retold here, in painstakingly accurate detail, is the process by which Galileo first turned telescope to the heavens and developed his own model of a heliocentric - sun-centered - solar system. Here we read of the wonder of the Renaissance scientist and his struggle against the church of his day. The story's fictional protagonist struggles against the incumbent religion of his world to the point of threat of death. He is able to bring around a shift in world-view only after suffering personal injury , valuing the truth above his own life.
We realize the suffering the real Galileo must have endured. But here, too, is the unwavering logic that is modern astronomy. The shifting phases of the planets; the rings of Saturn; the tidal forces that give rise to those rings; the earth-shattering (pun intended) consequences for moons of large planets. It's all here, explained in a way that the layperson can understand.
After reading this book, I gained a new insight into the lives of astronomy's pioneering minds.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pablo Iglesias Alvarez on April 16, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Far Seer is the first volume of what became a trilogy of novels that takes place in a world inhabited by saurian beings. This stage is set with the idea of drawing some paralell lines with relevant personnages of our history, but also developing fully independent trains of action. Thus, Far-Seer deals with a character akin to Galileo. In the next two volumes Sawyer will mirror the lives of Darwin and Freud.
Rarely enough, the whole trilogy was been out of print for a while, a fact which is unfortunate. Indeed, I can consider Far-Seer one of my favorite books by Robert Sawyer. Although short, this is a well crafted story with engaging prose and characters. Sawyer manages to create credible and attractive landscapes and consistent cultural traits. Even after considering the fact that the author is mirroring the story of Galileo the imagined situations are good enough to maintain the attention. Although being fully independent, Far-Seer still leaves a thread that is to be followed in the next two installments: Fossil Hunter and Foreigner.
Rating: 3.5
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