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5.0 out of 5 stars Best dinosaur SF novel ever,
This review is from: Far Seer (Mass Market Paperback)Yes .... I mean that. Better than Jurassic Park or either Chrichton's or Doyle's The Lost World or Swanwick's estimable Bones of the Earth. Sawyer knows his paleontology .... but he also knows the Age of Englightenment and intellectual history .... and he combines them both in a great tale .... or should that be tail :-) .... of a dinosaurian Galileo. High adventure, hard science, beautiful attention to detail. A wonderful book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Richly detailed world,
This review is from: Far-Seer: Book One of the Quintaglio Ascension (Paperback)Ok, the story itself was fascinating. Sawyer did a phenomenal job on the world-building, creating a believable and original society with fierce carnivores constantly fighting their nature in the name of civilization. He never tries to overload us with concepts or explanations, instead letting the smaller details fill us in on a need-to-know basis that sucks you in right up until the end. The Quintaglios are a fantastic invention, and I think I'm a little addicted now. I found myself reading to find out more about Quintaglio society rather than trying to unwrap the plot, which should speak volumes about the amazing world Sawyer has created. I was particularly intrigued by the Quintaglio belief that the flat Land was essentially a boat sailing down the endless River, thus explaining the frequent earthquakes.
The characters are all recognizably human, in spite of their dinosaur tendancies. Afsan is a brilliant, open-minded student, perhaps more naive than is healthy, but ultimately likeable and easy to relate to. His mentor, Saleed, is a harsh master of the "it's better if the student works it out for himself" school of thought. Afsan's close friend Dybo, the prince, is full of human fallibility along with his dinosaur instincts. The characters are all a fantastic amalgamation of human and dinosaur, and while they're easy to relate to, Sawyer never lets us forget that the Quintaglios are not human. It's a difficult balance to achieve, but Sawyer makes it look easy and feel natural.
I was, I admit, vaguely irritated by the ending of the book. It felt like Sawyer realized he only had fifty pages left to wrap everything up, so he did it as quickly as possible. It was all just too clean, with characters suddenly changing their mind about some huge issues. I realize it's the first book in a trilogy, and some of these things may be dealt with in more detail in future volumes, but it just didn't wrap up as tightly as I was expecting for a book with the incredible eye for detail that Far-Seer had been up until that point.
Far-Seer is full of fascinating concepts, enough that I probably missed a few things on my first read-through. It's definitely worth taking a second read, and I find myself hoping the library has books two and three stocked up so I can return to the world of Quintaglios again soon.
5.0 out of 5 stars Midwest Book Review - great story from the sci fi master,
This review is from: Far-Seer: Book One of the Quintaglio Ascension (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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Return of the Dinosaurs,
This review is from: Far-Seer: Book One of the Quintaglio Ascension (Paperback)Back in 1992, Robert J. Sawyer altered how science fiction was perceived, with a very unknown novel about sentient dinosaurs as an allegory not only to Galileo, but also to the Catholic Church. There were very few speculative works that used science, religion and cleverly designed non-human characters to build an entire world, and after the publication of Sawyer's '92 novel, he continued the line into a trilogy, now known as the Quintaglio Ascension, with each book taking another stance on religion and using a main character who anthropomorphizes the work of important scientific figures (Darwin and Freud).
_Far-Seer_ is now back in print, in a larger format with a better layout and cover design; even the Map has been updated. The story is the same as the original mass-market paperback, but if you have not picked up this series from Hugo- and Nebula-Award winning novelist, it's time to start.
Afsan, an apprentice astronomer, ventures out as part of his step into adulthood to gaze fully upon The Face of God, the large heavenly body that is on the opposite side of their world from their homeland. His quest for knowledge has Afsan viewing the different smaller bodies that revolve around The Face of God, and soon he determines that the Quintaglio history of God, their home being the center of the universe, and their entire existence, does not match with his observations.
Afsan must now determine whether this information should be shared, and save his kind from destruction, or kept to himself in fear of retaliation of disrupting years of religious doctrine. The only help he has is the Emperor Dybo, a dear friend of his, his master Saleed, and his far-seer, which helped him in determining the composition of the heavens.
_Far-Seer_ is a departure from formulaic and mainstream science fiction, and it's wonderful that this series is now back in print. With _Fossil Hunter_ and _Foreigner_ due out before the end of 2005, readers can collect these remarkable books, the first trilogy from the author of the Hugo-Award winning _Hominids_ (part of the Neanderthal Parallax with _Humans_ and _Hybrids_).
A definite must-have!
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a human in sight!,
This review is from: Far Seer (Mass Market Paperback)Great book, told entirely from the point of view of a world of intelligent dinosaurs. No human beings in it at all (heck, no MAMMALS at all!). But the characters Sawyer draws are as real as any you've ever read, and the book is loads of fun. Should appeal to adults and to the YA crowd as well. Enjoy!
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Far-Seer: Book One of the Quintaglio Ascension by Robert J. Sawyer (Paperback - May 1 2004)
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