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Forerunner (Forerunner #4)

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  789 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
A quest for our beginnings and beyond. In a future so distant that Earth has become only a legend and its very name corrupted Xarth, a beautiful young woman, blue-black of skin, silver of hair is left alone in the dark age civilization that is all that remains of a once mighty culture. She is forced by circumstances to accompany a star traveler in a quest on whose outcome ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 282 pages
Published 1991 by Pinnacle Books (first published January 1st 1981)
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The Two Towers by J.R.R. TolkienWhere the Deer Dwell by Dorothy GravellePlace of Fear by Ken PelhamThe Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrieForerunner by Andre Norton
Ruins and Artifacts
2nd out of 102 books — 17 voters
Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardNeuromancer by William GibsonHyperion by Dan SimmonsThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodThe Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
Classic Science Fiction - 1980-1989
84th out of 194 books — 141 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,169)
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Though I found myself rereading parts because the writing didn't always flow well* and the ending was rather abrupt, I enjoyed this tale of adventure and discovery. I love intelligent animal companions so I really liked reading about the bond between the main character Simsa and Zass, the injured zorsal she rescued and trained. Simsa is a determined character, and I'd like to read the sequel about her.

Rating: 7/10

Full Review:

* This may be at least partial
I have read all of Nortons work for third until 1990 or so. I have not read any of Her co-authored works because it feels like trading on Nortons name. I don't recall a single novel that wasn't enjoyable read Some of the older works feel a bit dated now. But it's not like reading Ee Doc Smirh. Norton is usually a fun light read
This is not one of Norton's stronger stories - although Simsa is very relatable and the story starts off well, it loses a ton of pace and interest around the time they hit the desert - and then later an event occurs which considerably alters Simsa in a way which makes her a much less enjoyable character.

Not a terrible story, but not great either.
I'm giving this 3 stars because other books by this author are so much better but I will say that the boys loved it and want me to immediately start the next in the series. They just love to listen to Andre Norton books. I love AN too but honestly this one was not her best. I believe it is a pretty early book. The writing style is very convoluted and it is difficult to read out loud. I always get the feeling that the boys might have forgotten the beginning of the sentence by the time I get to th ...more
Janice Seagraves
I just finished Forerunner last night and feel a little disappointed. I've read Andre Norton since I was in HS and I'm found of her work. I've always loved her strong female lead characters.

Forerunner is written from the POV of the main Character Simsa, who is raised among the Burrowers (simple people who live underground and dig for treasure in old part of the city).

Simsa's black skin and white hair marks her as different. With little to no education, and raised by an old woman who never told
Aug 05, 2013 Leila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Instantly readable, exciting tale which falls somewhere between sci-fi and fantasy. "Forerunner" is one of those tales that you can't put down until you've read all of it. An engaging, likable orphaned heroine with mysterious origins labors for a vile old hag who has little warmth to give her ward. The girl must take care to cover her hair when she goes out on errands, lest the curious recognize that there is something special here: an ancient prototype of humanity with ebony skin and splendid s ...more
Mary Catelli
One of her SF works. I noticed in this one there was rather more coherence about the problems they faced than the somewhat random jumble some of her characters face.

It opens with Simsa, a Burrower -- someone who lives in the poor quarters -- having grown up under the protection of an older woman, who died. She still has her tame zorsals, which can help defend her, but not enough to protect her from those who want to move in on her. So she rummages through her treasures for sale, first to buy her
Norton had a gift for astrobiology which has rarely been matched. The zorsals in this book and its sequel (called, not surprisingly, Forerunner: The Second Venture) are batlike carnivores, larger than most Earth fruit bats, but otherwise similar, except that they're
six-limbed (wings count as limbs).

This is hard to place in the sequence of Norton's somewhat vaguely imagined future history. Earth has been so nearly forgotten that few still know where it is, or even how to spell the name. The her
...Despite all the negatives I did enjoy Forerunner. It is not a memorable novel but certainly a lot better than my first encounter with Norton's writing. Simsa is a character you can really root for, even if she is too stubborn for her own good sometimes. If you are willing to overlook Norton's prose and the occasionally illogical plot in favour of a good adventure, this book might be a good read. Norton published a sequel named Forerunner: The Second Venture in 1985. I won't rush to the neares ...more
C.P. Lesley
It's interesting to see how tastes change over time. I liked Forerunner Foray once upon a time, but now I find this prequel overly focused on telling rather than showing—and a bit clichéd at that. But it was for a challenge, so I don't have to like it for it to count.
Apr 03, 2013 Kaylee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The entire book is written in run-on sentences, probably to show how alien the character is. I think this is completely unnecessary, and makes it hard to read. The only reason to use an accent or a different way of speaking is to contrast between human and alien, but this book takes place entirely on an alien planet, where *everyone* is an alien. The plot was interesting enough that I kept reading and finished the book, but I really hated the execution.

Before you commit to taking this book home,
Harry Lane
Jan 03, 2015 Harry Lane rated it it was ok
YA sf/fantasy. Interesting character development and plotting situations, but ultimately exceeding my suspension of disbelief.
Omar Mizdaq
Aug 06, 2016 Omar Mizdaq rated it really liked it
My first Norton. she writes in a way that's unique in my experience... intuitive sentences, that don't really make sense sometimes if you analyse them, but more on a feeling level. characters aren't fully fleshed out, and I didn't feel much of a sense of connection to them, but the main story of Simsa's self actualization is inspiring. I liked the slow pace. Fantastic adventure abounds here. I feel her words communicating with some deeper part of me and i like this sensation, although it's only ...more
Sep 04, 2014 Jordan rated it liked it
A slim, easy science fantasy read. The world is imaginative, and the tale interesting. But some magic is missing…for all that, it seems shallow.
Mar 04, 2015 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
1983 grade B-
Sep 07, 2015 DaveA rated it it was amazing
Very good book. Not a lot of action, but a lot of enigmatic (a la Norton) occurrences around the main character. Obviously open to a sequel, which I'll be sure to read. This is so typical of the best of Norton.
Fredrick Danysh
Jun 20, 2011 Fredrick Danysh rated it it was amazing
The spaceport of Kaxotal is ancient and has been rebuilt many times. It is inhabited by a race called the Burrowers because of there tendency to dig tunnels searching for artifacts from the distant past. Simas was recued from a garbage heap by Fewar and is now his apprentice. With her blue skin it is easy to tell that she is from a different race. Scavengers attempt to steal the duo's treasures as well as take control of Fewar.
Here's why I read it.

I thought this was ok. It definitely seemed like only a part of a much larger story, but I didn't really get interested enough to track down the rest of that story. I love the main character's looks, but she is nothing like a drow personality-wise. Really, this just convinces me I should get on that Jack Vance train.
I'm not sure that this is science fiction. I'm not sure if it were worth 3 stars if this book were not a childhood memory. But it is one. And reading it was like meeting old friends, like visiting places I've long not seen, like being again in the house of my childhood where I read it first, a house I will - quite literally - not be able to ever enter again ...
Brandon Landers
Nov 08, 2013 Brandon Landers rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. The setting was highly interesting if not bizarre. The characters were a little on the weak side, though I enjoyed Simsa. My biggest complaint is the lack of ending. It just stops and I still have yet to read the next. Suggestion for new writers. do not do that.
Belinda Weikel
Mar 28, 2012 Belinda Weikel rated it liked it
This book was alright. I had a hard time getting into it, but I think that was more because of the science fiction aspect. I am more of a fantasy, horror, and dystopian society book kind of person. There were aspects of fantasy involved and that helped to get me through the book.
Apr 03, 2012 Jared rated it really liked it
Features a strong female protagonist and an intriguing mystery on an alien world once colonized by a long-forgotten Earth. The middle section sags and almost ruins the whole book before a an unforseen twist puts the whole thing into overdrive. A short, action-packed book with cool ideas.
Brandon Fraser
Feb 27, 2016 Brandon Fraser rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
This book started out very strongly however it grew less and less interesting as time went on. I lost interest in the two main characters about halfway through and I never got pulled in again.
X Colton X
Dec 20, 2015 X Colton X rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book, but it was so boring. Not a good introduction to Andre Norton. Le sigh.
penny shima glanz
Dec 14, 2009 penny shima glanz rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
Picked it up at Book-off for $1. Theoretically you can read this series in any order, so here we go.
Sep 15, 2013 Calvin rated it it was amazing
As googd as it was when I first read it in school!
Christine E. Sokoloff
Christine E. Sokoloff rated it it was amazing
Oct 20, 2016
Michael McCormick
Michael McCormick marked it as to-read
Oct 19, 2016
Kelley marked it as to-read
Oct 17, 2016
Harrison Phinney
Harrison Phinney marked it as to-read
Oct 16, 2016
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Alice Mary Norton always had an affinity to the humanities. She started writing in her teens, inspired by a charismatic high school teacher. First contacts with the publishing world led her, as many other contemporary female writers targeting a male-dominated market, to choose a literary pseudonym. In 1934 she legally changed her name to Andre Alice. The androgynous Andre doesn't really say "male" ...more
More about Andre Norton...

Other Books in the Series

Forerunner (5 books)
  • Storm Over Warlock (Forerunner, #1)
  • Ordeal In Otherwhere
  • Forerunner Foray
  • Forerunner: The Second Venture

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