Far-Seer (Quintaglio Ascension, #1)
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Far-Seer (Quintaglio Ascension #1)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  573 ratings  ·  35 reviews
The Face of God is what every young saurian learns to call the immense, glowing object which fills the night sky on the far side of the world. Young Afsan is privileged, called to the distant Capital City to apprentice with Saleed the court astrologer. Buth when the time comes for Afsan to make his coming-of-age pilgrimage, to gaze upon the Face of God, his world is change
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2004 by Tor Books (first published 1992)
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James Steele
Originally posted on JournalStone

A planet inhabited by sentient dinosaurs whose society is analogous to Europe during the Renaissance. Afsan, the apprentice astrologer, embarks on an ocean pilgrimage to see the Face of God. But this voyage is different from everyone else’s. Afsan has with him a new invention: a far-seer (a telescope), and he does something with it no other Quintaglio has ever done before. He looks at the Face of God. Then he turns the far-seer to the rest of the sky, and conclud...more
Oh my...where to start. This book was so well done...that I actually wanted to make a fan-made comic on it. I mean it was well done is so many ways. First off the beginning starts off different. The main character has already been on his journey arriving at "Land's" Capital city. I liked that, you didn't need his background right away, it explains to as you read the novel. Afsan is the main character, a part of the intelligent species of Tyrannosaurs living on a moon orbiting a gas giant. He is...more
I have enjoyed several of Robert J. Sawyer’s science fiction novels, but “Far-Seer” is the first fantasy sci-fi I’ve read of this author.

The back of the book of this particular paperback has spoilers, information on the characters of the book that are not revealed (apparently) until the later books in the trilogy, and I was disappointed by that. Of course I won’t reveal that!


This is Book One of the Quintaglio Ascension. A “Quintaglio” is a species of intelligent dinosaur, genetically rel...more
At the risk of appearing to be a dinosaur geek ala Ross Geller of Friends, I had been seen reading a novel with a dinosaur holding a telescope on the cover. Not something I'm keen on, being 40 years of age at the time, but Far-Seer is worth it.
This is the story of a planet inhabited by intelligent dinosaurs, our hero being an astrologer seeking the truth about their world. Be warned that this is part of a trilogy, and they may be hard to find. Although
I did enjoy it, I will not be moving on to t...more
Shannon Appelcline
Sawyer's world-building (species creation) is brilliant here. You can see the seeds of his Neanderthal Parallax work in this world of dinosaurs, but they're also wholly themselves.

Unfortunately, the plotting and characterization don't hold up to this standard. The plotting in particular is very rudimentary, largely following the story of Galileo, and pushing the characters around as required by the plot. There's not a lot of conflict and there's not a lot of reason for the characters making the...more
Well, this was a lot of fun. It's a story of reptilian aliens, parallelling roughly Renaissance Europe-level technology and thought (the "Far-seer" is a telescope, and the way that astronomical discovery can challenge dogma is a key theme--shades of Galileo). The irony of the doom-sayer on the street-corner predicting the end of the world being a man (well, lizard) of science rather than a religious fanatic was a delicious touch. The book does some great stuff tracking the development of a scien...more
Far-Seer follows the life of young Sal-Afsan on the journey of a lifetime. He is a Quintaglio, a race of sentient t-rexes living on a distant planet and enjoying a unique culture and religion centered on the ritual of the hunt and a seafaring pilgrimage. During his coming-of-age adventures, Afsan makes several discoveries whose repercussions threaten to destroy his society in this re-telling of the lives of Galileo and Copernicus in one.

This novel is best described as charming. The prose is simp...more
The summary on the back of the book really annoys me. "Sixty-five million years ago, aliens transplanted Earth's dinosaurs to another world. Now, intelligent saurians--the Quintaglios--have emerged. Afsan, the Quintaglio counterpart of Galileo, must convince his people of the truth about their place int he universe before astronomical forces rip the dinosaurs' new home apart." I have to ask, did the person who wrote this even read the book? If they hadn't used the word "Quintaglio" I'd have wond...more
Nate D
Mar 10, 2009 Nate D added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: me, age 12.
I was really into Robert J. Sawyer for a while back in Junior High, before he won a bunch of awards for later books and became Canada's hottest science fiction star. All of which I just found out via Goodreads, after forgetting him for the last 15 years, and unexpectedly remembering how much I loved this trilogy in the shower this morning. Also for some reason, suddenly fully understanding the cleverness of the Gallileo->Darwin->Freud progression the three novels follow: a progressive diss...more
This book by itself only deserves a 4. But you have to read the entire trilogy to see how good it really is.

This trilogy is the recapitulation of three major Western ideas but it demonstrates the universality the concepts have through all intelligent species.

Far-Seer gives us a Galileo/Newton character

Fossil Hunter has a Darwin

Foreigner has a Sigmund Freud
John Cooley
An older novel written in the early 90's by Robert sawyer. Picks up on a moon circling a gas giant in a solar system, that is not our own. This is the first book in a series of 3. Apparently 65 millions years ago an alien race knew that life on earth was going to be wiped out by dinosaur killer asteroid, and transplanted many species to this new world. This is never mentioned in the book, however the story makes it fairly obvious in connection with the small blurb on the cover "Somewhere beyond...more
Sawyer has captivated me with his explicitly theological and philosophical explorations through science fiction adventure. This is the earliest one I've read by him and it seemed a little clunkier than his more recent work, but I still enjoyed it and will probably end up reading the rest of the trilogy. A species of highly evolved, sentient Tyrannosaurs (Quintaglios) play out a thinly veiled version of human history through some well-known characters (Galileo, for example, in this volume).

No, Robert Sawyer, tell me how you really feel about religion. Your point was just too subtle.

Le sigh. I wanted to really like this book, but dang. It could have been a much better book, but there was so much emphasis on "look, these are dinosaurs, look how different they are from us, look how they even blink differently! But they still have stupid religion lawl." It just took away from the story because it felt so heavily allegorical. Subtle as a brick to the face.

But whatever. I've got the nex...more
Far-Seer has always been one of my favorite Sawyers, along with the other two books in the Quintaglio Ascension. A race of dinosaurs shake off the chains of religion and take to the enlightenment...on steroids. To me, this trilogy seemed a bit like Gibson's Neuromancer, high concpet work that the author struggled to match with later stories. I like Rob Sawyer's work quite well, but he only occasionally comes up to the level he held here. Fortunately, as in his WWW trilogy, it does happen. Gibson...more
Every once in a while you find a book, or series of books that you just know are going to stay on your shelves because you're going to read them again. This trilogy is going up on that shelf next to Lord of the Rings and Foundation Trilogy. In fact, maybe in-between the two as it is such a great melding of SF and Fantasy. Now bear in mind that I've only read the first of the three, but I'm starting the second right away as I have to know what happens! All the others series I alternate between wi...more
Michael Christopher
The Quintaglios home and society are vividly realised, the minutest detail of character and setting come to life; all the while the vast scope of the story continues to expand, first encompassing the entire continent that the Quintaglios inhabit, and then the entire M-Class moon that their land sits on. No one builds worlds like Sawyer does, no one else could have threaded together such disparate fields of study into such an unlikely concept... and no one else could have made it all so real to t...more
Angraecus Daniels
Very good. After reading www:watch, I didn't want to read another Sawyer book. But this was well worth it. Afsan was a very likeable protagonist, and the action kept moving at a good pace. Sawyer's descriptions of the action were very well written.

The one thing where Sawyer lost me was the sudden jump to the realization that the rings were broken up moons. I thought it should have been several decades or generations before they Quintaglio should have the math to understand that part of astronom...more
Interesting articulation of alternate evolution; using a world in which dinosaurs are the intelligent dominant species. Also an examination of the development of scientific thought in religious belief system. Good characters and premises. A bit violent at times; but then it's predatory dinosaurs!
Rebecca Porter
I will begin be saying that I love Robert J. Sawyer's writing and envy his imagination, but I saw where this book was going from the beginning. While fantastical situations arose, I was waiting for the surprise. Maybe I'm too much a science nerd. Still, I will continue with the series because, A. I love Sawyer's storytelling ability B. the set up for book two left me thinking there will be something more challenging in book two.
Excellent book. I read it as a teenager and just re-read it. It's a bit predictable at times because of the comparisons to Galileo and Columbus, but enjoyable nonetheless. The author uses only 250 pages to tell what most authors would water down and stretch out to 500 or 600 pages. I like Sawyer's brevity and look forward to reading more from him. If you like science fiction or dinosaurs, check this one out.
Clayton Yuen
A world of intelligent Tyrannosaurs? . . . . on a moon orbiting a gas giant? . . . . with newly discovered telescopes and Copernican theories?

Who would have thought that you could push such a plot through and make it convincing?

I am just overjoyed that this is the first in a trilogy of books by Robert J Sawyer. Great story with unusual characters in a funky off world plot ..... goood stuff!
Carma Spence
I really enjoyed reading this book and was so excited when I got to interview the author for my podcast. You can listen to it here: http://www.thegenretraveler.com/sci-f... and a snippet of it here: http://www.thegenretraveler.com/video...
I first got this book when I was ten. I didn't understand half of it, but still adored it. Now that I've read it again, I only love it more. I like it probably because of the fact that it really makes you think about our own ways and life. It's not for everyone though. But I will always love my own signed copies of the trilogy.
Brilliant retelling of the how man may have discovered the stars. Except man has been replaced by intelligent lizards.

Its a great story of how the scientific mind works and as we follow Asfan around, somehow, I think, we follow our past selves as well.

Find it, buy it, read it.
James Malaspino
I really enjoyed this book & the series in general. The author touches on a lot of things like ingrained beliefs people have & why it's bad to be unwilling to question new evidence without doing it outright in an obvious manner. Top it all off with the fact that it's an enjoyable read
DINOSAUR GALILEO. followed by Dinosaur Darwin and Dinosaur Freud. I had totally forgotten how crazy and awesome these books are! basically: if you like the front cover image of a tyrannosaur with a telescope you will like this series.
Mikael Hansson
Very interesting book in the spirit of what-if. Amusing in places, suprising plot twists but quite lightweigth (if you are a avid SF reader). The mileau could be fleshed out a bit and the characters personalities are a bit vague ...
It's a book about evolved dinosaurs so I expected it to suck pretty hard, but surprisingly, I kind if enjoyed it. Hey, I brings the existence of god into question, and that was good enough for me.
Russell Olson
I read this series in junior high and high school. From what I remember, they're vividly written and wonderfully imagined. Maybe sometime in the not so distant future I'll revisit them.
I avoided this book for so long because of the cover, but it was actually really well thought out and interesting. I've never read a book by Sawyer I didnt like.
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Robert J. Sawyer is one of Canada's best known and most successful science fiction writers. He is the only Canadian (and one of only 7 writers in the world) to have won all three of the top international awards for science fiction: the 1995 Nebula Award for The Terminal Experiment, the 2003 Hugo Award for Hominids, and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan.
Robert Sawyer grew up in...more
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Flashforward Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax, #1) Calculating God WWW: Wake (WWW, #1) Humans (Neanderthal Parallax, #2)

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