cover image Far-Seer


Robert J. Sawyer. Ace Books, $4.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-441-22551-4

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. (June)