Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Fan letter of the day: Far-Seer

by Rob - January 10th, 2010.
Filed under: Far-Seer.

The least read of all my books are my novels Far-Seer, Fossil Hunter, and Foreigner — collectively, the “Quintaglio Ascension” trilogy.

(Lots of people just can’t seen to be able to get past the covers — the one part of the books I had no control over! The art is spectacular on its own merits — and I own the original Far-Seer cover painting — but plainer covers would have served this series better, I think.)

Anyway, I’m always particularly pleased to get fan letters related to that trilogy (the three volumes of which were first published in 1992, 1993, and 1994), and a very nice one arrived today:

I’ve enjoyed your writing since I first discovered your work, and just went back through my sf collection and stumbled across Far-Seer.

I am about half-way through re-reading the trilogy and am impressed all over again at the depth and three dimensionality of the world you created with the Quintaglios.

I wanted to send you my kudos on a series of books that still hold my interest — years later — and seem as fresh today as when I first read them.

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15 Responses to Fan letter of the day: Far-Seer

  1. I wouldn't mind seeing this series continue myself.

  2. Has anyone considered republishing the series with different covers … or does "least read" mean that the sales were sluggish enough (relative to your other books) that this is unlikely?

  3. Since you ask, Jonathan: The books were originally published by Ace. I got the rights back from them, and resold them to Tor, and my editor there had agreed with me that we'd do precisely the kind of classy, simple covers I thought the books needed. But unbeknownst to either of us, as soon as she saw that Tor had acquired rights to these books, Tor's art director bought reprint rights to the exact same cover art that had been used on the Ace editions, and so they ended up with pretty much the same covers the second time around, too.

  4. Those covers wouldn't put me off. Not at all.

  5. The cover are indeed beautiful, but over the years hundreds of people have told me they've read all of my books except those, and when I ask them why, they always say the covers turned them off.

  6. Honestly, these books rank right up there with your Hominids series as my favorites – covers didn't set me off at all!

  7. I really enjoyed this series. I'd say almost equally to the hominids series. The only reason it took me so long to read them was because they weren't available anywhere (until I found your ebay store). The covers didn't turn me off at all.
    Frankly, when I find an author that I know I can depend on for quality works, the cover doesn't matter much. I'm surprised so many people said that they didn't read them because of that.

  8. I started Far-Seer back when it first came out but never finished. Nothing wrong with the book, I just used to find sustained reading time so rarely back then that I have a lot of great unread books on my shelves from then. After getting into your work with both Flashforward and Wake, I knew your name was familiar, so I checkedy shelves and was surprised to see Far-Seer. Needless to say, they are now on this year's reading list!

  9. These are the only books by Rob that I haven't read. I've never sat down to figure out why, but now that I've taken a minute or two, I'm going to have to agree.

    The covers, though beautiful, don't work for me.

    That being said, I know Rob's work. So why am I allowing myself to be put off by a part of the book that he had nothing to do with? Hmmm…

  10. I had read the books – borrowed from the library – previously to buying my three beautiful editions, so the cover didn't put me off. They are great books. Any fan who hasn't read them is missing out. It's as vivid a world as any other Sawyer has created. It just happens that the people are dinosaurs.


  11. Same here — I probably started reading your stuff around Frameshift, have picked up most of the later ones as they came out (except Identity Theft et al — I'd read the title story and sort of didn't consider there'd be more, grabbed it a month or so ago and it was like having a new book early), but I didn't get to the Quintaglio books until a co-worker recommended them to me (they are his favourite Sawyer books).

  12. On an unrelated note, will you do anything out of the ordinary to celebrate the publication on Wonder, when it is released, since it will be not only the last book of your trilogy but your 20th book?

  13. Hi, Jonathan. WONDER will come out in April 2011. I haven't thought that far ahead, to be honest, but, yes, I suppose 20 novels is something to celebrate! :D

  14. I had the same problem as Zafri; couldn’t find a lot your books on the shelf. I had a B&N gift card and wanted to buy all the books I don’t currently own, but the only ones on the shelf were Flash Forward and Calculating God. I bought those.

    I was drawn to Hominids because of the cover. I love anything prehistoric. But I wonder sometimes if I hadn’t been in the bookstore during the shelf life I wouldn’t have found your books.

    If I hadn’t gone to World Con I wouldn’t have found the Quintaglio Ascension trilogy and I grabbed them because of the covers. I love dinosaurs, especially talking ones.

    Picture is big.

  15. I just finished Far-Seer not long ago. And now it is an amazing coincidence that I see this article when I am thinking what to say about the book.

    Now I got it. First of all, the book gives me the first explaination about what causes the earth's autorotation. Maybe you can not image how meaningful it is to me. As a chinese college students, I have learned the rotation of the earth since I was nine. But in our book, no explaination about the phenomenon is given. The theory described in your novel fills my blank in a sense. I told the theory to my friend. They all agreed it to some degree.

    Meanwhile, when I knew the dinosaur lived in a satellite rather than a planet I was impressed by your imagination. Of course, the courage to pursue the truth is always the wonderful content.

    When it comes to the topic of its cover, I have to admit, that I would collect every cover of your nover when I finish it, downloading the pictures to my pc. It is also a part of the enjoyable procedure.

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