by Robert J. Sawyer; Ace; $5.99
reviewed by Paula Johanson
The sequel to Robert J. Sawyer's Far-Seer is another cracking good adventure yarn. This time around in Fossil Hunter, Sawyer blends some elements of detective fiction with the science and sociology of the Quintaglios, his intelligent dinosaurians.
Asfan, the young savant who was the hero pf the first novel, is still using his insight in the search for knowledge. Novato, the inventor of the far-seer, has called for an inventory and survey of all parts and resources of their Land while she works on learning to fly. And it is their son Toroca who co-ordinates the Survey and travels to the South Pole, a veritable Galápagos of new creatures.
While this story is not told from one viewpoint, Toroca is central to all that happens, both for his discoveries and for his unusual lack of cultrual drives. If Asfan and Novato's children had been culled as all nestlings usually were, Toroca would not have lived. Have the Quintaglios been selecting for agression as well as vigor?
In the previous novel, Asfan had wondered if his friend, the young Emperor Dybo, had been the best of that clutch of nestlings. This worry is brought to public attention and Dybo must put aside his abundant meals to deal with the challenge.
The role of the family in this culture in confusing for most Quintaglios. Parents are almost unknown, and no one has siblings except the Emperor and Asfan's children. The envy and anger of the common people, who have to cull seven of every eight nestlings, is a powerful thing and it is handled by the author with clear, energetic writing that will appeal to many readers of speculative adventure fiction.
Originally published by Under the Ozone Hole Number Six – November, 1993