The Forerunner Factor

~ An Omnibus for the Forerunner Series by Andre Norton

forerunner factor


Contains ~

  • Forerunner (1981) Published by TOR, PB, 0-523-48500-X, $2.50, 282pg ~ cover and illustrations by Barbi Johnson
  • Forerunner: The Second Venture (1985) Published by TOR, HC, 0-312-93256-1, LCCN 85233476, $13.95, 254pg ~ cover by Victoria Poyser {Orange Paper Boards}


Synopsis ~

From the back of the tradepaper edition ~

Gone But Not Forgotten - Two Andre Norton Forerunner novels, Forerunner and Forerunner: The Second Venture collected for the first time in one volume. A heroic young women seeks her origins as she comes of age on worlds of peril and alien mystery.

On the planet Kuxortal, Simsa was found as an infant in the ancient Forerunner ruins and has always been different. Her skin is iridescent blue-black and she has telepathic bond with an alien pet, a batlike zorsal. When her mentor dies, she must eke out a poor existence until Thom, a star ranger, arrives from space to lead Simsa on a dangerous search for her origin into those ancient ruins. But the cavernous mazes are far from quiet and dead - and what Simsa discovers there will change her life, and perhaps galactic civilization itself, forever.

"Forerunner: The Second Venture"
Captured by human criminals intent on discovering the Forerunner secrets contained within her, Simsa escapes with her per zorsal, but crash lands on another world touched by ancient Forerunner civilization. Now Simsa must escape death at alien hands while battling the spirit within her to seek to transform her into something utterly inhuman. But though the ancient Forerunners may have been technologically advanced beyond comprehension, they never reckoned with the courage and gritty determination of one young woman determined to keep her freedom and write her own destiny among the stars.


Write-up from a fan ~

Forerunner ~ Kowar and other planets have their "Dipple"s where the dregs of society live out a hardscrabble existence. The unnamed planet in Forerunner has the Burrows the lowest level of Kuxortal, a sprawling city built on many layers of itself after being destroyed. Shadow was a scavenger working for Ferwar and old woman who sold whatever she or shadow could dig from the rubble of the undercity and trashbins if the upper layers. Shadow had coal-black skin and hair of the whitest white. To avoid notice while working, she used soot to blacken her lashes and covered her hair with a hat. She also bound her breasts tightly to hide her gender and avoid unwanted attention. When Ferwar dies, Shadow, whose name is Simsa takes all of Ferwar's trinkets to try to sell pieces to a spaceman who has come looking for his lost brother who was looking for Forerunner artifacts. He buys a couple of items, but they are attacked by the forces of a Guild Lord. They escape and head for the Hard Hills, a place of ill repute where his brother had disappeared. They find forerunner materials and the remains of his brother's camp. But they are not alone. There are some Jacks (pirates) looting the site. While the spaceman is setting up a beacon to call in the Patrol, Simsa discovers a statue of a woman who looks like her. She passes out and is "Channeling" knowledge and power from one who is probably a distant ancestress. She uses her newfound power to heal and to defend against the Jacks. Simsa and the spaceman make plans about what to do next. Great book! Action -packed and a real page turner. 282 pages (pb) with several fabulous illustrations by Barbi Johnson. ~ PG

Forerunner: The Second Venture ~ Simsa, whose body contains two distinct personalities, boards a space ship at the urging of her companion Thom Yan. Using telepathy, she discovers that two crewmen have sinister plans for her and she steals a lifeboat and escapes to a desolate arid planet. Wandering around, she encounters several deadly animals and plants and a friendly colony of insectoid creatures that help her and Zass, her pet Zorsal to survive. Thom comes looking for her, but she thinks that he had betrayed her, so, her "Elder One" personality teams with the friendly natives to knock his flitter from the sky. Feeling guilty, the "Burrows" Simsa rescues Thom just before he would have been eaten by a monster. After a while, she sends him back to his ship and goes exploring and discovers some of the "Elder One's" history. A flitter shows up with Thom and a Zacathan who explain the situation and ask her to go with them. ~ PG


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (2012) Published by BAEN, TP, 1-451-63808-6, $12.00, 544pg ~ cover by Tom Kidd
  • (2012) Published by BAEN, DM, 1-451-63808-6, $6.99, 416pg ~ cover by Tom Kidd
  • (2013) Published by BAEN, PB, 1-451-63880-6, $7.99, ~ cover by Tom Kidd
  • (2021) Created by Tantor Audio, Audible, length 15hrs & 14mins, $18.37 ~ narrated by Traci Odom

View the 1999 BAEN contract



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