Cover image for Diuturnity's dawn
Diuturnity's dawn
Foster, Alan Dean, 1946-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ballantine Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
341 pages ; 25 cm.
General Note:
"Del Rey"
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 8.3 19.0 113516.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



From the beginning, contact between humankind and the thranx has been tenuous at best. Yet nearly a century after first contact, the likelihood of closer human/thranx relations is as far away as ever. Yet idealists, such as the diplomat Fanielle Anjou, refuse to surrender their dreams of achieving a thranx/human alliance.

Author Notes

Bestselling science fiction writer Alan Dean Foster was born in New York City in 1946, but raised mainly in California. He received a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA in 1968, and a M.F.A. in 1969. Foster enjoys traveling because it gives him opportunities to meet new people and explore new places and cultures. This interest is carried over to his writing, but with a twist: the new places encountered in his books are likely to be on another planet, and the people may belong to an alien race.

Foster began his career as an author when a letter he sent to Arkham Collection was purchased by the editor and published in the magazine in 1968. His first novel, The Tar-Aiym Krang, introduced the Humanx Commonwealth, a galactic alliance between humans and an insectlike race called Thranx. Several other novels, including the Icerigger trilogy, are also set in the world of the Commonwealth. The Tar-Aiym Krang also marked the first appearance of Flinx, a young man with paranormal abilities, who reappears in other books, including Orphan Star, For Love of Mother-Not, and Flinx in Flux.

Foster has also written The Damned series and the Spellsinger series, which includes The Hour of the Gate, The Moment of the Magician, The Paths of the Perambulator, and Son of Spellsinger, among others. Other books include novelizations of science fiction movies and television shows such as Star Trek, The Black Hole, Starman, Star Wars, and the Alien movies. Splinter of the Mind's Eye, a bestselling novel based on the Star Wars movies, received the Galaxy Award in 1979. The book Cyber Way won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction in 1990. His novel Our Lady of the Machine won him the UPC Award (Spain) in 1993. He also won the Ignotus Award (Spain) in 1994 and the Stannik Award (Russia) in 2000. He is the recipient of the Faust, the IAMTW Lifetime achievement award.

Alan Dean Foster's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was a 2015 New York Times bestseller.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The conclusion to the Founding of the Commonwealth trilogy cements the affinity of humans and the insectlike Thranx. At first, the Thranx's delicious natural perfume captivated humans; thereafter, people discovered the aliens' dry sense of humor and love of poetry and art. Mutual appreciation for the finer things by the Thranx and at least some humans is the driving force behind the intercultural fair held on the planet Dawn. Meanwhile, on the frontier world Comagrave, an uneasy archaeological alliance of Thranx, humans, and Aan explores the well-kept secrets of the lost civilization of the Saun. After a series of accidents that occur where the Aan are convenient for helping an injured or stranded human, the chief Thranx scientist starts suspecting an anti-Thranx conspiracy. Back on Dawn, such a conspiracy seems to be up and running, for terrorists there plan vicious destruction to crush the infant commonwealth. Unexpected players in this engrossing drama are the brothers, human and Thranx, of the anything but dogmatic United Church, which ministers to both species with laughter and sensitivity. Roberta Johnson.

Publisher's Weekly Review

If the idea of big bugs (the thranx) and human-sized snakes (the AAnn) makes you squirm, you'll have fun with bestseller Foster's latest installment (after 2000's Dirge) in his saga of interspecies conflict set in the far reaches of the galaxy. The fanatic Elkanah Skettle, a human, together with his evil thranx associate, Beskodnebwyl, plan to terrorize a huge fair on the planet Dawn, as tensions on another planet build perilously close to war. After some pointless perambulations, two amiable preachers of different species manage to intervene, handily and unconvincingly putting a halt to the nefarious schemes of Skettle and his insectoid partner. Eminently readable the narrative may be, but it rambles on, more concerned with describing body parts (both alien and human) and the various species' responses to each other than with dramatizing the tale through incident and adventure. The action really picks up only when some scientists who have been examining enigmatic sculptures above ground uncover beneath the surface a colossal chamber containing millions of unknown individuals within pods. The bright and winsome heroine, Fanielle Anjou, is a plus, though those fond of the traditional BEMs who lust after human females will lament the failure of the thranx and AAnn to express any sexual interest whatsoever in Fanielle. Younger readers should be particularly enthralled. (Mar. 1) FYI: Foster is the author of several novelizations, including Star Wars, the first three Alien films and Alien Nation. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Bugs.    Hundreds of bugs. Thousands of them, many nearly as tall as she. All chittering and clicking and waving their feathery antennae at one another as they went about their daily business. Magnified by the heat and the more than 90 percent humidity they favored, the atmosphere in the teeming underground avenue was saturated with the natural perfume emitted by their massed bodies. Understandably, they stared at her, their gloriously red-and-gold compound eyes tracking her progress. When she felt it necessary, she would respond to their inquiring gazes with a crr!lk of acknowledgment. Astonished to hear a human speaking High Thranx, their multiple mouthparts would invariably twitch in startled response. Such moments made her smile--though she was careful not to expose her teeth. Through such small diplomacies were relations between species improved for the better. They were not bugs, of course. Though commonly used to describe the highly intelligent insectoids, that word was typically insensitive human shorthand. The thranx were arthropods, insectlike but internally very different from their primitive Terran look-alikes. Four-armed and four-legged, or two-armed and six-legged--depending on the needs of the moment--they had helped humankind finally defeat the invidious Pitar. That notable achievement was now more than thirty years in the past. Since then, relations between the two victorious species had improved considerably over the suspicions and uncertainty attendant upon First Contact. Stagnated would be a more accurate description, she mused. In certain specific instances, it could even be argued that they had decayed. As a second-level consul attached to the human embassy on Hivehom, it was the job of Fanielle Anjou and her colleagues to see that they did not worsen any further. Those who entertained higher hopes found themselves frustrated by the sluggish pace of diplomacy on both sides. The electrostatic wicking of the shorts and shirt she wore reduced the effect of the oppressive humidity by more than half, and the electronic cooler integrated into her neatly cocked cap did much to mitigate the heat, but there was no way to pretend she was comfortable. It had been worse on the transport capsule that had brought her into the inner city, even though the commuting thranx had politely allotted her more space than they would have one of their own. As she wiped at her face, she reflected on the eternal low-tech usefulness of an absorbent handkerchief. Diplomatic offices were on this level, but another half quadrant forward. She passed a nursery, where larval thranx were cared for and educated while awaiting metamorphosis; an eating establishment, with its rows of padded benches on which a tired thranx could stretch out on its abdomen, legs dangling comfortably on either side; and a large public information screen. The activities it proffered were utterly alien to her. Despite nearly ninety years of casual contact, and much closer interaction during the Humanx-Pitar War, humans still knew all too little about the enigmatic eight-limbed acquaintances with whom they shared the Orion Arm of the galaxy. The public announcements that periodically echoed above the constant clacking of busy mandibles were all in Low Thranx. She had not mastered either language, but for a human, she was considered fluent--at least by her colleagues. What the thranx thought of her attempts to speak their complex language she did not know. No doubt they considered soft lips and a flexible tongue poor substitutes for hard mandibles. At least, she thought, I can make myself understood. That was more than many of her click-challenged coworkers could claim. An adult female with two adolescents in tow passed close by. Unlike human postpubescents, the pair of youngsters were perfect downsized versions of the adult. They were in the premolt stage, preparing to shed their hard exoskeletons preparatory to growing into another size. Both had their antennae pointed rigidly and impolitely in the direction of the bizarre biped coming in toward them. As she strode past, Anjou overheard one chitter excitedly. "But Birth Mother, it's so soft and pulpy! How can it stand upright like that? And on only two legs!" Anjou did not hear the birth mother's answer. From what the diplomat knew of thranx culture, the reply was most likely in the form of some mild chastisement coupled with an attempt at explanation. What the latter would consist of would probably be highly imaginative. The average hive dweller knew as much about human physiology as a hydroengineer whose business it was to work on the venerable water system of London knew about a thranx's internal plumbing. The particular burrow complex she was traversing was home to, among other segments, the Diplomatic Contact section. Its sub-burrow loomed just ahead. The main entrance, with its impressive portico of anodized metal and floating holoed worlds, presented no problem. Entering the lift and hallway that lay beyond, however, forced her to watch out for low-hanging appliances. Here her short stature was a positive advantage. Her male colleagues dreaded having to visit anything smaller than a main burrow corridor. If Jexter Henry, who stood a shade under two meters tall, wanted to spend some time in a city like Daret, his travels would be restricted to the main corridors. As a consequence, he was essentially confined to the human outpost at Azerick. Thoughts of that establishment, of its comfortable surroundings on the temperate Mediterranea Plateau on the largest of Hivehom's four continents, did not improve her mood. At least, she reflected as she turned into a tertiary access tunnel, the Contact facilities were located in a brand-new section of the city. Being the capital not only of Hivehom but of the entire thranx expansion, Daret had been among the first burrows to transform itself from a traditional hive into a real city. As a diplomatic representative, she had been allowed to visit the older, archeologically important sections of the metropolis, with their early nurseries, food storehouses, and primitive arsenals. She had maintained a smile--tight lipped, of course, so as not to expose her teeth--throughout, but had no desire to repeat the tour. Even to a non claustrophobe, the ancient quarter of the city was oppressive. As she passed through the unobtrusive security scan, the male thranx of midage who had been following her ever since her arrival in Daret was at last compelled to abandon his pursuit and continue on past the entrance. He was not disappointed. Though he possessed within his backpack the means for evading the security system, now was not the time to employ it. That would come later, when the fractionated time-part was deemed right by himself and his compeers. Even fanatics have a sense of timing. Unaware that she had been followed, Anjou presented her thranx security chit to a series of scanners. It took her longer to gain entrance to the facility than thranx who ambled up from behind and passed her, since the automated security system had to not only verify that the pass she carried was indeed a match to her particular cerebral emissions, but that she was of the species claimed by the embedded photons. The eye scan that served to pass most thranx was of no use in identifying humans, with their oversized, single-lensed oculars. Eventually she reached the corridor that led to Haflunormet's office. He greeted her with a cheerful click and whistle, to which she replied to the best of her increasing fluency in Low Thranx. He also inclined his head slightly forward, presenting his feathery antennae. Bowing in turn, she reached up and flicked them gently with the tips of her index fingers before allowing them to make contact with her forehead. Formalities concluded, he employed both a truhand and foothand to direct her to one of the three benches that fronted the freeform arc of his workstation. Composed of a wondrously light yet strong beryllium-titanium alloy, it was anodized with a flux that gave it the look of a dark, fine-grained wood. There were no windows in the chamber because there was nothing to look out upon. Dwellers within the ground throughout most of their history, the thranx were equally comfortable on the surface, but a complex assortment of reasons kept their communities underground. A human forced to work every day in such confinement would have found it suffocating, despite the excellent simscene of luxuriant jungle that filled one wall with color, depth, and a farrago of fragrance. "I bid you good digging, Fanielle." The Terran diplomat and her thranx counterpart had been on a first-name basis for several months now. As he settled himself back on his elongated seat, she retired to one of the low visitors' benches. Instead of lying prone on her chest and stomach while straddling it head-forward in the thranx manner, she simply sat down on the soft artificial padding. It made for a perfectly comfortable perch, if one discounted the absence of any back support. It was certainly preferable to sitting on the floor. She did not need to see Haflunormet to recognize him. Every individual thranx emitted a distinctive personal perfume, each more aromatic and sweet-scented than the next. A visit to a city the size of Daret could easily overpower the olfactorily sensitive. To her, entering a thranx hive was like plunging into a sea of freshly plucked tropical flowers. Even those humans who disliked the appearance of the thranx were hard put to remain hostile in their astonishingly fragrant presence. Unfortunately, she reflected, a way had yet to be found that could effectively transmit true smell via tridee. It was too bad. If every human could meet a thranx face-to-face, the continuing uncertain and unsettled state of relations between the two species might be at least partially alleviated. The improvement in Haflunormet's Terranglo had kept pace with her growing fluency in both Low and the more difficult High Thranx. "I trust you had a pleasant journey from Azerick?" "The flight was smooth enough, if that's what you mean." She shifted her rear on the near end of the long, narrow cushion, wishing for something to rest her spine against. "The tube transport from the port into Daret was a little slow." "It's a busy time of year. Fourth cycle of the Dry Season here." She chuckled softly. "You have a dry season?" It had rained hard and steady ever since the atmospheric shuttle had begun its descent into Daret Port East. "Taste in atmospheric conditions is relative." Haflunormet gestured expressively with both truhands. "I don't see how you humans stand that high, cold desert you call the Med'ranna Plat'u." Anjou tried not to think of the pleasant, temperate hillsides where the human outpost was situated. Despite the best efforts of her specialized attire, she was sweating profusely. Though she had grown personally fond of Haflunormet, she couldn't wait to get out of the chamber, with its low ceiling and windowless environment, and back onto the surface. Excerpted from Diuturnity's Dawn by Alan Dean Foster All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.