Read/published in late 70s or into 80s.

The hero is thrown into the story, which begins in a grassland setting where the people are nomadic because of the slow planet rotation with grass fires causing them to move periodically.

He has to win clan acceptance and become their leader.

Then he moves on to some more stable settlements near the poles of the planet as they do not experience the fires, therefore have cities etc.

Seems like I remember the nomads were low tech, with the cities having higher tech. That is why this seemed more sci-fi than fantasy.

Can't remember much else, any ideas would be great. I have searched as much as possible by names, authors and titles and can't seem to find anything. Anyone?

3 Answers 3


This reminds me mightily of West of January. Slowly rotating planet, spotted with different cultures, grassland nomads whom our hero emerges from. Cultures near the poles are more advanced.

From the linked review:

This is the beginning of Knobil's life story -- not so much a heroic quest as a series of fateful accidents that thrust him from place to place and tribe to tribe across the planet Vernier. This story has all the elements of historical fantasy, and yet the setting is a science fictional world, settled two thousand years ago by human colonists whose technology has been lost. Vernier's rotation is so slow that daytime inches around the planet, taking centuries to complete one revolution. And as the sun moves across the land, the entire ecosystem must travel with it.

Vernier is divided into twelve longitudes named January to December. Knobil was born in the west of January, and by the time he is a very old man, the grasslands have entered June.

Published 1989 so towards the end of the quoted time but still possible.

  • 1
    Thank you Organic, that does seem close. And perhaps my memory of the protagonist dropping in was flawed. I took a peek on amazon and one of the pages had a map that seems to stir the memories. And reading some of the pages also has me thinking to mark yours as answered. All I can say is wow, I am stunned.
    – cwpetey
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 21:47
  • 1
    While the cover art presented on Amazon leaves me cold. I marked this as answered. Cover art during the 80's fluctuated all over the place.
    – cwpetey
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 22:00
  • The copy I read has the abstract cover art. The first edition art with the protagonist riding an orca....bizarre. Although I do seem to remember one of the cultures being a sea dwelling culture. Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 22:22

There is an answer to a very similar question here although the querent was skeptical and never accepted it.

The fire and ice stuck me as incongruous, then I remembered "Catch the Sun", a short story by Barry Longyear that I read many years ago in his book of short stories "It Came from Schenectady", published in 2001, and originally published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, November 1980.

Space travellers encounter low-tech nomads living on a slowly rotating planet. The tribe moves constantly towards the sun, staying in the narrow band of habitable temperatures between the sunny side and the dark side. As I recall, someone falls behind and is rescued from the ice that endlessly chases them.

They also discover a second band living on the other side, constantly running from the sun, which ignites the world behind them....

  • Interesting Sean, thanks for the link to the previous question. Obviously I had not come across that either. I agree that does not strike a cord with me. I do not recall that the protagonist being a space traveler. I seem to recall a yellow/orange cover with detailed background art with a man as the central focus. I also don't recall ice. But then again, I am here looking for answers.
    – cwpetey
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 20:54

The World is Round by Tony Rothman

The world is also huge, and eventually revealed to be hollow.

  • 1
    Hey, welcome! Can you please provide some more information as to why you think that this is the story that the OP is looking for? Like, adding a cover, plot summary, and a couple of quotes would greatly improve your answer, plus a description of how you found the book.
    – Mithical
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 20:17

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