The novel Corr Syl the Warrior introduces an Earth on which intelligence appeared long before humans.
A Study Break
One morning as Corr sat at his table listening to his mother’s instructions and conducting a set of simultaneous exercises, his father came in with a tall, short-legged, white-haired otter wearing a broad-brimmed hat. “Corr, meet Ori Calin, one of the district’s assistant librarians.”
Calin grinned, swept off his hat, and sat facing Corr. “Corr, your parents say your studies are going well. They asked me to come to meet you so you could show me what you’ve learned. Would you like to answer some questions?”
“Do you know what has one head, one foot, and four legs?”
Corr didn’t know what to say.
“A bed,” answered Calin, with a chuckle.
“How many letters in the Human alphabet?”
“Nope, sixteen.” Calin laughed so hard that Corr grinned.
“Corr, this is what I want you to do….”
For the next fifteen minutes, Corr recited a series of poems while he mentally calculated the intermediate chemical states for a metabolic series, composed a story based on a prompt given him by Calin, and prepared two proofs of the infinitude of prime numbers.
“Corr, that’s very good. Now, do you have any questions for me?”
Corr reached into the drawer on his side of the table. “Can you name something that’s in this drawer?”
Calin said, “Not fair”“. I have no clues.”
“My hand,” said Corr, his whiskers twitching.
Calin whistled and laughed. “Corr, stop by the library and say hello if you’re ever in the District Center.“