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The Crucible of Time by John Brunner
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The Crucible of Time (1982)

by John Brunner

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» See also 12 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
A fantastic view of an alien species from the onset of astronomy to their attempts at space flight, this book is an amazing read that any scifi fan should have on their shelf. ( )
  avarisclari | Jul 13, 2018 |
multi-generational progress, an epic
  drbrendan | Sep 28, 2016 |
An epic sci-fi novel about the progression of history and culture on
an alien planet peopled by an insect-like sentient race.
The 'novel' is really six separate stories, each dealing with a
momentous point in their history. It follows the race from a primitive
society to a spacefaring people who desperately need to escape from
the asteroid belt that threatens their planet. In each story, a
brilliant young person with groundbreaking ideas must fight to take a
cultural step forward.
Although the book's not unreadable, I didn't find any of the stories,
or their characters, to be very memorable - I didn't get emotionally
caught up in their lives or their issues. I think part of this is
because I suspect that Brunner might have thought the fact that his
characters were aliens would be a bit off-putting, and therefore he
really intentionally avoids physical descriptions of them and their
surroundings. I kept getting distracted by trying to put small clues
together to try to figure out what they looked like. Although his
alien culture was well-thought-out and featured interesting details,
the book as a whole lacked plot tension. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Good about how catastrophe has evolutionary value. Jellyfish will rule the Galaxy, once things get hard enough for them ( )
  DinadansFriend | Aug 9, 2014 |
The Crucible of Time is pretty darned good. It offers interesting aliens, an interesting take on gender issues, and opportunities to think about a person's role in society/duty to future generations. This book felt very old school compared to The Tides of Time, Brunner's subsequent novel which I had just read about a month previously. Tides is an ambitious but flawed new wave exercise in storytelling without much content; Crucible is a novel of ideas that gives you plenty to think about. I liked it. ( )
  clong | Nov 13, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Brunnerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dixon,Doncover artsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
A splendid, heartwarming alien multi-generation saga--and unusually upbeat for a British sf master who's perhaps best known for such dystopic visions as Stand on Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up. Brunner's unnamed alien race, evolved from arboreal ancestors, has plastic bodies kept rigid by pressurized tubules, and many-layered minds--but when hungry, stressed, or exhausted, they retreat into dream ...
More-fugues, losing their reason to become primitive, savage animals. Their technology, medieval at first, develops into a delightful, original blend of physical science and bioengineering. But, every time they break through into new areas of knowledge, disasters--asteroid strikes, climatic changes, mutation-induced infertility--occur, throwing them back towards barbarism. Their unnamed planet, you see, is hurtling towards a region of the galaxy where new suns are being born; consequently, space is full of gas, rocks, comets, and other planet-threatening debris. So, following each disaster, they claw their way back to sanity and civilization, aware that for their race to survive they must eventually escape into space. Assured in the telling, logically and impeccably detailed, and beautifully thought out, even to the fascinating alien personalities, speech patterns, and thoughts: Brunner in top form.
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In The Crucible of Time, John Brunner creates a true epic of SF invention. Imagine a planet existing in a debris-strewn corner of the galaxy. Cosmic dust and rubble cause an endless succession of ice ages followed by tropical warmth followed by more ice ages, and on and on. Meteors of all sizes plummet to the surface of the planet frequently and burgeoning civilizations have a sad tendency to be wiped out all of a sudden. Society survives, sort of, but the brightest scientists know that to survive long term, the race has to transcend the surface of the planet and become a space-faring species. In a story that spans millennia, a determined group of people take control of their own evolution and build the technological society that will be their way into space. Long before Brian Aldiss's magisterial Helliconia series, even before some of Arthur C. Clarke's grand future visions, John Brunner led the way in imagination and scope of vision. For each generation, there is a writer meant to bend the rules of what we know. Hugo Award winner (Best Novel, Stand on Zanzibar) and British science fiction master John Brunner remains one of the most influential and respected authors of all time, and now many of his classic works are being reintroduced. For readers familiar with his vision, this is a chance to reexamine his thoughtful worlds and words, while for new readers, Brunner's work proves itself the very definition of timeless.… (more)

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