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The Crucible of Time

Written By:John Brunner - 1983

  • The Crucible of Time  - John Brunner cover


A radical proposal

Life had become too interesting on one word crawling across the rubble-strewn arm of a spiral galaxy, for as the system moved it swept up cosmic dust and debris. Ice ages and periods of tropical warmth followed one another very quickly. Meteors large and small fell constantly. Yesterday's fabled culture might be tomorrow's interesting hole in the ground.

But society had always endured. Many thought it always would. Only the brightest scientists admitted that to survive, the race would have to abandon the planet. And to do that they'd have to invent spacecraft...


With The Crucible of Time John Brunner returns to the large-canvas science fiction he pioneered in his Hugo Award-winning novel Stand on Zanzibar. This engrossing epic describes the development over millennia, of a species from a culture of planet-bound medieval city-states to a sophisticated, technological civilization.

Brunner at his best

"A splendid, heartwarming alien multi-generational saga... Assured in the telling, logically and impeccably detailed and beautifully thought out... Brunner in top form." —Kirkus Reviews

"When we apply the term ‘epic' to SF, we give SF a whole new scale. The epic at hand spans millennia to tell of an alien race's progress from primitive superstition to the threshold of space... This is SF in the grand tradition." —Publishers Weekly

"Brunner requires the grand scale to convey both the intricacies and excitements of scientific discovery... sf at its best... a pleasure to read." —Locus

Filled with new ideas, quirky aliens, charming love stories, and a continuing sense of wonder. This is a fascinating read and John Brunner's best-ever novel.