The Crucible of Time
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Life had become too interesting on one world 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...
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. 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.
Yourself. Yet you came hither, did you not, in search of truth?” “I did!” Chybee confirmed excitedly. “Well, you were guided to where I was, even though you failed to understand the reason. Now you've been shown the error of your ways, are you resolved to make amends?” “With all my pith! I never dreamed what harm would stem from what Ugant and Hyge are doing!” “And what exactly does that amount to?” So she described what she had seen at the test site-the metal tube with its prong of fire,.
Interjected flatly. “Making the sun as much brighter as the stars now appear will blind you. But there must be a way. Apply your genius to the problem, while the rest of us get on with finding unknown stars. Perhaps they hold the key to what's amiss with cripples like me.” VI For the rest of the winter all four of them were embarked on a fabulous voyage of discovery. The world receded until they could wander through it unheeding, like a thin mist; all that mattered was their study of the sky.
And river until the water grew so foul the very fish were poisoned. Those who survived lost their reason and fled under the lash of horrid dreams. Most went south. I doubt they escaped like me and my companions. Our northern route must have saved us. It seems the plague loves heat.” “Your father-” Jing began. “Died among the first. So did Lord Waw-Yint. There is no use in speaking of his heir. Ntah is a land of rotting carcasses, and all who used to live there have run away.” Qat's girl.
Failed there would at least be food for the folk on board, and the major drawback that the taint of their own land's ichor in the water drove the other briqs frantic with terror; often near despair and redeemed only by messages from another luckier Little Fleet, with an achievement to boast about such as the safe delivery of a group of scholars to an upland refuge... The People of the Sea endured the horrors of the Thaw and by miracles preserved the vision Barratong bequeathed to them.
Knowledge was that they hoped to garner from the broken fragments they brought up, the folk of Neesos could not imagine. Little organic material resisted the erosion of salt water; tides and currents had scattered what did endure, like blades, lenses and the burnt-clay formers used to compel houseplants to grow into the desired shape. Within a couple of months most people stopped wondering, and treated the strangers as a familiar feature of the locality. Tenthag was almost the only exception.