Give John Brunner credit for trying to do something hard: tell the story of an alien species living on a hostile world as they evolve from near-primitives to space travelers. To do that, Brunner had to create the aliens, their world, its solar and stellar environments, and then put all that into a story spanning thousands of years. In less than 400 pages.
No easy feat. I wish he’d succeeded.
His solution to the span-of-years problem was clever enough: write seven 10-chapter novellas, each focusing on the creatures at some point in their scientific and cultural development. Then hit them with a catastrophe of some sort to wrap up that novella and jump ahead hundreds or thousands of years to when the species had mostly recovered...Read More