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.