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Total Eclipse

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  207 ratings  ·  19 reviews
In 2020, an international space team, exploring Sigma Draconis, 19 light years from earth, discovers the remains of a highly advanced society that has left behind its most spectacular artifact; the largest telescope imaginable, carved & polished from a natural moon crater. Successive space crews determine that the native culture evolved & disappeared mysteriously a ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 206 pages
Published February 7th 1984 by DAW (first published 1974)
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Zantaeus Glom
Mr. Brunner has a tremendously agile imagination, and while I found much to admire about this absorbing, albeit talky, archaeological mystery on Sigma Draconis, I was a little alienated by the ending; while coolly logical, it was not only extraordinarily bleak, but somehow it also felt rather rushed. And after the glorious Epiphany in the final act, the tale ends somewhat abruptly; and, frankly, as I enjoyed spending time with these obsessive eggheads, it left me on a major bummer; which in all ...more
Fredösphere
The characterization is slight and, after the improbable Spanish aristocrat departs in a cloud of space ship exhaust, the conflict drains out of the story. In short, Total Eclipse is a HAITE story (Here's An Idea. The End.) But what HAITE! The idea is pretty good, and Brunner strings it out. Even though the final reveal is presented in an uninteresting way (the scientist simply wakes up and realizes he's solved the puzzle) you still enjoy the explanation. It's all about the sudden decline and fa ...more
David
I guess this deserves a bit more than 3.0 stars...

I'm really not sure why the book didn't leave me with a more positive impression. It's subject would interest me and I've like other books by John Brunner.

A group of scientists are investigating the ruins of an alien civilization found in the Sigma Draconis system. Evidence indicates the civilization grew quickly - from stone age to space age in 3000 years, then disappeared 100,000 years ago. The story tries to show a series of insights that help
...more
Archebius
I threw this book out when I was done reading it.

I've never done that with a book before. There are plenty of books that I don't like that I keep around - pass them on to other people, let them sit on my shelf, accumulate dust, what have you. But something set this book apart.

It had potential. And it wasted it.

For the first three-fourths of the book, I was extremely interested. I read the entire thing in a day and a half, which isn't a huge deal since it's a shorter book. Then, as I drew near t
...more
tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE
review of
John Brunner's Total Eclipse
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - October 30, 2013

Whenever I read Brunner & I'm reminded of another writer it's always someone whose work I respect - J. G. Ballard, eg. In this case, I made a note to myself as soon as I started reading this that I was reminded of Arthur C. Clarke & Ursula K. LeGuin - again, 2 writers that I respect - but ones that don't quite fit into my personal canon as much as Ballard does (well, actually, LeGuin is probably in th
...more
Sara
Another gloriously bleak dystopian story by Brunner, set on a planet once home to a highly advanced but long-lost alien society. Teams of humans, sent from an Earth that is precariously cooperative but also prone to paranoia and teetering on the brink of internal collapse, hope to uncover the mysteries behind the fall of this technologically savvy alien race, possibly providing some insight to the troubles on their own planet.

There are quite a few different characters to keep track of, especial
...more
Isabel
The story of an investigation into the only alien civilisation ever discovered, which flourished for 3000 years, disappearing 100,000 years before the star ship from earth reaches their planet.

The archaeological investigation into the aliens was very interesting since they were so different from humans, and the final discovery of why the rise and fall of their civilisation happened in such a short period of time was worth the wait. However I kept thinking that I had read it before, probably beca
...more
Octavi
Coñazo. Quiere ser profundo y no lo es. Tampoco entretiene porque se repite más que el ajo. Lo dicho, COÑAZO.
Kendra
Ehh, It was okay. I actually found this book in my car that must've belonged to the previous owner. My pops used to read 'Icerigger' to me and other sci-fi novels to me when I was younger which is rather odd, but I don't remember disliking it. I have never been much of a Sci-fi fan, but I decided to give it a try. I got off to a good start then the book wasn't that enthralling later on. I lost interest in it pretty fast, I found myself speed reading through some of the chapters. Maybe in a coupl ...more
Andy
I'm not sure why people aren't as keen on this as Brunner's other work! The alien archaeology angle is woefully underused in most other science-fiction novels, and the the novel's melancholy tone provides a great atmosphere. Sure, it's not as overloaded with concepts and information like his other novels, like The Sheep Look Up (which I've read) and Stand on Zanzibar (which I want to read), but the smaller scale was honestly refreshing.
Canard Frère
L'ambiance SF n'est finalement ici qu'une excuse pour nous montrer des archéologues à l'oeuvre sur un monde extra-terrestre, et détailler au passage l'exploration scientifique qu'ils entreprennent pour essayer de comprendre les raisons de la disparition d'une civilisation. On se passionne vite pour cette enquête, parachevée par une conclusion assez surprenante.
Wendy
Hmmm. There was no eclipse in this book so I am mystified about the title. It was nice to read an adult book even if it was about space and extinct alien civilizations. I think it was written in the 60s or 70s but it was a smart book and kind of fun. I don't think there was swearing and there was only implied sex.
David
This novel is about extinction, whether of an alien race or the human race. Decisions have consequences, sometimes long after they are made. On the whole a good read, although mostly melancholy.
Erik Graff
Jun 13, 2010 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Brunner fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
As ever, Brunner presents here another well-written science fiction story with a socio-political point relevant to his contemporaries.
Kevin K
An excellent short novel! The characters are a bit thin, but it isn't a very character driven story.
Miki
The most believable sci-fi I have ever read.
David
I first read this book in the summer of 1995.
Jason
Weirdly flat, except a surprisingly bleak ending.
John
Grade A-.
Andrew
Andrew marked it as to-read
Jun 25, 2015
Brian Barnett
Brian Barnett marked it as to-read
Jun 24, 2015
Deathmetalroze
Deathmetalroze marked it as to-read
Jun 12, 2015
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Philip Wickstrand marked it as to-read
May 28, 2015
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23113
The late John Brunner was perhaps as well known for much of his career in the US as in the UK. A leftwing activist, with particular connections to the peace movement, much of his best and most mature fiction is involved in a complex analysis of social trends and where they will take us--novels like Stand on Zanzibar which deals with overpopulation, among other things, and The Sheep Look Up, which ...more
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