1983 John Brunner
Currently reading this one, should finish it in a couple days. It is really good. I love John Brunner's work, he is one of the (increasingly few) original sci-fi writers still out there. The book is actually a series of novellas that combined tell an overarching story of a race's evolution from primitives to spacefarers racing to escape their doomed planet. Epic!
UPDATE - So a week later I have finished it. This novel is decidedly more space/alien sci-fi than Brunner's other works like The Shockwave Rider and Stand on Zanzibar which are by comparison more down to earth. My favorite feature of the book is how he takes a race of decidedly non-human creatures and makes them familiar to the reader through repeated jargon and context rather than outright exposition. Excellent writing style in this regard. Needless to say, highly recommended.