If you're looking for early SF that spans vast amounts of time then I would suggest looking at The Lensman Series.
The series was written by Edward Elmer "Doc" Smith and was a runner-up for the Hugo award for Best All-Time Series, originally serialized in magazines before being collected and reworked into the well-known books which I have listed here:
- Triplanetary (Originally published in four parts, January–April 1934, in Amazing Stories)
- First Lensman (The only part of the series first published in book form, 1950 by Fantasy Press)
- Galactic Patrol (Originally published in six parts, September 1937 – February 1938, in Astounding Stories)
- Gray Lensman (Originally published in four parts, October 1939 – January 1940, Astounding Stories)
- Second Stage Lensmen (Originally published in four parts, November 1941 – February 1942, Astounding Stories)
- Children of the Lens (Originally published in four parts, November 1947 – February 1948, Astounding Stories)
The action begins with Triplanetary TWO BILLION YEARS before the present time (the 1930s). The universe has few life-forms aside from the ancient Arisians. The Eddorians, a power-hungry race, come into our universe from a 'sister galaxy' (know in the series as The Second Galaxy) which ours passes though on it's course though space.
This results in the formation of billions of planets and the development of life upon some of them. Dominance over these life-forms would offer Eddor an opportunity to satisfy its lust for power and control. The Arisians, who have developed vast mental power, are able to foresee a terrible future if the Eddorians continue unchecked.
In order to end this threat to all creation Arisia begins a plan that will take Billions of years to complete involving guiding the races of The First Galaxy (our galaxy) in secret until they are evolved enough to build the Galactic Patrol.
Once the planets of our galaxy have begun working together for the common good, at some unspecified time in the future, the Arisians reveal themselves (though not their plans) and provide the Patrol with the Lens. The Lens gives its wearer a variety of mental capabilities, including those needed to enforce the law on alien planets, and to bridge the communication gap between different life-forms.
It can provide mind-reading and telepathic abilities and if it is worn by anyone other than its owner it will kill that wearer.
The Lensmen books are one of the first SF stories (if not THE first) to be told throughout an actual series of books, not to mention taking place over billions of years. It has influenced just about every Space Opera since and it's even the basis for the DC comic series Green Lantern.