Find out more about OverDrive accounts. The Hugo and Nebula Award—winning author and Science Fiction Grand Master delivers a sweeping epic of a planet suffering deadly conditions of alternating extremes in this Nebula Award finalist Helliconia follows an eccentric orbit around a double-star system with a twenty-six-hundred-year cycle of very long seasons. As spring slowly breaks the brutally long winter, humans emerge from hiding and a long sequence of civilization and growth begins to repeat again, unbeknownst to the participants but watched by an orbiting satellite station, Avernus, created by Earth some centuries ago.
Humans free themselves from slavery to the aboriginal Phagors, and religion and science flower and expand.
Apr 26, Karen rated it it was ok. Finally complete. This book took ages and for good reason. It felt like it was going on forever. Honestly the Prologue would have been an alright stand alone short story, the rest of the book sort of just kept meandering onward! The idea of the world and what it means, with 2 suns - the science behind it is fairly interesting.
The characters and plot leave me wanting a lot more. Originally published on my blog here in May The Helliconia trilogy has an immense theme. In the eighties, one of Aldiss' interests was the rise and fall of civilization; his previous novel to Helliconia Spring, Life In The West , is about the decline of our own.
As his introductory note here says, Aldiss was not completely happy with the way that it turned out, and so he produced the Helliconia trilogy, taking the theme and exploring it within a science fictional context, in the genre in whi Originally published on my blog here in May As his introductory note here says, Aldiss was not completely happy with the way that it turned out, and so he produced the Helliconia trilogy, taking the theme and exploring it within a science fictional context, in the genre in which he had originally made his name.
Because of the way in which the background of the story can be tailored to whatever specification is desired, science fiction provides an ideal way to emphasise the things an author has to say about such a theme. In fact, there is of course already a considerable subgenre devoted to the fall and rise of civilisation, the post-apocalyptic story. This body of precedent may have been a reason for Aldiss' original attempt to explore the theme outside the genre.
The background he sets up is a planetary system which induces a regular cycle of barbarism and sophistication; part of a double star system, a massive long "year" of millennia is superimposed on the usual seasons, bringing regular and bitter ice ages.
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The resulting scenario is very similar to Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky , though that is the result of different astronomy. In this first novel, then, humans begin to rise from savagery as the barely survivable ice age begins to thaw; Aldiss follows the history of the descendants of a particular individual, a man who challenges the ancient gods. Aldiss gives extra force to events by introducing a second intelligent species to Helliconia, the phagors.
They play surprisingly little part in Helliconia Spring, which concentrates on the emergence of a particular group of people from a shamanistic hunter-gatherer culture over several generations. Something that Helliconia Spring has going for it is Aldiss' reversal of the ideas of spiritualism. It is possible for Helliconians to communicate with their dead ancestors, but this is unrewarding as they have been reduced to pure expressions of negative violent emotion: anger, spite and hatred.
This is a real - and much more believable - contrast to the cosy optimism of real world spiritualists that the dead become more benevolent. As far as it goes, Helliconia is an imaginative setting, but some of the details Aldiss adds detract from the effectiveness of the trilogy, at least as far as I am concerned. Unknown to the inhabitants of Helliconia, a satellite orbits the planet. From there, a colony of earth humans beams back the story of events on Helliconia to their original home, a huge piece of "reality TV" style entertainment.
This is a plot strand which becomes important later on in the trilogy, but it diminishes the impact of the first hand narrative of Yuli and his descendants, trivialising it, even if it is on a scale undreamt of by the producers of "docusoaps" and the like. It also, of course, pre-dates the concepts of these programmes by some years. It makes Helliconia seem to be some kind of giant experiment, a feeling heightened by having human beings at the centre of the story - this would have probably passed without analysis as a commonplace of the genre if they had been placed on Helliconia by themselves and if they were not the subject of this surveillance, particularly if the only reason the reader is given for thinking of them as human is in identifying with their concerns.
More immediately of concern to a reader, Helliconia Spring is not Aldiss' most immediately successful piece of characterisation. To portray a theme which spans generations does of course make this difficult anyway, and the world portrayed in this novel is more alien than its successors unless you live in Siberia.
Concentrating on the outsider, on those who bring about change, means that this flaw is highlighted at the expense of the interest provided by the immediate backgrounds, the strange troglodyte culture surrounding Yuli, or the village on the verge of the Neolithic revolution inhabited by his great-grandchildren. The enormous scale of the undertaking fires the imagination, and this reader at least wants more than Aldiss provides. On the other hand, it is this scale which makes the Helliconia trilogy one of the most memorable pieces of science fiction of the eighties; still great despite its flaws.
Sep 05, Nat rated it it was amazing. I read the Helliconia series a couple years back. As I started the first book I found it slow, sparse, but it was also enjoyable enough to keep reading. The deeper I got in the series, the more interested I became - yet it always retained a slow, deliberate pace. I neglected rating them because I didn't really know whether I kinda liked them or really enjoyed them.
Now, a couple years later, I've found myself thinking about the books quite often. With Helliconia's lasting impact on me I think they deserve my 5-star rating Mar 04, Jim rated it really liked it. World-Building fascinates more than any other aspect of science fiction. With that in mind, Brian Aldiss has masterfully created a world both unique and internally consistent.
In Helliconia Spring, Brian Aldiss moves among three different generations of characters, but his story-telling falls short in comparison to his world-building.
Helliconia Spring: The Helliconia Trilogy, Book 1 (Unabridged) on Apple Books
The planet Helliconia is truly the protagonist of the story, and its "great year" determines the evolution of the societies detailed therein. I can never quite esc World-Building fascinates more than any other aspect of science fiction. I can never quite escape the feeling that the stories of the characters are of less importance than the change of the seasons.
For those geeks out there like me there are appendices in the back explaining the history of Helliconia. I have read this book twice, and will probably read it again at some point. I highly recommend this book for those readers interested in exploring a detailed and fascinating planet. If someone is looking for a gripping story with strong, fascinating characters, I would suggest looking elsewhere. Feb 10, Clark rated it really liked it.
A huge story. I have just finished this first volume with two more to go. The invention is massive and detailed and the characters are very well drawn and believable. Works on the same scale as Herbert's "Dune". Well worth the read. Among other things, Lyme blasts your central nervous system and makes impossible to concentrate. During those years I slowly worked my way through these books The irony of reading this while working my way through chronic Lyme disease was huge.
Anyway, great series but so very much to take in. Myriad characters and story lines. Well worth reading, but it's not a romp in the park. It's literally an eons long journey. Enjoy it. And always check for ticks. Long, detailed world constructed by Aldiss Develops the themes of the Phagor and other humanoid races on the planet Helliconia, and towards later st Long, detailed world constructed by Aldiss Develops the themes of the Phagor and other humanoid races on the planet Helliconia, and towards later stages the earthling's watching the planet - all themes developed furhter in the sequels.
The 2nd part of the book is the more interesting bit I think, as the village of Embruddock slowly emerges from the Helliconian long winter, and rapidly moves from almost hunter-gatherer tribal society to the beginnings of an agricultural and trading one - and the fortunes of several youthful tribe members are made and lost as they become leaders, warriors, explorers, and nascent scientists. Jun 02, Sarah rated it liked it.
Which this book did and the next two will probably do also. His ability to add depth to the world of Helliconia was wonderful. Either way, it was frustrating. The world is very interesting and complex.
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He introduces it in such a way that you and understand and see the original objects and creatures that inhabit it. But it doesn't have much movement toward a climax.
The Helliconia Trilogy: Helliconia Spring, Helliconia Summer, and Helliconia Winter
I didn't feel for the characters and it seemed like a genealogy story. The rather pointless winding plot bored me as I waited for something more than a succession of rulers in a changing society. Getting a little more than halfway through I skipped to the end to see if it was any more excit The world is very interesting and complex. Getting a little more than halfway through I skipped to the end to see if it was any more exciting. More of the same. There isn't any real maximum climax through the whole book, and then, it just kind of ends.
Perhaps the climax is in one of the sequels - but there is no way I'm going to pick one of them up. Feb 12, Joey Woolfardis rated it did not like it Shelves: , bloody-cack , masculine. This was written in the style of a Norse Saga: very little flow and weird sentence structures that day things like "one day this happened" and "after a few days Yuli said this".
There was very little dialogue and what there was was just info dumping. Speaking of info dumping, the first couple of chapters is basically just one huge info dump. Instead of showing us the author just tells us. We learn nothing of the characters other than what he tells us through info dumping, and even then it's just This was written in the style of a Norse Saga: very little flow and weird sentence structures that day things like "one day this happened" and "after a few days Yuli said this".
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We learn nothing of the characters other than what he tells us through info dumping, and even then it's just hugely boring. Too slow; though I quite like the premise of a terribly long Winter. Just executed poorly. A very good example of a sci-fi book from the era left behind that should stay behind. Jul 23, Samuel Viana rated it it was amazing.
Great book Imagine a world were the seasons don't last only three months, but thousands of years, like on the ancient Ice Ages On Earth. And when the Spring comes, it brings a new oportunity for the Freyr's sons the humans to take dominance over the Batalix ones the fagors. These two so dissimilar races battle for ages without really knowing the reason for that conflict. But when the spring comes, it is written, it's time for the humans to prosper and the Fa Great book But when the spring comes, it is written, it's time for the humans to prosper and the Fagor gonna be dominated For me, it's a must read, on the highness of Dune.
And for a trilogy, the others books of the series are read in a grasp! This first book of the Helliconia Trilogy, famed for its unequaled world building it worth reading for that reason, and mostly unfortunately for that reason only. The book starts with a massive about a fifth of the entire novel prologue and the subsequent chapters read more like a narrative history than a novel.
Characters are just names or descendants of names and it's hard to care about the people in this carefully drawn world. It's a bit of a slog, but the planet is worth a visit. World Building? Readers also enjoyed. Science Fiction. About Brian W. Brian W. Brian Wilson Aldiss was one of the most important voices in science fiction writing today. He wrote his first novel while working as a bookseller in Oxford. Shortly afterwards he wrote his first work of science fiction and soon gained international recognition.
Adored for his innovative literary techniques, evocative plots and irresistible characters, he became a Grand Master of Science Fiction in Brian Aldiss died on August 19, , just after celebrating his 92nd birthday with his family and closest friends. Aldiss Group on Good Reads Other books in the series.
Helliconia 3 books. Books by Brian W. Trivia About Helliconia Spring No trivia or quizzes yet. Quotes from Helliconia Spring. Welcome back. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Follow TV Tropes. You need to login to do this. Get Known if you don't have an account. Show Spoilers.
Related Helliconia Spring (The Helliconia Trilogy Book 1)
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