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Helm

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3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  686 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
After global devastation, the last remnants of Earth sent a handful of colonists of a distant terraformed world to give humanity one last, desperate chance. Unable to provide the technology required for an advanced civilization, the founders instilled in the colonists a strict code of conduct and gave them a few precious imprinting devices: glass helmets that contain all ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published February 15th 1999 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Joe
Mar 20, 2010 Joe rated it it was ok
I read this book after reading and enjoying a few other books from the same author. It's a sci-fi / fantasy novel, similar to his other books. Unfortunately, it's missing the best part of his other writing, and accentuates the worst.

The book starts off on a dying world. We learn that the people are recovering from religious leaders that used advanced technology to brainwash large numbers of people into supporting them blindly, which of course starting giant religious wars. The remaining people d
...more
James Foreman
Jan 16, 2012 James Foreman rated it liked it
Some possible subtitles:

How Aikido Saved a Kingdom
I Hope You Like Aikido!
Got Aikido?
Lots Of Long Descriptions of How Awesome Aikido Is
The Author is Really Into Aikido

Woodge
Jun 20, 2008 Woodge rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
Sometimes trashy sci-fi can be the best kind of fun. Helm is a fun, cool, fast-paced adventure story. Here's the book's description (snagged from the back cover):

"After global devastation, the last remnants of Earth sent a handful of colonists of a distant terraformed world to give humanity one last, desperate chance. Unable to provide the technology required for an advanced civilization, the founders instilled in the colonists a strict code of conduct and gave them a few precious imprinting de
...more
John Loyd
Apr 07, 2015 John Loyd rated it it was amazing
Helm (1998) 468 pages by Steven Gould.

The back cover said post apocalyptic Earth. That almost kept me from reading it, but every other Gould book that I've read has been fantastic. After the prologue it's a new colony on a far off planet book. Because of what happened on Earth the colonists were given an imprinter, a tool to help the colonists keep them literate and healthy, but the imprinter was used on Earth for bad things.

Agasta needed some terraforming and the fertile areas of the world are
...more
Lianne Burwell
Feb 28, 2012 Lianne Burwell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
Helm was a Steven Gould book that I bought because I like his other books (Wildside and Reflex especially), but kept putting off reading because the description on the book was a little off-putting.

Now I wish I'd read it much sooner.

Leland de Laal is the son of the Steward of Laal station on a planet terraformed and settled by the few survivors of Earth's devestation that managed to make it there. In order to send as many of the survivors as possible, tools to allow a high-tech society were sacr
...more
Aaron Deming
Steven Gould has been my favorite Science Fiction author for awhile and finally getting around to reading Helm has not changed that. One of the only bad things I would say about this story is there wasn't enough of it. In a world where we have world-building series like Game of Thrones and Ringworld, I feel like this book was setting up a series to expand on the ideas. At the same time the story of Leland and his family was complete, and continuing that without a great reason could rob from the ...more
Leon Aldrich
Book Description:

After global devastation, the last remnants of Earth sent a handful of colonists of a distant terraformed world to give humanity one last, desperate chance. Unable to provide the technology required for an advanced civilization, the founders instilled in the colonists a strict code of conduct and gave them a few precious imprinting devices: glass helmets that contain all of Earth's scientific knowledge.

Once in a generation, the heir to the province of Laal begins the arduous tra
...more
Eric
Feb 06, 2016 Eric rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, scifi, badass
This one I would easily pick up again. I like the characters. I like the story at it's core about knowledge for your mind and body. I appreciate the attempts at writing material that is consistent for everyone with a legitimate feminist influence. There's this wonderful moment in the final push where the protagonist just let's everyone be themselves and it speaks volumes. It doesn't even seem forced or faked because you have gotten to know all the players and you understand that everyone is ...more
Don
Feb 03, 2010 Don rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Interesting ideas. I liked that nearly all of the book is set in a kind of medieval times (complete with kings, stewards, mounted cavalry, archers, sword fighting, etc.) with just a hint of sci-fi (mainly in with regards to the helm). Other reviewers have suggested that the helm is similar in function to the TV show Chuck, but I think it's more like how dolls are imprinted in Dollhouse, albeit in a more passive way (the helm's personality doesn't take over the wearer but just ...more
Ben
May 28, 2008 Ben rated it liked it
Recommended to Ben by: Will Sumner
Shelves: fiction
After a bit of a slow start, the book is pretty absorbing. The plot moves pretty quickly and was entertaining. There are a few really nice heroic moments as well.

However, the book itself is just okay. It's a bit predictable, and the characters aren't really all that interesting. The inevitable traitor is predictable as are most of the developments.

Aikido plays an important role in the book, which is a mixed blessing. The author's descriptions of Aikido are very good, and he describes training w
...more
Schnaucl
Apr 21, 2008 Schnaucl rated it liked it
Recommended to Schnaucl by: Leah Claire
It was okay. It was recommended to me as a post-apocalyptic book which was, but only in the loosest sense. The feudal society was interesting but there was way too much focus on Aikido. It was almost like a religion. Gould used a lot of technical terms that I'm sure would be familiar to practitioners of Aikido but weren't really explained very well in the book so I had to infer their meaning. The descriptions of the moves were confusing and not particular interesting to read.

The actual story wa
...more
Ruth
May 29, 2008 Ruth rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
Not Gould's best book; it drags a little, and I don't think he does an very good job of explaining the mythology and tradition built up around the "helms", so that the reader is even more in the dark than the characters in the beginning. It all comes out in the end, but I can see where a lot of readers wouldn't get that far.
Ita
Sep 19, 2013 Ita rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy, audio
Steven Gould is a reliably good read and delivers. He's good at creating likable, smart characters and has reasonably fast-paced plots without too much angst.

The beginning is slow (a fair amount of unnecessarily long aikido stuff) but once the book gets going, it's a fun read. It should get 3.5 stars, but I rounded down because of the sloooow beginning.

Jason Ruggles
Sep 19, 2012 Jason Ruggles rated it liked it
I picked this book up because of Jumper and Reflex. Starting out, I really loved this book. But there was no suspense. Some books do a good job of making the protagonist seem vulnerable. This one made him seem god-like. The action with aikido was pretty cool, though.
Doug
Feb 21, 2013 Doug rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
It was a good book. Clever premise, and it did a good job of holding my attention. I get that Gould is interested in martial arts, but I have no interest in this topic, and he spends way too much time on this.
Evan
Jun 05, 2013 Evan rated it did not like it
Shelves: ebook
Really dragged, didn't even finish it.
Supposedly sci-fi, but more medieval society still a little bit of tech.
lance
Sep 07, 2010 lance rated it it was amazing
Im actually not reading this version but the crowdsouce proofreading ebook version. so far its great!
Icarus
Jul 24, 2007 Icarus rated it really liked it
Steven Gould's grown-up masterwork. This book is fantastic, sweeping, thought-provoking speculative fiction and it's a shame it's not more well-known than it is.
David Lipely
Sep 08, 2014 David Lipely rated it liked it
Definitely not Gould's best writing, but still enjoyable at parts... Like his other books better tho!
Anonymole
Apr 07, 2010 Anonymole rated it it was amazing
Basic test [yes/no:]: Would I recommend you read this book or not. Was it worth the few hours spent reading it? Am I pleased that I spent the time reading it? --- Yes ---
Dorri
Dorri rated it it was ok
Jan 29, 2009
Michael Hubble
Michael Hubble rated it really liked it
Mar 28, 2015
Jason
Jason rated it liked it
Apr 17, 2012
Dale
Dale rated it liked it
Mar 23, 2009
Wildrosevamp
Wildrosevamp rated it really liked it
Apr 16, 2012
Mike Magowan
Mike Magowan rated it it was amazing
Feb 09, 2013
David
David rated it really liked it
Jun 02, 2014
Michael Burianyk
Michael Burianyk rated it really liked it
Dec 04, 2012
Samantha
Samantha rated it really liked it
Dec 14, 2010
Howard Nugent
Howard Nugent rated it really liked it
Nov 11, 2015
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Steven Charles Gould is an American science fiction author. His novels tend to have protagonists fighting to rid government of corrupt antagonists. The struggle against corruption is the focus, rather than the technology.
More about Steven Gould...

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