Helm
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Helm

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  469 ratings  ·  17 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 o...more
Kindle Edition, 480 pages
Published (first published 1998)
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Joe
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
Woodge
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
Lianne Burwell
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
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
Ben
May 28, 2008 Ben rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Don
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 augments/supplement...more
Schnaucl
Apr 21, 2008 Schnaucl rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Ita
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.

Ruth
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.
Jason Ruggles
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
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.
Anonymole
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 ---
James Foreman
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

Icarus
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.
Evan
Really dragged, didn't even finish it.
Supposedly sci-fi, but more medieval society still a little bit of tech.
lance
Im actually not reading this version but the crowdsouce proofreading ebook version. so far its great!
Will
My book of choice for infecting people with the Aikido bug.
Emilie
Emilie added it
Jul 27, 2014
William
William marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2014
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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...
Jumper (Jumper, #1) Reflex (Jumper, #2) Jumper: Griffin's Story (Jumper, #0.5) Impulse (Jumper, #3) 7th Sigma

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