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Helliconia Spring (Helliconia #1)

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,506 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
A planet orbiting binary suns, Helliconia has a Great Year spanning three millennia of Earth time: cultures are born in spring, flourish in summer, then die with the onset of the generations-long winter.

Helliconia is emerging from its centuries-long winter. The tribes of the equatorial continent emerge from their hiding places and are again able to dispute possession o

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Paperback, 480 pages
Published August 15th 1985 by Berkley (first published 1982)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Charles Dee Mitchell
I guess I am joining the chorus of voices who express frustration if not outright disappointment with this book. Aldiss has written several sf novels that are among my favorites -- Hot House, Greybeard, The Dark Light Years -- and I was looking forward to this trilogy. But as other reviewers tend to point out, if you glance at the reader responses to all three books, the number or respondents drops book by book. Helliconia Spring, although it certainly has its fans, I found to be pretty rough go ...more
Simon
Jun 11, 2009 Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-masterworks, sf
This series proves Aldiss' ability at world building and that he's not just good at writing short stories and novella's. Throughout this series (and even this book) characters come and go but the real story is that of the Planet Helliconia itself as the annual cycle of life is followed through from Spring to Winter. That's a larger prospect than it sounds given that one Helliconian year is equivillent to 2500 Earth years.

Human civillization rises and falls in the space of a Helliconian year when
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Daniel Roy
The Helliconia cycle is a SF trilogy with a planet as its main character. Yes, it's that epic and mind-boggling in scale. Heck, the prologue to the entire trilogy is a 100-page unbroken chapter.Helliconia Spring, the first of three novels in the cycle, tells the tale of a small human community as Spring comes to a world whose year lasts long enough for civilizations to rise and fall.

It goes without saying that the main feature of Aldiss' novel is his incredible world-building. In the Helliconia
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Ethan
Jan 21, 2008 Ethan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi/fantasy fans
I bought this book five years ago, since it sounds like a really interesting idea and has neat cover art. I read about 20 pages, and put it down due to lack of interest. I recently picked it up again and finished it, but found myself pushing through most of it. It gets a little better than the prologue, but I just didn't care too much about the people of Oldorando (or even keep them straight, since their names all sound the same). A few chapters could've adequately told the story that takes seve ...more
Manny

The idea is nice - supposing a year was a thousand times as long? But I found the book a bit too slow, and got bored. I finished it, but never read Summer and Winter.
Barry
This book didn't really work for me. As other reviewers have pointed out the central character of this book is the planet of Hellliconia and when a planet is the focus of the novel then the resulting work is often epic in nature.

This is my first reading of Aldiss and I can't help thinking that if I had read other works of his I may appreciate this more. In Helliconia Spring Aldiss attempts a lot. The planet of Helliconia is in a binary system where it orbits one sun Batalix every four hundred da
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Nicolas
J'ai lu ce livre il y a bien longtemps ... Tellement longtemps, en fait que je ne me souviens plus de la date, ou même de l'année, où je l'ai lu ... Mais tout ça n'a pas grand chose à voir avec ce roman. J'ai donc choisi de le relire à un moment où mon stock personnel de nouveautés s'était épuisé.
Le printemps d'Helliconia raconte donc le dégel d'un monde dont les années durent des dizaines de nos siècles, ce qui laisse le temps aux plantes de s'adapter à chacune de ces saisons, et aux êtres viva
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Mawgojzeta
Simon Maynard said it best in his review (Apr 16, 2009), so I will only say:

Go into the book (trilogy) expecting the largeness of this tale. Any other mindset will take away from a brilliant world that has been created.
Mbgile
Feb 28, 2016 Mbgile rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
navučena trojka, idem dalje pa da vidimo kako će završiti
Rafal Jasinski
Dec 09, 2012 Rafal Jasinski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Niezwykle klimatyczna opowieść, ponownie - jak u w przypadku "Cieplarni" - z pogranicza science-fiction i fantasy, , jednakowoż, ze wskazaniem na ten drugi gatunek. Całość utrzymana w stylu, przywodzącym na myśl wikińskie sagi, natomiast sposobem prowadzenia bohaterów i narracji, niejednokrotnie kojarząca się z "Filarami Ziemi" Kena Folletta. Los postaci i zwroty akcji częstokroć zaskakują a meandry fabuły co rusz kluczą kompletnie nieprzewidywalnymi torami.

Znakomitym zabiegiem jest wprowadzenie
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Simon Mcleish
Jan 20, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in May 2002.

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
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Jim
Apr 29, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. 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 ...more
Clark
Feb 10, 2011 Clark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
*****
Finished the series some years later after working to overcome Lyme disease. 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.... which, it turned out, i
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Patrick
Sep 19, 2011 Patrick rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi_fantasy
Long, detailed world constructed by Aldiss ... still quite imaginative, and the characters have a little diversity.

For those who like a reasonable dose of philosophy & religion with your SciFi this may appeal ... a good part of the book is about the main character Yuli's increasing involvement in a society driven by a bureaucratic-religious caste, and subsequent escape from it at the end.

Develops the themes of the Phagor and other humanoid races on the planet Helliconia, and towards later st
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Alissa Thorne
I get what this book was going for. It told the story of a civilization developing under the influence of planarity forces. By telling it through the eyes of the primitive peoples it aimed to achieve a kind of biblical scope. Well it was successful in one sense--it was about as much fun to read as the bible.

The storytelling will spend years with a particular character, dwelling on one characters boring and brutal little life then unceremoniously flit past their demise and jump generations into
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Sarah
Jun 02, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t really care for books which get you all involved with one character and then leap forward several generations and introduce you to another entirely new set. Which this book did and the next two will probably do also. However, once we got to the second set, I was very satisfied with Aldiss’ level of intimacy with his characters. His ability to add depth to the world of Helliconia was wonderful.

But sometimes I felt I was just missing something important – there seemed to be obvious foresha
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Heidi
Jun 08, 2008 Heidi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The world is very interesting and complex. 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. 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 ...more
Saoirse Sterling
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 ...more
Samuel Viana
Jul 23, 2010 Samuel Viana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book... in a word... simply marvelous. 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 ...more
Penforhire
I have a hard time rating this book. On a technical basis it is a magnificent world-building hard SF epic. The scope is truly grand, describing a very alien world with a unique dual-solar cycle lasting thousands of years. By itself that is amazing imagination and fantastic SF. Mr. Aldiss invents a number of words and phrases to go along with the world building and he does a very good job of feeding them to us gently and with context.

I feel let down by the human-scale story telling in a couple of
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Joel  Werley
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.
Nicholas Whyte
Jan 17, 2016 Nicholas Whyte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2583651.html

Reading Helliconia Spring when it first came out in 1982, when I was 15, was tremendously exciting. I last reread it, along with the other two, on holiday in Croatia in 1996, I think. I'm glad to say that it pretty much stands the test of time. It is in two parts, the first being the short tale of Yuli, who escapes the (vividly drawn) theocratic underground city of Pannoval (I was sorry that we saw no more of it) to bring new expertise to the town which
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AlleyCat
I don't think that Helliconia Spring is a masterpiece of Sci-fi, but it's an entertaining book. Sometimes catchy, sometimes sooooo boring that makes you read diagonally, jumping complete paragraphs or pages.

I had the temptation on dropping the book and move to another one (I have the wheel of time waiting for me since long), but suddenly, Laintal Ay or the academy plot showed up and I said: ok, a bit more.

More action with the phagors or more pages dedicated to the Avernus station, would be welco
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Amber Cooke
Apr 12, 2015 Amber Cooke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As is usually the case with Aldiss, when I read, I am more fascinated with the portrayal of humanity in a strange habitat than with the habitat itself. This book is slow, because it is thoughtful and sensitive to the intricacy of human emotion, and it endeavors to show so much, so deeply. Though it took a great deal of commitment and concentration to read, I enjoyed getting lost in it. Aldiss is one of the few writers who can really show both masculine and feminine perspectives in his characters ...more
Nick Davies
Jan 24, 2016 Nick Davies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this thick book on holiday when I was a teenager, and was massively impressed by the depth and believability of the world of Helliconia created by Aldiss - there were elements of 'prehistoric' fantasy in this which I'd enjoyed in previous books I'd read (Jean M Auel?) as well as interesting sci-fi innovations regarding the physics of the world. I loved the immersive nature of the story, thought the pacing was mainly excellent (though it did flag on occasion, and drag a bit), and some of t ...more
Andrew Knowles
Jan 02, 2016 Andrew Knowles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read Helliconia Spring way back in the mid-1980s and loved it. Would it still engage me thirty years later?

Short answer: yes.

The world of Helliconia is a triumph of the imagination, an alternative Earth where at least two intelligent species grapple for domination. The endless struggle takes place on a world orbiting two suns and having two seasonal cycles - one of similar duration to our own and the other spanning well over a thousand years.

This first volume in the Helliconia trilogy d
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Blind_guardian
Jul 11, 2014 Blind_guardian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helliconia Spring is set on an intriguing and unique planet within a binary star system. Helliconia itself orbits around the dimmer and smaller of the two stars, Batalix, which in turn rotates around a white supergiant, Freyr. Since Batalix is a captured satellite, its orbit is highly elliptical, only orbiting Freyr once every 2,600 earth-years or so. The 'Great Year' is punctuated by times of glacial cold, which then bursts into renewed life and biodiversity upon the coming of the Great Spring. ...more
Nandor
Feb 24, 2012 Nandor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Esta novela es la primera de la saga Heliconia, desafortunadamente primero me leí el tercer libro aunque no fue realmente un problema pues la cronología de los tres libros desde mi punto de vista se basa en los cambios del planeta según las estaciones y el desarrollo y declive de las razas existentes a través del pasar de los siglos. Las aventuras de los personajes y sus generaciones son un complemento muy bien labrado y no dejan de ser entretenidas, con sociedades con con rasgos idénticos a los ...more
Ericthehamster
"A really hard book to review (and I am not very good at this anyway - I'm the sort of person who says ""this is a really good story"" - which doesn't really bode too well for a discussion at a book group!).[return][return]The first part of a trilogy,covering thousands of years, the eponymous planet is part of a binary star system which gives it a ""long year"" (governed by its circulation around the furthest, but warmer star). Each season (hence the title) covers millenia. We start the series c ...more
Ntilden
Sep 05, 2013 Ntilden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. After finishing the series I was content, but because of the pacing of the books I wasn't blown away by them (I had just finished Hyperion/Endymion, so Helliconia was like hitting a brick wall after the whirl-wind, world-jumping my brai ...more
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Pseudonyms: Jael Cracken, Peter Pica, John Runciman, C.C. Shackleton, Arch Mendicant, & "Doc" Peristyle.

Brian Wilson Aldiss is 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 liter
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More about Brian W. Aldiss...

Other Books in the Series

Helliconia (3 books)
  • Helliconia Summer (Helliconia, #2)
  • Helliconia Winter (Helliconia, #3)

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“Credeti că trăim în centrul universului. Eu vă spun că trăim în centrul curtii unei ferme. Poziția noastră este atat de obscură, încat nu vă puteți da seama cât este de obscură.” 1 likes
“Laintal Ay, you also have an inwardness to your nature. I feel it. That inwardness will distress you, yet it gives you life, it is life.” 0 likes
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