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Helliconia Spring (Helliconia #1)

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  2,049 ratings  ·  78 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 of

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Hardcover, 361 pages
Published January 1st 1982 by Atheneum Books
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Simon
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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Ethan
Jan 21, 2008 Ethan rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Rafal Jasinski
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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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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Jim
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
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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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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Heidi
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
Samuel Viana
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
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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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.
Blind_guardian
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
Simon Mcleish
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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Nandor
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
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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Ntilden
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
Ian
This was about my third time through Helliconia Spring and it was no less enjoyable (it's been a while since I last read it). I enjoy the grand scale of the books together with the large cast of characters and their growing understanding, or denial, of the changes happening to their world (sounds familiar ?).

There are a few things which could have been done differently. The story begins with "The Great Yuli" but apart from being a revered ancestor his influence is quite minimal over the rest of
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Patrick
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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Finrod
Tutto sommato piuttosto deluso da questo libro... l'idea di fondo sarebbe geniale, ma questo romanzo (sempre che lo si possa considerare tale, e non una specie di saggio!) l'ho trovato difficilissimo da seguire, strabocca di descrizioni che però troppo spesso si riducono ad elenchi di nomi più o meno astrusi, tranne poche eccezioni i personaggi vengono descritti in modo molto distaccato, spesso tendono a comportarsi e a svilupparsi in modo molto simile tra loro e insomma è veramente arduo appass ...more
Cecile
This is a very long introduction to the Helliconia series.

It's not the first time I've read this book, I knew it would be a bit long to start, but I still was somewhat disappointed, mostly by the absence of point of view, which is something I'm less forgiving now than when I was young. It cost it two stars.

In this first book of the series, the story is not character-driven, it's nature-driven: the coming of spring and the many changes it brings are the core of the story, the characters being onl
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Lori
This entire series is mind-blowing in the premise of a single revolution around the sun that consists of 2500 earth years. to know that civilizations rise and fall in that 'large year' and each civilization has its own climate, in my estimation is just an awesome piece of imagination.

The fact that on Helliconia there are 2 separate intelligent species vying for supremacy AND that there is a third party in the satellite Avernus makes for enough fodder to create multiple, multiple smaller stories
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Sarah
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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Tim
This is a reasonably well-written adventure story, but I did not follow it thru to the end because it is not really my cup of tea. Backward-looking SF rather than forward-looking - looking back to primitive societies on a fictional planet with 2 suns and a very long year.
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.
Pam
I had trouble getting started with this one because of the use of atypical sentence structures, but I'm glad I stuck with it. Unfortunately, just as the book really started to get good, it ended. Now I'll have to dig up the other two parts in this series and (eventually) see how everything pans out. I wouldn't say it was an overwhelmingly great book, but I did enjoy it, and from the way events were starting to line up, I'm guessing the rest of the series will be fairly enthralling.

If you're a fa
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Charl
Oct 23, 2014 Charl marked it as quit  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Aldiss is very much a character story writer. Unfortunately, I'm just not fond of that kind of story. So while this may indeed deserve the praise it's gotten over the years, it's just not working for me.

I'm not going to rate it because that wouldn't be fair to Mr. Aldiss.
Van Nuys
A tale about many generations of life on a distant planet. We witness the seasonal change of the planet affecting the lives upon it. Overall a well-written good read, well worth any minor flaws.
Sergio Donato
Mi perdonino Aldiss e tutti gli appassionati di questo ciclo. Brian poi è stato uno scrittore affascinante: prendete Barbagrigia e beatevene, ma questo l'ho mollato quando la storia del Piccolo Yuli mi è sembrata un'enciclopedia.
Errore mio? Forse. Impazienza? Può essere. Se però la lettura diventa una medicina, io lascio.
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33297
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)
Non-Stop Hothouse Helliconia Winter (Helliconia, #3) Helliconia Summer (Helliconia, #2) Greybeard

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