Patrick's Reviews > Helliconia Summer

Helliconia Summer by Brian W. Aldiss
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's review
Sep 19, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: scifi_fantasy
Read in September, 2011

Finished this straight after the previous Helliconia Spring.

It's a more complex book, as Aldiss fleshes out other parts of the continents of Helliconia - set several centuries after the previous one, although nicely referring back to the 'myths' containing the protagonists in the previous book like Aoz Roon and Shay Tal.

I like the complexities in general, the changing balances of power between religion, state, and the projection of increasingly complex societies and technologies as the "summer" part of Helliconia's Great Year continues. Aldiss's view of human nature is not super optimistic - all the 'heroes' are significantly flawed in one way or another - but is also not nihilistic or right-libertarian like you find in male sci-fi authors like Pournelle.

An interesting modern twist on these books - Aldiss wrote them back in 1983 - and made climate change a key concept of the books (over the Helliconia "great year" of ~1800 years, it moves in an elliptical orbit around a supergiant, and thus the climate changes significantly in periodic fashion).

At the end of Helliconia Summer, the hotter end of this climate cycle is really starting to bite, and he projects various interactions with human society (crops start to fail, economies become more precarious, desertification, ice sellers get wealthy!) - I wonder if he realised how pertinent this scenario could be to the real planet Earth 20+ years later?

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