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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  769 Ratings  ·  26 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
Paperback, 480 pages
Published February 15th 1999 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 1998)
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Rating details
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Mar 20, 2010 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
James Foreman
Dec 29, 2011 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

Apr 07, 2008 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
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've read this like seven times. It's one of my favorite stories. A bookworm disobeys his father and king and climbs a forbidden spire discovering an ancient mind altering device meant for his brother and downloads all the knowledge... Like all of it... Plus the voice and personality of one of the ancient founders so he's also battling insanity during this mess. He spends the rest of the book surviving his punishment, training in aikido, discovering what knowing EVERYTHING means, growing up, fal ...more
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read.

Good escapist read from the author of Jumper. The only complaint I had was I read this in a kindle and could really have used a map to help me understand the world he created
Joseph F Cowan
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books.

Combines elements of Dickson, Pournelle, the family issues of Amber. I'd love to see more books like this and 6th Sigma rathervthsn more Jump novels.
John Loyd
Apr 07, 2015 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
Lianne Burwell
Feb 22, 2012 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
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although the first bit of this felt a bit rushed, once things got started it was an excellent read with well-developed characters and lots of action. Right from the start there are references to Aikido, and this grows stronger as the main character, Leland, begins to learn it.

As someone who practices Aikido, I loved this component of the book and was able to follow the action pretty well. I appreciated the descriptions of the techniques Leland was using in combat as it made it easy to picture a
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
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: badass, fantasy, scifi
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 capa ...more
Jan 19, 2010 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 augments/supplement ...more
May 11, 2008 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
Apr 21, 2008 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
May 16, 2008 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.
Sep 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, sf-fantasy
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 17, 2012 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.
Jan 10, 2012 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.
Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My book of choice for infecting people with the Aikido bug.
Jun 05, 2013 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 Baker
Sep 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Im actually not reading this version but the crowdsouce proofreading ebook version. so far its great!
Jul 24, 2007 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
Aug 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Definitely not Gould's best writing, but still enjoyable at parts... Like his other books better tho!
Apr 07, 2010 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 ---
rated it it was amazing
Feb 01, 2018
rated it it was ok
Jan 29, 2009
Michael Hubble
rated it really liked it
Mar 28, 2015
rated it liked it
Apr 17, 2012
rated it liked it
Mar 23, 2009
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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.
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