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Helliconia Winter

(Helliconia #3)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,858 ratings  ·  58 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.

The centuries-long winter of the Great Year on Helliconia is upon us, and the Oligarch is taking harsh measures to ensure the survival of the people of the bleak Norther

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Open Road Media (first published 1985)
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Cat Bezubiak I strongly suggest reading this series in order. The world Aldiss creates is too complex for a reader to simply drop into part three without any of th…moreI strongly suggest reading this series in order. The world Aldiss creates is too complex for a reader to simply drop into part three without any of the knowledge provided in the first two.(less)
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Glenn Russell

The rousing conclusion. For me personally, a sense of elation and accomplishment having read all three books of this epic. The combined SF Masterworks edition clocks in at 1,300 pages. Unforgettable.

Helliconia Winter is the third volume in monumental Heliconia by British author Brian Aldiss who most definitely wanted his trilogy to be read in order: first Helliconia Spring, then Helliconia Summer, and finally Helliconia Winter.

Following the spirit of the author's wishes, I'll assume readers ar
So relieved to have finally finished this trilogy....
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this series.

Aldiss achieved an incredible feat of world-building. Helliconia is detailed and intricate and rich, the ecosystem finely tuned to the specific quirks of the binary star system he imagined. The necrogenic animals, the cycles across the Great and Small Years, the subhuman races and their quirks all blew my mind. The Bone Fever and Fat Death and their use for adapting Helliconia's humans to the changing seasons were just brilliant. The subplot dealing with background developmen
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This final book of the trilogy plays out similar to the first book, but in reverse order. The circumstances of the climate change are well known and understood by this point so this book focuses on a single character over about 20 to 30 years of his life. Obviously over such a short period of time little changes in the overall climate. Instead, the prejudices and persecution of the common people by the secular and religious leadership take center stage in this book.

I am giving this trilogy a 4
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This probably ought to be called "Autumn" rather than "Winter" as it mostly concerns the Sibornalese civilisation's preparations for the forthcoming "Weyr"-winter, rather than life in the depths of the planets centuries long "mini ice-age". Technology hasn't quite advanced as far as one would hope either; this is a few centuries after Summer and I'd have thought they'd have got as far as steam engines (there is a very brief mention of some primitive railways) if not electricity, but they aren't ...more
Adam Whitehead
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The world of Helliconia is moving away from the supergiant star Freyr. The Great Winter is about to descend on the planet with full, unmitigated fury. The tropical continent of Campannlat is ill-prepared to deal with the falling temperatures, and the defeat of their armies by the forces of the harsh northern landmass of Sibornal signals the beginning of the end of their period of dominance. Luterin Shokerandit, a soldier in the Sibornalese army, returns home in triumph, only to face treachery. T ...more
Aug 04, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who read the first two in the sequence
My feeling about this is that Aldiss was running out of steam by Book Three - and why not? It is an absolutely magisterial trilogy; encompassing the best of world-building, almost before that phrase was invented, superb anthropology and biology, not to mention complex cosmology and wonderfully absorbing stories. Helliconia Summer is my favourite, because the characters (human and phagor) brim with life.

On reflection then, as Aldiss writes about the Great Year, and in Helliconia Winter, about the
Turin Turambar
Jul 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1.5 stars.
Oh. my. god. Everything I feared would happen in this book while reading the first two happened and then some: the deeply unscientific Gaia BS, the preachiness, assimilating every human ambition to "possession", "power" and delusions of grandeur, anti-space and anti-technology propaganda, and if it wasn't enough the characters were less interesting if not infuriating at times. I liked Spring and Summer - not very much, but I liked them. This one is just terrible.

Edit: on the plus side,
Florin Constantinescu
A science fiction series with fantasy plots and a planet as the main character is how I'd describe this series. The books share very few plot lines, but closely follow the changes of an entire ecosystem across three seasons, so should be read in order.
What Brian W. Aldiss does here is nothing short of amazing. I have yet to read such interesting and detailed biological descriptions of the denizens of "Helliconia". He is also very adept at building local "legends" that are slowly unraveled as the
When asked by his publisher about the underlying theme of his recently-published trilogy, Brian Aldiss replied in the most English way possible: a change in the weather.

Starting from a simple idea in celestial mechanics: the climate changes provoked by a planet's orbital eccentricity, the author develops the most fascinating history of a people's discovery of its own origins and its complex relationship with nature. He acknowledges the influence of (non-fiction) author James Lovelock and his 'Ga
3 stars
Metaphorosis Reviews

In Helliconia Winter, Brian Aldiss finally settles into the human-scale story he approached in Summer. The result is, if not exactly intimate, still substantially more engaging than the previous volumes. Winter is coming, and with it the Fat Death, the plague that kills some and transforms others to prepare them for centuries of cold ahead.

It's hard to say that any of Helliconia's characters is particularly likeable, but they are, at least, interesting. There's more ac
Fantasy Literature
4.5 stars from Jesse, read the full review at FANTASY LITERATURE

Like an architect seeing a cathedral they’ve designed have the steeple raised, or an engineer watching the bowsprit attached to a ship they’ve built, so too must Aldiss have felt writing the final chapter of Helliconia Winter (1985). The orbits within orbits, themes revolving around themes, and characters caught in the cycle of life, come to an end. But only on the page.

The series has covered millennia. The third and final book, Hel
Ian Banks
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
And it ends, still a few centuries before true Winter descends upon the world. This time the story is a little less epic, but still compelling, as the cycle comes a little closer to home. The Earth Observation Station is a ruin, as is Earth, and Helliconia itself seems to be descending slowly into hibernation. There's a lot here to depress you, as Helliconian society seems determined to do the work of the winter for it and wipe itself out. People behave badly and do stupid things in the name of ...more
The epic trilogy about the world of Helliconia, in some ways so similar to Earth, and yet, because of the virus, forever out of our reach, is finished, and in a good way. It is a very ambitious project to cover the span of a few thousand years, and more, in a science fiction trilogy, but Aldiss managed to do it -- and he did it through human (and not just human) drama and political intrigue, thus making it very alive and never boring or like an encyclopedia entry.
Dec 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The final book of the series brings us to the beginning of winter, and the machinations of various groups trying to see society through the looming period. This one gets a little weird as Aldiss talks more about Earth and injects more sentiment. The characters continue to have a murky sense of morality and killing remains shockingly casual. It doesn't bode well for humanity changing their trajectory through winter in any positive way.
Natasha Hurley-Walker
It's difficult to summarise my experience reading this trilogy in a simple review. For starters, I felt I couldn't adequately judge the first book alone, no more than one could judge a tree by its first leaves, so I read the whole trilogy as if it were part of one large arc - if not quite a great circle. Besides the sheer length of book to review, the other problem I have is that I just didn't enjoy it very much. But this is a trilogy about aliens living in a complex biosphere and plots the rise ...more
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Winter has come. And humanity has learned either nothing at all, or simply the wrong lessons, but life will on. Such is the dour ending of a dour trilogy.

As the Great Winter of Helliconia- a five-century mini-ice-age - draws nigh, the northern continent of Sibornal tries to prepare, and as so often when faced with a threat, uses that threat to justify fear, repression and Othering. They also deny their role in the natural order, trying to control or destroy that which they cannot.

As always the
Not as strong as the others (specifically the first one) but still enjoyable.
(view spoiler)

On the whole, it was a fitting end to the series, with things sort of trailing away into the sunset in a dreamy sort
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The premise behind the Helliconia trilogy is interesting and original, but there is very little plot to any of the three books. Aldiss includes detailed notes about the celestial mechanics and the biology of Helliconia, but I wish he would have devoted some of that energy to adding some concrete plot. I found this last book in the trilogy to be the hardest to finish, though it was a great sleep aid.
Philip Cheeseman
Typical Aldiss’ view of the world, harsh, cynical and man responsible for his own destruction. So much so that after Spring and Summer had no stomach for winter. After 10 years or more decided to finish this. Although mass murder of soldiers and phagors and desolution of planet seems less grim the adventures abruptly turn into religious self-righteousness and Catholic zeal. The Great Wheel the final cynicism. Strange to read of the Fat Death in these Corona times.
Cat Bezubiak
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was hands down my favourite book in this incredible series. Aldiss created a world so vast and so unfamiliar that reading it is like entering a whole other dimension. I cannot recommend this series enough. If you like science fiction, you must read this series.
Bjørn Sørlien
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked this a lot more than spring and summer
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
A crowning end to this fantastic story on the remote planet. Wonderful intertwined with the backstory of earth itself.

Absolutely fantastic trilogy.

Highly recommended.
Jul 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like the idea of the series, I just found the ending a bit abrupt, flat, and preachy. I enjoyed it overall, but the ending let it down for me.
Dominic Green
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like so much of Aldiss, the Helliconia series combines colossal artistic talent with a grumpy, curmudgeonly view of the universe. The great wheels that the stars mark out around each other - the driving point of the Helliconia series is the fact that a red star, Batalix, orbits elliptically around a much larger star, Freyr - act as metaphors for the wheel of fate which, as far as individual human beings are concerned, grinds exceedingly small. All species on Helliconia - the "human" inhabitants ...more
Jun 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Out of all the books in this trilogy (I say that like there are more than 3. . . ) this one is my favorite. Granted – all of them were tedious at times to wade through, the names were nearly impossible to pronounce, and the whole Avernus space station thing got a little hairy there at the end. But still, I’m glad I forced myself to read this series in its entirety. I was especially pleased that – while this book followed its forerunners by telling many stories at once – we didn’t skip around thr ...more
Solid conclusion to this series.

This one focuses on the northern continent Sibornal, and amongst the plotting and goings-on of the details of the characters is largely a meditation on the justifiability or lack thereof of an authoritian society to 'preserve civilization' as the Helliconian Winter sets in. Shades of Orwell in this respect ... though the main characters do go through some interesting developments, I felt the twists and turns were generally fairly predictable and it wasn't quite as
Apr 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about an alien planet peopled by a few different species of varying sentience. It has a winter that is centuries long followed by a summer that is decades long. It is not as easy a read as my usual YA fare because the author writes using the thought processes of the main sentient species. I loved it for this reason.

They are similar to humans. Their male/female dynamics are similar to many traditional Earth cultures. In this book, women and non-dominant-species characters get short
Jan 27, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
The last of the trilogy and, as with the previous volume we take a leap into the future with no continuing characters. The basic set-up remains the same but this time it's getting colder. The cold brings a harshness as the rulers believe that they must become as cruel and oppressive as the climate in order to survive.
The occasional cuts to the Earth observation station and back to Earth itself finally start to make sense and are properly integrated into the story, but they're still uninvolving a
Aug 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, english
This last book of the trilogy is probably a fitting ending to the whole story. It still has some of the flaws of the previous book, but the story is here more focused on less characters, except for (boring) diversions to life on Earth or the Avernus. If it had be too much better, it would have been frustrating to stop there. As it is, I was just glad to finish the series on a barely good enough book.
For me, this trilogy was a long read, much too long! Too many repetitions, long descriptions, som
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Science Fiction A...: * Helliconia Winter-Book #3 2 8 May 07, 2018 05:40PM  

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Pseudonyms: Jael Cracken, Peter Pica, John Runciman, C.C. Shackleton, Arch Mendicant, & "Doc" Peristyle.

Brian Wilson Aldiss was 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 literary

Other books in the series

Helliconia (3 books)
  • Helliconia Spring (Helliconia, #1)
  • Helliconia Summer (Helliconia, #2)

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