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...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
I am giving this trilogy a 4 ...more
On reflection then, as Aldiss writes about the Great Year, and in Helliconia Winter, about the ...more
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, ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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.
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 ...more
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 ...more
(view spoiler)[ I would be interested to see what another installment of the series would entail, if the eradication of the phagors was as widespread as the Oligarchy was claiming, and presumably, if the Fat Death plague was halted. Also, with the ending of operations on the Avernus... - (hide 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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
For me, this trilogy was a long read, much too long! Too many repetitions, long descriptions, som ...more
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 ...more