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Helliconia Summer

(Helliconia #2)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,582 ratings  ·  54 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.

It is the summer of the Great Year on Helliconia. The humans are involved with their own affairs. Their old enemies, the phagors, are comparatively docile at this time o

Kindle Edition, 436 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Open Road Media (first published 1983)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  1,582 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Having mostly enjoyed Helliconia Spring I thought I would continue on with the trilogy. (I purchased the omnibus edition.)

Events in this book take place several hundred years after the events in 'Spring'. The planet is now at it's closest approach the super giant star that it circles around once every 2,000 years and the temperature has increases so that people in the equatorial regions now live mostly underground. Different to the first book is that all the action takes place over a year or so,
Adam Whitehead
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Helliconia basks in the glow of the Great Summer. The continent of Campannlat is now dominated by the Holy Empire, a loose religious affiliation between the three great kingdoms of Pannoval, Oldorando and Borlien. These nations find themselves threatened by the far less technologically-advanced but considerably more populous jungle and desert nations to the west and the even more savage tribes to the east. When King JandolAnganol suffers a humiliating defeat to tribesmen using firearms (bought a ...more
Aug 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Some development from the first volume. The relationship between the natives and the human observers becomes clearer, and the theme of progress, challenging received wisdom and increasing knowledge is even stronger. It's still too long, though. Lots of murky political intrigue which was less than gripping.
Xantha Page
"Science fiction on the grandest possible scale" is about right. The political intrigue you find in these novels is about the standard for post-Dune SF, but Aldiss dispenses with the pulp conventions that particular series holds fast to—both stylistically, and in terms of the Hero's Journey stuff that Dune vacillates between criticizing and doubling down on. The sheer scale of the planetary invention is sometimes staggering. In each of the novels up till this point, Aldiss focuses on a particula ...more
World-building to the maaaaxx!! The huge/varied ecosystem/peoples of Helliconia are portrayed in astonishing detail and at great length. However, the underlying story of political turmoil/manoeuverings doesn't really warrant being strung out to such great length. The strength of the first book (Helliconia Spring) was the changes over generations, whereas this is just one brief episode, and we get no real sense of Helliconia's "Great Year" advancing (it's just hotter everywhere). 3.5 stars, which ...more
Fantasy Literature
4 stars from Jesse, read the full review at FANTASY LITERATURE

The shape of Brian Aldiss’s SF Masterwork Helliconia could be said to be parabolic. If Helliconia Spring is the slow, curving entry point, then Helliconia Summer, the middle volume, is the zenith story-wise. Or at least that’s the feel two-thirds of the way through the series. As Aldiss is trying to paint a historical and evolutionary picture of humanity’s existence on a distant planet, Helliconia Summer’s narrative does not pick up w
2.5 stars

On a planet with a complex orbit and centuries-long seasons, humans dominate the warmer times, only in some places living quietly with phagors and other sentient species. Their lives are observed remotely by Earth, via the Avernus, an orbital observation station. On the station, whose occupants have their own fascination with Helliconia's royal scandals, one resident has just won a lottery, offering him a ticket to the surface, and to certain death.

After the swee
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, sf-masterworks
This, the second part of the Helliconia trilogy, is even more diffuse in it's focus as we follow a variety of characters whose stories are intertwined as the Helliconian year nears it's summer solstice. Things are hotting up in more ways than one.

I say characters and not protagonists as there are really no protagonists in the conventional sense. Some you may grow to care about as the story progresses but others you may grow to dislike. And there is no real beginning or end to the story; the read
Jun 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far, I’ve completed 2/3 of the Helliconia series by Brian Aldiss. They’re categorized as science fiction, and while they are most definitely fiction, you can’t count out the science part of it. Sometimes I felt like I needed a degree to follow Aldiss’ lengthy explanations of the hows and whys Helliconian ecology was the way it was. There was also such a psychological edge to the story that after a few chapters, there was no way you could ever doubt the reasons for the Queen of England awardin ...more
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very dense book that creates an incredible new world / solar system. The two dominate life forms (and there are two or three others) are controlled by the fact that their planet has recently (8 million years) been captured by a red giant star. Aldiss creates a complex ecosystem but then doesn't do much with it. The author is more interested in telling us these neat ideas then really having a good story (so much wasted potential). The plot deals with a king (and lesser with his divorced queen) ...more
Aug 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english, sf
In this second season on Helliconia, compared to the first book, the point of view is still somewhat fuzzy, but I think the characterization is a bit better.
The hot season is now at its full and everybody becomes heated, so that this part is more about politics and wars, but still influenced by the weather, this time an extreme heat.
Edward Davies
If you can get passed the sheer volume of this trilogy you'll find a well thought through universe that Aldiss has clearly put a lot of thought into. Sadly for me this didn't really get going until Winter, by which time I'd already felt like the first two thirds of the series had been something of a waste.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Growing up in Texas, summer (vacation) was long, hot and – aside from the initial joy of having no more school, and occasional events – boring. Not very much happened, and what did didn't really tie together. That's kind of a good summary of Helliconia Summer.

The Helliconia series is a fabulous Big Idea: A world like Earth, but whose "seasons" are hundreds of years (and many human lifetimes), a world shared between creatures of the cold and humans, creatures of the warmth. How does the biospher
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helliconia Summer, the second volume in the Helliconia trilogy, is superb old-school science fiction. The novel is superior to Helliconia Spring (1982), partly because the world it depicts is far richer in summer than it was in its emergent state in spring. The novel also contains much more detail about humanity's observational satellite - Avernus, in orbit around the planet, as well as Helliconia's stellar and biological history. The novel's world-building is splendidly detailed, fascinating an ...more
Jenai Goss
The second book in the Helliconia trilogy, it lives up to the amazing world-building of the first. Unfortunately, the non-linear fashion in which it is structured makes it far more confusing, and boring, than it should be. Every time tension builds there is no climax - instead we jump to the past, or future, or past within past, or a future flash-forward within a past flashback of another past flashback, etc. By the time we return to the initial high-stakes scene all the concern for the characte ...more
Ulf Wolf
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a strange way, it feels like the equally well-written Helliconia Spring was but the prolog to Helliconia Summer, a well-crafted, huge-canvass story of politics, warfare, and religion on this now well-established earth-like planet some one thousand lightyears from the one we call home.

Once Mr. Aldiss had created and set the Helliconia stage during its long Spring, he now proceeds during its longer Summer with a detailed and very absorbing tale of warring kingdoms, blind religious (and powerful
Dec 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summer finds humans in ascendance and their phagor rivals pushed to the boundaries. If you're like me you couldn't help hoping that this would be the cycle where humanity broke the cycle of rise-and-fall, banding together to forge something united and strong enough to survive the long Helliconian winter. Summer quickly established that, if achieved, this would not be an easy victory. While science has progressed, life is still very cheap on Helliconia, and wars over territory or religion persist ...more
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
Turin Turambar
Maybe 3.5 stars. I think I liked this one slightly more than the first; the scientific speculations throughout the book and the big reveal near the end were pretty interesting, especially given the very unique setting they were occurring in.
Ventsislav K. Valev
Quite imaginative and entertaining. A bit too long here and a bit too many details there, but overall it is very well written. Towards the end, I found it very hard to put it down. All the plots and intrigue lacked a bit of depth for me though.
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
As equal amazing as the first part, the second part plays mostly in a different region on Helliconia and also circles back to the place of the first book. Again we get amazing story telling and wonder writing. Absolute perfect.
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Very good world building.
Elizabeth Licata
I'm finding this trilogy just interesting enough to keep reading, but it's not my favorite
Bjørn Sørlien
The scale and amition certainly deserves 5 stars. Sadly the story is not very engaging
Bill Harrison
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book continues the story of the human race on far distant Helliconia. It does not pick up immediately after the first book, but rather hundreds of years in to the future. Everything is still being observed by the people of the Avernus satellite and beamed back to Earth. In the story the summer of the Great Year (1829 normal years) is approaching. Many tropical areas have become almost unlivable. The Phagors (ancient enemies of mankind) are in a docile period preparing for the Winter. The st ...more
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Possibly the weakest of the three, it's certainly the longest. Again we get a broad, complex and multi-layered plot involving numerous characters as Helliconia approaches the height of it's summer. This time the action spans most of the inhabited parts of the planet, instead of being based almost entirely in Oldorando (Embruddock). The level of civilisation has advanced to something like the late middle ages, but so has the politics with countries being almost constantly in one war or another an ...more
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi_fantasy
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"
Nicholas Whyte
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Helliconia Summer also still worked for me - the twist here is that the Earth observation satellite sends a volunteer from its crew to the surface of Helliconia, where he knows he will not survive long due to a lack of immunity from local diseases, but gets very much mixed up in a complex dynastic / political / gendered dispute among local rulers. Aldiss plays the theme of technologically advanced individual failing to impress a much more medieval civili
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, favorites
This book has points where it feels like it is dragging. Put those points are well worth it when you get to the end of the book and see how all that random stuff ties together. Just like the first book, it ends abruptly, but the storylines are wrapped up enough that it leaves you wondering what will happen next.
Ian Banks
I read an interview with Mr Aldiss in the 80s where he said this series was inspired by the English tradition of Shakespeare, Hardy and Stapledon where big pictures overlay small, tragic stories. Except it's a bloody huge canvas and quite an epic story at surface level. This continues to be a very rewarding reread.
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Goodreads Librari...: add cover 1 12 Sep 05, 2018 11:36AM  
Science Fiction A...: * Helliconia Trilogy Book 2: Helliconia Summer 3 15 Apr 04, 2018 04:34PM  

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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 Winter (Helliconia, #3)

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