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...more
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, ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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.
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 ...more
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 ...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
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" ...more
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 ...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