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Helliconia Summer

(Helliconia #2)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,653 ratings  ·  64 reviews
This is the second part of the epic science fiction trilogy The Helliconia Trilogy.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by iBooks (first published 1983)
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Glenn Russell

A city on Helliconia holds much in common with a late medieval European city, as per this market scene depicted by 16th century Dutch artist Pieter Aertsen.

Helliconia Summer, second volume in the trilogy Helliconia by British author Brian Aldiss, is bookended by Helliconia Spring and Helliconia Winter.

Helliconia Summer follows Helliconia Spring chronologically and should definitely be read after one experiences Helliconia Spring. The SF Masterworks edition of Helliconia is the way to go, one ke
Paul Christensen
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels-and-sagas
Ostensibly following the fortunes of JandolAnganol, a Richard II-like king with Henry VIII-like marriage problems, the deeper theme of the book is the racial conflict (species conflict, technically) between humans and phagors.

Yes, the vile fuggies are still around despite all drumbles against them, and as the Great Year slides towards winter will come into their strength once more...

To his credit, Brian Aldiss does not adopt some simplistic ‘racism baaaad’ approach, as a contemporary mainstrea
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,
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
Adam Whitehead
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
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
Ulf Wolf
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jun 02, 2013 rated it liked it
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-masterworks, sf
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
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
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. ...more
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
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
Jenai Goss
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
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
Chetan Tyagi
Mar 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Helliconia Summer is the second book of the trilogy. While the first one was full of hope as the planet turned in favor of the main protagonists - the humans. However, Helliconia Summer is worse for humans as the future looks bleak with Winter approaching slowly but steadily.

In general, the central idea of the Helliconia series is captivating. A world where two scient races - Humans and Phagors - compete in the ever changing seasons and the advantage is continually swapped between the two sides
Combining elements of both science fiction and fantasy, Brian Aldiss’ Helliconia trilogy is an epic spanning thousands of years across multiple planets. A masterpiece of world building, its strength lies in the breadth of disciplines from which Aldiss draws. History, anthropology, biology, climate science, astronomy, and political science all undergird three stand-alone stories that are linked by a Gaia-inspired environmental thesis in an attempt to ask questions about religion, spirituality, su ...more
Dec 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
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
Jul 13, 2017 rated it liked it
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
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Cat Bezubiak
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really really long book but extremely enjoyable. Expanded the mythology so much and I found myself regularly getting lost in it. MUST read book one first. Aldiss has a unique style of writing that can take some time to get used to, but once you do this book and series is highly rewarding.
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Very good world building.
Liz Licata
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm finding this trilogy just interesting enough to keep reading, but it's not my favorite ...more
Bjørn Sørlien
Nov 27, 2017 rated it liked it
The scale and amition certainly deserves 5 stars. Sadly the story is not very engaging
Jun 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Epic science-fantasy indeed, and somewhat sad, as you know that at some point, the cold will return and this fantastical civilization will eventually disappear beneath the ice.
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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 16 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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