Aldis, Brian: Helliconia Trilogy

ray gower

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Helliconia Trilogy

The great drama of life on Helliconia is shaped by its cosmic limitations. In fierce contrasts of climate, whole seasons last for centuries and civilizations rise and fall as the planet orbits the giant sun Freyr every 3000 years.

The trilogy won the J.W. Campbell Memorial Award.
 

ray gower

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It takes a brave writer to write an epic.
A brave reader to read one.

Tracing the evolution of a planet makes Helliconia an epic on the grand scale.

I wish I could say I had been brave enough to read it all.

If anybody has managed more than 'Spring'. Please can they tell me if it is worth the haul?
 

L. Arkwright

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Hmmm. Ive read two of these and its been a while. I cant remember what they where. I think it was spring and summer. In the first one theres a kid called Yuli or yuri? In the second one I remember that a member of the crew from the Observation station comes down to the planet despite the fact he'll die and that is digital watch causes quite a lot of trouble to the natives.
 

ray gower

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Always had the impression the series was supposed to parrallel the evolution of man through its stages of evolutional development and its complications, without the irritation of eons.

Thus Spring was the birth of intelligence, stretching from cavemen (Yuri) running from and/or fighting mamoths with stone clubs to comparitive technological solutions of using iron and fighting back in the middle ages.

I guess Summer would be the birth of Industrialisim and civilisation, Autumn as the rise of decadence and the 'Inteligence' age. And if he had ever written Winter it would be the final destruction of the race.

Just unfortunate that the eons have been loaded upon the reader
 

Status

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I've read the first 2, and have the 3rd. It was a long time ago and remember the first one to be ok enough to get the 2nd but don't remember much about the 2nd one so must not have set any lasting impressions to the point that I've never even started the 3rd.

This doesn't mean someone else may not like it, just that I wasn't that impressed with it.
 

Ramoth's Rider

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umm i plowed through got stuck tried again wondered about the Phagars with horns and then gave up.
gave books to charity shop and they're still sitting woefully lost on the shelf 2 months later. S
Should i buy them back do ya think?
 

Snowdog

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I really enjoyed Spring, but couldn't get into Summer despite a few attempts. Sounds like I'm not the only one.
 

Werthead

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The single greatest feat of worldbuilding in science fiction history. The sociological/anthropological angles didn't quite work as well as they should have done and the colossal sweep of the series (which spans some 3,000 years) means that character development is somewhat weaker than it should be, since you're essentially introducing entire new casts of characters at regular intervals.

Nevertheless, a highly significiant and underrated trilogy, and probably Aldiss' masterwork (though I know those who would argue heavily in favour of Hothouse, Non-Stop or the mind-bending Report on Probability A instead). I'm planning a re-read of this series at some point in 2008.
 

Durandal

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I just read the entire trilogy this autumn. One of the best concepts I've ever seen in SF, though the execution sometimes suffered for it.

I would definitely say you should continue on through the series. FYI, there is no "autumn" -- the trilogy is Spring, Summer and Winter. I felt that the series improved as it went on; Spring was definitely the weakest in my opinion.
 

Foxbat

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It's been many years since I read this trilogy but I do remember enjoying it. I did feel that the 90-odd page prologue in Helliconia Spring was a bit much though, and could have been divided into a couple of chapters for easier reading.
 

Connavar

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The single greatest feat of worldbuilding in science fiction history. The sociological/anthropological angles didn't quite work as well as they should have done and the colossal sweep of the series (which spans some 3,000 years) means that character development is somewhat weaker than it should be, since you're essentially introducing entire new casts of characters at regular intervals.

Nevertheless, a highly significiant and underrated trilogy, and probably Aldiss' masterwork (though I know those who would argue heavily in favour of Hothouse, Non-Stop or the mind-bending Report on Probability A instead). I'm planning a re-read of this series at some point in 2008.

Does the characters have something in common? The Planet?


I have a weakness for series like the Foundation type that span several centuries.


This sounds something like that.
 

Fried Egg

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I loved this series and it one of those that I know I'll re-read at some point. I don't get that feeling from a lot of books. I think it's because you know there's so many layers and subtlety to it that you need to read it more than once to get the most out of it.
Durandal said:
I would definitely say you should continue on through the series. FYI, there is no "autumn" -- the trilogy is Spring, Summer and Winter.
Actually, although the last volume is entitled "Winter", it seems really to be set in their Autumn.
FoxBat said:
It's been many years since I read this trilogy but I do remember enjoying it. I did feel that the 90-odd page prologue in Helliconia Spring was a bit much though, and could have been divided into a couple of chapters for easier reading.
It wasn't really a mere prologue, it was a story in itself. I really enjoyed it and was quite dissappointed when it came to an end.
 

Werthead

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Does the characters have something in common? The Planet?

I have a weakness for series like the Foundation type that span several centuries.

This sounds something like that.

It's basically the story of the planet, of the interaction between two intelligent species (humanity and the phagors) and the story of an Earth observation station keeping track of events on the planet below.

FYI, there is no "autumn" -- the trilogy is Spring, Summer and Winter. I felt that the series improved as it went on; Spring was definitely the weakest in my opinion.

Someone asked Aldiss why there weren't four, but he said, "Three is enough. I'm no Vivaldi!"
 

clovis-man

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I certainly enjoyed reading these. But it took some adjustments on my part due to the fact that "continuity" consisted of following a vast timeline, not a specific story concept or cast of characters. The fatalistic tenor of the pieces were somewhat disturbing, but certainly understandable considering the scope involved. The contrast between the Earth observers and the planetary inhabitants is fascinating as well as unsettling.

Jim
 

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