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Helm
 
 

Helm [Kindle Edition]

Steven Gould
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

"A well-handling, often persuasive drama."--"Kirkus Reviews"

"The martial arts scene are thrillingly crystalline, as the philosophy behind the moves. And the final hundred pages this book, after the point at which Marilyn is kidnapped, is a remarkably sustained populsive climax....What a savvy writer he is, fully competent to wear SF's Glass Helm."--Paul Di Filippo, "Science Fiction Age"

Product Description

After global devastation, the last remnants of Earth sent a handful of colonists of a distant terraformed world to give humanity one last, desperate chance. Unable to provide the technology required for an advanced civilization, the founders instilled in the colonists a strict code of conduct and gave them a few precious imprinting devices: glass helmets that contain all of Earth's scientific knowledge.

Once in a generation, the heir to the province of Laal begins the arduous training required to survive the imprinting of the Glass Helm and acquire the knowledge of the lost Earth. But Leland de Laal, the youngest son of one of Agatsu's greatest leaders, has climbed the forbidden rock spire where the Helm is kept and donned it, unaware that its knowledge has a terrible price. To an unprepared mind, it brings madness, agony, and even death.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 729 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: digitalNoir publishing (25 Aug 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00427YUD0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #250,582 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Speaking as Aikidoka -- a student of Aikido -- this book brought tears to my eyes. Happy tears, tears of remembrance of my own times on the mat. From the first utterance of "Onaigashimasu..." to the folding of the hakama, this was a complete, exact, and poignantly real depiction of what it is like to study Aikido. As Aikidoka say, this book has Ai-ki, harmonious energy. The philosophy of the martial art is woven delicately yet unswervingly through the plot, and everything balances at the end. A "TV show ending?" I think not. It simply did not bash the bad guys over the head like most stories. Instead, the characters followed the true principles of Aikido, the good guys using the energy of the bad guys to defeat them.
Well done, Mr. Gould, if you read this...and I would be honored to practice with you, should you ever come into the dojo where I practice.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not Great 19 Mar 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Steven Gould's first novel, "Jumper", was a great book -- good plot (slightly episodic), excellent character development, good handling of the speculative elements. His next novels, "Wildside" and "Greenwar" (the latter with Laura J. Mixon), were also top-notch. I signed up to buy "Helm" five months before publication (thanks, Amazon.com!), because I'm really, really sorry I didn't buy a hardcover copy of Jumper when it was available. It pains me to say this, but "Helm" is not at the same level as its predecessors.
The start of the story gives us the destruction of Earth in a nuclear holocaust, and the terraforming and colonization of a planet circling a nearby star. The colonists are "imprinted", so they'll remember to do basic things, like eat a balanced diet, in their new world. There's a "small planet" feel to the story -- an entire earth-like planet's been terraformed, but all the action, and the focus of the civilization, takes place in an area that's at most a few hundred miles in diameter. The contrast between the terraforming technology, and the subsequent pre-gunpowder society, seemed highly artificial to me.
One reason for the low-tech post-terraforming society is that it provides the setting for one of the major devices of the story: Aikido as a viable martial art. I studied Aikido for many years, and I enjoyed reading the Aikido terms (some of which were new to me, and many of which I'd forgotten) in "Helm". The sweaty sessions in the dojo were true to my experience (except the hero's pre-programmed Aikido knowledge, of course), but I don't know whether the descriptions were evocative enough for people who haven't studied Aikido.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very pleasurable and fast read 8 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I found Helm to be as fun a read os Jumper. Gould seems to have a great talent for coming up with interesting ideas, or spins on old ones, and building a real page-turner around the idea. While I won't say that he's at the peak of his career, Gould definitely shows he's a talent to be watched.
I generally have 3 categories of books: 1. Buy this book 2. Borrow this book from the library/a friend 3. Forget about it.
I'd easily put this in the first category. This is a book I really enjoyed and would have no qualms recommending to anyone else.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book was problematic. 20 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Gould spends entirely too much time and effort describing Aikido moves. They become the focus of the work and draw attention away from the plot and characters. The Aikido terms are not well explained, nor are the moves(although excessively described)--this leaves these parts of the novel available only to people who have a working knowledge of the discipline. Many of the plot developments were facile at best, and the conclusion was not believable. Not a keeper!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Where was his editor? 23 Mar 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I'm afraid this book is a disappointment after "Jumper" and "Wildside". It's nothing huge, but rather an accumulation of small faults. The cast of characters in this novel is larger than those of Gould's earlier works, and isn't introduced as well. Seigfried and his son Sylvan are introduced on the same page, and I had to flip back twice to keep them straight. Same with Arthur and Anthony. One character is referred to by his title, his surname, and his given name within a handful of paragraphs--good luck keeping that straight. Much of the plot hinges on geography, and we aren't given a map of this world. We do get our hero's family tree, when a brief character list (a la those big fat fantasy books) would do us a lot more good. Most irritatingly, the climax of the book...is a cheesy TV-movie touch, and it really got on my nerves. The really frustrating part is that these are beginner's mistakes. They should have been caught by somebody during the writing process. I'd have to sum it up by telling you to wait for the paperback as well. This is an adequate story, adequately told. No more than that, sadly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and full of surprises 5 April 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Helm was an easy purchase decision, thanks to "Jumper" and "Wildside", both of which I felt were comparable to some of Heinlein's best "juveniles". The novel contains strongly-written and conflicted characters, an ultimate form of mind-control which has a morbidly amusing twist (reminds me of a scene in the James Crumley mystery Bordersnakes and a muddled realization of an interesting society. Yeah, sure, you can say it's not as "good" a novel as his others and it probably isn't - they were outstanding!Still, I felt the believable and varied characters, the well written Aikido scenes, and the sustained pacing placed this novel in my own personal "Top 20%".
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