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Helliconia: Helliconia Spring, Helliconia Summer, Helliconia Winter: "Hellonica Spring", "Helliconia Summer", "Helliconia Winter" (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 12 Aug 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1328 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (12 Aug. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575086157
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575086159
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 6.1 x 15.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 156,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Surprisingly engaging ... very much recommended. (SFF World)

Book Description

A vast world where the seasons last tens of thousands of years - the classic SF epic of worldbuilding.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A reread this one. Gollancz have republished this huge tome (1328 pages) as part of their SF Masterworks branding, of which this is number 80.

I did read them back in the 1980's when they were released as three separate books: Helliconia Spring, Helliconia Summer and Helliconia Winter, in 1982, 1983 and 1985 respectively. Hereafter I'm going to see them as one book, which is for all intents and purposes is how they read, as a uniform body of work (albeit in three parts.)
At the time of original writing they were a surprise, if I remember right. Here was a writer known for his SF writing (Hothouse, Greybeard, Report on Probability A, etc) writing what seemed (at first) to be a fantasy.

And if I remember right, a glacially slow series. Which made them a little disappointing.

However, there is an SF element to the books. For those who don't know, Helliconia is a planet. The tales are told from the perspective of the inhabitants as they go through the world's seasons. The twist in the tale here is that the seasons are very long: centuries long, long enough for species to live and die within one season, and especially in the long, cruel, bitter winters.

As the tale unfolds the perspective is drawn further back to the point where we realise that all that is being told is actually part of a planetary research report from the Earth ship Avernus. It is here that the reader discovers that, as part of a binary star system, all / most life on Helliconia will be extinguished. Much of the books are spent in the debate over whether Humans should interfere with the rise and fall of civilisations on the planet, which is an interesting counterpoint to what goes on in the research ship and on Earth.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Since I have bought my Kindle I have decided to put on it some of the books I consider a must to have, and Helliconia is one of these. I read the three parts of the Helliconia trilogy many years ago when I was a teenager, and now I have come back to it in my fifties a lot more of it has become understandable. The Winter section is I think the best of all of them. There is an immediacy of the characters, and Yuli's experiences are vivid and clear. It is his family we seem to follow, and each generation as the seasons gradually change are affected by all the failings and flaws of any people. The last section I found tended to drift away from the subject of Helliconia and concentrate on the satellite station that was in fact observing the ebb and flow of the planet below them, and I would rather have had more about the Helliconians themselves. It is for this reason I have deducted a star, but I know that I shall go back and read it again because it is so vast a project that there is always something to see that you missed last time.
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I read this wonderful trilogy when it first appeared and was bowled over by it. Now I've encountered it again and found my memory had not let me down. A dizzying concept, a coherent and profound vision of an alternative world, characters so fantastic and imaginatively realised as to be completely convincing and yet at once recognisable for the human types they parallel. There is a serious message here for our own world to heed. This must be among the greatest artistic and literary creations of the twentieth century
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Format: Paperback
Helliconia is Big, not just in pages, size of planet or time scale covered, but in number of themes it tackles. Other reviewers have complained about the thinness of character development. I think they miss the point, the people in Helliconia are all too human, flawed and weak. Do we really need yet another scifi series full of epic all conquering heroes. Yes plotlines peater out, but isn't life like that, lots of incomplete experiences ? Early in the first volume the new leader of the town and a highly intelligent women's , initial closeness turns to astrangement, bitterness and eventual regret for what might have been. Who hasn't experienced sometime similar ?
Above all for me the books are about the context within which we and the characters live in. Helliconia's extremes means its peoples have to navigate a perilous course over generation upon generation with many setbacks. Most helliconians cannot see the context within which they live, just the consequences of the enormous forces at work. In contrast the humans that observe helliconia, do so from a serile technological world that never changes; they live within no context at all. These two themes
mend there way through much of the books. Though there's much more here for all sorts of readers.
Helliconia is a work of imagination and ideas. The very things I need from reading. Its almost the perfect Scifi paradigm, in comparison much modern scifi is just cowboys and indians in space or indeed therapists on starships.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first read this sci-fy trilogy as library books years ago and was sad when it came to an end. I was happy to have the opportunity to re-read it on my kindle and am enjoying it just as much second time around. This vast epic covers generations on the distant world of Helliconia which is similar to earth but also different enough to require you to use your imagination a bit.. As the planet moves through its extreme orbital cycle both the environment and its inhabitants hae to change and evolve in order to survive. Although the story sometimes ebbs and flows through different time-frames you get to know the characters and empathise with the challenges they face in their ever changing world.
Highly recommended.for a nice long read..
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