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Customer Review

HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 October 2007
From the cover blurb and illustration I expected Helix to be fairly hard-core Sci-Fi. That'll teach me to judge a book by its cover!
Helix is set in a future when Earth has all but perished as sea levels rise, droughts devastate dry regions and wars break out all over. A colony space ship leaves the Earth bound for a new system, and that's where the adventure begins.
The action switches between the colonists and the inhabitants of the ice-world which becomes their destination. We meet a bunch of alien characters who are struggling to push back the boundaries of their understanding and the repression of their fundamentalist religious leadership. The wounded space ship comes plunging into this strange world with a society already in conflict...

And if this sounds a bit like an episode of Stargate, then that's what it feels like when you read it, too. It's not helped by the obvious comparison to Larry Niven's Ringworld -- a strange place full of strange aliens described by a brilliant author -- or any of Niven and Pournelle's first contact novels. If you want a really good first-contact, human/alien interaction novel then look at what CJ Cherryh has written. All of the writers I mention here combine plausible science with speculative fantasy. Helix doesn't. It's pretty much a 'what if' romp, populated with predictable, cardboard cut-out characters. And the aliens aren't really very alien... like early Star Trek Klingons, they have the feeling of being men in funny suits!

Still, if you enjoy TV and lightweight sci-fi then this may well suit you.
It didn't, however, inspire me to read anything else by this author and I'll probably bung it in the 'charity shop' box rather than keep it on the shelves for re-reading in future.
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3.5 out of 5 stars