Read Helliconia Summer by Brian W. Aldiss Online


This is the second part of the epic science fiction trilogy The Helliconia Trilogy....

Title : Helliconia Summer
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780743445108
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Helliconia Summer Reviews

  • Nicolas
    2019-01-03 00:23

    En vieillissant, on change quand même pas mal.C'est la première réflexion qui m'est venue à l'esprit, une fois cet épais roman terminé.De là à dire qu'on devient ronchon, il n'y a qu'un pas ... que je ne franchirai pas ;-)Pour en revenir à ce roman, il raconte l'histoire du roi JandalAnganol, de la reine MirdemIngala, et de quelques autres personnages, dans cette époque torride qu'est l'Eté d'Helliconia. Parce qu'à cause de son système binaire, le temps est terriblement chaud en cette saison ... ou plutôt en cette période.Comme je l'ai dit pour le printemps d'helliconia, j'avais déja lu ces livres il y a une bonne quinzaine d'années et j'ena vais gardé un bon souvenir. Hélas, les années sont ravageuses, et les progrès de l'écriture en SF suffisants pour montrer les insuffisances assez pénibles de la prose d'Aldiss.En effet, si ce roman narre les aventures d'humains dans un monde étrange, les aspcets sensés crédibiliser le récit (comme par exemple les explications sur la formation du système double) n'arrivent pas d'une façon très fluide. Hélas, c'est aussi le cas lors des nombreuses phases d'introspection des personnages. Typicement, JandalAnganol a des espèces de dérapages sexxualisés que je trouve juste pénibles. Par exemple, il sort d'une séance de son assemblée locale qui le tanne parce que ses guerres se portent mal. Et paf, alors même qu'il pense à trouver une solution au problème, ils nous explique la beauté du corps de la reine, et ses courbes voluptueuses, ... Inintéressant, pas forcément utile, et franchement laborieux. A contrario, on assiste au début du récit à une rêverie sensuelle de la reine MirdemIngala qui dégage une ambiance de langueur et d'abandon très élégante, légèrement érotisée et en même temps pleine de retenue, bref, un très beau moment de littérature. Hélas, ces quelques pages sont les seules au milieu d'un scénario dont on devine assez rapidement la trame, même si le grand nombre de pages permet à l'auteur de glisser des rebondissements parfois inattendus.Pire encore, le terrien qui débarque et qui subit pas mal de mauvais sorts ressemble fort à une espèce de témoin servant à bien nous faire saisir l'altérité de ce monde, alors que franchement, on n'en a pas besoin.Tout ça fait de ce roman une oeuvre finallement médiocre, que je vais pouvoir revendre assez facilement.

  • Simon
    2018-12-21 17:04

    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.

  • Fantasy Literature
    2019-01-05 23:14

    4 stars from Jesse, read the full review at FANTASY LITERATUREThe 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 where the first volume left off, and instead focuses on a point in the society’s development loosely equivalent to the Baroque Era many centuries in the future from Helliconia Spring. Were the lives of the kings and queens the only focal points, some would say that the book is mere alternate universe fantasy. But as Aldiss juxtaposes the land dwellers’ lives with the crew of the space station orbiting Helliconia, focus changes from medieval drama to soft science fiction. Cementing this idea are the clashes of ideology — science vs. religion, for example — which seed the plot and create points of realistic contention for those inhabiting and orbiting the fantastika of Helliconia.A more consistent offering than Helliconia Spring, the plot of Helliconia Summer, while unraveling in an atypical, almost backward timeline, forms a cohesive whole with a poignant resolution. The book opens with the king and queen of one of Helliconia’s many 16th century-esque kingdoms contemplating the divorce the king has organized so that he can marry another. Feeling shunned, the queen stands on a beach pondering her future when a corpse wearing a digital watch washes ashore. Stopping at this point, Aldiss jumps back in time to narrate the history of these circumstances and, at the conclusion, resolves the wave of cultural enmity and religious fervor that has built around the two and caused the schism. the full review at FANTASY LITERATURE

  • Sarah
    2019-01-16 01:09

    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 awarding him for his services to British Literature. He is truly an all-encompassing author. He doesn’t just cover one aspect of Helliconian culture, nor just one species; he examines the phagors and humans and madis, their history and culture, their thought processes, and their motivations. He studies the evolutionary history of many of the animals of Helliconia. And he also integrates the lives of both the earthlings on Avernus, and the 1,000 year distant Earth.

  • Chip
    2019-01-02 21:22

    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) trying to do what he thinks is best for his kingdom. Some of the book talks of an orbiting space station sending captured information back to Earth.

  • Edward Davies
    2019-01-20 18:32

    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.

  • Cecile
    2019-01-20 18:17

    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.

  • Hojaplateada
    2018-12-27 17:27

    Me gustó. Es bastante complicado en cuanto a la diplomacia, por momentos me hacía acordar a Dune, pero con una narrativa no tan atrapante. Igual, sigue siendo bueno, y todavía me falta la parte 3 para terminar la trilogía y ver el final

  • Tom Rowe
    2019-01-17 17:31

    Slower middle.

  • Adam Whitehead
    2019-01-03 20:14

    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 at great cost from the progressive nations of Sibornal far to the north), he divorces his wife so he might seek a more favourable alliance by marrying a princess of Oldorando. However, the queen is a greatly popular figure in Borlien and by divorcing her the king enrages the native population, triggering political turmoil and military action that will have great ramifications for all of Helliconia.Meanwhile, the crew of the Earth Observation Station Avernus have fallen into internal dissent and debate over the nature of reality and their own orders from distant Earth not to interfere with life on Helliconia. Rejecting this order from a world they can never see or return to, the crew hold a lottery with a grand prize: to allow the winner to visit Helliconia, so for the brief few months it will take for the planet's viruses and bacteria to kill him he can live under a real sky. The arrival of Billy Xiao Pin in Borlien's capital likewise triggers events that will have unforeseen consequences.Helliconia Summer picks up the story of the world of Helliconia some 355 local years - more than 500 Earth years - after the conclusion of Helliconia Spring. The planet is not far from its time of closest approach to the supergiant star Freyr and humanity rules supreme over the planet, the phagor population reduced to slavery or forced to hide in remote mountain valleys. It is a time of great technological innovation, with firearms, gunpowder and cannons flowing south from Sibornal, but also of turmoil, with the doctrines of the Pannovalan Church stifling the advance of technology and science within Campannlat itself. Like its forebear, the novel mixes thematic elements such as the rise and fall of civilisations, the advance of science and the uneasy union of progress and religion, with a more traditional action and character-driven narrative.Helliconia Summer, appropriately, sprawls luxuriantly where its forebear was more focused and constrained in narrative scope and geographical area. It is in this novel that Aldiss' achievement in creating Helliconia is best-realised, with lush descriptions of the world and its myriad animal life and human cultures in full flower. The main storyline is compelling, combining intriguing politics and well-realised (if not particularly likable) characters clashing over the fate of their kingdoms in the face of warfare, religious turmoil and arguments over the fate of the phagors, the dominant nonhuman species of Helliconia reduced by the heat into docile soldier-slaves. The relevance of having an observation station from Earth is also made clearer in this novel, with one of the Avernus crewmembers becoming an important character. There are also some intriguing mysteries, such as a murder mystery whose conclusion is ambiguous and a deeper one surrounding the changes in pauk, the bizarre ability of the Helliconian people to commune with the spirits of their ancestors after death, which provide much food-for-thought going into the third and final novel.On the negative side, the book suffers slightly from its lack of focus compared to the first volume and also from a somewhat clumsy chronological structure, where the first several chapters take place in the present and then we rewind a year and move forward to where the first part began, then skip to after it. The story doesn't really require this structure and would perhaps have benefited from a more linear progression.In Helliconia Summer (****½) Aldiss' grand ambition, nothing less than a history of an entire world and its peoples across vast chasms of time, becomes clearer and more impressive. The book is available now (albeit somewhat expensively) in the USA and will form part of the new UK Helliconia omnibus due on 12 August this year.

  • Steve
    2019-01-15 01:16

    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 biosphere change, how do people change, how do our institutions change with the weather?Somewhat remarkably, I found that I disagree with almost all of the novel's writing decisions below the Big Idea. I don't understand (and it is not yet explained) why the humans of Helliconia are identical in appearance (and possibly genetics) to the humans of Earth. Which isn't a big deal; many stories have humans on not-Earth. Except that there are humans FROM Earth, in orbit, to observe and learn. There is a long subplot concerning one of these, whose purpose I still haven't figured out. The structure itself, of a novel with just a few subplots spanning (by necessity) just a few years across a sweep of thousands really makes it hard to see what's going on except through extreme authorial didacticism. And he gets too caught up in the subplots and the characters, so the focus is always switching between Helliconia's Great Year and the dynamics of each character's story. This is where I will rave about another book with a similar concept and far better execution, John Brunner 's The Crucible of Time. It succeeds and executes where Helliconia falls short: as a single, it's eight or so stories simply capture important moments in the development of the species from early sapience to mastery of their own fate. It's characters are believable non-humans, with no random quasi-interference from our world. It successfully captures the sweep of thousands of years of history and events at a single book.Read that instead, and wish that Helliconia was more.

  • Metaphorosis
    2018-12-25 01:20

    reviews.metaphorosis.com2.5 starsOn 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 sweeping, Michenerian scope of the Spring volume, Aldiss tries hard to bring the story to a human scale in Helliconia Summer. He frames the story with an abandoned queen, pining for her cruel husband, and he comes back to her occasionally and toward the midpoint of the volume. But it's an artifice that is only partially successful. There's not enough foundation for the queen's situation to support the groaning, top-heavy mass of social and historical commentary that burdens the first half of the book.More successful is the introduction of an outside observer. Billy Xiao-Pin, from the Avernus orbital station. His presence seemingly forces Aldiss to stick more close to a limited range of time and space, making the story both easier and more interesting to follow. Even when Billy is out of the picture, the story stays close to its other lead characters, and in particular King JangolAnganol, a tragic figure all of whose options are bad.The result is a slow, but still much more intimate and entertaining book than its prequel. While first half is slow, the second begins to fulfill the promise that Aldiss must have hoped for with his reams of setup and background in the Spring volume. By the end, one feels somewhat satisfied - much the feeling of finally reaching "Of Beren and Luthien" after plowing through the duller bits of Tolkien's Quenta Silmarillion.

  • Ulf Wolf
    2019-01-21 00:30

    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) faiths, political scheming and a search for historical truth (as always, unwelcome amongst believers). While in some aspects this plot could have been set in any environment, Helliconia provides a multi-layered backdrop that tends to intensify the story’s movement.It is a book to sink into and be engulfed by, and to enjoy. It was recognized as a masterpiece on its publication, and it has certainly stood the test of the thirty-five some years since.As an aside, Mr. Aldiss has an amazingly broad vocabulary, and he uses it liberally—keep a dictionary handy. That said, highly recommended.

  • Chris
    2018-12-28 23:05

    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. Summer focuses on a single generation, although it does fill in some of the gap from spring. This makes for a shorter book, but more fleshed out story. Aldiss continues to show off with the amount of research and creativity put into creating the series, adding to the rich ecosystem produced hu Helliconia's celestial situation.

  • Florin Constantinescu
    2018-12-22 21:07

    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 series progresses, but not necessarily by the characters in the book.The only thing I regret is that there wasn't a fourth "Autumn" book in the series. I'm sure the author would've been able to find more to write about.

  • Turin Turambar
    2019-01-03 17:32

    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.

  • Clyde
    2019-01-02 00:07

    Very good world building.

  • Elizabeth Licata
    2018-12-25 21:31

    I'm finding this trilogy just interesting enough to keep reading, but it's not my favorite

  • Bjørn Sørlien
    2019-01-18 19:10

    The scale and amition certainly deserves 5 stars. Sadly the story is not very engaging

  • Bill Harrison
    2019-01-17 22:18

    This book continues the story of the human race on far distant Helliconia. It does not pick up immediately after the first book, but rather hundreds of years in to the future. Everything is still being observed by the people of the Avernus satellite and beamed back to Earth. In the story the summer of the Great Year (1829 normal years) is approaching. Many tropical areas have become almost unlivable. The Phagors (ancient enemies of mankind) are in a docile period preparing for the Winter. The story includes political intrigue, murder, divorce, etc.All in all a good story with good characters. I will be reading the last book in the trilogy.

  • Ian
    2019-01-12 01:29

    Possibly the weakest of the three, it's certainly the longest. Again we get a broad, complex and multi-layered plot involving numerous characters as Helliconia approaches the height of it's summer. This time the action spans most of the inhabited parts of the planet, instead of being based almost entirely in Oldorando (Embruddock). The level of civilisation has advanced to something like the late middle ages, but so has the politics with countries being almost constantly in one war or another and Kings attempting to form or break alliances all around. There is also the diversion of Billy Xiao Pin from the Avernus who gets to spend a couple of months on the surface. The action on the Avernus itself gets more prominence as well.Some sections are very engaging - the Sibornalese sea voyage, Muntras and the ice trade and Mr Pin's viewpoint. But I do find the plot gets a bit bogged down with the political intruiges of the Borlienese court and JandolAnganol's struggles.There is an observation that Helliconian astronomy is less advanced as they have no moon. However, given the catastrophic changes brought to the planet's climate due to the orbit around Freyr I would have thought there was a great incentive to understand and investigate the celestial mechanics that cause these changes. There is also the Avernus to draw attention upwards.There are one or two inconsistencies as well. In Spring, Pauk requires a couple of days of fasting and some preparation. In Summer the king simply lies down in a deserted room and has a quick chat with his dead father.On the whole it's well written and imaginatively constructed but somehow just not quite as good as Spring.

  • Patrick
    2019-01-19 01:19

    Finished this straight after the previous Helliconia Spring.It's a more complex book, as Aldiss fleshes out other parts of the continents of Helliconia - set several centuries after the previous one, although nicely referring back to the 'myths' containing the protagonists in the previous book like Aoz Roon and Shay Tal.I like the complexities in general, the changing balances of power between religion, state, and the projection of increasingly complex societies and technologies as the "summer" part of Helliconia's Great Year continues. Aldiss's view of human nature is not super optimistic - all the 'heroes' are significantly flawed in one way or another - but is also not nihilistic or right-libertarian like you find in male sci-fi authors like Pournelle. An interesting modern twist on these books - Aldiss wrote them back in 1983 - and made climate change a key concept of the books (over the Helliconia "great year" of ~1800 years, it moves in an elliptical orbit around a supergiant, and thus the climate changes significantly in periodic fashion).At the end of Helliconia Summer, the hotter end of this climate cycle is really starting to bite, and he projects various interactions with human society (crops start to fail, economies become more precarious, desertification, ice sellers get wealthy!) - I wonder if he realised how pertinent this scenario could be to the real planet Earth 20+ years later?

  • Rafal Jasinski
    2018-12-31 00:17

    Dbałość o detale, niesamowicie dopracowanie świata, będącego swoistą paralelą ziemskiego średniowiecza, wzbogaconego o elementy z pogranicza science-fiction i fantasy a co za tym idzie, masą nawiązań do ważkich wydarzeń historycznych, czy naszych odkryć naukowych (ze wskazaniem na swoistą odmianę teorii doboru naturalnego) - tym, niewątpliwie "Lato Helikonii" ujmuje i zachwyca.W świat ów wprowadził autor doskonale nakreślone, niejednowymiarowe postaci, których losy krzyżują się często w zaskakujących okolicznościach. W ogóle, sieć związków między bohaterami jest misternie utkana a dozowanie podawanych przez autora ich przypadków często prowadzi do nieoczekiwanych wydarzeń i zwrotów akcji.Niestety, przy tym wszystkim kuleje dynamika narracji i dość smutny fakt, że pod kątem fabularnym "Lato Helikonii" wypada raczej średnio interesująco. Poza tym przeskakiwanie od jednego bohatera do drugiego, bywa diablo irytujące, zwłaszcza kiedy nowy fragment wprowadza elementy kompletnie bez związku z - braku innych określeń, nazwijmy to - osią fabuły.Cykl nadal ma swój specyficzny klimat, ale naprawdę nie zaszkodziłoby nadać opowieści nieco lepiej przyswajalnego rytmu i trochę bardziej interesującej historii.

  • Nicholas Whyte
    2019-01-18 22:17 Summer also still worked for me - the twist here is that the Earth observation satellite sends a volunteer from its crew to the surface of Helliconia, where he knows he will not survive long due to a lack of immunity from local diseases, but gets very much mixed up in a complex dynastic / political / gendered dispute among local rulers. Aldiss plays the theme of technologically advanced individual failing to impress a much more medieval civilisation very nicely.

  • Mo
    2019-01-07 21:16

    This book has points where it feels like it is dragging. Put those points are well worth it when you get to the end of the book and see how all that random stuff ties together. Just like the first book, it ends abruptly, but the storylines are wrapped up enough that it leaves you wondering what will happen next.

  • Ian Banks
    2019-01-13 00:32

    I read an interview with Mr Aldiss in the 80s where he said this series was inspired by the English tradition of Shakespeare, Hardy and Stapledon where big pictures overlay small, tragic stories. Except it's a bloody huge canvas and quite an epic story at surface level. This continues to be a very rewarding reread.

  • Flinx
    2019-01-15 19:07

    The way the human memory changes and the implications of this is very interestingly depicted in this part of the trilogy. The story seems to have more depth than it did in the first part. The thing that i find redundant is the story (and possible meddling) of the satellite humans and the Earth people.

  • Kyrie
    2019-01-12 23:12

    The middle book of the triology has more intrigue than the other two - I don't know if the summer heat brings out the deviance in people or what. It's like they have plenty and life is good, so they're bored and invent problems so they have a struggle

  • Janet
    2019-01-19 00:06

    Re-reading it after years. I am enjoying the trilogy. Finding it quite spellbinding, a myriad of characters and species, and in this one in particular an odyssey around the planet's varied and majestic landscape and ecology.

  • Steve Steidle
    2019-01-04 20:19

    Once again, Brian Aldiss creats a fascinating vibrant world and proceeds to populate it with unlikable and uninteresting characters. This one was a slog for me. Not recommended, but I will be fighting through the 3rd volume so satisfy my completionist self.