Helliconia: A MASTERpiece

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Mugwump, Dec 17, 2004.

  1. Mugwump

    Mugwump New Member

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    It’s brutal, ugly, nasty and horrible in a fashion that only Aldiss can create. It’s hopelessly flawed with elements that border upon the utterly ludicrous. It breaks just about every law imaginable that is associated with the “successful SF series”. Yet no matter how much I gnaw and bite at it. No matter how much I should hate it: The Helliconia series survives my ill intent and leaves me breathless with admiration.

    The complex and sophisticated world-building; the stygian, abyssal humour; the almost hopeless rage against the power of Nature: I LOVE IT!

    Bravo Brian Aldiss!
     
  2. nicba

    nicba Lost in a large book

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    Arghhhh!

    Ufff! I get red spots and starts to shake all over just by the mention of that series. It's awful! Terrible!

    Once, many years ago when I lived in a small town and didn't yet have access to the internet for easy book buying, I got all the (eight?) books of this series from my local library. Starved as I was for good reading material, I fought my way through all of the books, in a desperate search for a plot. But I never really found one.

    The harrowing experience marred me for a lifetime. Now, whenever I see a book written by Aldiss, I turn around and runs away screaming. Terrible!

    (...just goes to show that taste is a very personal, unpredictable thing.)
     
  3. fortytwo

    fortytwo New Member

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    I have had that series sitting in my unread pile for donkey's years. Aldiss has written some of the most memorable s.f. I've ever read, and some of the worst. If I knew which Aldiss has written this series I could either read it or toss it away.
     
  4. ironchef texmex

    ironchef texmex New Member

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    I've only read the original trilogy (spring/winter/summer) and thought it was one of the best series I've ever read. I'm with Mug on this one, the world building is unbelievably immersive. They're character driven, but not by any specific character. They bristle with Aldiss' cynisism, which I love (happy-go-lucky sci/fi writers drive me up the wall. Anyone who thinks that mankind is evolving toward a state of pure energy just isn't watching enough reality TV.) :rolleyes:

    The series isn't perfect. Anyone who has read Aldiss is familiar with the quintessential Brian Aldiss massive-trainwreck-ending. Closure? Uh, no. Logical stopping points? You're joking, right. I think I physically ripped out the last page of book three with my teeth.

    Also, if you are someone who likes your sci/fi on the group hug/future is so bright I've gotta wear shades side, then you might not appreciate some of the dark satirical touches like the, uh, giant sentient genitalia.
     
  5. Mugwump

    Mugwump New Member

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    To be honest, I thought the ending was the most memorable part of the books. The message is simple: Nature - we mightn't be able to control you, but we sure as hell can FIGHT you.

    The entire series is a tale of survival in the face of almost impossible odds. When Luterin raises his spear to the sky and cries “Abro Hakmo Astab!” into the icy wind, he commits himself to the same oath that his forefathers swore: I will not be beaten. I will survive! We will live on!

    Fantastic!
     
  6. splendidbetta

    splendidbetta New Member

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    Helliconia Spring

    I recently started reading Helliconia Spring.

    I know it is set on a different planet and time runs completely differently there. I need some clarification on how many of our years is equivalent to so many of their years?

    I.e. at 25 yrs of age, people/humans are elderly, and usually dead by age 30. How many earth years is equivalent to 30 Helliconian years?

    Many thanks in advance, I have been driven crazy by the time differences lol, not to mention the lack of real plot and how infused with detail every sentence is yet how fast the story moves along...
     
  7. Rocket Sheep

    Rocket Sheep I AM too a mod! Staff Member

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    That last bit sounds like a good thing... detailed, yet fast. :D

    Can anyone help young Splendid with his time question? I sent him here and told him you'd all know.

    Where's Mugwump when you need him?

    I hate it when authors get too complicated and forget about maintaining contact with their readers. I'm wading thru a different novel with the same type of problem at the moment... and miles of passive voice (shudder).
     
  8. Mugwump

    Mugwump New Member

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    1 Small Year (Orbiting Batalix) = 480 earth days.
    1 Great Year (Orbiting Freyr) = 2592 earth years.

    A 30 year-old Helliconian = 40 year old Earthman (approx).
     
  9. Rocket Sheep

    Rocket Sheep I AM too a mod! Staff Member

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    Thank you oh great and knowledgable Mugwump. So living on Helliconia really takes its toll on the puny human, huh?
     
  10. Mugwump

    Mugwump New Member

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    That’s not what the wife says about me. ;)

    I’d say the average life-spans are comparable to those during Neolithic, Pre-Industrial and Early-Industrial times (the three eras presented in Helliconia) on earth.
     
  11. splendidbetta

    splendidbetta New Member

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    Thank you so much for replying Mugwump!:D
     
  12. Mugwump

    Mugwump New Member

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    No problems. Enjoy the books.