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  1. #16
    I loved the world Aldiss created, it gave so much room for my imagination to play.

    the characterization I'd say was the weakest aspect of the novel if I had to pick out something.. I wanted to root for Laintal Ay but nothing really hooked me... really wanted him to take charge and
    Spoiler:
    somehow kill the phagors at the end


    enjoyed the world immensely

    PS
    Spoiler:
    What the hell happened at fish lake ??? why did all the phagors freeze?? what was the real reason? I guess i must of missed it!


    -Kris

  2. #17
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    the characterization I'd say was the weakest aspect of the novel if I had to pick out something..
    Yes: I'd agree with that, although I later realised (on re-reading many years later) that that detached nature allows it to be 'a planetary romance', rather in the style of HG Wells, where the characters rather play second fiddle (at least in part) to the actions and changes on the planet itself. The planet itself is a character and the reader revels in its appearance and changes.

    Didn't get that first time: but as Brian is (still, I think) vice-president of the HG Wells Society, perhaps I should've.

    Mark
    Mark

  3. #18
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    I've just bought this on Kindle edition after reading it for the first time nearly 25 years ago. Have to say I'm enjoying it and understanding it much more this time around.

    Quote Originally Posted by krisbslick View Post
    PS
    Spoiler:
    What the hell happened at fish lake ??? why did all the phagors freeze?? what was the real reason? I guess i must of missed it!


    -Kris
    Spoiler:
    The clue is in Aldiss's description. Fish Lake is mirror like, not a ripple. The water is already several degrees below zero, but there isn't enough energy in the lake for small ice crystals to form and join together to freeze it. Water can exist in this state, but it's really unstable. When the phagors jump in the small ice crystals suddenly have something to form around, at which point the entire body of water suddenly crystalises into more stable ice. It's called super-cooling. My guess is that Aldiss used it to illustrate how science is being interpreted as magic, because of everything the Oldorandans have forgotten during the winter.


    BTW, first post here. Yay me!!

  4. #19
    It never entered my mind algernoninc's Avatar
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    good point queso. Aldiss mentions in some other parts of the series how science may appear as magic to the uninformed observer. Glad you like it, I also discovered Helliconia in 1990, I think.

  5. #20
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Queso View Post
    Spoiler:
    The clue is in Aldiss's description. Fish Lake is mirror like, not a ripple. The water is already several degrees below zero, but there isn't enough energy in the lake for small ice crystals to form and join together to freeze it. Water can exist in this state, but it's really unstable. When the phagors jump in the small ice crystals suddenly have something to form around, at which point the entire body of water suddenly crystalises into more stable ice. It's called super-cooling. My guess is that Aldiss used it to illustrate how science is being interpreted as magic, because of everything the Oldorandans have forgotten during the winter.
    This was probably the best part in the book, I thought.

  6. #21
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    Well I know this is now off everyone's list and all, but I finished Spring a couple of weeks back and decided to read Helliconia Summer straight afterwards. Once again, this was a re-read, since I originally bought the book in paperback in 1990 or thereabouts. Thoughts (just because I need to get them out of my head I suppose)...

    Spoiler:
    Summer was a much better book for me this time. It has the beginnings of some real characterisation going on, rather than the completely detached viewpoints that Aldiss employs in Spring. Muntras and JandolAnganol were great counterpoints to each other, one having seen everything he believes there is to see and fading towards his end, the other tortured by the present and always striving for better.

    The only thing for me that lets this book down was the complete lack of closure at the end. It's less that we don't find out what happens next to any of the characters or situations and more that everything is left hanging as if the book ends a chapter early. Meanwhile we get a very Stanley Kubrick-esque flashback to several millions before in order to explain how the phagors see the world.

    However, in the main as stories go it's an improvement on Spring IMO. The Avernus is less tacked onto the side, there's a lot of insights into the effects the characters of Spring have had on their world, and meanwhile the whole is intertwined into a tale of duty and melancholy mixed with further explanations of how the world fits together. All in all I enjoyed it. Worth a read.

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