Set on the Earth-like planet Helliconia, this is an epic chronicling the rise and fall of a civilization over more than a thousand years.
The great drama of life on Helliconia is shaped by its cosmic limitations. In fierce contrasts of climate, whole seasons last for centuries and civilizations rise and fall as the planet orbits the giant sun Freyr every 3000 years.
Brian Wilson Aldiss is one of the most important voices in science-fiction writing today. He wrote his first novel while working as a bookseller in Oxford. Shortly afterwards he wrote his first work of science fiction and soon gained international recognition. Adored for his innovative literary techniques, evocative plots and irresistible characters, he became a Grand Master of Science Fiction in 1999. Brian Aldiss recently celebrated his 80th birthday and is still writing, to ardent applause.
©1982 Brian Aldiss; (P)2009 Audible Ltd
Started really, really slow with new vocabulary and alien references that are hard to follow in audio format. Just finished listening to it - after working on it for a year, because it was so slow to start. Once I got over the hump however (about 1/2 way through) the story lines started to come together. I am buying the follow on because it got to be a good story - very Pillars of the Earth / Ken Follett.
I'm just this guy, y'know?
I am finding this book to be amazing as a feat of world creation - it reminds of Dune as far as the attention to and depth of detail of the society and setting. The narration and audio production values are good, but I generally prefer narration to be unobtrusive - I can forget I am listening and just go with the story. So that's my definition of "good" narration...
I really don't think that I would try another book by Brian Aldiss. There was nothing about any of the characters in the book that made me connect with them.
I was not enthralled with Christopher Slade's performance. One of the most annoying parts of it, which should have been caught by a sound engineer and stopped early, is that I could hear him turning the pages of the book. I really felt like he was reading a book to me, as opposed to performing the characters. There was nothing wrong with it, but there was nothing that was RIGHT about it either.
Helliconia Spring is like one of those made for cable movies that you begin watching right before bedtime. You know early on that it's not going to be that good, but you just keep waiting for it to get better. It just HAS TO get better. It can't keep going on like this. There is some deeper, more interesting part that is just about to happen...right? Two hours later you end up kicking yourself because you could have been sleeping.
There just was no plot. It was a multi generational story concerning the climatic changes on an alien planet and how it affected the human population. Human population? Yea, there were humans. There were pigs, horses, bears, and dogs, along with a myriad of the native alien creatures (some of which are sentient), but not one word of explanation of how these terrestrial beings came to be on Helliconia. Yes, there was some connection with Earth, a research station (from Earth) orbiting the planet. However, this research station was, as best I could tell, only there to explain a few technical matters that really didn't contribute to the storyline, or could have been explained by the same narratives that the author used to explain other aspects of Helliconia that are not explainable by known scientific principles. In fact, the only thing that really came from having a research station from Earth was a good explanation of the science of why the researchers from Earth couldn't ever go down to Helliconia!
There is no goal, no protagonist or antagonist, no overriding (or even under riding) reason to keep listening to find out what happens next. Dickens pulled off getting the reader involved with following multiple characters' trials and tribulations through every day life by developing characters that you can get involved in. Characters you can love; characters you can hate. Let's face it, Aldiss is no Dickens, and his characters just aren't that deep. I yearned for one good hero or one good villain! Someone to cry over or shout about! I would have even been happy with a little person on a quest for a magical ring...
In short, I am kicking myself because I could have been asleep!
In all fairness I have only made it through the first 4 hours of the book but just can't bring myself to finish it. This appears to be a collection of stories that will probably come together at some point, but the first one was so tedious and slow paced that continuing is not worth it to me. The recording quality is also not that great. There are frequent long periods of silence between words and sentences and you often hear the narrator licking his lips.
Who can say if the story would be improved if the narration was even marginally competent? As it is, the pauses, the audible page turning, and the slow. monotonous pace are sure killers
I love Scifi and Fantasy books.
I really can not say which is worse the story or the narrator. The story is so slow that I found myself not paying attention to large segments of it and not caring enough to go back and re-listen to find out what happened which no doubt didn't matter anyway. The narrator has a way of reading each sentence then pausing so a very slow story is painfully drawn out. I forced my self to finish it then when I did not really caring what happened I realized that there was a SECOND part. ARRRHHH!
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