Helliconia Spring

Brian W. Aldiss
Helliconia Spring Cover

Helliconia Spring


"The binary system had created a binary biology." This is an interesting attempt at an ecological epic. Helliconia is a planet whose star is the lesser of a binary pair on a highly elliptical orbit, allowing for such extremes in seasonal climate that the inhabitants' life cycles are drastically affected. Different sentient species rise and fall, technology is lost and gained again. Legends and myths are created since the orbital period is thousands of years.

And everything is watched over by scientists on an Earth-based station, who can never take part or even land on the planet because of the presence of a virus which would be deadly to them. This virus is also linked to the climactic changes predicated on the elliptical orbit.

Aldiss' characterization of the nomadic/Stone Age people -- Aoz Roon, Laintal Ay, Shay tal, is also commendable. He traces along the changes in the planet as it warms into spring in lock-step with the changes in the characters as they struggle with themeselves and a changing climate. The prologue (Yuli), however, seemed unnecessary and out of place.

Thought-provoking. Worth looking into other volumes...