On a planet with a complex orbit the season is again turning toward a centuries-long winter for which humans are ill-suited. The Avernus observation satellite is similarly facing changes it may not survive. As the cold increases, human societies take ever greater precautions against the Fat Death and the changes it brings.
In Helliconia Winter, Brian Aldiss finally settles into the human-scale story he approached in Summer. The result is, if not exactly intimate, still substantially more engaging than the previous volumes. Winter is coming, and with it the Fat Death, the plague that kills some and transforms others to prepare them for centuries of cold ahead.
To be frank, my reaction on finishing the series was mainly of relief. It’s seldom that I find books this slow. Mainly, I think the issue is that Aldiss, lost in the vast scope of his plan, forgot to approach it through characters we could identify with. That gradually improved as the trilogy progressed, but even in this last volume, I didn’t care enough about the lead protagonist, Luterin Shokerandit, to have strong feelings about what happened to him. While an improvement on its predecessors, Winter is not a strong book.
15 October 2017 Science fiction | Brian W. Aldiss | Helliconia Trilogy |