Brian Aldiss

Small Works

Orson Scott Card said. . . .

Perhaps the most notable recent example of fiction that does it all is Brian Aldiss’s brilliant and ambitious Helliconia trilogy: Helliconia Spring, Helliconia Summer, andHelliconia Winter. Conceived and executed as a Great Work, the entire story takes place on a planet that orbits two binary stars. Not only is there a fairly normal annual cycle of seasons, but also there is a thousand-year cycle of super-seasons. As the planet draws near to the larger star, the overall climate becomes almost unbearably hot; as it recedes, warmed only by the smaller, cooler star, the planet becomes so cold that it almost completely freezes over. All life on the planet, including human life and society, has adapted to the millennial cycle. As literary, anthropological, and romantic science fiction the trilogy is unexceptionable; it is also excellent hard science fiction. Most of this is due to Aldiss’s genius and to his unflagging integrity as a storyteller . . . Aldiss — like many other British writers — has remained immune to the insularity that so often makes American writers of speculative fiction use only a fraction of the tools available to storytellers.

Orson Scott Card on The Helliconia Trilogy in How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy