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Helm (1998)

by Steven Gould

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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304668,088 (3.68)17
When Leland de Laal--the youngest son of Agatsu's greatest leader--climbs the forbidden rock spire, dons the Glass Helm, and becomes imprinted with knowledge of lost Earth, his life is altered beyond recognition as he is prepared for a crucial role in Agatsu's future.
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» See also 17 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Summer13:

Characters: Some are memorable. The lead is a bit too perfect. The villains are not explored the best.

Plot: A fun save the world type run.

Style: Maybe just a little too impersonal, but the action is fun and thinky. ( )
  Isamoor | Jul 28, 2013 |
Sometimes trashy sci-fi can be the best kind of fun. Helm is a fun, cool, fast-paced adventure story. Here's the book's description (snagged from the back cover): "After global devastation, the last remnants of Earth sent a handful of colonists of a distant terraformed world to give humanity one last, desperate chance. Unable to provide the technology required for an advanced civilization, the founders instilled in the colonists a strict code of conduct and gave them a few precious imprinting devices: glass helmets that contain all of Earth's scientific knowledge.Once in a generation, the heir to the province of Laal begins the arduous training required to survive the imprinting of the Glass Helm and acquire the knowledge of the lost Earth. But Leland de Laal, the youngest son of one of Agatsu's greatest leaders, has climbed the forbidden rock spire where the Helm is kept and donned it, unaware that its knowledge has a terrible price. To an unprepared mind, it brings madness, agony, and even death."One of the coolest consequences of Leland's premature imprinting is that he's picked up knowledge of aikido. With further training he hones his martial arts skill and the fighting in the story is filled with slick descriptions of it. This story is filled with chases, battles, double-crossing, betrayal, dark dealings, and many fights with sword, staff, and arrow. Although set in the far-future, Agatsu's society is medieval. Makes for a very fun tale. ( )
  woodge | Nov 20, 2009 |
This book was a gift from a friend and I liked it a lot. It is technically science fiction - space travel, colonizing another planet, some advanced technology - but after the prologue, about the first 10 pages, it reads more like a fantasy. I thought the quirk of the Helm was done pretty well, and I liked that several seemingly-unimportant events that happened at various points in the story had much farther reaching, and occasionally much more dramatic, consequences than were obvious at the time. ( )
  bluesalamanders | Oct 8, 2008 |
I would love to read another book set in this world! ( )
  roworthing | Oct 2, 2007 |
What fascinates me about this book is the concept of technological decay. The inhabitants of this world are descendants of space colonists, but have lost most of their technology. What always gets me about this is that in books like these, there's always hidden remnants of technology that are waiting to be found.

I'm still "early" on my thinking around this, but it seems like a lot of the interesting parts of the book is the discovery of hidden things. I.e., the "underworld". It seems like everywhere you look (and not just in fantasy or sci-fi), there's always an "underworld." The very definition of the werewolf/vampire genre is a specific type of underworld. In fantasy books often the characters are descending into a literal "abyss." In other genres you'll see "gang underworlds" or "crime underworlds" or even "Fast and the Furious underground neon street racing" underworld.

Again, this is just "early thoughts" on the subject.
1 vote phappyman | Aug 26, 2007 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steven Gouldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Burns, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Depending on the circumstance, you should be: hard as a diamond, flexible as a willow, smooth-flowing like water, or empty as space.
—Morihei Ueshiba
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(Prologue):
They huddled on the floor, shoulder to shoulder, in a rock pocket off the main corridor, moving their heads carefully to avoid banging them on the low roof.
(Chapter One):
First there was the cyanophyta, the blue-green algae, a hundred different kinds, tailored to float at various strata of the atmosphere, to lie in puddles of water, to infest the shallow seas.
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When Leland de Laal--the youngest son of Agatsu's greatest leader--climbs the forbidden rock spire, dons the Glass Helm, and becomes imprinted with knowledge of lost Earth, his life is altered beyond recognition as he is prepared for a crucial role in Agatsu's future.

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