About twenty years ago I read a novel about a planet with extreme climate variations. Over the course of a year (more or less the length of an Earth year) the climate changed drastically from brutal winter to brutal summer. There was a belt of temperate climate that migrated north to south to north, and the residents formed two societies; one that migrated with the temperate band like the native animals did (20-30 miles a day, as I recall), and others who hunkered down and toughed out the hard times and made the best use of the temperate times they could. Does anyone know its name or author?

I am looking for a novel based on seasonal change that is much more frequent than that of the Helliconia series. And if this helps - the residents came from a technologically advanced Earth society via interstellar travel but the harshness of the world rendered their society much more primitive, roughly 19th century for the stationary people, and hunter-gatherer for the nomads.

  • Sounds interesting, but unfortunately not one I recognize. When you do find it, I'm going to want to read it too!
    – Bobson
    Sep 9 '14 at 18:15
  • While it can't be the answer, this describes the planet in Stephen Baxter's "Earth II" which is in his recent collection Landfall.
    – Mike Scott
    Jun 15 '15 at 15:55

I am guessing you are hearkening back to the Helliconia Trilogy: Helliconia Spring, Helliconia Summer and Helliconia Winter. Per Wikipedia:

The Helliconia Trilogy is a series of science fiction books by Brian Aldiss, set on the Earth-like planet Helliconia. It is an epic chronicling the rise and fall of a civilisation over more than a thousand years as the planet progresses through its incredibly long seasons, which last for centuries.

Although perhaps the geography indicates otherwise:

Helliconia is 1.28 Earth masses in size, making it somewhat larger than Earth and with a bigger axial tilt of 35 degrees. This means that small year seasons are harsher but the planet still has huge polar ice caps, capable of surviving even the great summer, and the human-habitable surface area is comparable to that of Earth.

There are three continents, a tropical continent (Campannlat), a northern continent (Sibornal) and a southern continent (Hespagorat). "Helliconia Spring" and "Helliconia Summer" mainly take place in Campannlat, with its rich vitality, and "Helliconia Winter" focuses on Sibornal, where the harsher environment encourages technological progress. The southern continent features only briefly in the books.

  • 1
    This doesn't sound like a match for the original post, which specifies seasons that change over the course of an Earth-length year. Sep 9 '14 at 12:28
  • I'm re-reading the Helliconia Trilogy right now, after reading it as a kid many years ago. So far, enjoying it. Jan 28 '18 at 21:51

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