Once you’ve fallen into the fictive dream served up by a writer, you don’t want anything to lift you out of it (such as plot holes, characters acting, well, out of character—obeying the author rather than their own motives and intentions—or telephones for that matter); and you want to immerse yourself ever deeper in the rich universe and its many interesting and illuminating details.
It takes a very good writer to maintain such a dream in the reader, and Brian W. Aldiss, who recently passed away, was indeed such a writer. And the fact that he took seven years to craft this trilogy, speaks volumes: you are reading quality (Science) fiction.
The Helliconia Trilogy (Spring, Summer, and Winter) is set on an earth-like planet some 1,400 lightyears from earth, circling a small sun which, along with Helliconia and some sister planets, is in its turn circling a much larger sun. The short year around the smaller sun is 1.42 earth years, but the long year around the massive star is 2,592 earth years and brings Helliconia and its smaller sun very far from the star during winter (planetary ice ages) and very close to the star during summer (unbearable heat). Add to this that each season last about 600 earth years, and you can see that earlier seasons are more like fable than history for the population.
Good stories are always character driven—and make no mistake, this story is—but interesting underlying concepts such as this dual-sun planet adds their own dimension of interest and intrigue to any story.
I will not attempt to outline plot, etc., but want to say that once you’ve entered this universe, you do not want to leave it. A true master of both Science and Literary Fiction, has served up an incredible treat; which, incidentally, is available (the whole trilogy) at Amazon Kindle for a song these days. I’d run rather than walk to my keyboard…