Hal Clement

Easton Press Hal Clement books

Mission of Gravity - Masterpieces of Science Fiction - 1987


Author Hal Clement

Hal Clement, whose real name was Harry Clement Stubbs, was an American science fiction writer and educator known for his contributions to hard science fiction. Born on May 30, 1922, in Somerville, Massachusetts, Clement earned a Bachelor of Science in astronomy from Harvard University in 1943. His interest in both science and education significantly influenced his writing. During World War II, Clement served in the U.S. Army Air Forces, where he worked as a weather observer. After the war, he pursued graduate studies in education at Boston University, earning a master's degree in 1947. This background in science and education became a hallmark of his science fiction works.

Hal Clement's writing career took off with the publication of his first novel, Needle, in 1950. The novel introduced readers to Clement's commitment to scientific accuracy and his focus on "hard" science fiction, which emphasizes scientific realism and attention to scientific principles. Needle tells the story of an extraterrestrial detective pursuing a criminal alien on Earth, and it exemplifies Clement's ability to construct speculative yet scientifically plausible scenarios. One of Hal Clement's most celebrated works is Mission of Gravity (1954), a novel set on a massive, fast-spinning planet called Mesklin. The novel explores the physics and biology of this alien world in intricate detail, showcasing Clement's talent for world-building within the constraints of known scientific principles.

Iceworld by Hal Clement

Iceworld is a science fiction novel written by Hal Clement, originally published in 1953. The novel is set on a fictional planet called Hoth, not to be confused with the icy planet of the same name in the Star Wars universe. Hal Clement, known for his commitment to scientific accuracy and hard science fiction, brings his expertise to bear on creating a vivid and detailed portrayal of an alien world. In Iceworld, the planet Hoth is a frigid and inhospitable environment with extreme cold temperatures. The novel explores the challenges faced by a group of humans and aliens as they attempt to understand and survive in this harsh setting. The story revolves around the investigation of a mysterious and potentially dangerous phenomenon on Hoth, and it unfolds as the characters grapple with the planet's unique atmospheric conditions, ice formations, and the intricacies of its ecology.

True to Clement's style, Iceworld is characterized by its scientific rigor and attention to detail. The author explores the consequences of extreme environmental conditions on both the characters and the plot, creating a narrative that is as much about problem-solving and adaptation as it is about traditional storytelling. The novel is an excellent example of Hal Clement's ability to construct speculative worlds that adhere closely to known scientific principles. Through Iceworld, Clement engages readers in the exploration of an alien environment while providing insights into the challenges and possibilities of adapting to unfamiliar and extreme conditions. Iceworld is often considered a classic within the subgenre of hard science fiction, and it showcases Hal Clement's dedication to merging scientific accuracy with compelling storytelling. Readers interested in speculative fiction that delves into the intricacies of alien worlds and the challenges of survival in extreme environments may find "Iceworld" to be a captivating and intellectually stimulating read.

Throughout his career, Clement continued to produce a body of work that adhered to rigorous scientific accuracy. His novels often involved the exploration of alien environments and the challenges faced by human and alien characters in understanding and adapting to their surroundings. In addition to his work as a science fiction author, Hal Clement worked as a high school science teacher for many years, contributing to his reputation as a writer who not only speculated about scientific ideas but also had a deep understanding of the subject matter. He brought this educational background to his writing, making his stories not only entertaining but also informative and intellectually engaging. Hal Clement's impact on science fiction, particularly within the subgenre of hard science fiction, earned him accolades, and his influence can be seen in the work of subsequent generations of science fiction writers. He passed away on October 29, 2003, leaving behind a legacy of scientifically grounded and intellectually stimulating science fiction literature.


Mission of Gravity - Mesklin Series Book 1

For a profit & adventure Barlennan would sail thousands of miles across uncharted waters, into regions where gravity played strange tricks. He'd dare the perils of strange tribes & stranger creatures even dicker with those aliens from beyond the skies, though the concept of another world was unknown to the inhabitants of the planet of Mesklin. But in spite of the incredible technology of the strangers & without regard for their enormous size, Barlennan had the notion of turning the deal to an unsuspected advantage for himself- a considerable enterprise for a being very much resembling a 15" caterpillar!

Mesklin is a vast, inhospitable, disc-shaped planet, so cold that its oceans are liquid methane and its snows are frozen ammonia. It is a world spinning dizzyingly, a world where gravity can be a crushing 700 times greater than Earth's, a world too hostile for human explorers. But the planet holds secrets of inestimable value, and an unmanned probe that has crashed close to one of its poles must be recovered. Only the Mesklinites, the small creatures so bizarrely adapted to their harsh environment, can help.

And so Barlennan, the resourceful and courageous captain of the Mesklinite ship Bree, sets out on an heroic and appalling journey into the terrible unknown. For him and his people, the prize to be gained is as great as that for mankind...

Hal Clement's Mission of Gravity is universally regarded as one of the most important and best loved novels in the genre. The remarkable and sympathetic depiction of an alien species and the plausible and scientifically based realisation of the strange world they inhabit make it a major landmark in the history of hard SF.


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