Books by Hal Clement

NOISE by Hal Clement
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"Although Clement's strained attempts to generate a plot are not a success, the real attraction here is the bizarre environment, meticulously set forth in glowing scientific detail."
New hard SF novel from the veteran pro (Half Life, 1999, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2000

Follow-up to the first installment (1999), this one consisting of 17 stories, 1942-87, though on what basis they were selected isn't clear. More than most authors, Clement labors in the traditional fields of hard science fiction, developing knotty, challenging puzzles for his characters to meet and overcome with scientific rationality and common sense. His protagonists are beings of many persuasions, often alien, using their knowledge and intelligence to solve problems, whether escaping from captivity, analyzing apparently incomprehensible situations, or simply doing business. At opening up new perspectives, Clement is masterful. Read full book review >
HALF LIFE by Hal Clement
Released: Sept. 8, 1999

New science fiction from the veteran author of Still River (1987), etc. Near the end of the next century, diseases are evolving so rapidly that human survival itself is threatened. Nobody knows why, or how to tackle the problem. A low-cost expedition to examine possible pre-biotic chemistry on Saturn's frigid, smoggy moon, Titan, may yield inspiration. Together with the sophisticated but nonsentient computer, Status, only 21 of the original 50 sickly crew members survive to reach Titan, where they soon encounter problems engendered by Titan's unique high-pressure, low-gravity, supercold, nitrogen-hydrocarbon chemistry. Remote pilot Gene Belvew crashes his ramjet after an unexpected buildup of ammonia ice on the wings. Barn Inger dies in a grotesque accident when a chunk of water ice explodes, shattering his suit. Expedition leader Arthur Goodall, no longer able to tolerate the steadily increasing pain of his nerve disorder, descends to the surface and commits suicide, mingling human enzymes with the pre-biotic gels discovered on the surface. New leader Maria Collos picks up a tar sample that eats through her glove, so her hand must be amputated. Another weird gel actually engulfs the pseudolife labs dropped to study it. Another ramjet develops a transparent rubbery varnish that devours a wing. The varnish also dissolves Seichi Yakama's spacesuit, and he dies by decompression. But analyses of the varnish give clues to what's happening on Titan, and why disease is running rampant on distant Earth. Challenging problem, fascinating investigation, persuasive resolution: gripping hard SF from a veteran pro. Read full book review >
Released: April 25, 1999

Three full-length novels from Clement (Still River, 1987) dating from an era when novels ran to 150—200 pages and didn't wear out their welcome. Most of his best works feature children and young people solving intriguing puzzles within a solid science framework. In Needle (1949), an alien criminal crash-lands on Earth, closely pursued by a policeman of the same species. The twist is that they're parasitic blobs of jelly, dependent on a host to survive. Iceworld (1953) lacks both a puzzle and youthful protagonists; an alien criminal from a very hot, bright planet perceives Earth as a gloomy, frigid netherworld. The brave young girl and her alien counterpart of Close to Critical (1958) become trapped on the surface of a planet under conditions where phase changes make water unpredictable. Persuasive aliens, remarkable world-building, and splendid puzzles: fans partial to any of these will find Clement well worth investigating. Read full book review >