The Best of Hal Clement

The Best of Hal ClementThe Best of Hal Clement by Clement 1979 I came into this expecting that Clement would try to ground his stories in what was possible and was not disappointed This makes his best stories that much better However, many of the older stories highlight the problem with hard science fiction Unexpected advances in technology make these stories outdated than the so called magical science that is common Most of the time this is trivial it was funny reading about characters in a space station having to deal with thousands of tubes in their computers Clement himself notes, in the afterword, that he was wrong in assuming analog would beat digital in computer technology But in Mistaken for Granted, the whole story hinges on two problems that a less grounded author would have assumed would be solved that our tendency to measure time in 12 hour increments creates dangerous ambiguities, that lack of positional and directional awareness is also very dangerous and costly, and that the protective suits necessary to move about on the moon will also hide personal information devices such as watches.On the moon in that story, there are no GPS satellites circling the moon, no communications satellites circling the moon, no digital watches, and no heads up displays And the lack of each of those are critical to the course of the story But the problem of communication on a dangerous place like the moon is so critical that you pretty much have to assume it will be solved, even if you don t know how it will be solved And while the problem of locating people and equipment precisely is perhaps less obviously critical, the lack of compasses was not So even though the author didn t know how it would be solved, it would have been safer to guess that it would be and hand wave away the mechanics.The same with the inability to read a wristwatch in a spacesuit Some form of heads up display or simply building a time piece into the suit should have been assumed.Obviously, this would have made the story difficult to write, and in his defense, according to the very interesting afterword he thought up this story around a Boy Scout campfire.His best stories are the ones where he goes furthest afield Stuck With It, for example, about an intelligent race that lives mostly underwater, and so has developed different building styles and different technologies to deal with their environment A Question of Guilt was so far afield it was barely science fiction fantasy, and is one of the best stories in the collection. Popular Books, The Best Of Hal Clement Author Hal Clement This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book The Best Of Hal Clement, Essay By Hal Clement Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You Sort of Martian esque, in short form. I decided to read this when attempting to get an introduction to the idea of hard science fiction, and I ll be the first to say that it was incredibly dense The author managed to completely design a world, discuss the physical facts about the world, and how the protagonist uses it to his advantage in what both qualifies as a short amount of writing but also a considerable depth of knowledge regarding the situation The concepts weren t difficult but he never retreated from using full fledged scientific details to approach the subjects The story itself was pretty awesome as well, the characters were mostly one dimensional but the point wasn t about their hopes and dreams but about the singular individual s ability to utilize a unknown world in order to gain the upper hand on mutineers. Impediment 1942 a classic problem story A certain lack in the alien s knowledge of physics is extremely implausible given their level of technology compare to a similar implausibility in the much later story Neutron Star by Larry Niven However, the central idea of communication and assumptions made is very clever and carries the story despite the clunky and dated prose which may be part of its charm.Technical Error 1943 the crew of a wrecked spaceship, stranded on an airless asteroid, come across an abandoned ancient alien ship and they have to puzzle out its workings to survive This seems to be a story written for engineers We don t really learn what the aliens looked like or what they were doing in the Solar System, although there are some clues that are left hangingUncommon Sense 1943 The theme so far seems to be downed spacecraft This time, the protagonist is alone on an airless, hot planet with only his spacesuit and must find a way to get his ship back before his treacherous crew take off, leaving him to die.Assumption Unjustified 1946 Sort of comedy of errors about alien tourists secretly messing with Earth people for reasons of their own The cover of one of the editions is based on this story.Answer 1947 Space based supercomputer tackles psychology Lots of attention to details that appear very dated to a contemporary reader but are technically correct Dust Rag 1956 Another physics puzzle set on the Moon the characters exist just as vehicles for the neat idea Bulge 1968 A rather well constructed hostage thriller set on a space station.Mistaken for Granted 1974 Juvenile or young adult although it does not have the YA tropes we all know and story set on the Moon The writing seems to get slicker and entertaining through the decades A Question of Guilt and Stuck With It 1976 Finally I finished this collection, which I put aside for a long while Somehow it almost escaped me that Question was supposed to be a vampire story of sorts there are no vampires at all, although the main character does mess about with blood, with the best intentions but with imperfect understanding Stuck I had read before in some best of the year anthology or another What struck me was that I had big difficulties picturing the world for myself from the author s descriptions The theme is ecological.As a whole, the collection is a good example of hard science fiction. This collection of hard science fiction short stories is well worth reading for any hard scifi fan Hal Clement is a master of the genre, and does an excellent job of creating scientifically interesting settings for each of these stories.While there is some lack in character development, this is not unusual in short stories, as there generally isn t enough time to permit substantial change Much disappointing is Clement s continual use of sexism but this was standard practice in his time, and no scifi novels of this period really did any better on that front.Despite these flaws, these stories are still well worth reading Definitely recommended. Just what the title says a collection of Hal Clements best short stories and novelletes.Hal Clement was a master at exploring extreme physical conditions through the medium of science fiction, but with a hard science rational to support his speculations enjoy a lot better than iceworld, this stuff works much better in short story form than it does in novels clement likes to write problem stories and is good at coming up with alien worlds and scenarios, but doesn t really write characters very well with iceworld, the scientific problem wasnt enough to sustain an entire novel, and a lot of the scenes with the humans felt like padding, but that is largely avoided here the characters are still dull golly gee whiz 1950s types, and the stories that work the best deal with protagonists pulling themselves out of science based jams, rather than any kind of character drama mistaken for granted is the only real dud here, the best of the lot probably being a question of guilt , which is completely unlike the others, set in rome contemporary with marcus aurelius and galen, dealing with history of science fiction rather than speculative future fiction a great take on the vampire story, which would really make for a fantastic film There are bits in a few of the stories that feel a little dated but overall even the older stores seem very modern Especially good if you like non traditional protagonists in stories.It is also refreshing to read a story where the central conflict is not entirely because of the stupidity of the characters or unmotivated maliciousness of a bad guy.

Harry Clement Stubbs better known by the pen name Hal Clement , was an American science fiction writer and a leader of the hard science fiction subgenre Further details at

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  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 379 pages
  • The Best of Hal Clement
  • Hal Clement
  • English
  • 20 December 2018
  • 9780345276896

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