Hal Clement

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Hal Clement
Born Harry Clement Stubbs
(1922-05-30)May 30, 1922[1]
Somerville, Massachusetts
Died October 29, 2003(2003-10-29) (aged 81)
Milton, Massachusetts, USA
Pen name George Richard (as artist)
Occupation Novelist, military pilot, science teacher
Nationality American
Period 1942–2003
Genre Science fiction
Literary movement Hard science fiction
Notable works

Harry Clement Stubbs (May 30, 1922 – October 29, 2003) better known by the pen name Hal Clement, was an American science fiction writer and a leader of the hard science fiction subgenre. He also painted astronomically oriented artworks under the name George Richard.[2]

In 1998 Clement was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame[3][a] and named the 17th SFWA Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (presented in 1999).[4][5]

Biography[edit]

Stubbs was born in Somerville, Massachusetts and died in Milton, Massachusetts.

He went to Harvard, graduating with a B.S. in astronomy in 1943. While there he wrote his first published story, "Proof", which appeared in the June 1942 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, edited by John W. Campbell; three more appeared in later 1942 numbers.[6] His further educational background includes an M.Ed. (Boston University 1946) and M.S. in chemistry (Simmons College 1963).

During World War II Clement was a pilot and copilot of a B-24 Liberator and flew 35 combat missions over Europe with the 68th Bomb Squadron, 44th Bomb Group, based in England with 8th Air Force. After the war, he served in the United States Air Force Reserve, and retired with the rank of colonel. He taught chemistry and astronomy for many years at Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts.

From 1949 to 1953, Clement's first three novels were two-, three-, and four-part Astounding serials under Campbell: Needle (Doubleday, 1950), Iceworld (Gnome Press, 1953), and Mission of Gravity (1954), his best-known novel, published by Doubleday's Science Fiction Book Club (established 1953). The latter novel features a land and sea expedition across the superjovian planet Mesklin to recover a stranded scientific probe. The natives of Mesklin are centipede-like intelligent beings about 50 centimeters long. Various episodes hinge on the fact that Mesklin's fast rotational speed causes it to be considerably deformed from the spherical, with effective surface gravity that varies from approximately 3 gn at the equator to approximately 700 gn at the poles.

Clement's article "Whirligig World" describes his approach to writing a science fiction story:

"Writing a science fiction story is fun, not work. ... the fun ... lies in treating the whole thing as a game. ... [T]he rules must be quite simple. They are; for the reader of a science-fiction story, they consist of finding as many as possible of the author's statements or implications which conflict with the facts as science currently understands them. For the author, the rule is to make as few such slips as he possibly can ... Certain exceptions are made [e.g., to allow travel faster than the speed of light], but fair play demands that all such matters be mentioned as early as possible in the story ..."

Clement was a frequent guest at science fiction conventions, especially in the eastern United States, where he usually presented talks and slide shows about writing and astronomy.

Clement died in Milton Hospital at the age of 81. He died in his sleep, most likely due to complications of diabetes.

Awards and honors[edit]

Clement has been honored several times for his cumulative contributions including 1998 Hall of Fame induction, when Clement and Frederik Pohl were the fifth and sixth living persons[a] honored, and the 1999 SFWA Grand Master Award.[3][4][5]

For the 1945 short story "Uncommon Sense" he received a 50-year Retro Hugo Award at the 1996 World Science Fiction Convention. Mission of Gravity, first published as a serial during 1953, was named best foreign novel by the Spanish Science Fiction Association in 1994 and it was a finalist for a 50-year Retro Hugo Award in 2004.[5]

The Hal Clement Award for Young Adults for Excellence in Children's Science Fiction Literature is presented in his memory at Worldcon each year.[7]

Wayne Barlowe illustrated two of Clement's fictional species, the Abyormenites and the Mesklinites, in his Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials.

Planets[edit]

Compared with contemporary science fiction authors like Isaac Asimov or Poul Anderson, Clement was parsimonious in naming fictional planets. Those that he created as settings include a number of notably unusual worlds. They include:

  • Abyormen – A planet circling a dwarf star (Theer), which in turn circles a blue giant. This produces a hot and a cold season, each of 65 years' duration. The native intelligent life forms undergo a seasonal mass death. From Cycle of Fire.
  • Dhrawn – A high-gravity world settled by Mesklinites in Star Light.
  • Habranha - A planet that is tidally locked with its sun, such that the far side is a mix of solid CO2, solid methane, and ice, and the other side completely ocean, in Fossil.
  • Hekla – An ice-age planet in Cold Front (short story, Astounding July 1946).
  • Kaihapa – An uninhabited ocean planet, twin of Kainui, in Noise.
  • Kainui – An inhabited ocean planet in Noise.
  • Mesklin — A planet with ultra-high gravity (up to 700 g) in Mission of Gravity. Clement later corrected his model of Mesklin and determined that the maximum surface gravity would be "only 250 gravities".
  • Sarr – An extremely hot planet with an atmosphere of gaseous sulfur, and little liquid (the natives occasionally need to drink a bit of molten copper chloride), in Iceworld
  • Tenebra – A high-gravity world with a corrosive atmosphere in Close to Critical.
  • Enigma 88 - A small planet near η Carinae in Still River. The interior of the object is honeycombed with caves, due to evaporation of accreted ice-rich planetoids. Unusually for Clement, Enigma's structure is not fully consistent with the laws of physics.

Short stories, novelettes and novellas[edit]

  • Impediment (aug 1942). Novelette. Published in Astounding. Collected in Natives of Space, The Best of Hal Clement and The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2.
  • Avenue of Escape (nov 1942). Published in Astounding's series Probability Zero. Collected in The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2.
  • Attitude (sep 1943). Novella. Published in Astounding. Collected in The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2 and Travellers of Space (1951).
  • Technical Error (jan 1944). Novelette. Published in Astounding. Collected in Natives of Space, The Best of Hal Clement and The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2.
  • Trojan Fall (jun 1944). Short story. Published in Astounding. Collected in Small Changes.
  • Uncommon Sense (sep 1945). His most famous short story. From the Laird Cunningham Series. Hugo Award for Best Short Story of 1945. Published in Astounding. Collected in Small Changes, The Best of Hal Clement, Intuit, The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2, The Old Masters (1970), Out of This World 10 (1973) and Nebula Awards Showcase 2000 (2000).
  • Cold Front (jul 1946). Novelette. Published in Astounding. Collected in The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2, Men Against the Stars (1950, 1956) and

Astoundind Stories: The 60th Aniversary Collection, Vol. 2 (1990).

  • Assumption Unjustified (oct 1946). Novelette. Published in Astounding. Collected in Natives of Space, The Best of Hal Clement and Crossroads in Time (1953).
  • Halo (oct 1952). Novelette. Published in Galaxy. Collected in Small Changes, The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2 and Shadow of Tomorrow (1953).
  • Ground (dec 1953). Short story not included in any of the Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Science Fiction Adventures.
  • Planet for Plunder (feb 1957). Published in Satellite jointly with Sam Merwin, Jr. A previous version of Planetfall. Collected in Men of the Morning Star/Planet for Plunder.
  • The Lunar Lichen (feb 1960). Novelette not included in any of the Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Future Science Fiction. Collected in The Time Trap/The Lunar Lichen.
  • The Green World (May 1963). Novella not included in any of the Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in If. Collected in The Moon is Hell!/The Green World.
  • Bulge (sep 1968). Novelette. Published in If. Collected in Small Changes and The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2.
  • Planetfall (1972). Original version of Planet for Plunder (1957). Published in Strange Tomorrows (1972). Collected in The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2.
  • Lecture Demonstration (1973). Short story from the 'Mesklin Series' (of Mission of Gravity fame). Published in the book Astounding (1973). Collected in The Essential Hal Clement Volume 3, Heavy Planet and Mission of Gravity (1978).
  • Mistaken for Granted (jan/feb 1974). Novella. Published in Worlds of If. Collected in The Best of Hal Clement.
  • The Logical Life (1974). Second short story from the Laird Cunningham Series (of Uncommon Sense fame). Published in Stellar #1 (1974). Collected in Intuit and The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2.
  • Stuck with It (1976). Novelette from the Laird Cunningham Series. Published in Stellar #2 (1976). Collected in The Best of Hal Clement, Intuit and The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2].
  • Longline (1976). Novelette. Published in Faster than Light (1976). Collected in The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2.
  • Seasoning (sep/oct 1978). Novelette set in Harlan Ellison's Medea world. Not included in any of Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in IASFM. Collected in Medea: Harlan's World (1985) and Aliens and UFO's (1993).
  • Status Symbol (1987). Novelette and last story from the Laird Cunningham Series. Published in Intuit. Collected in The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2.
  • Sortie (spr/sum 1994). First part of the Sortie Series. Novella not included in any of Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Harsh Mistress.
  • Settlement (fal/win 1994). Second part of the Sortie Series. Novella not included in any of Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Absolute Magnitude.
  • Seismic Sidetrack (spr 1995). Third part of the Sortie Series. Novella not included in any of Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Absolute Magnitude.
  • Simile (sum 1995). Fourth and last part of the Sortie Series. Novella not included in any of Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Absolute Magnitude.
  • Options (1998). Short story not included in any of Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published as Harry C. Stubbs in Lamps on the Brow.
  • Under (jan 2000). Short and last story from the Mesklin Series. Published in Analog. Collected in The Essential Hal Clement Volume 3 and Heavy Planet.
  • Office politics (2003). Short story not included in any of Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Readercon 15 Souvenir Book (This may be an article and not a fiction story)

Books[edit]

  • Needle (1950), ISBN 0-380-00635-9 (The first novel in the Needle Series. Also published as From Outer Space. Published as young fiction although it includes abstract hard science fiction!)
  • The Ranger Boys in Space (1956) (for children)
  • Space Lash (1969), ISBN (reprint in paperback of Small Changes)
  • First Flights to the Moon (1970), ASIN B000BCHC4Y (anthology of short stories from others, edited by Hal Clement)
  • Star Light (1971), ISBN 0-345-02361-7 (from the Mesklin Series, sequel to Mission of Gravity. It also shares some characters with Close to Critical)
  • Left of Africa (1976), ISBN 0936414014 (historical novel for young adults, apparently limited to 750 copies[8])
  • Through the Eye of a Needle (1978), ISBN 0-345-25850-9 (the second and last novel in the Needle Series)
  • The Best of Hal Clement (1979), ISBN 0345276892 (collection of 10 short stories, including all of Natives of Space and two from Small Changes: Uncommon Sense and Dust Rag)
  • Intuit (1987), ISBN 0-915368-35-8 (complete collection of the 4 Laird Cunningham's stories, edition limited to 820 copies)
  • Half Life (1999), ISBN 0-312-86920-7 (Humanity is going extinct due to disease, scientists are sent to Titan in the faint hope of finding biochemical clues to a cure)
  • Heavy Planet (2002), ISBN 0-7653-0368-X (reprint of The Essential Hal Clement, Volume 3)
  • Men of the Morning Star/Planet for Plunder (2011), ISBN 978-1-61287-018-2 (two novellas, the first by Edmond Hamilton and the second by Hal Clement and Sam Merwin Jr.)
  • The Moon is Hell!/The Green World (2012), ISBN 978-1-61287-087-8 (two novellas, the first by John W. Campbell Jr. and the second by Hal Clement)
  • The Time Trap/The Lunar Lichen (2013), ISBN 978-1-61287-142-4 (two novellas, the first by Henry Kuttner and the second by Hal Clement)
  • Hal Clement SF Gateway Omnibus (2014), ISBN 978-0575110151 (collection of the novels Iceworld, Cycle of Fire and Close to Critical)

About Hal Clement[edit]

  • Hal Clement, Scientist with a Mission: a Working Bibliography (1989), ASIN B0006OUUAU. Gordon Benson Jr.

Articles and introductions[edit]

  • Probability Zero! (nov 1942). Published jointly with Malcolm Jameson, Harry Warner Jr., Dennis Tucker and P. Schuyler Miller in Astounding. About Probability Zero, Harry Harrison said in the John Campbell Memorial Anthology:[9]

"In the early 1940s, in Astounding, there was a small department called Probability Zero! that ran short-short stories. Or items. Or lies. Things. These things were usually funny and always impossible - echoing the description of the title."

  • Whirligig World (jun 1953). About how to write science fiction, and specifically, about how he wrote Mission of Gravity. Published in Astounding. Collected in The Essential Hal Clement Volume 3, Heavy Planet and Mission of Gravity (1978).
  • Some Notes on Xi Bootis. Published by Advent Publishers.
  • Gravity insufficient (nov 1961). Published in Analog Science Fact.
  • Basic Concepts: Astrophysics, Geology (1985). About Harlan Ellison's world Medea. Published in Medea: Harlan's World.
  • Second Thoughts (1985). About Harlan Ellison's world Medea, jointly written with Poul Anderson, Thomas M. Disch, Larry Niven & Frederik Pohl. Published in Medea: Harlan's World.
  • The Home System (oct 1986). Published in Aboriginal.
  • Intuition: The Guide Who Needs Steering (1987). Published in Intuit.
  • Whatever Happened to the Science in Science Fiction? (sep 1993). Published in Science Fiction Age.
  • Ardent Thuria, Chilly Cluros: Seeing, and Seeing From, Low Orbiting Satellites (1994). Published in Mindsparks.
  • Only Once (1994). Published in Fractal.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b As living inductees Clement and Frederik Pohl were preceded in the Hall of Fame by A. E. van Vogt and Jack Williamson, Arthur C. Clarke and Andre Norton.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Henry Clement Stubbs" at the Wayback Machine (archived July 20, 2008). Rosetta Books (rosettabooks.com). Archived 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
  2. ^ "Hal Clement, 81, craftsman of sci fi novels". Tom Long. The Boston Globe. October 31, 2003.
  3. ^ a b c "Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame". Mid American Science Fiction and Fantasy Conventions, Inc. Retrieved 2013-03-23. This was the official website of the hall of fame to 2004.
  4. ^ a b "Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Retrieved 2013-03-23.
  5. ^ a b c "Clement, Hal". The Locus Index to SF Awards: Index to Literary Nominees. Locus Publications. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
  6. ^ Hal Clement at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2013-04-04. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  7. ^ "Submission Guidelines". Golden Duck Awards (goldenduck.org). Archived 2008-05-25. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  8. ^ http://www.lwcurrey.com/pages/books/112317/hal-clement-harry-clement-stubbs/left-of-africa
  9. ^ http://www.isfdb.org/wiki/index.php/Series:Probability_Zero

External links[edit]