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, US
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.[citation needed]

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 highly corrosive atmosphere consisting mostly of water vapor near its critical point, 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]

Editor Sam Merwin Jr. added 10,000 words to Clement's novella "Planetfall" for its publication in the February 1957 issue of Satellite Science Fiction as "Planet for Plunder"
Clement's short story "Hot Planet" took the cover of the August 1963 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction

Astounding Stories: The 60th Anniversary 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).
  • Answer (apr 1947). Short story. Published in Astounding. Collected in The Best of Hal Clement and Science Fiction Thinking Machines (1954).
  • Fireproof (mar 1949). Short story. Published in Astounding. Collected in Small Changes, Decade of the 1940s (1975) and Combat SF (1981).
  • Halo (oct 1952). Novelette. Published in Galaxy. Collected in Small Changes, The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2 and Shadow of Tomorrow (1953).
  • Critical Factor (1953). Short story not included in any of the Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Star Science Fiction Stories #2 (1953). Collected in Titan 4 (1977) and The Road to Science Fiction #3: From Heinlein to here (1979).
  • Ground (dec 1953). Short story not included in any of the Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Science Fiction Adventures.
  • Dust Rag (sep 1956). Short story. Published in Astounding. Collected in Small Changes, The Best of Hal Clement, Where Do We Go From Here? (1971) and The Prentice Hall Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy (2001).
  • 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.
  • Sun Spot (nov 1960). Short story. Published in Analog. Collected in Small Changes, The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2, Isaac Asimov’s Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction # 4: Comets (1986) and Analog’s Expanding Universe
  • 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.
  • Hot Planet (aug 1963). Novelette not included in any of the Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Galaxy. Collected in The 9th Annual of the Year's Best SF (1964), Spectrum 4 (1965), The Eighth Galaxy Reader (1965), Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories #25 (1963) (1992) and Science Fiction Century (1997).
  • Raindrop (May 1965). Novelette. Published in If. Collected in Small Changes, The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2 and Isaac Asimov’s Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction # 4: Comets.
  • The Foundling Stars (aug 1966). Short story. Published in If. Collected in Small Changes and The Second If Reader of Science Fiction (1968).
  • The Mechanic (sep 1966). Novelette. Published in Analog. Collected in Small Changes, The Essential Hal Clement Volume 2 and Analog: Writers’ Choice, Volume II (1984).
  • 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.
  • Question of Guilt (1976). Novelette. Published in The Year's Best Horror Stories: Series IV (1976). Collected in The Best of Hal Clement.
  • 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.
  • Blot (1989). Novelette about Asimov's positronic robots. Not included in any of Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Foundation's Friends (1989).
  • Phases in Chaos (1991). Novella not included in any of Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Isaac’s Universe Volume Two: Phases in Chaos.
  • Eyeball Vectors (1992). Novella not included in any of Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Isaac's Universe Volume 3: Unnatural Diplomacy.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Natural (spr 1998). Novelette not included in any of Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Absolute Magnitude. Collected in Hal's Worlds: Stories and Essays in Memory of Hal Clement.
  • 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.
  • Exchange Rate (win 1999). Novella not included in any of Hal Clement's compilations to date. Published in Absolute Magnitude. Collected in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Seventeenth Annual Collection and The Hard SF Renaissance (2002).
  • 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]

About Hal Clement[edit]

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."

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]