THE HARD-CORE SCIENCE OF HAL CLEMENT
The supreme practitioner of “hard” science fiction, Hal Clement combines ingenious problem-solving with suspenseful drama and action. These ten stories show the mastery of science and fiction that Clement has displayed in such favourites as Mission of Gravity, Iceworld, and Needle.
UNCOMMON SENSEIf your back’s to the wall, even a deadly predator can be useful.
ANSWER”Know thyself” is great advice…if you don’t follow it all the way.
QUESTION OF GUILTWas he a medical pioneer…or the first vampire?
IMPEDIMENTMind-reading makes for perfect trust – as long as it works both ways!
-AND LOTS MORE!
The Riddle of Enigma
Years of exacting study were coming to an end. All five student scientists, each the best its species had to offer, were one step away from their final degrees. One examination remained: the students were to determine why the tiny planet of Enigma, a planet with so little mass that it should never have had an atmosphere, in fact it did.
Everything seemed to be running smoothly until the only Human member of the team, Molly was accidentally blown into one of the deep fissures that pocked the planet’s surface.
She found herself trapped in a series of tunnels and caves that only led her deeper into the riddle that was at the heart of Enigma. But as her concerned companions followed her, they found Enigma’s most puzzling anomaly. For in the dark passages they discovered life – life which couldn’t possibly exist.
Time was running out for Bob Kinnaird. Without much warning, the Hunter – the green protoplasmic alien that lived inside him and cured all his ills – had suddenly become his destroyer. Day by day Bob grew weaker and weaker, but only specialists from the Hunter’s distant world would know what was wrong with him and, more importantly, how to save him.
But the only way searchers from his planet could find him was to locate his missing spaceship . . . a spaceship that had crashed beneath the ocean years before, its location still very much a mystery. Once again leading an investigation against time – as he had done so many years before – the Hunter knew he had to find comrades and find them fast . . . before someone murdered his best friend.
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.