Archive for Hal Clement

Review: Iceworld

Posted in 1953, 4:Stellar!, Review with tags , on December 28, 2008 by Aaron

I first read Hal Clement maybe eight or nine years ago. I was doing my IT degree at the time and was reading a lot. I was a member at the Lower Hutt Public Library and got most of my reading material from there. Actually, I have many good reading memories from that period. I read Mervyn Peake‘s Gormenghast trilogy for the first time, Gene Wolfe‘s Book of the Long Sun, an unusual book called All of an Instant by a Richard Garfinkle, a couple of books by Greg Egan (if you think Clement is hard SF, you should try that guy) and one of the books I read during this period was Clement’s Half Life.  I enjoyed the book immensely but unfortunately it was the only book of his in the library.  He kind of went on the back-burner for a while, but when I came to Korea, I picked up Heavy Planet and Noise.  Incidentally, I have a 1st BCE edition of Mission of Gravity.

Iceworld was a book of his that I’d been looking forward to reading for a while.  I discovered an excellent synopsis/review of the book in another blog, so I’ll link to that in a second.  I just want to give my two cents worth first.  Iceworld is noticibly more ‘immature’ compared to ‘Gravity’.  Almost like a contemporary Heinlein juvenile with the main human protaganists being a family and often told from the children’s perspective.  Wait, ‘immature’ might be a poor choice of word, I mean it feels like it is written with the younger reader in mind notwithstanding the hard science. Heinlein’s juveniles contain their fair share of hard science of course, but if I was reading this when I was 10 or 12 years old (as I was Heinlein) it would often be tough going and perhaps uninteresting.  Just on the science, there are several instances of technology and science that are obviously very out of touch with reality today.  A couple of examples that spring to mind are the mention of a slide rule and the notion that Mercury was tidally locked to the sun.  These things might bother some, but they don’t bother me at all.  I might talk about outdated science in classic SF in another post sometime.  The review of Iceworld is located here over at Variety SF.  It’s quite comprehensive and well worth reading though if you haven’t read Iceworld, a word of warning – it does contain spoilers.  Enjoy.

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Close Up: Iceworld

Posted in 1953, Close Up with tags , , on December 24, 2008 by Aaron

closeupFirst book up is Iceworld by Hal Clement.  This is going to be a kind of photo-analysis of the book, documenting it’s condition.  I’m going to try to use a standard format that I can use over and over again for other books.  So I guess the format will be a sort of preamble outlining the price, circumstances of purchase and any other interesting bits of information, and then we’ll have a look at the pics.  I guess it’ll evolve over time.  Here we go…

This is the first Gnome Press publication I purchased, perhaps a couple of months ago now.  I got it (as I’ve gotten all the others so far) off eBay.  In the pics on eBay, I could see it wasn’t in the best of shape, but it was going for quite a low price so I picked it up.  When I received it I was a little disappointed.  It was Ex-Library, and that wasn’t mentioned in the item description.  I emailed the guy and pointed out to him that although I was pleased to receive it and I had got it at a reasonable price, he should in future mention that (significant) detail.  Anyway, the card pocket is still attached and a library transaction card is still in there.  The wrong one apparently as the serial on the card – 53204, doesn’t match the book – 5643979.  I wonder which book the card does belong to…  The book belonged to the Brooklyn Public Library, Kings Highway Branch – which, incidentally, closes for renovation in two days from the time of this post.  I wonder if this book was part of a pre-renovation clean-out…  Lets have a look at it.

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Year: 1953
Paid: $22
Art: Ric Binkley
Quantity: 4000 copies
Binding: Jade boards with black writing on the spine, no writing or design on the front board.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated on the copyright page.
Comments: It’s not in good shape. The dust jacket is pasted to the boards and is well worn and chipped on all edges. The boards are likewise well worn on all edges. The book does sit nice and square and the spine is still in good shape. The text block shows some water staining and a couple of pencil marks internally.
Expand Upon: wikipedia.com, Internet Speculative Fiction Database

condition

This copy is special to me since it was my first Gnome Press acquisition.  I’ll need to get one in better condition sometime, but that’s for the indeterminate future.