Hal Clement’s career spanned seven decades but he was never a particularly prolific novelist . Although he published five novels in the 1950s, after that he never put out more than one or two a decade . Despite this comparatively small output, he was still considered a significant enough figure that he was named the 17th SFWA Grandmaster in 1999. His 1954 Mission of Gravity is considered a hard SF classic; his 1949 Needle may well have been the first science fiction mystery novel of note.
2003’s Noise is noteworthy for an unhappy reason: it was Hal Clement’s final novel, published only about a month before he died.
Centuries after the water world Kainui was settled by a diverse assortment of Polynesians, Terran linguist Mike Hoani arrives to study the languages that have evolved on that distant world. What he finds is a world unlike any other.