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Reviews by Contributor: Clement, Hal (4)

Flowing Through My Veins


By Hal Clement  

29 Mar, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Hal Clements’ 1950 Needle is a science fiction mystery. 

In hot pursuit of a killer, the Hunter and his quarry crash land on Earth. The Hunter survives the landing. It must assume the criminal did as well. Determined to catch the criminal, the Hunter must turn to local allies for help. 

The catch? Earth has never been contacted by anything like the Hunter and its prey. The Hunter must manage not just detection, but first contact.

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Goodbye Stranger

Cycle of Fire

By Hal Clement  

9 Sep, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1957’s Cycle of Fire is a young-adult novel by Hal Clement. 

Marooned in a vast lava field by a glider crash, Dar Lang Ahn undertakes to march out on foot. It’s only after he has set out that he realizes that the march will be much harder than he expected. He and his precious cargo of books might be lost forever. 

An unexpected encounter saves Dar’s life and his books. Immediate consequences: benign. Long-term consequences: wrenching transformation for Dar’s people, the natives of the world Abyormen. 

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Though The Truth May Vary

Close to Critical

By Hal Clement  

10 Dec, 2017

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

1 comment

Hal Clement’s 1958 young-adult adventure novel Close to Critical is apparently set in the same universe as his far more famous Mission of Gravity, but it can be read as a standalone work. 

No human could walk unprotected on Tenebra’s surface: if the 8100 kilo-pascal air pressure didn’t crush them, the 374o C mixture of dissolved oxygen and sulphur oxides surely would dissolve them. But as hostile as Tenebra might seem to a terrestrial, it’s a life-bearing planet. Tenebra doesn’t just have life. It has intelligent life and that offers a unique opportunity to researchers up in orbit.

A human-Drommian team has established an orbital observation station circling Tenebra. A telefactored robot serves as their optical receptors and manipulative organs down on the ground.

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Sea Story


By Hal Clement  

8 May, 2015

Graveyard Orbits


Hal Clement’s career spanned seven decades but he was never a particularly prolific novelist [1]. Although he published five novels in the 1950s, after that he never put out more than one or two a decade [2]. 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.

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