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Mission of Gravity de Hal Clement
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Mission of Gravity (edició 1974)

de Hal Clement (Autor)

Sèrie: Mesklinite (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,2742411,274 (3.82)61
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.… (més)
Membre:scottshjefte1
Títol:Mission of Gravity
Autors:Hal Clement (Autor)
Informació:Pyramid (1974), Edition: 3rd THUS, 174 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:*****
Etiquetes:scotts-shelved-books, From Goodreads Sept 6 2019

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Mission of Gravity de Hal Clement

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Anglès (21)  Italià (1)  Suec (1)  Finès (1)  Totes les llengües (24)
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This book surely must be the record-holder for having the most endearing arthropodic character in fiction and possibly for weirdest planet in fiction! Of course the two are connected; if a planet has a surface gravitational pull never less than three times that of Earth and varying up to 700x that of Earth, intelligent life isn't going to look just like a human with maybe a weird looking forehead or nose.

Clement has very carefully worked out what the consequences of his rapidly spinning, exceedingly cold planet are and built a jolly adventure story round them, with a somewhat piratical, canny, mischievous explorer-trader as the protagonist asked to rescue the science probe visiting humans have lost and are unable to rescue themselves.

Long considered a genre classic and deservingly so. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
This is one of those novels that I must firmly place in the "Interesting idea" category without having it really grace the realm of "great story".

Indeed, I loved the way that Hal Clement literally built a world from scratch, not merely creating 15 inch long aliens, but making a damn interesting planet that had different pulls of gravity depending on how close you were to the poles versus the equator, because the whole planet was flattened, was roughly 5k times the mass of earth, and the surface pull of gravity meant that we measly humans needed very heavy augmentation just to visit or we'd be crushed.

Even the author sent out a call in the afterword, which to my opinion was even better than the main tale, to anyone out there to use his creation as they see fit and improve the math or write in the setting, and I appreciate that, because I keep wondering how much better it might have been if we had spent all our time in the heads of the humans rather than the aliens.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the attempt, but I did get rather bored with all the haggling and trading and industrial espionage that revolved around techs that could handle so much gravity or the gradual and immense differences between the equator and the pole during the travels. Like I said, it was very cool in concept.

That being said, I kinda wish that all the awesome nuts and bolts of the world had been introduced or interspersed throughout the novel, from the human's point of view, so as to awe me in the context other than the density of the lifeforms or the fear of flying (or falling) and what might result with a splat of 300 gravities. :)

It was fun for what it was, and it does rather show that it was written back in '53, but the focus on making sure there was good science (as far as Hal, himself, could manage it,) was both admirable and ambitious, so that's where I'm placing all my stars. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Hal Clement - [Iceworld] (1953)
- [Mission of Gravity] (1954)
Two science fiction novels from the 1950's by Hal Clement who has come to be known as one of the early leaders of the hard science fiction sub genre, which has been defined as concern for science accuracy and logic. The term Hard Science fiction usually frightens me a little as I am not a science graduate, but as in most things there are degrees of hardness. Jules Verne was one of the first to write in this way, taking delight in explaining (sometimes at great length) how the science in his novels worked. Hal Clement wrote in a similar vein assuming that his readers had at least a basic knowledge of physics, chemistry and astronomy. No doubt if you have more than a basic knowledge you might enjoy the novels a bit more.

Iceworld (1953)
The surprise factor here is not so much the hard science, but that it soon becomes obvious that the science is somehow askew, the science seems to make sense but the ground rules have changed. Non science readers will pick this up from other references like the main protagonist seems to have a tentacle. Clement pitches his story from the point of view of an alien life form. The weakness and confusion of this approach is that the aliens seem to think and act very similarly to human beings and so we learn that Salman Ken has been recruited as a spy to expose a gang of probable drug smugglers. He is in a science laboratory come space ship which has been trading with a world with an extremely hostile environment. It is so cold that their torpedo like probes can easily malfunction and the crew members dare not attempt a landing on the planet. They have been trading successfully with the planets inhabitants by sending down valuable metals and receiving in exchange a drug that is highly addictive. Salman Ken is curious to find out more about the planet and convinces the smuggling gang that better knowledge would improve the drug supply.

Mission of Gravity (1954)
There is a similar approach in this next novel by Clements, but this time it is the alien planet that has an extremely hostile environment even for the aliens that live on it. Barlennan is the captain of the sailing ship Bree and is at the very limit of his saucer shaped world when he makes landfall. He has rendezvoused with a human space mission which has built a tower at the worlds edge. The saucer shaped world of Mesklin has over 200 times more gravity at the centre than at the poles and Barlennan himself proves to be a centipede like creature just 50 centimetres long who being used to a heavy gravitational pull has an extreme fear of heights. He is also fearful of going over the edge of his world, but after making contact with the humans and their advance scientific knowledge he sees trading opportunities. Barlennan and his crew come into contact with hostile tribes built like themselves, but who have the power of flight and they seek help from the human beings, who are represented by the stoic Charles Lackland their scientific officer. Clement's scientific knowledge helps him to make the hostile environment of Mesklin convincing, the edge of the world is sparsely inhabited because of the violent storms that make travel impossible for certain periods of the Mesklin year and the efforts of Barlennan to cope with the environment and the efforts of Lackland to cope with the gravity create an atmosphere of continual struggle.

It is the situation and world building that give these short novels such a unique approach, they are thoughtful and adequately written. The struggles to cope with extreme environments takes precedence over characterisation and plot mechanics, but these work well enough to make for interesting reading. Both are worth a look for science fiction fans and I would rate Iceworld at 3.5 stars and Mission of Gravity at 4 stars. ( )
1 vota baswood | Oct 28, 2019 |
Hal Clement : PAINOVOIMA 700
››LuonnontieteelIisen›› science fictionin k|assikoita.
Planeetta Mesklin - meret nestemäistä metaania, lumi jäätynyttä ammoniakkia, painovoima pinnalla jopa 700 kertaa suurempi kuin maan päällä.
Barlennan - Mesklinin asukas, 40 cm pitkä, 36-jalkainen, satojen kilojen painoinen.
Tehtävä - pelastaa planeetan navalta murskaavasta - painovoimasta ihmisten tutkimusraketti, jonka lasti on mittaamattoman arvokas -- tehtävä jonka
vain Barlennan miehineen pystyy suorittamaan.
  Asko_Tolonen | Jun 5, 2018 |
Hardest of hard SF, excepting the aliens are 15" centipede merchant-pirates, sailing the methane seas. Quite good. ( )
1 vota Jon_Hansen | Apr 9, 2017 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Hal Clementautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Adamowicz, AleksandraTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Arno, TomTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Borbás, MáriaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Cherryh, C.J.Introduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Conquest, RobertIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
DiFate, VincentAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Emshwiller, EdAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Enqvist, KariTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Gleeson, TonyAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Gleeson, TonyAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Lehr, PaulAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Rekunen, VeikkoTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Schoenherr, JohnAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Tanguy, YvesAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Valla, RiccardoIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Van Dongen, H.R.Autor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Wood, Wallace A.Autor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Zwierd, ErikAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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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.

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