Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Archive for March 2nd, 2010

‘Proof’ by Hal Clement

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As the introduction makes clear, Clement is the proto-typical hard SF writer and so this story proves. There is a lot of this sort of thing:

since gaseous friction is independent of change in density, the high pressures of the regions being penetrated wopuld be no bar to high speed flight. Unfortunately, the viscosity of a gas does increase directly as the square root of its temperature; at the lower levels of the Sun, travel would be slow. (p. 95)

As this demonstrates, in science fiction hardness often goes hand in hand with that other physical property: dryness. At the same time, it is told in the genial style of a club story:

The other members of the crew shifted slightly in their cradles; a ripple of interest passed through them, for they had heard rumours and vague tales of Kron’s time in the space carrier fleets. The Sirian settled himself more comfortably; Kron dimmed the central globe of radiance a trifle, for the outside temperature was now considerably higher, and began the tale. (p. 95)

No, not much to interest a reader like me here.

Quality: ***
Hardness: *****

Written by Martin

2 March 2010 at 09:22