Iceworld

Iceworld was originally published as three-part series in Astounding Science Fiction for October, November, and December 1951. Hal Clement was still in his twenties, although his first story had appeared in Astounding in 1942. So had his second, and third, and ninth, before Needle was serialized in 1950. Iceworld continued the string, one only temporarily broken before he returned for Mission of Gravity and Close to Critical. Clement, a high school science teacher, was a quintessential Astounding writer, in a niche by himself as the hardest of hard science fiction writers.

That also makes him perhaps the best example of the separation between core science fiction fans and the more general audience.

Groff Conklin reviewed Iceworld for the October, 1953 Galaxy:

Clement is a master of “imaginative realism.” He refuses to mystify, or overawe, or hypnotize his readers with superscience, fantastic impossibilities and garish language. … Unfortunately, his aliens are more human than his human characters, which makes me wish he would deal with aliens only. Nevertheless, this is believable, serious, and satisfying fiction.

Villiers Gerson reviewed it for the New York Times Book Review on June 14, 1953:

The characterizations are poor, those of the Earthmen practically nil, and the tale becomes so entangled with spaceship and electronic technicalities as to appeal only to the engineer.

Clement’s real name was Harry C. Stubbs. I suspect many fans never knew that Clement was a pseudonym and he appears to have used it on fiction only for one obscure story. However, he used it when signing books, as shown below.

Iceworld, by Hal Clement, 1953, title #36, 216 pages, $2.50. 4000 hardbound copies printed. Light green boards with maroon lettering. Jacket Design by Ric Binkley. “First Edition” stated on copyright page. Printed by H. Wolff. Back cover: 25 titles. Gnome Press address given as 80 East 11th Street, New York 3

Iceworld jacket front
Iceworld jacket flaps

Iceworld light green boards

Iceworld autograph

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