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Iceworld by Hal Clement

Iceworld (original 1953; edition 1977)

by Hal Clement

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285659,753 (3.57)8
Authors:Hal Clement
Info:Ballantine Books Dell Rey (1977), Paperback
Collections:Your library, Read, Ever read, Cover maybe done
Tags:Fic, SF, !dunno, __check_cover

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Iceworld by Hal Clement (1953)



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This is a wonderful old classic, that still holds up very well more than half a century later.

Salmon Ken is an ordinary high school science teacher, who gets recruited by the narcotics cops to help track down the source of a new drug. It's been around in small quantities for about twenty years, but authorities are worried because it is dispersed in the air (making it possible to expose the unwilling) and a single dose is enough to create a powerful addiction. It is, potentially, the most dangerous drug in the galaxy. The narcotics agency persuades him to accept a job with the smuggler, who wants someone with some science background to help him synthesize the drug rather than buy it. The narco cops hope Ken will be able to find the source so they can stop it.

He quickly learns two things. One is that his new employer is completely ruthless. The other is that the source of the drug is a horrifically cold planet--an iceworld.

The Wing family lives very well from the proceeds of Mr. Wing's successful "prospecting"--very success, and not really prospecting, as we soon discover. They spend every summer as Mr. Wing has since shortly after the war, when he stumbled upon an incredible opportunity in the still-wild lands of the west, and had the sense to keep his mouth shut.

He's trading with aliens, getting platinum and iridium (but not gold; it would attract too much attention of the wrong kind) in exchange for something readily available on Earth.

Ken and the Wing family have a lot to learn about each other. The only question is whether they'll survive the process.


I borrowed this book from a friend.
( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge's Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.
Title: Iceworld
Series: -----
Author: Hal Clement
Rating: of 5 Battle Axes
Genre: SFF
Pages: 221
Format: OCR Scan

Synopsis: An alien teacher goes undercover to discover the source of a new, terrible drug. He goes to a world so cold that sulfur can be a solid. My Thoughts: This book commits the cardinal sin of being boring. I know it was written back in the 50's, but my take was that this book was written by an engineer about an alien engineer interacting with a human engineer who has engineer children. For me, engineers are like the government. They exist and I simply have to put up with them. My solution to both would be the same if I had my way: a bullet. My second biggest issue was the whole "cold" issue. Not being up on my space history I am not sure when we found out all sorts of stuff about space, but the way Clement wrote I have to assume we, as humans, knew some stuff back in the 50's. I was under the impression that Space was cold. Any species that could travel interstellar distances would have dealt with a wide variety of planets, as well as Space itself. So the whole "Earth is SO cold" schtick just made me roll eyes, a lot. If this was all that poor SFF fans had to read back in the day then I'll take today's system. I might have to deal with 99 pounds of pure poop, but at least I know there is a solid pound of good stuff. Whereas this book leads me to believe that there was 1 pound of books and maybe 1 ounce of SFF back then. And it was boring. " ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Who are the aliens and who are the natives? ( )
  jefware | Jul 10, 2016 |
Just on the science, there are several instances of technology and science that are obviously very out of touch with reality today. A couple of examples that spring to mind are the mention of a slide rule and the notion that Mercury was tidally locked to the sun. These things might bother some, but they don’t bother me at all.

Complete review at: The Great Gnome Press Science Fiction Odyssey, and a close-up examination of the book itself.
( )
  raisey | Feb 10, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hal Clementprimary authorall editionscalculated
Binkley, RicCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
van Dongen, H. R.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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