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Another One of the Greats Gone.

30/10/2003. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Hal Clement, author of classics such as Iceworld, passes away aged 81.

Hal Clement (Harry Clement Stubbs), science fiction author and resident of Milton, MA, passed away yesterday, October 29th, 2003.

A retired school teacher (Milton Academy), WWII pilot, and scout leader, Hal Clement began writing science fiction in the 1940s, devoting himself to the creation of cleverly imagined and thoroughly worked out environments in space.

His devotion to the astronomy, physics and chemistry of other worlds became famous with the publication of the novel 'Mission of Gravity' in 1954. Clement soon gained a worldwide reputation as a quintessential science fiction writer, whose works more or less helped define the term. Clement's work still continues to be an influential model for hard SF writers working today.

Hal was also named a SFWA Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1998 in recognition of a lifetime achievement in the field.

Clement was born in Somerville, Massachusetts on May 30, 1922, to Harry Clarence Stubbs and Marjorie (White) Stubbs. He grew up in Greater Boston, attending schools in Arlington and Cambridge, finishing Rindge Tech in 1939.

Clement earned a B.S. in Astronomy, Harvard, 1943, an M.Ed. on the GI Bill, Boston University, 1946, and an M.S. in Chemistry from Simmons College, 1963. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps Reserve in 1944 and retired as a colonel in 1976.

Married in 1952, Clement is now survived by his wife Mary, two sons George and Richard, daughter Christine Hensel, and grandson Jackson.

Works by Hal Clement included:

Needle (1950)
Iceworld (1953)
Mission of Gravity (1954)
Cycle of Fire (1957)
Close to Critical (1964)
Small Changes (1969)
Ocean On Top (1973)
Through the Eye of a Needle (1978)
The Nitrogen Fix (1980)
Still River (1987)
Isaac's Universe: Fossil (1993)
Half Life (1999)
Noise (2003)

If there's any justice, Old Hal is probably in heaven right now, laughing at the fuss that's going to be kicked up by death.

Fair winds behind you old friend, fair winds.


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