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Author: Hal Clement
Rating: 2 of 5 Battle Axes
Format: OCR Scan
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.
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.