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Close to critical (1964)

de Hal Clement

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: Mesklinite (2)

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375669,087 (3.5)3
Tenebra has a gravity three times that of Earth, a day temperature at the equator of 380 degrees centigrade, an atmosphere of water mixed with other chemicals, and a constantly shifting crust. There is life, with intelligence, on the planet, and a scientific expedition has been attempting to make contact. The scientists have devised a remote-controlled unit that lands on the planet, takes away 10 youngsters from their tribe and teaches them to communicate with it - then, when they have grown up, they will be the means of contact with the other natives. All is going according to plan until two children of the political officers who are watching the experiment from an orbit 160,000 miles out climb into the bathyscaphe that has been designed to land humans on the surface of the planet. They accidentally set it in motion and it soon gets too close to the planet's atmosphere to be pursued and controlled. So instructions are radioed for it to land. The native group, through the control unit, are then set to trace the bathyscaphe and carry out the technical work necessary before it can return to the parent ship. But many weeks are to pass and many setbacks occur before the climax of the rescue is reached.Close to Critical could be described to a tee in the words used by Books and Bookmen when reviewing Cycle of Fire "Another of Clement's superb descriptive novels of a totally alien planet."… (mais)
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The end is good. Somehow I'm finding a lot of resemblances between this guy's work and Asimov's. I will continue reading him. ( )
  NachoSeco | Oct 10, 2022 |
A very satisfying hard sci-fi read with an AMAZING cover. Earth scientists have been studying the planet Tenebra for over a dozen years. The atmosphere was such that humans couldn't go down and look around in person, so instead they sent a robot to look around while they orbited the planet, controlling it from above. And to *really* help get some insider info, they stole some eggs from the planet's most intelligent inhabitants, raised them with the robot (named Fagin!), taught them English (along with the secret to making fire and raising herds of animals for food), and trained them to go around mapping and gathering data on their world. The scientists finally figured out a way to go down to the planet in person, using a bathyscape, but their plans took a detour when the 4 year old son of a hot-tempered alien diplomat and the 12 year old daughter of the Earthling diplomat who accompanied them to the ship, accidentally went down to the planet themselves. Because the 'scape wasn't quite ready to go, they can't get back up without the help of the trained aliens, and the biologist who has been talking to them through Fagin needs to figure out how to make that all happen before the alien diplomat blows his top or the band of non-trained aliens, who recently found the robot and his brood, causes trouble.

Clement is a pro at writing a convincing alien world and describing how the physics, geography, flora, and fauna all work. He also brings in a surprising amount of humor (the alien diplomat, for example, looks like a giant otter and no one knew his son was only 4 because he also looked like just as giant of an otter). There is definitely some paternalistic colonialism going on here, but, for the era, this one is relatively free of racism and sexism. The 12-year-old Earth girl is a fun and rich character, and the robot-raised Tenebreans get a lot of personality, especially Nick, their leader, who drives much of the action on the planet. There is a lot of action, and the book moves along quickly despite all the science and planetary descriptions, and the ending is satisfying. Very enjoyable!

(Thanks for passing this one along, pops!) ( )
  kristykay22 | Sep 23, 2020 |
Well, considering how much I enjoyed the afterward on the previous one, I wanted to see what was improved or explored upon within this admittedly interesting world. Science, Ya'll! It's a world built with interesting applications of science! And we ought to have very interesting ramifications in the alien cultures and physiology!

Um...

"Should" does not equal "Will".

Frankly, I was bored out of my skull by the plot. Okay, look at all the stone-aged yokels gawking over the human's remote-controlled waldo. Wow. That's like, amazing, dude.

I mean, sure, it might have been interesting at one time if someone actually had to describe or be awed by the *idea* of a waldo. Or if there were really interesting things to be learned by the psychology of stone-aged aliens beyond the fact that they're using logic to figure out what is absolutely freaking plain to us. Or starting up a cargo cult, even, that doesn't make us think of some long-ass joke.

Sigh.

The only barely interesting things that happened in this book were the *other* aliens throwing a hissy over the human's perceived treatment of ... oh forget it, it's not that interesting, either.

Science. Science does not equal quality storytelling.

Did you know that I also got bored as fuck at the stone-aged antics at the beginning of the 2001 Space Odyssey movie? Yeah. Same as this. Only there was no murder. And no bone that becomes a space station, either. I feel CHEATED.

Well, okay, this was written in '64, so it's not like he was cribbing from Clarke or anything, and I seriously doubt that Clarke cared much for this book, either. Which is kinda beside the point, anyway, because both were boring.

*sigh*

So yeah, does anyone know if Clement's interesting world was picked up by any other competent writer to be given a spin? Anyone? Bueller?
( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I very much like Clement (whom I met in 1969) for his quasi-hard science working out of aliens adapted to different terrains --on this case aplanet on which there is deadly rain at night. The native cultures are roughly stone age. A human team which cannot live on the surface is interacting with a group of aliens by way of a robot named Fagin. Meanwhile the young daughter of one of tge humans and the young son of a prickly alien dignitary accidently get marooned in a bathyscaphe approaching the planet and the natives must be mobilized to rescue them. ( )
  antiquary | Jun 28, 2014 |
A long long time. In high school? Like all of Clement's work well down, tech, a good read. ( )
  Traveller1 | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Clement, HalAutorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Bergner, Wulf H.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Ellis, DeanArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Groot, RuurdArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kijzer, R. deTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lehr, PaulArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Stoovelaar, FrankArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Tenebra has a gravity three times that of Earth, a day temperature at the equator of 380 degrees centigrade, an atmosphere of water mixed with other chemicals, and a constantly shifting crust. There is life, with intelligence, on the planet, and a scientific expedition has been attempting to make contact. The scientists have devised a remote-controlled unit that lands on the planet, takes away 10 youngsters from their tribe and teaches them to communicate with it - then, when they have grown up, they will be the means of contact with the other natives. All is going according to plan until two children of the political officers who are watching the experiment from an orbit 160,000 miles out climb into the bathyscaphe that has been designed to land humans on the surface of the planet. They accidentally set it in motion and it soon gets too close to the planet's atmosphere to be pursued and controlled. So instructions are radioed for it to land. The native group, through the control unit, are then set to trace the bathyscaphe and carry out the technical work necessary before it can return to the parent ship. But many weeks are to pass and many setbacks occur before the climax of the rescue is reached.Close to Critical could be described to a tee in the words used by Books and Bookmen when reviewing Cycle of Fire "Another of Clement's superb descriptive novels of a totally alien planet."

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