Hal Clement, noted author of "hard" sci-fi

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Here we have a typical photo from the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation collection, it depicts a group of soldiers debarking. Specifically this is a group of Army Air Corps bomber pilots arriving on the transport ship “General John R. Brooke,” its February 1945 and they are coming home on rotation. From the photo print’s caption we know that one of these men is Lt. Harry C. Stubbs.

In completing authority work on Lt. Stubbs, the Library of Congress tells me that this is the birth name of an author better known by the nom de plume, Hal Clement. But which one is our guy?

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L-12586, HRPE, Army Signal Corps Collection

With a group shot like this it can take a little detective work to find the person you’re looking for.  Particularly since Google images returns photos of Hal Clement as an older man when he was well known among the sci-fi community as an established author. Here he should be 22!

Research through Ancestry.com yielded Harry Clement’s yearbook photo from his senior year at Harvard where he completed a bachelors in astronomy.

Hal Clement

Now it’s clear who we’re looking for in the crowd! This young man here…

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Hal Clement is renowned for writing “hard” sci-fi, that is to say works which adhere more closely to science, the scientific method, and technical details. A prolific author, he is best known for his novel, Mission of Gravity (1954). In 1998 Clement was inducted to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame and Worldcon, the World Science Fiction Convention, presents an award with his namesake for best Young Adult science fiction.

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Click the read more button to see some of the amazing cover art of Hal Clement’s novels from the golden age of pulp science fiction!


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