Hal Clement
Iceworld Cover



Iceworld by Hal Clement. Drugs Squad boss Rade is struggling with the repercussions of a dangerous drug. Only one dose causes immediate addiction, and agony and madness ensues if the addict cant get a fix. Addicts will pay exorbitant amounts for it, and Rade has traced it to a disreputable, ruthless and dangerous spaceship owner who has obviously discovered a supply on some unidentified planet. In desperation Rade infiltrates Ken, a high school science teacher, into the ship's crew. The smuggler wants to discover more about the drug so he can grow it instead of trading with the natives for it. Rade wants concrete evidence against the smuggler. And Ken, your typical scientist, while working for both of them, is consumed with the desire to learn more about the strange planet, its dangerous drug,and its possibly cultured inhabitants. Only problem is that the planet is about 400 degrees colder than home! Ken will need all his scientific thought processes to gain the knowledge he needs while hiding his treachery from the avaricious, and vicious, smuggler.

A nice little story which has a neat twist 10 pages in when we realize that Ken and the others are aliens with tentacles and live on a planet with a toasty 500 degree temperature,and of course the cold planet is Earth. Most of the story is told from the aliens point of view,and we watch with interest as Ken explores this weird and frightening world which has nightmare conditions. Why it doesnt even have a breathable sulphur atmosphere, and it has huge amounts of liquid on it. A frightening but fascinating place indeed, and it takes Ken all his ingenuity to rig up experiments, and to avoid freezing to death in the horrifically low temperatures.

A light fun read, though sometimes clunkily written in typical Clement style, but engaging and entertaining. Oh and the drug of course is tobacco!