Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hal Clement's "Proof" (short story, weird life): Solarians baffled by strange earth-matter!

This is the first published story of Hal Clement.

Story summary.

Imagine that life evolved inside the Sun's core - life made of densely packed elementary particles to which that is the normal temperature. Some of these beings evolved enough to have cities floating in higher reaches of sun & to have space travel in their "neutronium" hulled ships.

They've found life in many stars' cores; even contact with intelligent beings. A Sirian scientist is currently on sun, testing a weird & totally crazy hypothesis: that matter like iron & calcium can potentially exist in a solid state!

That's when Kron, his Solarian host & a veteran star traveler, tells him the story of an unlikely & impossible shipwreck he was a witness to - one of the neutronium ships crashed in a "trapping field" of hypothesized solid matter that is Earth.

Collected in.

  1. David Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer (ed)'s "The Ascent of Wonder: The Evolution of Hard SF".

See also.

  1. Arthur Clarke's "Castaway": Another story of a Sun-being accidentally landing on earth.
  2. Hal Clement's "Iceworld": Human first contact with high temperature aliens.
  3. Hal Clement's "Longline": Another weird physics story of author that's among the weirdest I've seen - what if speed of light is only a divider rather than a barrier? So we have first contact of humans with beings comprising of matter that cannot move slower than light!

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, June 1942.
Rating: B.
Among the stories edited by John Campbell for Astounding/Analog.
Related: Stories of Hal Clement (some of his "good" stories); shipwreck fiction.