Hal Clement is a grand old man of SF, one of the last of the classic writers of the 1940s and '50s, the golden age of SF adventure. A new Clement novel is an event, and a really good one is a major event, and this is a really good one: fast-paced, full of ideas, with the fate of the human race at stake. He is one of the great living SF writers, the model for all contemporary hard SF writers, from Poul Anderson to Larry Niven to Gregory Benford, Robert L. Forward, Greg Bear, and David Brin.|
Half-Life is his first novel in this decade and very much upholds his own high standard. In the near future, about seventy-five years from now, the human race on Earth is in trouble, perhaps even facing extinction, because of the rapid evolution of diseases. A crew of young men and women travel to the moons of Saturn, to Titan, to investigate the biochemistry of the pre-life conditions there in the slim hope of discovering something that might save Earth. Nearly half of the crew die on the way. They have to do most of their exploration in virtual-reality machinery. The whole story runs at high speed, as they race to find answers across the surface of an alien landscape with death close behind, and gaining.
Half-Life is pure hard SF adventure, and Clement is the genre's best. This is one of the hard SF novels of the decade.