Mission of Gravity

Hal Clement
Mission of Gravity Cover

Mission of Gravity


There are various approaches to establishing a setting for a science fiction story. One is to have the story in mind and let that dictate the details of the setting. Another is to extrapolate basic scientific theories in order to generate a realistic setting, which can then drive a plot. Mission of Gravity is very much the latter. Based on some newfangled data about the star 61 Cygni (that turned out to be inaccurate, but that's beside the point), Clement created his world from reasonable extrapolations. Mesklin is an oblate planet with extreme gravity: 700 g at the poles but only 3 g at the equator. Then he posited a centipede-like alien species that could survive such extremes, cooked up a human crisis (a satellite has crashed at one of the poles), and chronicles the collaboration between the humans and a native ship captain and explorer.

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