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The Nitrogen Fix

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  12 reviews
2000 years from now, the Earth has acid oceans, mutating exploding plants, silent, tentacled observers, doomed Hill cities, nomad Outcasts, vicious, power-mad rebels. The Earth does not have oxygen; it has all been trapped in The Nitrogen Fix, a novel of the ultimate ecological disaster.
Mass Market Paperback, 289 pages
Published by Ace Books (first published 1980)
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Eric Herboso
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In the Earth of the future, humans are the last native animal species on a planet fully depleted of freely floating oxygen. What civilization is left is isolated and separated in what many would call a doomsday scenario, but Hal Clement has somehow made the resulting Earth appear far more enticing than it at first seems.

Clement's trademark hardest-of-the-hard science fiction style explains nearly every aspect of this new world in a fully believable way. Everything about the setting is perfect --
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a great, hard, science fiction story by Hal Clement, who's on his way to being one of my favorite authors! For a book published in 1980, it's held up quite well to scientific discoveries. The biological science in the book is sound, and a little scary, too. The nature of the alien is quite believable, too.

The one aspect of the book I was put off by was the compulsive honesty and other "hangups" that the various humans had. I felt like this prevented them from being fully rational i.e.
Pablo Flores
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very nice hard sf, this. I have no idea if it is actually scientifically plausible, but it does look like it. I loved the worldbuilding: the city inside a hill with its top covered by enhanced oxygen-producing organisms, the warm sea of dilute nitric acid, the short, brutish, but surprisingly well-structured family life of the Nomads, who survive on their ingenuity and on the legacy of human biotechnology from the past.

The characters do sometimes seem less than believable in their non-violent,
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it
An odd little novel, with a wonderful backdrop and a foreground best viewed a little out of focus.

It's Hal Clement, the science is awesome, and the big picture completely captivating. Unfortunately most of the characters just didn't make me care.

The best character is a precocious little girl, but she's pretty much window dressing.

The rest of them are so much just one thing.

It's kinda like Asimov's psycho history, it works wonderfully with societies, and fails looking at a single small group
Dec 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
Hal Clement can be an intimidating author, as his science is so hard you could crack a tooth on it. I was pleasantly surprised, as the anticipated science was joined to a methodical sociologicial exploration and told from the perspective of interesting characters. This is not a dry recitation.

While the entire premise might be doubtful, the scientific rigor shown in the ramifications--mildly nitric acid seas, the behavior of 'fire' in the nitrogen atmosphere--is extremely well-considered and
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Hal Clement is my king of hard science fiction. "Mission of Gravity" is perhaps the paradigmatic "hard sci-fi" novel - in that he creates a fascinating planet, people, and problem from scratch based on his view of the immutable laws of physics - but "Nitrogen" has more dynamic characters and a more engaging narrative. His world (a post-apocalyptic earth where oxygen is severely limited) is very cool, but more fantastic, and he introduces some larger issues here like faith in tradition vs. ...more
Feb 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Classic Clement, as usual. This science was fascinating. I had never considered that there is enough nitrogen around to completely fix all of the oxygen in the atmosphere given the right catalysts. Is it inevitable, especially now that we are mucking with genetic engineering?

My problem with this Clement novel is that although it has many intriguing concepts, I did not find the story or the characters very interesting.
The other John
This one's a bit of classic science fiction, a tale set on a future Earth where the chemical composition of the atmosphere has shifted to contain more nitrogen and less oxygen. Humanity is reduced to living indoors, only venturing forth with necessary oxygen masks. The story revolves around a low-caste trading couple and their alien business partner who get wound up with a group of young rebels. The book was entertaining enough, though hardly a page-turner.
Nov 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Interesting, but kind of felt more like a short story than a novel. You do have to credit Clement in that he can present VERY hard core sci-fi in such a way that it's understandable, AND the story is compelling. I do have to say I liked his Mission of Gravity better.

Will Boncher
Far from his best work (which was Cycle of Fire). His books are never fast-paced, but this took it to an extreme. I felt like there was very little resolution; just not very much happened.
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
1982 grade A-
2006 grade A
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Harry Clement Stubbs better known by the pen name Hal Clement , was an American science fiction writer and a leader of the hard science fiction subgenre.

Further details at Wikipedia.