Classic Science Fiction About Extremely Long Naps

Sleep! How precious, how precarious! Perhaps we have apnea. Perhaps we own a cat who believes motionless humans are food. Perhaps we are simply aware that up to forty thousand redback spiders can fit into the volume of the average pillow. But sleep can be overdone. Imagine waking to discover that decades or centuries have passed…

This is a convenient way for an author to arrange for a protagonist not unlike the reader to tour an alien setting. Unsurprisingly, a lot of authors have taken advantage of the plot possibilities of the long sleep.

Consider these five classic science fiction examples.


Looking Backward: 2000-1887 by Edward Bellamy (1888)

Julian West falls asleep in Gilded Age America. He does not wake until the year 2000. By this time, the United States has been comprehensively transformed almost beyond imagination. On his own, poor Julian would have been completely at sea in this

Read More

Classic SF Featuring Planets With Very Long or Very Short Days

Earth is blessed with a day neither of extraordinary length nor of extreme brevity. Currently it is about twenty-four hours long. A quick glance at planets like Mercury and Venus shows us that worlds can have days much longer than Earth’s; bodies like Haumea suggest that days could be much shorter.

SF authors have notice this and written books about planets/planetesimals with different day lengths. Consider these five vintage works.


Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement (1953)

61 Cygni’s world Mesklin is sixteen times more massive than Jupiter. A day less than twenty minutes long means that the gravity at the equator is a measly three gravities. Thus, human starfarer Charles Lackland is able to briefly set down near the equator, where he is subjected to extreme discomfort (rather than immediate death). Too bad for Lackland that the object of his quest, a lost probe, is near one of Mesklin’s

Read More

Someone please put these classic science fiction novel stamps on my wall

I’m no expert on stamps. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I used one (sorry, Mum). But the latest batch from the Royal Mail has me wanting to send letters to every corner of the universe.

The British postal service has released a wondrous new collection of artworks that will be featured on its tiny postage stamps, celebrating six classic science fiction novels by British writers.

Set to mark the 75th anniversary of HG Wells’ death and the 70th anniversary of John Wyndham’s classic novel The Day of the Triffids being published, the collection features illustrations for Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Time Machine by HG Wells, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Childhood’s End by Arthur C Clarke, Shikasta by Doris Lessing, and of course, The Day of the Triffids.

The artists behind the works are Sabina Šinko, Francisco Rodríguez, Thomas Danthony, Mick Brownfield, Matt Murphy,

Read More

Five Classic SF Novels Written From an Alien Perspective

Unsurprisingly, most of science fiction’s protagonists tend to be human. After all, as far as we know, the vast majority of its audience members and creative staff are human. Nevertheless, some works take the alien perspective. Here are five classic examples.


Leviathan’s Deep by Jayge Carr (1979)

The matriarchal Delyene follow traditions that have not changed significantly for millennia. Why should they change the ways that have provided tolerable lives for all, even males? Alas for the Delyenes, their home world Delyafam is way too close to those claimed by the “Terrens.” The aliens have become ever more common and encroaching on Delyafam; change is inevitable.

The Kimassu Lady deals with those foolish Terrens who break Delyene law. One idealistic Terren uses his arrest as an opportunity to deliver a warning: Delyafam is endangered. Terrens are aggressive, numerous, technologically sophisticated, and well armed. They’ve convinced themselves that the Delyene are

Read More