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

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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

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Richard Rose tracing the long roots of white nationalism

In light of the painful politics of recent years, it is no longer possible to deny that white nationalism is a part of our national consciousness. The most recent evidence is the foundational document for Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s America First Caucus, which claims that America is “strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.” Although Greene distanced herself from the document after its condemnation by members of both parties, it confirms that white nationalism has seriously infected our politics.

There can be no dialogue without respect for one’s opposition, no matter how wrong you feel they might be. If you listen to MSNBC, you might get the impression that white nationalists are either mentally ill or victims of demonic possession. Actually, white nationalism is a real ideology with an internally consistent logic of its own. Before any attempt to discuss its errors, we must understand what we

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Leonard Nimoy to be honored with ‘Live Long and Prosper’ monument

Actor Leonard Nimoy’s character, Mr. Spock, is a celebrated part of American pop culture, and soon a 20-foot, illuminated sculpture will memorialize Spock’s “Live long and prosper” hand gesture, and the subtle message behind it.

The 20-foot, illuminated, stainless steel monument shaped in the famous “Live Long and Prosper” hand gesture will be located in front of the Museum, at Science Park, welcoming visitors and Star Trek fans from around the world.
Graphic via Business Wire

The original Star Trek sci-fi television show only lasted for three seasons, but Mr. Spock, played by Nimoy, became legendary for his Vulcan dedication to logic and for the phrase, “Live long and prosper.” It was Nimoy himself who came up with the V-shaped hand gesture that accompanied the salutation, inspired by an ancient blessing preformed in his childhood synagogue.

Boston’s Museum of Science, in collaboration with Nimoy’s family and artist David

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