Hyos: the Sleep Machine by Jane Last. Man thinks that he is shaping the planet, but little does he realize that the planet is shaping him.
Year: 9,000-9,600 Hyos Time Scale (HTS)
Location: Planet of Hyos
Hyos was intensively studied as from year 8,500 HTS, when the first scientific expeditions landed on the planet. The next hundred years were followed by many subsequent expeditions, and even permanent settlements by various research teams. There were many interesting features on Hyos that kept the scientists busy for a long time. It was a time when vast amounts of money were readily available for planetary exploration, and scientists had unlimited funds at their disposal. Authorities on Earth had channeled enormous resources for space exploration, planet discovery and identification of suitable planets for the establishment of human colonies. On every newly discovered planet, research work was ongoing to optimize its environmental conditions for its potential colonization.
The atmosphere of Hyos was similar, though not identical to Earth’s. In addition to oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water vapor that human beings were used to, its atmosphere contained sulfur dioxide, hydrogen, methane, several acidic gases, ash and dust in various proportions. The gas mixture was dependent on one’s location and proximity to volcanic sites as the ongoing volcanic activity emitted large quantities of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen as well as heat. The planet’s climate was hot and stormy with strong dusty winds and occasional light rainfall for one hundred and ninety days. Similarly, it was very cold and dry for the same length of time depending on which of the twin stars was closest to it. On any day, the sky looked yellow with an orange tinge and the twin suns were clearly visible during day-time. The sky color changed to bright red at sunrise and sunset, which lasted for a long time to allow both suns to rise and set.
Although the planetary mass of Hyos was greater than that of Earth, surprisingly its gravity matched Earth’s exactly, and the first men who arrived on the planet immediately felt at home. One would logically have expected that the gravity on Hyos would be greater on account of its larger mass, so this was an unusual finding. Scientists had a rational explanation for this. Surface gravity was a function of both mass and radius and they compensated for each other. Moreover, the physical composition of the planet and that of the atmosphere also had an effect on the surface gravity of Hyos making it similar to Earth’s gravity.
A Bite of... Jane Last
Q1: How much of what you write could be classed as therapy?
I started writing at a difficult time in my life. I had not previously thought of myself as a writer at all. In fact I am used to writing scientific publications, research proposals and dissertations. I read a lot of a variety of books and I guess that I think a lot. I had been vaguely thinking of writing fiction for some years and then one day I had a dream. It was so vivid that I started writing it down. It became the basis of the story Hyos, The Sleep Machine. Maybe it was a therapeutic release.
Q2: Chocolate cake or coffee cake? And give reasons
I love chocolate cake. It’s rich and dark and comforting and so-self-indulgent. I feel I deserve chocolate cake regularly. It’s so important to have something that makes one happy.
I believe in happiness as an objective in life. So many people spend so much time depriving themselves of simple things that would make them happy as they are pursuing something else.
They deprive themselves of sleep, quality time, family life, simple comforts, calorie-rich foods and so many things that are within reach for something that may be unattainable.
Chocolate cake makes me happy. It is therapeutic. I have it for breakfast regularly.
Q3: How much of your writing is autobiographical?
My writing is not at all autobiographical but I think a lot of my beliefs and philosophy are reflected in my writing. For example my book Hyos, The Sleep Machine is about a society adapting to underground living in a volcanic planet and to an outbreak of mental illness that they cannot understand, but at its essence, it’s a story about choices that we make in life and the human need to make choices. It’s about freedom.
Jane Last is a free thinker who likes writing original stories. She is herself an avid reader interested in history, politics, society, literature, art, statistics and science-fiction. If she is not reading, she is watching the latest films. She has a scientific background and is especially interested in human physiology and brain function and how humans will adapt in the future. You can connect with her on Twitter.