- File Size: 489 KB
- Print Length: 172 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: March 30, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004UJ8IQ0
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,265 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Four-Day Planet Kindle Edition
|Length: 172 pages||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled||Page Flip: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
Piper was a brilliant writer but often his books come off a bit flat as he frequently lacks character development. A big part of this was due to the constraints of the market at the time Piper wrote which wanted short works to be serialized. "Little Fuzzy" is, in part, the masterpiece it is because of the richly developed characters and show what Piper could do given more length to work with. "Four-Day Planet," though a short novel, has much of that wonderful character development because it is written in first person which let him give the main character excellent voice and development quickly.
The main character is a geeky newspaper cub reporter whose innocence glows about him like a stereotype. Except he isn't a stereotype. He's coolly brave and skilled. He's as much a man as the toughest monster hunter on the planet. He's a great shot and controlled under fire. And he does it all with a dismissive gee-whiz sort of description that makes this novel a pure delight to read.
The world, the Four-Day Planet, the society, and the people on it are excellently developed and clear. It all becomes real very quickly and believably.
I'm sad Piper's books have apparently fallen into public domain through neglect of his estate, but happy to have them come to be on Kindle for free. Take advantage of this boon to read and enjoy the works of this marvelous writer who was lost to us far too soon.
No doubt in my mind both places get cold as cold can be on a terrestrial planet with earthlike conditions (nearly circular orbit in the liquid water zone). On the other hand the coldest it gets on Earth at high altitude in Antarctica during the six months of dark
is -126F, that is the world record. On Fenris the dark only last 1000 hours, aka 41 days earth time. That is hardly anything compared to the south pole on Earth where the sun sets for 4380 hours. It would be dang cold at night on Fenris, but not environment suit needed cold, an Antarctic parka for the winter over crew would be able to deal with it and if you remember to breath slowly your lungs won't get cold damage. The fact is planets with a decent atmosphere can only get a certain level of cold because the air carries heat from hot zones to cold zones.
Daytime on the other hand could easily get killing hot, you can bundle up against increasing cold to a large extent but there is only so much clothing you can take off before you are naked, after which you are relying on your human cooling system and it tops out around 130F in dry air with lots of water to drink and sweat out.
My failing is I find unusual planets much more interesting as places for people to live than totally Earthlike ones. Zarathustra has the Fuzzies, but other than that it is boring in the extreme to me, a paradise world.
Uller has been my favorite Piper world since I started reading his novels in the 1970's, now Fenris ranks pretty high up as well. I guess I prefer man vs nature stories to man vs man stories. I can remember learning those were the two great adventure story themes back in high school English class when we studied written drama. Knowing that humans on Earth settled everywhere from the Arctic Ocean coastline to the harshest deserts of the Middle East and Africa under primitive conditions I believe if we ever get off this third rock from Sol we will settle anywhere we can survive. Uller and Fenris are both examples of places people would choose to live, even though the majority would think they were crazy for doing so.
With its 1000 hours of sunlight how fast would Fenris heat up and then cool down? Well the sun angle changes about 1 degree in 5 hours 30 min. That gives you a long twilight period before dawn. At the North Pole on Earth the sun rises on the Spring Equinox and stays the sky rising 1 degree higher every 100 hours. On Fenris 127 hours after dawn the sun is as high as it ever gets at the North pole on Earth. During those first four Earth days the constant sunlight is easily bearable, the temperatures are cold at the beginning but grade up to freezing after 127 hours(5 days 7 hours). It likely takes another 2 or 3 Earth days before it gets uncomfortably hot and people need to take extreme precautions. Call it 7 days of dawn for convenience, when humans can work outside first in winter clothes, then spring jackets, then summer shorts. Desert wear would be needed by day 8 and by the middle or end of day 9 it would be getting dangerously hot. From day 9 noon, 228 hours after dawn, only a fool would go out without being in a vehicle or environment suit, but we are almost half way to maximum sun at hour 500 late on day 21. Now we get to the interesting part, as the sun passes zenith it is still hot out for quite a while, but each hour the sun gets a little closer to the horizon. 873 hours after dawn the sun sinks to 24 degrees above the horizon on the sunset side of the sky. Now the sun has not changed, but the steepening angle of the light is imparting far less energy than it was at zenith. As each hour passes less stellar energy is reaching your position and the temperature is dropping rapidly. By the start of last week before sunset you should be back down to desert clothing levels, then switching to summer, spring, fall and winter. By sunset the temperature should be down in the low 40'sF, with a steady cold wind blowing in from the west. Speaking of wind, at dawn the wind should be coming out of the east, normally winds flow from cold to hot because cold air sinks and warm air rises drawing in more cold air. At zenith on the equator winds come from all directions and past zenith to sunset wind comes increasingly strongly out of the west.
During the 1000 hours of night the temperature will drop to about -70F after about a week and will stay there until twilight arrives around 48 hours before dawn. The temperature should be around -50F when Dawn finally breaks, and then you are back to the day cycle described above.
That is how I interpret the information we have for the Fenris equator. The temperate zones would be better in winter, depending on the axial tilt which isn't mentioned anywhere in the story that I can see. Picture the situation on Fenris if the axial tilt is a relatively normal 20 degrees and your location is half way between the equator and the pole. In Summer your day length is exaggerated over the day length at the equator so it gets hotter and stays hotter longer, but the night is shorter and the temperature doesn't stay as cold for as long. Winter half way to the poles is the garden season, your daylight period is cut from 1000 hours to 700 hours and the angle of the sun is cut by 40 degrees on the winter solstice from what it is at the equator. This means at its very hottest the winter day half way to the equator is only as hot as a desert on Earth, if you dress correctly you can be outside for periods of time without extreme danger. Given the four diurnal cycles per orbit one will correspond with each season in the temperate zone, the winter will be a pleasant day period, the spring and fall will be like the Equatorial cycle and the Summer will have a shorter less harsh night period.
The sub polar zone, from say 55 to 70 latitude would be the best, IMO. The polar night would be like Antarctica, harsh but survivable. The polar day, on the other hand, would be great. The sun would be close to the horizon all winter so you would not need any heat protection, it would likely resemble February in Pennsylvania. This is the time for people who like all those winter sports like Hockey, ice skating, sledding and skiing and snowball fights. Cold and crisp but light for 550 hours in a row. Polar night is positively Antarctic in the winter, -70F or even -100F at times. Spring and Fall in the sub polar zone would give you a day length of about 1100 hours, but the sun will be close to the horizon at the equinox and won't rise very high during these two daylight periods. These two daylight periods would seem like spring in Phoenix, it would dawn cold and crisp but the temperature would top out around 85F or 90F. The quarter of the year taken up by these two daylight periods would be a lot of fun, you can do all those things people love to do outside in safe temperatures. Night during these would be like it is at the equator. Summer in the sub polar region is still the harsh season, the day lasts about 1450 hours and despite the sun being lower angle than at the equator the longer day would make it just as hot or hotter. The good news is the shorter night and lower angle of the sun means the dawn week and dusk week when you can be outside without an environment suit are now more like 12 earth days long instead of 8 like it is at the Equator. At the Equator you can "enjoy" daylight for 64 Earth days of the yearly cycle. In the sub polar zone that changes to 138 Earth days of constant enjoyable sunshine covering all the range of outdoor activities Humans currently partake in. Another thing, if you built a greenhouse in the sub arctic and installed a cooling system to keep it under 90F then the summer daylight period would be long enough to grow any Earth crop you wanted too, if you wanted something besides hydroponic food. The Spring and Fall daylight periods would allow you to grow any of the fast growing crops people have in their gardens. On Earth because of the long summer days Alaskans grow world record size vegetable crops.
All in all if Fenris existed and we could travel there the sub polar climate zone would be perfectly acceptable to many people. It is unfortunate that the ill fated Fenris company was set up to mine minerals found near the Equator, if they had set up in the Sub Polar zone things might have turned out very differently for them and the early settlers.