|Author||Orson Scott Card|
|Cover artist||Gray Morrow|
|Series||The Worthing series|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|LC Class||PS3553.A655 T7 1988|
Hot Sleep: The Worthing Chronicle (1979) is a science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card set in the Worthing series. Although it is currently out of print, Card's novel The Worthing Chronicle (1983) covers some of the same ground.
The book follows Jason Worthing, also known as Jazz, who is a boy growing up on Capitol, the capitol planet of the Empire. Jas has "the swipe", which is a genetic trait that allows for telepathy. The swipe is feared in the Empire, so those who possess it are executed. After being found out as a swipe, Jas tries to escape, which leads to his capture by Abner Doon, who helps him rise to prominence as a space pilot. Eventually, Abner sends Jason away as the head of a colony so that the swipe would become more widespread, but when his ship reaches the planet, he is attacked, and the memories of all but one of the three-hundred eleven colonists are destroyed and two-third of the colonist are killed or damaged beyond awakening. Jason prevails, however, leading to the survival of the colony, which he visits every several years, being on Somec the rest of the time. Eventually, Abner Doon comes and sees how Jason has done, and after Doon leaves, Jason takes his ship to the bottom of the ocean.
The title arises from the operation of somec, the life extension drug forming the foundation of the interstellar Empire. Somec creates an unbearable, torturous burning sensation throughout the body while pushing the patient to suspended animation. However, the somec process exterminates the user's memory, and so these memories are recorded and stored separately shortly before they go under, to be returned to the body after they have awakened, and so the memory of the process itself cannot be retained. Thus, each somec patient experiences the panic of burning hot sleep "for the first time" (as far as their memory goes) no matter how many times they have taken somec before.