I searched the site and found answers saying hard light can't exist. Apparently in the three years since the last question was asked, scientists started making inroads on making solid light a reality, though I'm playing with it on a larger, more science-fiction scale. What I'm looking for is how to create a sort of hard(solid/physical)-light Frankenstein that can do what I need it to do.
In my world are hard light "mesas" that cover miles of ground, tower into the sky, and no one knows how deep they go into the earth. They look like light but feel hard to the touch and are near impossible to get inside. They are hollow, the shells acting as "cages" for the land inside.
Inside the mesas, evolution happens more rapidly, genetic mutations are more common, and nature acts pretty much like she's a coed going through her experimental phase at college. However, the same can't be said for the outside--if any evolutionary anomalies occur, they're slower and either rarer or more likely to be killed off by the established order.
Something about the mesas also interferes with our most commonly used waves--radio, television, digital anything, and cell--even a cordless phone too far from it's handset would have trouble because of the powerful interference they put off. Satellites are likely to have a hard time as well.
After doing some poking about at elements that could disrupt communications and cause genetic mutations, I came up with a Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun. I don't need anything near that powerful, but I noticed part of the reason it doesn't effect earth as badly as it could is our ionosphere. But if a similar, (much) lower level event happened inside the ionosphere, in fact, on ground level, it could do what I want it to both inside and outside the "cage." I looked into if high enough exposure to these elements could cause DNA mutations and found it could, though it was mostly tracked in terms of cancer. But if a baby in womb is exposed to it, it stands to reason it could lead to mutations, or a cascade of them over successive generations, assuming the successful survival of the offspring.
So my working theory--and I could be way off base with this, is as follows:
Since the "cage is enclosed, the buildup of electromagnetics and ionizing radiation is significantly higher; anything not dying from exposure mutates. If that's not enough I'm willing to have a third element, even a hypothetical unknown "Element X," at play inside these things stabilizing the health of the living organisms trapped within so the focus can be on the mutations. I mean, if it won't break believably or the story. However, I'm trying not to do that.
The outside doesn't suffer from having these elements trapped, so they're able to dissipate out over wide distances, doing little damage. But an unfortunate side effect is disrupting communication and electronics, causing a "technological slowdown" that has kept humans using wires and cords and caused technologies like cell phones and wireless radio broadcasting to be less viable.
I suppose my big question is if this theory works, and if not, the best ways I might fix it to get my desired results? This is a sort of science-fiction concept, so I am willing to work with theories as well as current facts.