Almost all of civilization suddenly lose the ability to sleep and begin to deteriorate mentally over the period of a few weeks. About one in every ten thousand adults can still sleep, and they all seem to share the same dream each night. A number of children can also sleep, but they’ve all stopped speaking and no one knows what happens in their dreams. No one really knows what’s happening at all, not even the author. This takes place in current day Vancouver, Canada and follows a couple, one who can sleep and the other who cannot, as they find themselves in the middle of a world quickly crumbling.
The basic premise of this feels like something out of a John Wyndham novel. but it was all questions and no answers, which made it a bit frustrating. I can handle leaving things unanswered, in fact I usually like being left in the dark a bit in novels, but so much was set up and then not even acknowledge that it felt like a first novel in a series. It felt like a wasted opportunity.
I think that’s what bugged me about this novel. It was an enjoyable read, atmospheric thought-experiments are my favourite flavour of science-fiction, but it just never hit its potential. The characters were interesting but a bit dull and lifeless and the plot was gripping but fizzled out midway. Great concept with a mediocre execution.
I listened to this on audiobook while travelling to Australia last year. I can’t sleep on planes, so I did get to experience this while being deprived of sleep, which I think added an interesting touch.