Sleep Donation: A Novella (Kindle Single)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
From the author of the New York Times bestseller Swamplandia!, and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, an imaginative and haunting novella about an insomnia epidemic set in the near future.
A crisis has swept America. Hundreds of thousands have lost the ability to sleep. Enter the Slumber Corps, an organization that urges healthy dreamers to donate sleep to an insomniac. Under the wealthy and enigmatic Storch brothers the Corps’ reach has grown, with outposts in every major US city. Trish Edgewater, whose sister Dori was one of the first victims of the lethal insomnia, has spent the past seven years recruiting for the Corps. But Trish’s faith in the organization and in her own motives begins to falter when she is confronted by “Baby A,” the first universal sleep donor, and the mysterious “Donor Y.”
Sleep Donation explores a world facing the end of sleep as we know it, where “Night Worlds” offer black market remedies to the desperate and sleep deprived, and where even the act of making a gift is not as simple as it appears.
with a great sorrowful surprise. We have a phantom in common. I wonder how he appears to Jim, if he is a bearded terrorist, if he is an insane person, if he is perfect evil. Whoever he turns out to be, his dream has spawned actual fatalities. Thirty-two “suicides” have been linked to the Donor Y nightmare. (“Suicides” is another term being hotly debated at this moment, since many of the Donor Y−infected appear to have scaled ladders and jumped from catwalks and rooftops in a somnambulatory
not fair.” “It’s not fair,” agrees Dr. Glasheen, with the worn-smooth voice of someone whose expectations have all been filed away by the nightly emery of his hospital duties. In the last bed, a woman has somehow managed to Houdini out of the elastic beige restraints and her green paper gown. Now she’s lying naked on top of the sheets, snoring lightly. She’s fallen asleep on her back with her pale feet crossed at the ankles. A fine sweat glistens all over her body, so that she looks like a
Corps trailer, but the Harkonnens. I stare at Mr. Harkonnen. A chalky taste rises that I want only to swallow. Easiest to believe Jim’s calculations, Jim’s predictions. Why not? He is an empirical savant, Jim. He made his fortune as a businessman. But it’s useless to pretend that I can still trust Jim. Any minute now, I’m going to tell Mr. Harkonnen. As scared as I am, I don’t see how it can be avoided. Dori’s working in me, on me, dissolving the capsule around the secret. I must tell you
are all mentally coaching him: Don’t cry, Jim. Our Sleep Station has an unusual, top-heavy hierarchy—we have two supervisors, the Storch brothers. They are former CEOs who left the business world at the height of the Insomnia Crisis and now freely give of all their resources to the not-for-profit Slumber Corps. Money, time, intellect, leadership, creativity, toilet seats. The Storches made their fortune in the ergonomic toilet business. You may have seen their advertisements: “To shit upon a
the night. They form spontaneously, on the margins of cities, but have developed an oddly standard layout: mazes of tents, nocturnally blooming speakeasies. Night World merchants cater to the sleepless ones with black market remedies: “moonlamps” to ease the dreariness of unremitting wakefulness, “cave medicines” derived from ancient myrtles and lichens. Songbirds from Germany and Thailand are sold as “bio-cures”—their binary chirping is said to reprogram dreams into the mind. Some Night Worlds