Nod – Adrian Barnes

A science fiction book with a new twist focusing on sleep deprivation and the effects it would have on the population. We follow Paul who is one of the lucky few who are able to sleep while he watches his partner, Tanya, fall deep into madness with the people around them.

Paul and Tanya are a believable couple who, like any other couple, have fallen into a routine. They go out to eat breakfast and always go to the same place, ordering the same thing. Paul likes his routine whereas you get the feeling that Tanya wants something a little bit more. Paul is a writer and the novel he is writing serves as the basis from which the land of Nod arises.

Barnes offers the reader a description of Nod and its origins which come from the Bible, a place outside of Eden which Cain left to reside in. The land of Nod becomes the brainchild for Charles, who after finding Paul’s manuscript (and after a few days of sleep deprivation) begins to believe in this land where “sleep is finally over” and people are “waking up and rubbing their eyes” (94). It’s never fully explained what will happen when the end comes and what will happen to all of the people who have been lacking sleep except Charles believes that a new world order will be established with them ruling. To me the plot is apocalyptic with only those chosen few who have been blessed with sleep to survive judgement day. I won’t reveal how the book ends simply because I don’t really know how it ends. Let me explain.

I know what happens to the characters and most of the surrounding area. I know that the world is cut off from one another and people are in the streets dead (not a spoiler, people die from sleep deprivation). However, I don’t know WHAT happens or WHY it happens. It’s never fully explained which at first I liked. I liked that I wasn’t spoon fed answer just to sate my curiosity and it made me really consider what could actually be the cause of it but, the more I thought about it the more I wanted information. While divine intervention works for me as a plot device a simple “golden dream” does not do much to convince me of it. Like the characters I immediately jumped to static and the overabundance of it surrounding us, disturbing our brain waves but that is proven not to be the case. Nothing was proven.

Since I started writing this post I have come to the conclusion that what I like about it is what I dislike about it, the openness of the ending and the situation. Paul may have fulfilled his character arc but the world around him is still happening and I would have liked to have glimpsed a little bit of that world. In short it’s a fantastic book that will leaving questioning a lot of things but the journey that it takes you along is filled with its fair share of perilous moments which will keep you hooked throughout.

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