Sleepless and paranoid? Me too.  Thomas_Burke_The_Nightmare_engraving

It’s now less than a week until our first event this Sunday and those repressed nerves have started to surface in the land of nod – the venue will be overrun by rabbits, a nightmarish plague of locusts will prevent anyone from turning up and, if they even make it there, we’ll all suddenly find ourselves naked in front of an audience of judgmental extras from The Prisoner. Here are two books that can only “help” when it comes to insomnia and those paranoid feelings of being watched.

The Unsleep, 1961, by Diana and Meir Gillan is the story of a utopia gone wrong after the state sponsors a new miracle drug “Sta-Wake”. In an effort to increase productivity and happiness the drug prevents users from sleeping, however, it inevitably leads to a new dystopian future.

While having a bit more time to get stuff done might sound appealing – my first reaction to such an idea would be – “will this kill me like a Manaceine puppy?” Scientists still don’t really know how long a human can safely stay awake – but if the hallucinations, sweats and confusion are much to go by, it can’t be infinite. If you want to learn a bit more about sleep deprivation experiments then check out this article from Neatorama. And, FYI, we’ll be selling a second hand copy of “The Unsleep” at our event this Sunday.

The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe, 1973, by D.G. Compton (Death Watch) – and on to the paranoia. Ever lain awake at night convinced you were being watched? Well, you probably were – by a man with a camera implanted into his retina. The Continuous deals with a world where terminal illness has become almost obsolete so, when 44 year old Katherine is given weeks to live the media is all over it like a boy finding milkshake in a yard. Enter Rod, a man with cameras for retinas, who surreptitiously befriends and films Katherine. If you’re into making “to read” lists then I’d recommend getting this one on it. You can even follow up by watching the film version “Death Watch” and spend 128 minutes gloriously spotting scenes from our own fair Glasgow.

But could it really happen? Of course! There is actually a real live version of this.. sort of… in the form of “eye-borg”;

The Eyeborg Project began when one-eyed filmmaker, Rob Spence decided he wanted a prosthetic eye with a video camera in it. Ocularist Phil Bowen was the first on board who designed a two part prosthetic eye shell that could house electronics. Next came Kosta Grammatis, a multi-talented engineer who designed and executed the world’s first wireless camera inside a prosthetic eye…on Rob’s kitchen table.”

Note the striking similarity between Rob Spence, filmmaker and Rod, filmmaker…hmmm… and if a human eye doesn’t tickle your fancy then I’m sure there will be some insect options to choose from along soon.

Any suggestions?

Sleepless Sci-Fi
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