[Book Review] Sleepwalker’s World by Gordon R. Dickson

A classic science-fiction read

Sleepwalker's World
Sleepwalker's World

“The Sleeper Wakes

Sleepwalker's World
Sleepwalker’s World by Gordon R. Dickson

The energy crisis has been solved. Core Taps have been driven 300 miles into the Earth to tap into the subterranean power source at its core. The only catch: when activated, the Core Taps disrupt brain waves, sending everyone nearby into a deep, forced sleep. It’s a small price to pay for a world of plenty. Or so it seems.

Rafe Harald is one of the few humans not affected by the Core Taps. Back from the Moon, where he has been preparing for humankind’s first trek into deep space, he makes his way through a shadowy night world of induced slumber. He’s come to discover the whereabouts of a missing colleague. What he’ll find is a mysterious figure known as the Old Man—and a conspiracy so devious in its design, he’ll wish it was a nightmare.

But soon the Old Man will discover that he has awoken a sleeping giant in Rafe Harald. And on a planet of perpetual sleep, a new day is about to dawn..”

 

Sometimes you pick up a book and are instantly drawn into it, there is something that just pulls you in. That was the case for me with Sleepwalker’s World by Gordan R. Dickson.

What pulled me in was the writing style. There was something about the style that was very reminiscent of the science-fiction I grew up with. Reading it brought to mind classic stories by as Piers Anthony and Phillip K. Dick.

I was halfway through the book before I realized why the writing style seemed so classic. Sleepwalker’s World is a reprint of a 1971 novel.  Obviously good writing doesn’t get old.

Earth’s natural resources are depleted and humankind as resorted to tapping the energy at the earth’s core to run the world’s power stations. The unexpected side effect is that the power stations are broadcasting a signal that puts the human and animal brains nearby to sleep. On the plus side, this reduces the world’s consumption.

Mankind sees a star voyage as one of their few remaining of chances survival and has been training astronauts to make the journey. One of these astronauts, Rafe Arnaul, returns to earth when his friend and biophysicist colleague vanishes under mysterious circumstances.

With the assistance of his friend’s sister, who is paralyzed, and her bio-enhanced wolf companion, Rafe sets out to find his friend and along the way discovers a nefarious plot.

This is a classic tale of good versus evil, protagonist against antagonist.

The book was a good solid read. It’s a fairly short read, but for the most part it is enjoyable. The book contains the classic argument, “can good truly exist without evil?”

The characters are not fully fleshed out and the hero seems a little self-centered and ego-centric, so you enjoy it a little bit when he is taken down a peg.

The biggest problem with this book is that three-quarters of the way through, it was almost as if Mr. Dickson lost track of where he was going, or was told by his publishers where he had to direct his book. It takes a swing into a different direction than you thought it was going, and it loses some of his cohesion.

But overall, it’s a good classic read. If this book did not have the feel of a classic sci-fi novel from the beginning, I probably would have dismissed it as a poor read. The style of the 70’s left a lot of questions hanging, but back then readers weren’t as educated. Readers didn’t ask as many questions and writers could leave some of the holes regarding the function of their technology. Today’s readers are more demanding and want to know how things function.

I’m going to give this book four stars, simply because I loved the classic styling. However, on a more modern book I would definitely drop it half a star just for the direction change and loose ends at the back end of the story.

PopCultHQ Rating - 4 Stars
PopCultHQ Rating – 4 Stars

Written by:  Gordon R. Dickson
Cover Art by: Adam Burn
Published by: Baen Books


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2 = Readable, but more fluff than substance

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