Nod by Adrian Barnes


Insomnia is my biggest nightmare. I LOVE sleep- I’m one of those people who needs a full 8 hours and turns into a grinch if I don’t get it.

Therefore I was very scared of Nod. This is a world where a sleepless contagion has swept the world. No one can sleep at all except for a lucky few, mostly children. The first night it happens it’s a baffling coincidence. The second night, it’s a global panic. Technology shuts down, systems crumble and people start going bonkers over lack of sleep.

Except for our hero, writer Paul. Based in Vancouver, we see perfect his lovely Canadian life disintegrate as his girlfriend becomes more and more manic. Amongst all the crazy, a prophet arises. Paul’s friend gets hold of one of his manuscripts bearing a passing coincidence to their current predicament. ‘Nod’ is born- a new organised twisted religion, complete with sleepless zombie humans. Anarchy reigns and Tom and a stray ragamuffin child he picks up desperately fight for survival.

I lost the plot as it became more dystopian, incidentally as the writing gets more deep and symbolic. I suppose that’s actually what would happen in these circumstances; alternative belief systems would arise, violence and atavism come to the surface, and all the survivors fight it out in a random scramble. By the end I’m so disorientated that I’m not sure what happened so I’m not sure the deeper narrative stuff works for me.

Read: For tips on how to survive the apocalypse. Not when you have insomnia.

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