Reading 30: Ch 51 - Sleeping Beauty, Epilogue - Dreamland

Published: Aug. 18, 2021, 4:20 a.m.
Duration: 25 minutes 19 seconds

The Sleepers begins with a poem about John and the meaning of his name. Chapter 51, the last chapter, begins with a poem about Sleeping Beauty, the metaphor for America Asleep. I've copied the poem here for you to read. Thank you for listening to the complete version of The Sleepers. Please leave a review on Amazon and share the links with your friends. Sleeping Beauty adorned the dais, Doll-like and dainty. A monument to men and madness. Preciously placed by imperfect people, Unnaturally perfected. As stone rests on stone, No bosom or breath heaves. She, symbolic sufferer of our sin. Cleverly concealed and clearly seen, The public panacea, pristine and impregnable, Eternal evader of capricious men, She wants and waits for no one. I found her fickle and firm. I sought the sumptuous satisfaction, Of kissing the sweet, sonorous Sleeping Beauty. To find freedom in flesh and wake a nation. But cold and clenched lips returned my gift. Detached and distracted, she decidedly declined. Sleeping Beauty awoke only to reject resurrection. Wresting from my arms, she rests again, Content with the quiet complacency sleep bequeaths.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 29: Ch 50 - Cutting Strings

Published: Aug. 11, 2021, 12:55 a.m.
Duration: 25 minutes 46 seconds

The puppet and strings have played a key symbol throughout this story.  In these last chapters, it is time to cut strings and reveal the puppet masters.  Enjoy the penultimate chapter. And for those curious about the reference to Ozymandias, it is a poem by Percy Shelley.  Very short read and well worth it.  The kingdoms setup by man shall fall.  Will SleepFree face the same fate?

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 28: Ch 48 - Original Thought, Ch 49 - Vision

Published: Aug. 4, 2021, 12:46 a.m.
Duration: 27 minutes 50 seconds

Just this and two more episodes remain.  We are on the home stretch and the puzzle pieces come together, but changing the world and ending the great dream does not come easily.  Chapter 49 is written from Ray's perspective in a dream.  I love the concept of communicating with others through dreams.  It seems to be the substance of how we hope we communicate in the physical realm -- by sharing and living our dreams.  Of course, in the world of THE SLEEPERS, this possibility goes perhaps too far and we forget that dreams are nothing without life.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 27: Ch 46 - Family Ties, Ch 47 - Recruitment

Published: July 28, 2021, 2:23 a.m.
Duration: 29 minutes 11 seconds

When the average number of child births in a country continues to fall, distant cousins can become meaningful relationships.  This was part of the premise of how I first wrote this chapter.   Then I considered whether borrowed sleep would encourage you to have more children, whether as a client or a sleeper.  I pessimistically wrote that with more hours, you may want to really focus on the one child as a client.  And by the time this future comes, perhaps more stringent population controls would be in place.  For sleepers, I figure it would be even more discouraging having more children, only because there might be so little time between multiple jobs (though you could put them on the market at 8 to bring in extra income).  So I imagined a world where the birth rate continued to crash.  That philosophical chapter was mostly deleted, but the key premise drives the root of what remains.  Enjoy.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 26: Ch 45 - Nightmares

Published: July 21, 2021, 2:28 a.m.
Duration: 23 minutes 41 seconds

I wrote the chapter about nightmare transfer very early when first developing this story, back when I spent significant time in the childhood section.  Later I moved this chapter to the end so that Jane could understand John's motivations but also Ray's true empathy for his friend.  The latter half of this chapter, the return of a classic character, was one of the last few pages I wrote after two friends (and beta readers) said I needed to close out this part of the story better.  I'm so glad I listened.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 25: Ch 44 - Deja Vu

Published: July 14, 2021, 4:11 a.m.
Duration: 23 minutes 11 seconds

Have you ever thought you had experienced a dream many times, but had no true recollection of the prior dreams?  In this chapter I explore the concept of deja vu and how our mind allows us to know the end before the beginning.  John and Jane work together on how best to introduce the Cumulus drug into the sleepers' cocktail and not raise any suspicious alarms from lucid manipulation.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 24: Ch 43 - Equality

Published: July 9, 2021, 2:53 a.m.
Duration: 19 minutes 32 seconds

When you've finished the podcast, I'll be very interested to know what was the most important chapter to you. For some beta readers, this is that chapter -- the most important political chapter for driving home the metaphor of the sleeping world, as told through Jane. In this chapter, I explore the different interpretations of equality and where we risk going as a country when we take equality to the extreme, as predicted by Alexis de Tocqueville. Half of this future society is the same; they are near perfect equals, all happily sleeping, getting paid essentially the same standard rates, all sharing the same misery, and too busy sleeping to know it.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 23: Ch 41 - Double Deceit, Ch 42 - The One

Published: June 30, 2021, 3:50 a.m.
Duration: 25 minutes 57 seconds

  John has perfected his lucid dream masterpiece and moves to transmit it to Ray, the first real test to see if he can change a man with his dreams. There are hints throughout the story, but I enjoy thinking about this aspect of the SleepFree world. What it would be like if someone started changing your life as you slept? Would you oppose such changes, considering the risk too high?

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 22: Ch 39 - New Client, Ch 40 - Puppet Master

Published: June 24, 2021, 3:44 a.m.
Duration: 26 minutes 35 seconds

  As trust increases between John and Jane, he reveals more of the plan, including a new lucid dream designed to test Cumulus. Jane makes clear to the puppet master just how hard it is to love a man and lie to him.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 21: Ch 37 - Flight, Ch 38 - Persuasion

Published: June 16, 2021, 4:12 a.m.
Duration: 28 minutes 25 seconds

  John begins to transform under the influence of the Cumulus Drug. With Jane as a confidant in the plan, she expects more involvement, opening a door for us to learn about transferring dream content. I wrote Chapter 37 after years of trying to become a lucid dreamer and finally experiencing a flying dream, my first crack at lucidity. All the tricks of Karl (my research) had paid off. But flight is just the first step...the world of total lucid control awaits.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 20: Ch 36 - Secrets

Published: June 9, 2021, 1:49 a.m.
Duration: 25 minutes 52 seconds

Showing Jane the secret laboratory only wets her appetite for more. Whatever John does in his free time, Jane wants to know...and she wants to be included.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 19: Ch 34 - Parental Visit, Ch 35 - Lab Rats

Published: June 2, 2021, 1:19 a.m.
Duration: 19 minutes 54 seconds

  You can only date someone so long before they will question what is behind the locked door in your two bedroom apartment. Jane is not afraid to challenge John and push him to reveal his secrets in this latest episode. And John must come clean with his parents on the existence of a new girlfriend. His efforts to find the Cumulus drug are wearing him out as he trials various nightmare-inspired drug concoctions, but his efforts will pay off. Project Cumulus advances!

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 18: Ch 32 - Change, Ch 33 - Testing Protocols

Published: May 26, 2021, 2:28 a.m.
Duration: 17 minutes 28 seconds

  Most of THE SLEEPERS is from John's perspective. He may be a sleeper, caught in the system of giving away 7 hours a day to another, but he is not the norm. He does not exactly represent the typical sleeper. Jane's students provide a real insight into true sleepers. Their parents survive by selling sleep. Their families have weathered downturns, pandemics, and crises, finding peace in steady sleep jobs. In Chapter 32, Jane is confronted with the reality of the American Dream vs. the ideal. Will she break like the sleeper class? Or will this drive her passion and bring her closer to John.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 17: Ch 30 - Purchased, Ch 31 - Rebellion

Published: May 19, 2021, 1:24 a.m.
Duration: 24 minutes 31 seconds

  After not dating anyone since Samantha, John meets Jane, a teacher of sleeper children. It is the night of the annual company gala. Something about her attitude to life will tempt him beyond his commitment to finding the Cumulus Drug. I enjoyed picturing how someone as well off as John, but still a recluse by choice given his clandestine research, would date anyone. Kind of like imagining Obi Wan Kenobi inviting a woman to his desert habitation. These interactions will be fantastic and unique.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 16: Ch 29 - The American Dream

Published: May 12, 2021, 2:08 a.m.
Duration: 19 minutes 11 seconds

  This is the start of Part 4, titled Jane. We've had parts about Karl, Lucius and Samantha, Ray, and now you meet Jane. For potentially obvious reasons, I particularly like this character! Jane is a school teacher for sleeper children. She provides an important perspective and balance to the sometimes skewed reality of Ray and John. She's passionate about the value of life and inspiring sleepers to stretch beyond the sleeper expectation. And for those liking a break from my voices, Jane is read by Jane Greaves.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 15: Ch 28 - Luck

Published: May 5, 2021, 2:42 a.m.
Duration: 16 minutes 52 seconds

  As a chemical engineer, I spent a lot of time in school thinking about what are conserved quantities. We have an entire class called "Mass and Energy Balances", where you rely on conservation of mass and energy to solve problems (some may find this very boring, I know). A friend and I used to consider what else in life might be conserved, meaning its quantity is finite. When I got to writing a chapter about a turning point in John's life, I remembered our line of thinking and decided, "What if Luck is a conserved quantity? What if Ray & John are in some cosmic play where only one can succeed? Perhaps if one fails miserably, it will open the door for the other, and vice-versa." And thus was born this chapter. Plus, I loved thinking about how Ray, someone with 23.5 hours a day awake, would handle adversity.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 14: Ch 27 - Hot Seat

Published: April 28, 2021, 12:06 a.m.
Duration: 30 minutes 49 seconds

Big surprise for this episode.  Hope you enjoy the change for a week.  This episode is from the perspective of Ray and Senator Lucy Esperanza.  We really see the role of the Senate Sleep Committee (SSC) in preserving Pax SleepFree.  Politicians would not dare upset a powerful voter bloc like the sleeper class.  FYI I had a whole series of chapters dedicated to Senator Blair but I cut those out for this podcast. I plan on sharing some as deleted chapters after finishing the main story.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 13: Ch 25 - Modus Discovery, Ch 26 - Perspective

Published: April 21, 2021, 2:34 a.m.
Duration: 34 minutes 45 seconds

  With John and Ray now employed by SleepFree Inc, Chapter 25 explores the scientific pursuits of this sleeper-client pair. Chapter 26 is a look back at John's childhood when he trials attending an all-sleeper school, realizing just what it's like to be a real sleeper. In my graduate research, I set up many experiments and learned mostly by doing. I like to imagine what John must be like to build his own lab in a back room, complete with rats for testing Project Cumulus. Takes a very dedicated individual for such a crusade. Would you go to such lengths?

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 12: Ch 22 - Pairing, Ch 23 - The Rain, Ch 24 - Chinese Food

Published: April 14, 2021, 2:32 a.m.
Duration: 20 minutes 3 seconds

  In these chapters, Ray and John transition from university life to work at SleepFree Inc. I love the imagery of a person with an umbrella in the rain and tried to tie that parable together in this story about rain. How do you react to the rain? My kids want to run and jump on the trampoline as soon as a storm starts. They face the world with glee. Perhaps we all need some more time smiling in our storms.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 11: Ch 21 - Spinning Record

Published: April 7, 2021, 3:05 a.m.
Duration: 23 minutes 2 seconds

  This is one of my truly focused political science chapters. The book used to be filled with these sidebars, but I removed most to improve pace. However, this chapter is so important, I could not pull it out. I hope you enjoy the metaphor and can learn something about our world as you ponder what happens in the world of sleep.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 10: Ch 19 - Double Homicide, Ch 20 - Course Correction

Published: March 31, 2021, 2:07 a.m.
Duration: 21 minutes 42 seconds

No fictional biography would be complete without romance and failure. The last episode ended with John and Ray both dating Samantha, a love triangle guaranteed to bring drama. In this latest episode Samantha visits Cornell. I wanted this part of the story to highlight the relationship between client and sleeper, the fact that these two men are a whole creature together, but missing something apart. One dreams, one lives. Perhaps in your own life, you are both characters, oscillating between the two individuals or able to find the perfect harmony between the two. I see them as a split entity, desperate to be made whole, but forever broken by borrowed sleep.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 9: Ch 17 - Summer Love, Ch 18 - History Lessons

Published: March 24, 2021, 4:15 a.m.
Duration: 24 minutes 52 seconds

  The much anticipated love interest for John has finally arrived. Truly one of the more fun chapters to write. And always interesting to hear what my beta readers say about it. We need our characters to learn and grow, which includes dating when you are writing a more complete story of someone's life. As for Lucius digging into his personal life, he's just that type of professor. This chapter hints at some of the work of the nefarious Senator Blair. I had chapters dedicated to her rise to power and actions to consolidate control over borrowed sleep, but cut those out for this last draft for simplicity. I plan to share those at some point in these readings as bonus chapters.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 8: Ch 14 - Connections, Ch 15 - The Skipping Rock, Ch 16 - Fortune Cookies

Published: March 18, 2021, 4:40 a.m.
Duration: 27 minutes 39 seconds

  Chapter 14 was written second to last. After my best friend since 5th grade read the book, he wanted a real end to Karl, something to close out the story. I'm so grateful for his feedback as it forced me to face Karl's end...and I loved it. The next few chapters describe the reality of finding the right love interest. Nothing goes as planned, though one tends to get closer and closer to what makes sense. Samantha joins us in Chapter 16. For many readers, she is the true favorite in the story because she is so interesting...or because this is when the story changes. It is less introspective (and less from a young John's perspective in retrospective) and more about human dialogue, interactions, and driving to John's ultimate purpose to find the Cumulus drug.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 7: Ch 12 - The Other Side, Ch 13 - HREM

Published: March 11, 2021, 4:25 a.m.
Duration: 20 minutes 30 seconds

  John experiences life as a client and learns the science of sleep. Before he can create the Cumulus drug, he has to learn how the whole process works - what is the chemical mixture given to sleepers, how does the hardware pick up your brainwaves and translate them back to a client, how do you clean and store the chemical for transmission, etc. This all comes as he attends Cornell and learns from the master - Dr. Lucius Santos. I had a professor like Dr. Santos. His kindness and mentoring meant everything to the students that attended his classes and worked for him in the lab. I wanted to capture the essence of a professor who truly cared and showed John the empathy he needed (which was in stark contrast to Karl's teaching style).

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 6: Ch 9 - Umbrellas, Ch 10 - The Wizard, Ch 11 - Job Offers

Published: March 3, 2021, 4:29 a.m.
Duration: 24 minutes 50 seconds

  Chapter 10 is the start of Part 2: Samantha. The story takes a change in pace and focus as John and Ray enter college and start sleep studies. They'll be challenged by their professor, by growing up, and by love entanglements. Enter into the world of the Wizard as we grow closer to lucidity for all sleepers.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 5: Ch 7 - Fantasy, Ch 8 - Confidence

Published: Feb. 24, 2021, 3:29 a.m.
Duration: 30 minutes 14 seconds

  This is really the last reading with Karl before John heads off to school. Reading the part of Karl fills me with so many memories as I think about his inspiration, the man behind the story. I truly miss the real Karl. We saw some amazing places in the world together when I was young. And I got yelled at my fair share. But chocolates and pepperoni always brought our families back together. I'm grateful for his friendship and in terms of the story, no one could better mentor someone committed to bringing down the world's greatest company - SleepFree Inc - with his power of lucidity.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 4: Ch 5 - Devil's Den, Ch 6 - Clouds

Published: Feb. 17, 2021, 2:31 a.m.
Duration: 18 minutes 1 second

  I first visited Gettysburg at the age of 14. My sister and I went on perhaps a 10 mile walk with only an obscure walking guide, written in 19th Century jargon, and no GPS or phone. Our parents dropped us off and we started for the woods. That was my first experience visiting a Civil War site. Since then I have visited most major locations, dragging my wife and children across the country to see these sacred fields and hills. As I wrote The Sleepers, I was always drawn to my experiences at these battlefields, pondering the sacrifice it takes to preserve liberty, enact change, and heal a broken society. Seemed like the perfect place for Karl and John to concoct a new plan to fight SleepFree and find a solution for lucidity.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 3: Ch 3 - Reality, Ch 4 - Doppelganger

Published: Feb. 10, 2021, 2:13 a.m.
Duration: 19 minutes 13 seconds

  I spent ten years thinking about lucid dreaming as I wrote this book and never experienced it myself except one time (was the inspiration for a much later chapter!). Then I really studied all the many ways to spark lucidity and I had a flurry of lucid dreams. These came when my baby would not sleep at all, so I was always very tired in the middle of night. Apparently that helps lucidity. Can't say I'm a 5C, but I'm no longer a 1A. Maybe a 2B or 3B. These chapters are a little slow to build the life of John before he grows up but worth the buildup. As for Chapter 4, I cut out most of the childhood chapters but could not part without some of the parables from his father. Enjoy, subscribe, comment, share. Thank you for listening.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 2: Ch 1 - The Dreamer, Ch 2 - Apprenticeship

Published: Feb. 3, 2021, 5:40 a.m.
Duration: 39 minutes 59 seconds

  Decided to share the first 2 chapters together, although I would not recommend trying to record a curmudgeon voice late at night while experiencing allergies. John is going to need friends or at least an ally to survive sleeping life...enter Karl, a favorite among beta-readers. He's certainly a favorite of mine. Enjoy, comment. If you are a lucid dreamer in real life, let me know. I'll share with you the official lucidity matrix and you too can be classified for borrowed sleep and Guild membership.

Listed in: Fiction

Reading 1: Prologue

Published: Jan. 29, 2021, 5:50 a.m.
Duration: 21 minutes 21 seconds

  I've had a lot of people tell me over the years that they would "read" my book if I had an audio version. So here it is, one chapter at a time. The novel has changed and morphed so many times, that even if you've read it before, you will find something new in this latest edition. Thank you for listening. Comments welcome.

Listed in: Fiction