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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun

Black Moon 

  How long can a person survive without sleep?  Studies show that lack of sleep reduces cognitive function, affects memory, and can cause hallucinations.   In normal circumstances, the individual will simply give in to sleep eventually.  

Fatal Familial Insominia, however, results in death.

The rare human genetic disorder Fatal Familial Insomnia causes extended sleeplessness and is fatal after about six to 30 months, according to Scientific American magazine. However, it says the condition is misnamed because death results from multiple organ failure rather than sleep deprivation.

Black Moon posits an unusual plague that results in sleeplessness, an insomnia that affects the planet.   One area might experience the problem, while other areas continue to dismiss the possibility...but ultimately,  more than 99% of the world's population loses the ability to sleep.

For some reason, a very few individuals appear to be immune.  Matt Biggs is one of these, and he does everything he can to save his wife as she slides into dementia.  When she runs away, Matt sets out on a journey to find her, but the world of sleepless people is a dangerous one.  In their delirium, the sleepless who find a sleeper will murder without thought or mercy, and Matt must locate safe places to sleep if he wants to remain alive.

But there are other stories as well included as well:  Chase, Felicia, and Lila.  

A strange but fascinating novel.  

Read in September; review scheduled for February.

NetGalley/Crown Publishing/Hogarth

Dystopian.  March 4, 2014.  Print version:  288 pages. 


  1. Kelly- An unusual premise, but a frightening one. What a terrible plague, to be denied sleep until dementia and then death put an end to the misery.

  2. That's scary to think about! It sure sounds interesting though.

    For some reason, it reminded me of my dad a little bit. He was having such a hard time sleeping in the months before he died. He didn't die of this, of course, but I know it had an affect on him.

  3. I really enjoy dystopian novels so this sounds like a good one to add to my list. I often wonder wouldn't it be great not to have to sleep too many hours - I could read more, craft more, etc.

  4. Wendy - Ha--in reference to your comment about Shakespeare, Macbeth had a few problems with sleep, that "balm of hurt minds..." :)

    When I read about people who are awake for 48 or 72 hours during emergencies, I wonder how they think clearly.

    Iliana - I know what you mean. Sometimes sleep seems an interruption when you have something you really want to do.
    Some people get their best ideas while sleeping, but if I do, I can't remember them.

  5. Oh, cool, this sounds like a really unusual and interesting premise. I turn into a mess when I miss one night's sleep. :p

  6. Jenny - It is a frightening premise. I simply can't imagine going without sleep for extended periods!