… or are they??
website of author Paula Offutt
To Sleep, Book One of The Soliloquy,
was released Nov. 7, 2013
Golden Crown Literary Society Finalist! – To Sleep was a finalist for a 2014 Goldie in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category. Just making the finalist list is more than enough for me. The last time I won, it created so much pressure, I couldn’t write anything publishable for nearly 7 years! I am happily content with being “just” a finalist.
To order from your local bookstore, all you need is the ISBN number above
OR the author’s name and the title.
To Sleep is told through the journal of Karen Miller, a nurse and student from Philadelphia. The journal begins the night three alien ships appear above Earth. When Karen awakens, she is told Earth was destroyed by a space phenomenon called the Rift and she is to be the leader of a small group of women tasked with assisting their alien rescuers in awakening the four billion or so surviving humans who are in cryogenic suspension.
Each time Karen goes to sleep, she doesn’t know exactly what it will be like when she awakens. The line between what is real and what is not real becomes so blurred that Karen and the other women can only trust each other. When reality is finally defined, the six of them learn truths that will forever change not just themselves, but every genetic homosexual on Earth.
I’ll put snippets here but I’ll keep changing them so you won’t get bored.
“The Malons have exercise equipment but it is different due to their muscle physiology.”
“But you have human muscle physiology so this equipment fits you. Not that you need it.” I was so jealous of her strength.
“That is true. I may use the walking machine—”
“Treadmill.” I swore she gave me a dirty look when I interrupted her.
“—just to experience it.”
She left and I wished I had sweats and an old t-shirt. Instead, I removed my clothes so I was just wearing the panties. Despite knowing I was the only one around, I still looked out through the exercise room’s door and then shut it.
It felt good to move at a fast pace. It felt good to sweat. It felt real. My breasts were not comfortable flopping about as I jogged but I accepted the discomfort as another sign I was alive and real and whole. Tears wet my cheeks as I thought of jogging through Fairmount Park. Of the sounds of the kids yelling, of the softball game, of the wind in the trees, the roar of the river. I thought of jogging along the river and watching the scullers. Gone. All of it gone.
The floor came up to meet me and I rolled off the treadmill. The alien ship in outer space was a far cry from jogging in a park. Crying, however, no matter where you do it, hurts just as much. At some point, I felt someone come in and leave. Shortly after, or hours later, I couldn’t tell, someone picked me up but I fought them. I didn’t want to be comforted. I didn’t want to be consoled. I wanted to cry, dammit. I wanted to be miserable. I wanted to scream. When I felt something on my shoulder, I jerked away from it. I must not have gotten the full dose because even though I was dizzy as hell, I still was able to move away from…whoever it was. My vision was blurred by the tears and the swelling of my eyelids.
I heard talking but it didn’t make any sense. Probably the ‘something that is unpronounceable by you’ shit again. Just because their language requires a beak doesn’t mean they have to put me down for not being able to speak it.
The drug was starting to work and I fell to the floor again. But no one picked me up. I curled into a ball and kept crying, kept screaming. My voice was hoarse now. My God, how long had I been at this? My chest was tight and I felt intense pressure. Did I want to die? Did I want to join Jose? My boss? My sister?
Did it matter if it was the drug or sheer exhaustion that finally allowed me to sleep? Blissful, dreamless sleep?