Happy weekend! I am headed way up north to Georgia (still weird to say that after four years…) today to see the gorgeous and talented men of Home Free do their thing, so I will leave you with some brief thoughts on some brief stories.
Sleep Donation, by Karen Russell
I found myself in the odd situation the other day of having a Kindle full of books to read but having the actual next book I wanted to read sitting at home in print. I didn’t want to start another entire book, so I took that as a sign that I should finally get on the Karen Russell train with this teensy novella. I knew the premise going in — future world where some people have stopped sleeping but scientist have figured out how to give sleep transfusions — and not much else, and I was pleasantly surprised by the story.
The novella focuses on Trish Edgewater, a sleep recruiter who uses the story of her dead-from-insomnia sister to convince people to donate their own sleep. She’s pretty darn good at her job, but she suffers a crisis of faith in the Slumber Corps when she butts heads with the father of Baby A, a universal sleep donor who happens to be an infant, over the safety, usefulness, and purpose of the sleep donations.
The world that Russell builds is very cool, and I was absolutely fascinated with the idea of sleep donation and Baby A and Donor Y, this mysterious dude with poisoned sleep who is causing people to want insomnia. I would have loved a story that was basically the oral history of this phenomenon, a la Unlocked, but Russell spent most of her time on Trish and Trish’s inner turmoil over using her dead sister and outer turmoil over finding out things she’d rather not know about the Slumber Corps, which was less exciting but still pretty cool. I will definitely be seeking out more Karen Russell in the future.
The Thrilling Adventure Hour, continued
When last we spoke about TAH, I was twenty-ish episodes in and liking it quite a bit. Two months and a hundred episodes later, I am, as you may guess, loving it. “Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars” continues to be the greatest half-hour of “radio” known to man, especially a recent (to me) set of episodes in which Paul F. Tompkins “impersonates” Croach and Sparks, separately and terribly, and hilariously ruins the theme song while he’s at it. “Beyond Belief”, which I was moderately annoyed by before, has become far more delightful, with less reliance on the drinking thing and more reliance on the sickeningly adorable relationship of Sadie and Frank, which is something I can totally get behind. Also I can’t get enough of Paget Brewster’s Sadie voice. The other segments are just as awesome as they were before, and the behind-the-scenes episodes have actually made those secondary segments far more interesting now that I know some of the history and can attach some faces to the voices I’ve been hearing, now that I know who all these people are! If you need a new podcast in your life and can listen in a laugh-friendly place, you should definitely put this one on your list. Start “Sparks Nevada” all the way back at the beginning, because it’s the most continuity-heavy, but everything else you can pick up wherever.
What stories are you guys reading and listening to this weekend?