Sleeper, Awake

By Dr. Bob Rich

Currently out of print from my searches. Information available on author’s site. (unsecure)


This book has won the Science Fiction category of the EPPIE 2001 Awards.

Retired film star Flora Fielding was diagnosed with cancer. Her solution: she had herself put into suspended animation, and invested her fortune in cancer research. She expected to return to life in five to ten years — but is awakened into an utterly different world, 1433 years later. She gradually learns the facts about the new society:

  • There are only one million people on the planet.
  • This gives material wealth to everyone.
  • However, the right to reproduce is a valuable commodity. Men compete for women’s approval in every possible way, including risking their lives in deeds of daring.
  • Everyone has an ‘implant’: a device that enables them to send and receive ‘images’, so that they are able to be with anyone else, anywhere.
  • All the implants, and all the computerized machines on the planet, are linked to form a single intelligence: Artif, the ‘executive arm of humanity’.
  •    Flora makes friends, and gradually learns that she was awakened for a purpose: she is the pawn in a political duel between Abel, President of Control, and Mirabelle, Deputy President. These two are opposed on every issue, including the way to raise twelve year old Tamás, their son.

   Kiril, a young man tortured by jealous love, commits the first violent crime in over a thousand years, and only Flora’s experience from pre-Cataclysmic times can sort out the resulting problems.

My Review:

Different. This is also what you can expect from Dr. Bob Rich…different.

Slightly confusing and requires an open mind to the concept of a world of only one million individuals who are extremely different than our current world. Honestly, I’m not sure I would want to be part of their new existence.

I don’t know how to explain my reaction to this story. Looking back at my notes, I kept remarking on jumpiness…short chapters, switching characters…and hoping the ending explains it all. Not sure it does. I’ll let you decide and please let me know your thoughts.

There is one part with Kiril and the woman of his desire that I did find off-putting. I won’t give any details, but it hasn’t sat well with me. Coming back to this sentence, from when I first wrote it, no, this area of the book did not work for me at all. It points too much to the – not learning from our own history – for my comfort.

Handing on…another concept I hope never comes into fashion and that is explained as to how and why.  It is and again, nope, doesn’t work for me. I want Flora’s story to be more dominant. Flora’s story is fairly dominant, but I can’t fully relate to her due to my own cancer experience.

If this is our possible future, truthfully, I would rather stay in our present. At least, work for a better future.

Dr. Rich puts a spin on science fiction that is fairly “out there,” more than what I’m used to reading. I don’t always mix with his stories, but I always know what I will get, even with some unexpected spin.

Recommend? It’s not that I don’t recommend, just know that you’re in for something…different.

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