Sleeping Beauties: Part 2, Chapters 4-5

[Sleeping Beauties Content Note: Trans Exclusion and Erasure, Misogyny, Violence Against Women]

Sleeping Beauties Recap: When this book first popped up on my radar, I expressed some concerns about the content on Twitter. This week, I purchased the book and read through it. As I read, I live-tweeted my thoughts on Twitter. This is a compilation and expansion of my tweets. The live-read will be spread out over multiple posts.

Sleeping Beauties, Part Two: I'll Sleep When I'm Dead. Chapter 4-5

(Tweet Link) Update: Lila is living in a tent covered in ice in her front yard rather than in the house itself because the house has painful memories. You know what else the house has, King? Insulation in the walls. She's perfectly comfortable in the icy tent. This is very cozy. Sometimes she leaves the tent to get a new book. By the way, it's raining. Love to walk in the icy rain for a book and then warm up in my ice-covered plastic tent. One time, I camped out and it was, like, 58 degrees Fahrenheit and I nearly died of exposure even with a fire. Seriously, kids, you can die from hypothermia at, like, 60 degrees F. Depending on individual and circumstance. Be careful.

Icy rain pelted Our Place for forty-eight hours, snapping tree branches, pouring chilly slop through the holes in roofs, filling the streets and walks with cloudy puddles. Lila, stretched in her tent, occasionally put aside the book she was reading to kick at the walls and break off the frozen coating that had formed on the vinyl. The sound was like breaking glass.

I worry that you guys will think I'm exaggerating, so here's another wall of text. Lila is literally walking through icy rain to retrieve books from her house only to return to a tent that is literally coated with ice.

The exploration party had been gone a week when Celia Frode returned on foot, splattered in mud from head to toe. She was alone.

Could... could we not have gone with the exploration party, and seen interesting things? Possibly... horrific things?

Lila didn’t correct the “Sheriff.” It had turned out to be remarkably difficult to quit being a cop. “Go on, Celia.”

Weird: Lila keeps insisting people no longer call her sheriff. It's like she immediately accepted a World of Women is peaceable anarchy. I'm very suspicious of Peaceable Anarchy that happens the minute all the men are gone; it smacks of gross gender essentialism stuff. I would assume that running for sheriff in a small town--particularly a woman sheriff--takes a lot of determination to be a sheriff? Whatever was driving her before--helping people, leading people, sheer joyful ambition--shouldn't have evaporated from her character.

Plus, the Peaceful Woman Anarchy always stems from women being perceived as too passive to want anything. Like, I was on my phone earlier and couldn't gripe about this properly, but the first thing they do is establish a school? They make a school and a mimeographed newsletter because women just DO those things. *eyes roll into the next room*

...okay, some lady characters whose names I don't recognize died because of shoddy building contracting and land reclamation. Here I thought there was going to be, like, horror in this horror novel. They went into a jail that had been build on a "reclaimed" mountain, the foundations were too soft, it imploded down the mountain.

Suddenly, and without warning, they have horses. Wild horses they tamed? No other option, really.

Oh ye gods, Tiffany Jones is pregnant. GREAT. STELLAR. OBVIOUSLY.

How is only one woman in this tiny rural community pregnant? I demand an answer to this. Because you know it'll just be her. [Note: It is not just her.] The birth rate is, what, 30 births per year per 1,000 women? And that's birth rate, not pregnancy rate, and rural towns have high teen pregnancy rates.

And she was pregnant. Lila had heard Tiffany mention it at a Meeting. That, Lila thought, was where at least part of her glow came from.

They have literally no curiosity about this! Even though they know their physical bodies are elsewhere!

The horses continue to be unexplained. The animals here have never even seen humans. Can anyone hazard how hard it is to catch and tame a wild horse from scratch?

The women, who know for a fact that this isn't the afterlife, discuss whether or not this might be the afterlife. I don't know, y'all.

Oh my god, the sleeping baby of the cast is growing and toddling everywhere. Is it going to be shoved back into infancy? This is some Narnia body-horror shit right here.

Lila thought of Jessica and Roger Elway. Their baby, Platinum, was growing fast, crawling all over the place.

This passage is surreal. You could almost forget that Lila killed Jessica Elway, after watching Jessica kill Roger, and that this was exceedingly traumatic for her. Not to mention that Jessica's absence from this place, in fact, should have immediately clued everyone in to recognizing that the dead don't go here.

What are they feeding the baby, that's what I want to know. Were any of the women lactating when they fell asleep? They aren't finding cans of formula; they don't trust the canned stuff.

Pregnant Tiffany is now Disney Princessing with all the wild animals, so I assume she's not long for this world.

A mess of women died because they couldn't tell a blow-up doll wasn't a real woman. That actually happened in this novel. They saw a blow-up doll in the men's jail the next town over, thought she was a real woman (how did it still have air in it after years and years and years of neglect?), they tried to yank open a door to get to her and during the yanking, and the building collapsed and everyone died.

My head hurts. This is the most insulting novel I've ever read. I'm insulted for women everywhere.

“Welcome home. We got coffee.” Coates stepped from the group. “Unlike us, we got nothing,” Lila said. “Sorry. It was a Fuck-Me Farrah doll in the secure wing.

What a pointless, stupid, plot-holish, unnecessary side-plot that was.

Clint has decided to tell the other men at the prison that Eve is magic. They accept this. Frankly, I'm just relieved. Like, yes, anything that keeps the pace up. The r-word slur for mental illness appears on this page as a teenage (teenage?!?) prison guard decides to bail. As he plans to drive off warning they'll all die and the town will come with guns we note again that nothing physical is stopping them from leaving. Yes, they don't want to leave the women alone, but counterpoint: they have pickup trucks and there aren't that many cocooned women. They stack! Stack them!

...rather than let the teenager go, they tase him. These are the good guys.

This was a matter that they’d discussed. There were serious problems with letting Scott Hughes leave. They couldn’t allow someone telling the town folks what a short roster they had, or outlining the limitations of the prison’s armaments. Because Scott was right, the prison’s armory was not impressive: a dozen Mossberg 590 shotguns, birdshot to load them, and each officer’s personal sidearm, a .45-caliber pistol.


@alexandraerin If the worlds are rejoined there is going to be such a gender imbalance, it's just going to get more hellish for women.

[TW] I've been wondering about this too. The book made a big point of all the men who died waking the women, and wars, and suicides, but even so. The suicides were particularly awful; in Japan they're called Sleeping Husbands, but the book tells us no man entered Our Place. (Again I note that Our Place has trans men all over it, so fuck you, narrator.)

The diner has no pies and only terrible food because the women are asleep and like. There are no male cooks? Really? I worked in the food service industry for a long damn time. Men were usually the cooks. I'm just saying.

Eve says it's easier to read men's minds than women because "they're simpler". There's a lot of ableism from Eve about how Angel is "bad and mad" and only "sounds sane".

Wait, what? No?

Did it matter who pried the woman out, as long as the job got done? As long as she could be questioned? Coerced, if necessary, should they conclude that she actually might be able to stop the Aurora?

Frank wants Eve so a doctor can examine her, he didn't previously think she was the magical cause of it all!? Why would he think that? Why would anyone think an immune woman could "stop" an illness with willpower alone? What? Why? What.

Eve outright murders a man on the outside who is trying to help her, apparently because only Clint is allowed to help her?

“I hated to do that,” Eve said—speaking not to her guests, Clint felt, but to herself. She wiped a single tear from the corner of her left eye. “The more time I spend here, the more human I become. I had forgotten that.” “What are you talking about, Evie?” Clint asked. “What did you hate to do?” “Judge Silver was trying to bring in outside help,” she said. “It might not have made any difference, but I couldn’t

WHY. Why does Bumblefuck USA get to decide the fate of the entire world?

Alexander Peter Bayer, the first baby to be born on the other side of the Tree, son of a former Dooling inmate named Linda Bayer, breathed air for the first time a week after Lila and Tiffany returned from the wreck below Lion Head.

Oh, lol, okay, the women are just giving birth in the sleep world now. What even is editing? Was a pregnant inmate mentioned before this? Nope! "Linda Bayer" does not appear until this page. Why not? Okay! Why should a pregnant woman appear in your narrative BEFORE she gives birth to a dream baby that is still a fetus in the real world?

Search results for "Linda Bayer"

Thank god for Kindle and search results or I would be doubting my own memory. You may notice that Linda only exists in order to birth and care for a son, being mentioned only twice. I did. Lila is still wearing a wedding ring and I have sudden questions about what they did and didn't bring over, but I suppose we'll never know.


Cast of Characters

I cannot deal with this. King literally just summoned a woman into existence to make a boy baby for him. The cast of characters was six pages long! It contained the cult-leader guy who I assumed would be relevant but we only saw once!

oh. my. god.

“We’re all we need,” Lila said. She had descended from the bleachers and stood with her arms crossed at the baseline of the court. “That’s why we were chosen.

Lila has a Theory on why Bumblefuck USA was chosen and not somewhere else--they're Self Sufficient Americans. Lila, you used to be cool. What happened.

Also, how does she know nowhere else has any women? We know nowhere else in this world has any women, because we've talked to Eve, but Lila hasn't! Sure, they haven't found any other women but she also thinks this is a shared simulation between the inhabitants. In which case there could be millions of Matrixes! One for each town!

Why does every damn character in this novel have a direct line to the author!

Lila wasn’t done, though. “So how do we keep things going? We’ve already got our first baby. And how many pregnant women are there? A dozen? Eight?” “Could be as many as ten. That enough to jump-start a new world, you think, when half of em’s apt to be girls?”

Oh and now we suddenly have pregnant women where we didn't before. Summoned into existence.

Can we just. *sits down heavily*

The premise here

is that Bumblefuck, USA

is the most Self Sufficient Per Capita selection of women in the world

and that they are obviously the best progenitors of a humanity reboot

which is needless to say

gonna be HELLA WHITE.

@alexandraerin So wait. All the women in the world are asleep, but only the ones we know exist in the dream world? Rest are just gone?

Apparently, yes. They left town to look for more women, but only found the blow-up doll.

"How many pregnant women do we have here?" asks the sheriff who was once sharp and detail-oriented. "Twelve? Eight?" Lila was a cozy home-town sheriff who knew everybody by sight and served on the school board. This was established. "Twelve? Eight?"

@maddiekellerr  Also, I thought this was a horror novel? but all you keep posting about is badly plotted drama. Where is the horror?

All the horror was in Chapter 3, which was decently written. That was it. Hope you got your money's worth.

I bet you there’s cold storage facilities with generators that were programmed to run and run and are still running. You’d have to go to a city to find one, I’d guess, but I bet you could. And there would be frozen sperm samples there. And that would be enough to get a world—a new world—going.”

Also, hi, frozen sperm doesn't work this way? You can't just load up a turkey baster and shoot frozen sperm and expect it to swim. So I hope one of your rural doctors has the sterile room needed to extract eggs, fertilize them, grow 'em for a few days, and implant them. I guess books are faster to write when you don't google anything?

The inhabitants of Our Place had discussed Eve Black endlessly;

OH MY GOD NO THEY DON'T. We've been present for multiple conversations and meetings! Eve hasn't come up once! You can't just assert this after pages and pages of it being blatantly not true and expect the reader to go along!

My god, I am going to aggressively promote my books after this because christ on a cracker, I am a better writer than this. Buy my books, they are entertaining and edited by professional editors! Read my short stories on Patreon! They are pre-read before publishing them to you, unlike this novel! It's midnight! I'm going to bed now! I'm comforted knowing that moths will not take me because I'm useless and infertile. Suck it, moths!

*scrolls up thread*

Remember a few hours ago when the narrative said they DIDN'T talk about Eve, but now they totally have been all along?

They didn't talk about Evie, but Lila had not forgotten her.
@aveskamp89  Damn this whole novel is all over the place, a mess. Has it been shown what happens to those who die in dreamworld after the murder suicide?

Nope! Their bodies were in the prison where Clint is, but the narrative hasn't checked in on whether they are alive. You'd think it'd mater to the men if two of their sleeping beauties stopped breathing, since that could imply fatality of the disease.

@semiotic_pirate We don’t even know if they’re even checking vitals of the cocooned

They are not, no.


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