Sleeping Beauties: Part 2, Chapters 6-7

[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 6-7

(Tweet Link) There is 30% of this book left, and by god I'm going to finish it.

But men fought more; they killed more. That was one way in which the sexes had never been equal; they were not equally dangerous. So, yes, Lila thought it was probably a good plan. Merciless, but very good. A world re-started by women had a chance to be safer and fairer. And yet . . . “I don’t know.”

Lila feels that a world rebooted with all the men dead/gone and (white) women in charge would be more peaceable. I groan. Magda has gotten the old indoor plumbing to work again. Two things: It's winter, months or years or decades later, and the pipes haven't all burst? And it's not heated. Cold indoor plumbing isn't hot indoor plumbing. OH AND MEN ARE BURNING YOU AND YOU COULD DIE AT ANY TIME. That too.

Some of the car batteries still hold juice, but every drop of gasoline has evaporated with time from the closed tanks. Google tells me gas in a can won't last more than a year. Best case for batteries is 5-6. So why are the wild animals unafraid of humans? The dereliction has been described in ways that suggested much longer than 1-3 years abandonment but whatever it's all magic anyway. Maybe don't make your reader do this much work to get xer timeline bearings, y'all.

They're going to go try to resurrect an oil refinery in Kentucky so they can have cars, omg what are they doing. The only way this much long-term planning makes sense is if the plot resolution is going to be to eject the men into the dream/future world. [Note: It does not. Which is a shame, because the women could've chosen who would be allowed in, but no. It's all or nothing.]

Because otherwise it's a massive waste of narrative effort to the detriment of characterization: the women forget about the Burnings. They know about the Burnings! They've lost 4 women. They also know their bodies are outside: they get nauseous when people move them. But knowing their bodies are outside and will die, they're still planning an impossible society with gas and cars and dream babies.

Human psychology isn't like this! Plenty would be very very very focused on their body, if death can't be seen coming and you just pop. God, and it's been established that one husband keeps moving his wife around to keep him company. So she'd be nauseous all the time.

Anyway, they're going to walk 150 miles to Kentucky. Good luck with that.

........Tiffany is kissing Lila. I...honestly did not see that coming.

“That’s not so much,” Lila said, and reopened her eyes. “It seems like a lot to me.” Tiffany reached out and drew Lila’s face to hers.

They've been friendly friends? Pals, even? Motherly? (Tiffany is in her 20s, Lila in her 40s.) I got no sense of romance, though. I know I joked about Lila's queer awakening, but she's since then mentioned in her head that women don't do it for her. (I spared y'all.) I suspect they're reverting to a Natural Pure Womanly form of lesbianism that doesn't have lust and ogling and finger guns. Like, even Tiffany's desires here are for family and love, which is fine!, but it's definitely avoiding showing us a woman being lustypants. (No, I don't trust these men to write lusty lesbians, but I also dislike the Pure Sexless Woman Love trope appearing in this gendermess.)
Okay, um. Where do I start. Mika the News Reporter has visited the prison. She was barely awake, but Eve gave her a wake-up kiss and now she's at full strength. Clint sends Mika (and the meth-using plastic surgeon Garth) to get Jared (why? He's safer anywhere else!) and to get help. There is still nothing physical stopping Clint from just loading up a car with the prison armory and driving bat out of hell.

Mika and Garth are spotted and stopped! Ooh no! By the Rapist and Bully duo who murdered one woman already! Tension! What happens? The rapist sees this beautiful woman who is impossibly well-rested and awake and the daughter of his most hated nemesis, the lady warden. He... offers to buy her a beer later. The bully asks for her autograph. She and Garth drive away unmolested. Do they find it suspicious that she looks so well rested? Maybe ask if she is immune? Of course not, they read the book jacket. Only Eve.

Traffic stops are incredibly fraught situations for women, Don is a rapist, and the world is ending. He offers to buy her a beer. This book has failed at its own premise. A world without women isn't lawless chaos. It's incredibly tame, in fact. I mean, there are some Burnings in other cities and Unrest In The Middle East, but otherwise we're fine. Stephen King has written lawless chaos, hasn't he? This book feels like a series of Owen pulling the punches again and again.

Mika and Garth drive to Eve's pro bono lawyer, who Clint says is Our Only Hope.


Not... lawless chaos, then.

Legal shenanigans can be terse and exciting--Will Save The Galaxy For Food had a great example--but I was promised Mad Max here. Immortan Joe does not stop for a restraining order.

They keep using the fact Eve "killed two men with her bare hands" as proof she's supernatural, as tho millions women haven't done so today. Every man who disturbs a sleeper gets killed at her bare hands! She doesn't go get a gun and shoot whoever woke her up!

Talking turn and turn about, Michaela and Garth told the lawyer what Clint had told them: how Eve Black’s arrival roughly coincided with Aurora’s first reported victims; how she had killed two men with her bare hands; how she had allowed herself to be taken into custody without a struggle, saying it was what she wanted; how she had banged her face repeatedly into the protective mesh of Lila’s cruiser; how the bruises

Plus, Barry the Lawyer already knows her murdery backstory, he's her lawyer. He checked her into the prison for examination! HE KNOWS ALL THIS. HE WAS PRESENT WHEN LILA TOLD HIM THE CHARGES. HE'S EVE'S LAWYER. NONE OF THIS IS NEWS.

Oh my god, that means this novel WAS edited. Barry wasn't originally in the first half of the novel. Then someone was like "uh, the sheriff can't just put an arrested person in prison for her husband to examine" so they reached for Barry. "No problem, there's already a lawyer in the second half!" But they didn't check his scenes for continuity breaks. The fact that this novel was edited fills me with cold despair.

*laughs and weeps*

“Besides fixing me up, she knew things about me she couldn’t possibly have known,” Michaela said, “and they say she can control the rats. I know that’s hard to believe, but—” Garth interrupted. “Another prisoner, Fitzroy, told us she used rats to get the assistant warden’s cell phone. And she does have a cell phone. I saw it.”

Oh, she has a cell phone, that changes everything. She must be magic. What's magic is that she doesn't have a charger but she's been playing off-brand Candy Crush for 4 days now. (No really.)

“She just . . . what? Kissed you? Like when the prince kissed Princess Aurora in the cartoon?”

The number of men in this novel who know the details of Disney's Sleeping Beauty are fascinating to me. This feels like an attempt to keep rejustifying the Cool Title? As someone who writes punny titles myself, DON'T DO THAT. People will either "get" the double meaning in Survival Rout or they won't; beating them about the head with it doesn't improve anything.

“I know Geary,” Barry said. “I never defended him, but he’s been in District Court a couple of times. I remember a case where a woman complained that he threatened her for not keeping her Rottweiler on a leash. He has what you’d call anger issues.”

I continue to be confused as to how Frank is an animal control city employee answerable only to the mayor. He's been in and out of court?

Barry took back his shotgun. “Okay, I’m in. For one thing, I’ve got nothing else to do, with Clara and the girls gone. For another . . . I want to see this mystery woman with my own eyes. What does Clint want from me?”

Ten pages ago, Barry was keeping watch over his family with a shotgun in case of burners. Now he's got nothing better to do than leave.


"Help me, Obi-Wan, you're my only hope. I need your recreational vehicle."
Because writing crowds is hard, Main Street is empty and it's like there are no men in the world either. No one is demanding answers of the local government or stockpiling food or buying guns. No one is in sight. What a tidy apocalypse this is.

Okay, so. Awhile back we popped into the Fox's head and were teased with the suggestion that he can travel between worlds via the Tree. I'm assuming the ending of this novel will be the men joining the women through the Tree but who even knows. [Note: Nope! The Tree is how the women come back in order to wake up. Why?]

The Tree is near the meth trailer. Willy wants to find Lila to tell her the woods near the trailer are weird because there's lots of moths. Mika, a woman who will fall asleep and die in three days if the men fuck this up, isn't seized with homicidal impulses hearing this. "MOTHS?!?" she doesn't say. "Every woman on earth is asleep and dying, and you care about MOTHS??!"

I mean, I want to murder him and I don't even have skin in this narrative.

Incidentally, it's been pages since Tiffany kissed Lila and I still don't know how Lila reacted. I'm not happy about that! [Note: We will never know.]

“Well . . . maybe I’ll wait a little longer.” And Willy wandered back to his bench. “Something funny out there, all right. All those moths. And the place has got a vibration.”

Willy is the folksy old country boy who senses things, but counterpoint: THE WHOLE WORLD IS FUNNY WILLY. Portentous warnings about strange animal doings belong in the first half of a horror novel, not after the chaos breaks out! Imagine a slasher film where an old guy warns them that "bad things happen in that thar cabin" after Jason has killed half the cast!

the London Eye

The London Eye is now in the Thames. No explanation is given as to why. I'm angry at this. The juxtaposition of Strange Vandalism in Britain with all-out war in the Middle East is gross and racist? How about mild vandalism in The Middle East and a stupidly self-inflicted nuclear mushroom over Washington for a change? As it is, this is just canonical proof that white people are more civilized and doing less damage in their respective panic.


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