In the tradition of Mira Grant and Stephen Graham Jones, Malcolm Devlin’s And Then I Woke Up is a creepy, layered, literary story about false narratives and their ability to divide us.
"A scathing portrait of the world we live in and a running commentary on what’s story, what’s truth, and what’s not."—Stephen Graham Jones
In a world reeling from an unusual plague, monsters lurk in the streets while terrified survivors arm themselves and roam the countryside in packs. Or perhaps something very different is happening. When a disease affects how reality is perceived, it’s hard to be certain of anything…
Spence is one of the “cured” living at the Ironside rehabilitation facility. Haunted by guilt, he refuses to face the changed world until a new inmate challenges him to help her find her old crew. But if he can’t tell the truth from the lies, how will he know if he has earned the redemption he dreams of? How will he know he hasn’t just made things worse?
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A prescient premise drives this stunning weird tale from Devlin (Unexpected Places to Fall from, Unexpected Places to Land): a disease renders the infected vulnerable to perceptions of relative realities, making them susceptible to "the fiction between the real and the perceived," or what they refer to as "the narrative." Two years prior to the start of the novella, the narrator, Lewis "Spence" Spencer, was infected, and, believing that patrons at the restaurant where he worked had turned into a pack of cannibalistic monsters, he and fellow believer Macey killed more than 30 people. Macey's death helped to break Spence from his delusions, leaving him "cured" but still living in the Ironside medical facility. Now, he meets new patient Leila and together they escape from Ironside. On the outside, Spence seeks redemption for the atrocities he committed as he tries to determine which narrative is true. Devlin does a superb job showing how his afflicted characters are compelled to accept outrageous beliefs that contradict the objective realities before them. The result is an unsettling cautionary tale for the age of alternative facts.