The Sleep Mask

A story by Joel Lane from BLACK STATIC  #19


A story of ‘sleep debt’ that I felt impelled to re-read. The story of Dennis and his sleep disorder and his search for his parents, or theirs for him, via the interchange of dream and reality, with many of the Lane-like tropes, including thoughtless profit-making employers. A Lane classic. Where the sleep mask as breathing aid – and this is something I had not seen before in this story till my ‘second time’ of reading it today on Christmas Eve – becomes, for me, in the story’s last sentence, not the dubiously plastic Halloween face-contraption that hid the features of Dennis’s face but, by inference, a veritable open-ended tabula rasa version of a Tardis to facilitate the wonders of the next journey. As well as all the other journeys that will follow it. Renewing the features that life had lost. A Whovian regeneration.

My previous review of this story in 2010 is shown in the first comment below.

One thought on “The Sleep Mask

  1. From the review here:

    The Sleep Mask by Joel Lane

    “The only cars he could see looked too damaged to be in use. […] …the roads were hardly roads at all.”

    It is a bit of a cheek to switch characters from story to story as I did above, but here Joel does a similar job for me within his extremely Lane-like story – a dream-combing as this mag’s third rite-of-search, a floundering between reality and irreality: seeking by a dark itemisation-of-‘travel’ for that handle that is the ever-ungraspable truth. Who is the right who in our antecedents (a question betokening a deep sadness within this story)? Who is the man seeking ostensible oblivion?

    [A sleep regularly or irregularly disturbed is I feel the best (or worst?) path to a dreamful sleep for the rest of it – as is the discomforting sleep mask (needed for the protagonist’s sleep disorder: chicken or egg?) and, in my own case, a weak bladder.] (7 Nov 10 – another 2 hours later)

    [Can one literally drown in dreams as if dreams are the con(dream)fused panoply of one’s own life and its participants scrolled before you in those last moments of drowning? Possibly an irrelevant imponderable. (Joel’s stories in ‘Nemonymous’ were entitled ‘The Drowned’ and ‘The Drowned Market’)] (7 Nov 10 – another 10 minutes later)

    All my other reviews of Joel Lane fiction works:

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s