Extract from a paper in progress on sleep in J G Ballard’s fiction

“Manhole 69 follows three volunteers, Avery, Lang and Gorrell, who have undertook a procedure which has removed the ability to sleep. The primary investigator, Dr Neill, reflects with scorn on sleep: “this is as big an advance as the step the first ichthyoid took out of the protozoic sea 300 millions years ago. At last we’ve freed the mind, raised it out of that archaic sump called sleep, its nightly retreat into the medulla. With virtually one cut of the scalpel we’ve added twenty years to those men’s lives … For the first time Man will be living a full twenty-four hour day, not spending a third of it an invalid, snoring his way through an eight-hour peepshow of infantile erotica.” Later on, he declares. “the further we hold back back the unconscious the better. We’re reclaiming some of the marshland. Physiologically sleep is nothing more than an inconvenient symptoms of cerebral anoxaemia.”

By “in progress” I mean long-term “in progress” I’m afraid, but I would hope for it to find a home, like this.

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