cover image And Then I Woke Up

And Then I Woke Up

Malcolm Devlin. Tordotcom, $13.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-250-79807-7

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. (Apr.)