By Jeremy Bates.
A few years ago I wrote a feature titled SLEEP. It was based on the Creepypasta story The Russian Sleep Experiment. It sucked donkeyballs, as Baltis would've said. Mostly because I never bothered with any re-writes. After reading this book though, I'm thinking maybe I should go back and try to turn it into something. This book is based on the same CP urban legend.
As soon as I saw there was a book out about this, I knew I would have to read it. So, did it live up to the creepy as shit RSE? In my opinion no. Why? It has the sleep experiment being conducted by a professor of psychology, a scientist. Mine did too. I think the story sort of make that the natural choice. So, where did it go wrong then?
Several things didn't work for me. The major one for me was the professor himself. He starts out as a sympathetic guy and I was all aboard ready to follow him and see how he would handle this project. He's not just a professor/scientist, he's also handsome in a hipster'ish urban cool guy. Then it turns out he's also very very rich... Then he also has sex with lots and lots of women. Some he's in a relationship with while others are just one night stands and some are prostitutes. These "qualities" of his are revealed slowly, so over time, he becomes less likable, IMO. I was still with him and wanted to follow along because ones' libido varies from person to person and I wouldn't dismiss him solely on that. He also still seemed like a nice person and that's why when he out of the blue kills one of his research assistants. It felt very jarring. A seriously out of left field move and needless to say, I started hating him. That was the first sign, to me, that this wasn't going to go in the right direction.
There were also other things that ruined this story which I think could've been a great read. There were way too many unbelievable actions, or inactions, by the characters. When the test subjects started to do the weird stuff from the original RSE, the professor and the assistants and one girlfriend still let things go on. I mean, if you saw human test subjects peeling the skin off their faces, cutting themselves open and pulling their intestines and even heart out, would you still want to hang around to see what happens next or would you call 911?
Wether you write books or screenplays, you probably will agree that a good ending is damn hard to write. This one failed with its ending. Sadly it ended with one of the test subjects' inner demon chasing the professor...
If you're not familiar with RSE and love a little gore even if unbelievable, you might like this. If you love the RSE, you will probably be disappointed with this.