name this short story, it's keeping me up at night
November 27, 2017 10:41 AM   Subscribe

help me find the name/author of this short story.

basically the world is overcome with [disease, biological agent something] that essentially kills you when you fall asleep. so, once you are asleep you never wake up. the story is about a group of scientists who are trying to cure it. they go through a variety of methods to stay awake, pinching themselves, then cutting chunks of skin, or pouring acid on their leg (i recall that last one specifically). eventually they start to fall asleep one at a time...

it was either a short story or i read a snippet. i **think**i read it when i was kid so that's firmly early to mid 80s. i read anything i could get including scholastic book digests, readers digests etc. what i remember was short story length but i could be remembering an excerpt or digest version. i recall the setting was vaguely near future.

please help! this has bothered me for years...
posted by chasles to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There's a late 70s movie called The Alpha Incident with a similar premise. A group of people - including a scientist - are quarantined in a train station after an outbreak of a killer sleep disease from outer space (!!!). I was trying to find out if it was based on a short story but there's very little info about it online. The movie itself is on YT though.
posted by mannequito at 11:29 AM on November 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

In the TV Tropes entry "Never Sleep Again," I found "Perchance to Dream" ("Asleep in Armageddon") by Ray Bradbury. It doesn't quite fit, but since sometimes details fuzz over time, I thought I'd mention it. You can read it at
posted by wintersweet at 11:48 AM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

wintersweet: that's not it. it's definitely not a "persona" that is in them. and it's definitely a group of people.

mannequito: that's not far off but i don't think its it. the "thing" definitely had affected the world and the people in the story were more or less the last hope scientists... plus maybe their loved ones?
posted by chasles at 12:28 PM on November 27, 2017

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