The Architect of Sleep by Steven R. Boyett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
After a near mishap while exploring a cave, Jim Bentley emerges to find a humanoid raccoon using a fishing pole. What strange world has he stumbled into? And will he ever find his way home?
Since we're both dorks, my lady friend and I have had multiple conversations about which animals would be likely to evolve once humanity is dust in the wind. Raccoons are said to be one of the most adaptable species so they get my vote. When this book, complete with humanoid raccoon cover, popped up on my Goodreads feed, it was a no brainer.
The Architect of Sleep is told in alternating chapters, ones from the point of view of Jim Bentley and ones from the point of view of the intelligent raccoon he has nicknamed Truck. Bentley is a fish out of water, learning the sign language of the raccoons while he explores the world in Truck's company. Truck has her own reasons for wandering...
The world Steven R. Boyett has created is well thought out. If primates stay in the trees and raccoons step up, lots of things change. The raccoons ride llamas, for instance. They have pre-Renaissance level technology and have carved up what would have been the United States into their own territories, each with a spiritual leader called The Architect of Dreams.
Lots of time was put into the crafting of the culture of this world, raising it above the sword and raygun adventure it easily could have been. The plot turned out to be pretty intricate.
The only complaints I have are that the writing was a little dry and, much more major, the book just ends and the second half was never published! What the hell happens to Jim, Zorba, and Fagin? And does Truck get her throne back? Son of a damn bitch!
3 stars. Just don't expect any sort of closure.
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