THE LUCID DREAMING by Lisa Morton (to be released 9/09 by Bad Moon Books / 88 pp. / tp)
Ashley (a.k.a. "Spike") is a paranoid schizophrenic at the California State Facility at Oxnard. After three months at the center, she begins to think she and her roomate have been abandoned, when, 3 days later, Nurse Conroy finally shows up and tells her to leave . . . then proceeds to slash her own arm with a scalpel. Not waiting to see what else she'll do, Ashley takes off. She notices everyone around the facility has seemingly gone beyond insane. She stocks up on Prolixin (the drug that binds her schizophrenic tendencies) and heads to her friend Tommy's house to try and find out what's going on.
Through old newspapers and sketchy Emergency Broadcast Announcements, she discovers a phenomenon known as 'The Dream Sickness' has spread across the globe, which has been causing people to stay in a dream-like state, everyone infected acting unpredictably, according to their dreams. Everyone, that is, except for those who happen to be taking Prolixin.
While I've read at least one story that used drugs in a similar manner before, this one stands on its own.
Morton's novella is a fresh take on the apocalyptic thing, complete with interesting social commentary, a cult of brainwashed rednecks, and much food for thought. And with a satisfyingly eerie conclusion, you can't go wrong with this LUCID DREAM.