Popsugar Reading Challenge category: A book in which someone sleeps for at least 24 hours straight
When the Sleeper Wakes, by H. G. Wells
I am once again doing the Popsugar Reading Challenge, a sort of literary scavenger hunt where the object is to read 50 books in an assortment of categories by author, genre, and as you can see by this week's category, some odd story elements.
H.G. Wells was a pioneer in science fiction, with story premises that would eventually become tropes. In this one, written in 1910, a Victorian man named Graham falls asleep for 200 years. When he wakes, he finds that technology has advanced a great deal (he anticipates television and jet planes) - but human society, not so much.
The ideals of equality and socialism from Graham's day have given way to absolute rulership of the wealthy, where the poor are given little education and worked to death from an early age. Because of investments made by one of his relatives, Graham is now the richest man in the world. A corrupt council has been ruling in his name, and Graham gets pulled into the uprising against them. But their leader turns out to be no better, and Graham must decide whether to be a figurehead or stand with the workers.
Wells is often better at creating situations than characters (the hero of The Time Machine never even got a name), but Graham is fully developed. At first he is pulled along by other characters (literally, in his escape from the Council, as well as figuratively), but at the end of the story, he is truly awake, perhaps for the first time in his life.