by Lisa Morton
“He’s let us down big, and I’ve got a word or two for Him when we finally meet. These guys think I’ve got a problem with foul language now? Wait until they hear what I’d unleash on the Big Daddy upstairs.”
Ashley, a paranoid schizophrenic, is confined to a psychiatric institution in Los Angeles and has her mental illness managed with the drug Prolixin. In a kind of zombie-apocalypse story she wakes one day to find everyone in a waking dream-state except her and is able to walk right out of the hospital into a world gone mad. She soon realizes it is the drug that is keeping her from succumbing like everyone else, and she finds a companion and scavenges her way to Texas where they are overpowered by a group of survivors who’ve also discovered the value of Prolixin. Ashely and Teddy are taken captive with their provisions confiscated and held in a compound where the drug is administered only to those who are cooperative and ‘worthy.’ But no one stopped to ask Ashely why she was on the anti-psychotic drug in the first place, or what might happen if the drug is denied…
Now and then when Lisa comes up in conversation there are blank stares all around, but folks would be well-served to try out some of her work. The Lucid Dreaming is a Stoker-winning novella (she’s won 6) with a strong female lead taking shots at the conventions of our world and frequently highlighting contrasts between the absurdities of both Texas and California. It’s another lightning read.