Millionaire playboy, and psychology professor at UC Berkeley, Roy Wallis, decides it would be fun to deprive two Australian backpackers of sleep for a couple of weeks and see what happens. He’s ably assisted by two graduate students; Penny Park, who thinks the project will enable her to finally seduce the professor, and Guru Rampal, who wants the extra credit.
Inevitably, everything goes horribly wrong.
I’d never heard the urban legend about the Russian sleep deprivation experiment that resulted in self mutilation and death. Apparently it was an internet story posted in 2010 that gained popularity, but passed me by. If you want to know what happens in this book, read the Wikipedia entry for the Russian sleep experiment. It’s exactly the same, except Bates made the test subjects Australian and set the whole thing in California.
As I said in my review of Merfolk, I enjoyed Jeremy Bates’s World’s Scariest Places series, but I’m struggling with the World’s Scariest Legends. Me thinks the author is phoning it in (is that possible with writing? Perhaps he has hired someone else to write his books?)
Anyway, at least 80% of this book is about millionaire professor Roy Wallis admiring things. His beautiful apartment that he designed himself, his expensive car, his many beautiful girlfriends, his handsome face and muscular body. His food, clothes, and surroundings are described in great detail. Penny and Guru also get described in minute detail, but it’s mainly to show their poor food and clothing choices, and their unattractive and boring lives. Much is made of the differences in their cultures and how badly they speak English (Penny is Korean and Guru is Indian). The Australian’s are not exempt, although their food and clothing choices are limited due to being test subjects.
The last 20% of the book is genuinely exciting, with lots of action, blood and gore. I feel annoyed now that I know all the good stuff was lifted entirely from the Creepypasta that inspired this book, because I initially gave the author credit for some originality.
If you are interested in this book, take my advice and read the Creepypasta instead (or even just the Wikipedia entry about it).
I award The Sleep Experiment…
I initially gave this book 3 stars, but I’ve adjusted my rating after finding out about the inspiration behind the book.