One man watches the world evolve as he passes, sleep by sleep, into the future, trailing after his generations of descendants.
I really like this story and its strange futures. It isn’t taking itself seriously as a prognosticator. Rather, it’s talking about emotion, identity, and human experience, with a meta-textual tongue-in-cheek. Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe played with the same ideas around the same time. Kim’s story is more accessible, with a lighter touch and humor.
You should check out more of Alice Sola Kim‘s work, too.
“Hwang’s Bilion Brilliant Daughters” by Alice Sola Kim:
When Hwang finds a time that he likes, he tries to stay awake. The longest he has ever stayed awake is three days. The longest someone has ever stayed awake is eleven days. If Hwang sleeps enough times, he will eventually reach a time in which people do not have to sleep. Unfortunately, this can only come about through expensive gene therapy that has to be done long before one is born. Thus, it is the rich who do not have to sleep. They stay awake all night and bound across their useless beds, shedding crumbs and drops of sauce as they eat everyone else’s food.
Whenever Hwang goes to sleep, he jumps forward in time. This is a problem. This is not a problem that is going to solve itself.