Wake Up by Benjamin Card
What would you do if, every time you fell asleep, you woke up in another body, half a world away? For Frank Harkins and Mwamuila, it’s not an idle question, but reality. One a successful businessman, the other a poor African man, and neither wanting anything more than to finally, at last, Wake Up.
This is a short story/novelette which is original in concept and very interesting. Frank Harkins lives a double life, or rather sleeps a double life and has done so for as long as he can remember. In this tale he is faced with making decisions which will adversely affect his alter ego, Mwamuila who lives in Africa and works for the company that Frank is CFO for.
Frank tries to go against all his work colleagues’ advice, as the solution to some financial problems seems to be downsizing in Africa, and he wants to avoid having problems as Mwamuila in his other life. He travels to Africa with what he thinks is a kind of solution.
The story is well written and fast paced, with quick changes between the characters and locations. This helps to give the story some tension. The cultural contrast to the two lives being lived is well done, and the ethical questions, in that people in Frank’s company were making decisions which affect and threaten workers lives, are touched on.
I did enjoy the story. It covers a lot in a short story style, but I had a bit of a problem with Frank being rich and resourceful, but unable to help his other self. He is not a happy character and says at one point,
‘No matter how rich and successful I become, my fortune is like jewellery adorning a dead man’, very poetic, good use of language.
The ending was a bit of a shocker, and very well done.