Slaves of Sleep

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Slaves of Sleep
Slaves of sleep.jpg
Dust-jacket from the first edition
AuthorL. Ron Hubbard
Cover artistHannes Bok
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fantasy
PublisherShasta Publishers
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback)
Followed byThe Masters of Sleep 

Slaves of Sleep is a science fantasy novel by American writer L. Ron Hubbard. It was first published in book form in 1948 by Shasta Publishers; the novel originally appeared in 1939 in an issue of the magazine Unknown. The novel presents a story in which a man travels to a parallel universe ruled by Ifrits.[1] The protagonist takes on the identity of a human in this dimension, and becomes involved in the politics of Ifrits in this fictional "Arabian Nights" world.[1]

Plot introduction[edit]

The novel concerns Jan Palmer, a young millionaire, who surprises a prowler who is attempting to burgle his collection of antiques. The prowler opens a jar that bears the seal of Sulayman releasing an Ifrit, named Zongri, that was imprisoned. The Ifrit kills the thief and curses Palmer with eternal wakefulness. At night, Palmer assumes the identity of an adventurer in another dimension where the Ifrits rule the humans under the Ifrit queen where he becomes embroiled in the conflict between Zongri and the Ifrit queen.

Publication history[edit]

The story later published in book format, was first released in July 1939 in the United States, in the magazine Unknown.[2][3] Its first book publication was in 1948 in the U.S. by Shasta Publishers in a hardback format.[2] The first edition of the book contained a publication of 3,500 copies, of which 250 were signed by Hubbard.[4] It was published in Germany in 1963 in hardback format by Utopia-Kriminal.[2] It was re-published in the U.S. in a paperback format in 1967, by Lancer Books.[2]

Actor René Auberjonois performed audio reading for the 1993 adaptation of the book in spoken format, as a dual release with its sequel, titled together: Slaves of Sleep & the Masters of Sleep.[5] In 1993 actors Michelle Stafford, Sisu Raiken, Jim Meskimen, Christopher Smith and Tait Ruppert performed segments from the book with Interplay, their improv comedy organization.[6] The 1993 edition by Bridge Publications was part of re-released fictional works by L. Ron Hubbard.[7]


Reviewing the Shasta edition, L. Sprague de Camp concluded that the novel was "a rattling good adventure story," its technical flaws outweighed by "the express-train speed of the action [and] the bounce, zest, and exuberant humor."[8]

In its entry on L. Ron Hubbard, The Houghton Mifflin Dictionary of Biography identified Slaves of Sleep as among the "classics" within the genre of science fiction.[9] In a 1986 article in The Washington Post, journalist Janrae Frank commented on L. Ron Hubbard's writings, "Much of his best work of the '40s and '50s, Fear, Slaves of Sleep, Typewriter in the Sky, is written in exactly the same style and won reader polls at the time."[10] Writing in authors Frank M. Robinson and Lawrence Davidson placed Slaves of Sleep among Hubbard's "finest novels".[11] The book Icons of Horror and the Supernatural noted, "L. Ron Hubbard had great success with a heroic fantasy novel set in the world of the Arabian Nights, Slaves of Sleep, when it appeared in John W. Campbell's 'sophisticated' fantasy magazine Unknown".[12] In a 1993 article, The Columbus Dispatch recommended an edition of the book bound together with its sequel The Masters of Sleep, as a suggested holiday gift.[13]

In 1994, Roland J. Green of the Chicago Sun-Times noted, "L. Ron Hubbard's Slaves of Sleep/Masters of Sleep (Bridge, $18.95) reprints two short novels on the borderline between fantasy and horror. A further reminder of the late Hubbard's talent."[14] San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2003 that writer John Baxter retained a first edition copy of Slaves of Sleep in his private collection of rare books.[15] In 2008, a first edition copy of the book was estimated to be worth between US$400 to $600.[16]


  1. ^ a b Crawford, Jr., Joseph H.; James J. Donahue; Donald M. Grant (1953). "333", A Bibliography of the Science-Fantasy Novel. Providence, RI: The Grandon Company. p. 35. OCLC 3924496.
  2. ^ a b c d Tuck, Donald H. (1974). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. p. 233. ISBN 0-911682-20-1.
  3. ^ Clute, John; John Grant (1999). The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 487, 877. ISBN 0-312-19869-8.
  4. ^ Chalker, Jack L.; Mark Owings (1998). The Science-Fantasy Publishers: A Bibliographic History, 1923-1998. Westminster, MD and Baltimore: Mirage Press, Ltd. p. 592.
  5. ^ Sokolsky, Bob (November 29, 1993). "Spaced-out cop would rather avoid spotlight". The Riverside Press-Enterprise. California: The Press-Enterprise Co. p. C10.
  6. ^ "Torrance volunteer group plans open house". Daily Breeze. Torrance, California. December 15, 1993. p. B6.
  7. ^ Berthel (Associated Press), Ron (November 10, 1993). "Waller has tough act to follow". The Fort Scott Tribune. p. 2B.
  8. ^ "Book Review", Astounding Science Fiction, June 1949, pp161-62
  9. ^ Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries (2003). The Houghton Mifflin Dictionary of Biography. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 762. ISBN 978-0-618-25210-7.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Frank, Janrae (February 23, 1986). "Wars of the Worlds". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. p. 10; Book World.
  11. ^ Robinson, Frank M.; Lawrence Davidson (2001). Pulp Culture: The Art of Fiction Magazines. Collectors Pr. p. 161. ISBN 1-888054-12-3.
  12. ^ Joshi, S. T. (2006). Icons of Horror and the Supernatural: An Encyclopedia of Our Worst Nightmares, Volume 1. Greenwood. pp. 149, 158, 256. ISBN 0-313-33781-0.
  13. ^ "These holiday gifts speak volumes". Ohio: The Dispatch Printing Co. November 28, 1993. p. 01D.
  14. ^ Green, Roland J. (February 6, 1994). "Cherryh Returns to Old Form". Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Sun-Times, Inc. p. 15.
  15. ^ Sullivan, James (December 13, 2003). "Writer and raconteur John Baxter collects books as a form of self-expression and as a way to savor -- and live -- the good life". San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco, California: The Chronicle Publishing Co. p. D1.
  16. ^ James Gannon, Michael Riley, James L. Halperin (editor) (2008). Heritage Rare Books & Manuscripts Auction #682 & 9682 Volume II. Heritage Auctions, Inc. p. 74. ISBN 1-59967-217-0.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)