When the Sleeper Wakes: the graphic novel

kickstarter campaign is now live!

Ever since  I was 16 years old I knew that When the Sleeper Wakes was going to be one of those books that was going to grab me and never let go.

Not that it's H.G. Wells' best scientific romance, in fact it has some pretty rushed writing and some attitudes that were problematic, maybe less so in the 1899 but definitely in 2021 and even as far back as 1973 (When I ws 16 years old!). Wells re-wrote the book as The Sleeper Wakes in 1910, so maybe he had some concerns too.

Even so, there's some very cool stuff going on in WTSW: a precient steampunk vibe with air combat scenes written four years before Kitty Hawk's maiden flight; and the book is a mix between a dystopia and a high adventure/romance story. Logan's Run is one of the few other examples of that mix that I can think of.


They must be hard to write.

Now you can awaken the sleeper!

At various times I've tried to adapt When the Sleeper Wakes to other media. The fact that the novel has it's problems probably made me want to do it all the more. Somebody, some where said that flawed literary works are often more fertile material for adaptation. At least I think they said that, or maybe it was a dream or an hallucination caused by reading too much old science fiction.

A film version seemed out of the question, so I skipped that. Besides George Pal planned to on do a movie of WTSW and that never happened. It's a dream of mine to go tothe Eaton Collection in Los Angeles and read the script that Pal commissioned. There's also a script of RUR there that I want to see. And yes, I'm a really fun guy to vacation with.

So first I wrote a stage version. Ideally, it would have been a musical. No way forward. It would have been even more complicated than making a film. Besides there was no foolish composer on-hand to collaborate with.

Then I wrote a radio play adaptation. There was interest. Then there was no interest. Sigh. Happens sometimes.

And finally, while talking to a publisher in India about doing a comic book biography of H.G. Wells, it occurred to me that a graphic novel adaptation of WTSW would be enormously fun to read. So I wrote that too.


It's important to do such things in threes so everyone knows you're some kind of obsessive crazy person.

The art is at least 50% of what makes for a successful graphic novel -- so I commissioned Will O'Brien to create some brilliant concepts sketches and preliminary layouts. What you'll experience when you click the "Preview" Link below is an early rendering of When the Sleeper Wakes (combining the words and pictures). Now if you click on the "Kickstarter" Link, it will take you to the Project Page where you can make a donation towards the $5,500 we need to make the graphic novel a reality. You also get to choose Sleeper rewards exclusively crafted by your creative team for your joy and edification!


Now please start clicking and help us bring this startling vision of one of yesterday's most thrilling tomorrows into today's world..

 william f. o'Brien

Will is one of the world of fantasy illustration's rising stars; with powerful images, incredible and ingenious interpretation, and a command of style and design that takes the viewer to the most vivid realities and beyond!

He currently lives in Cardston Alberta with his lovely, lively and always inspiring family.