As George Orwell wrote in 1940, "Everyone who has ever read When the Sleeper Wakes remembers it." Graham, the "sleeper" of the title, falls into a cataleptic trance in 1897. Graham will survive on life support for 203 years, suddenly waking in 2100. He wakes to a London encased in a glass dome, in which the Victorian class system has hardened into castes and a revolution is brewing. An important influence on later dystopian novels, Sleeper is a deeply pessimistic book, although Wells could not resist an ending ambiguous enough to permit the reader a faint gleam of optimism.
The novel was re-written and published in 1908 as The Sleeper Awakes, but this edition preserves the original version.