23 June 2010

Book review: Das Paradies am Rande der Stadt

Das Paradies am Rande der Stadt, Volker Strübing. yedermann, 2005. Paradies und Das, Zeitschock

In my quest for German-original science fiction, I managed to find one book, at least on a bookshelf and that didn't require ordering via amazon. I flipped through, found some humorous bits, read the flaps, and bought it.

In the not-so-distant future, a man invents a computer program that gives people ultimate joy. He calls it Eden. It's completely free, and anyone who wishes can cross the rainbow.

The German government (at least) has collapsed, and corporations have stepped in to fill the gap, while some free enclaves sprang up outside the corporate cities. Churches compete with each other for members. Soulcatchers take people to Eden for bounties (with a free-will loophole, of course.)

The Church of the True Name of God is a new denomination. God came to its founder one night, and told him his true name: Kein Schwein. It was originally founded as a protest and satire, but people came to it without the irony. (Kein Schwein means literally "no pig," but it's an idiom that means "not a soul" or "no one": As one of the founder's sermons states, if you don't believe in KEIN SCHWEIN, then KEIN SCHWEIN will punish you. Which, for the irony-impaired, means that if you don't believe in no one, then no one will punish you.)

Our heroes are a group opposed to Eden's existence, who wish to destroy it. They meet a woman who was in Eden but left (to rescue her Adam, who left) and get caught up in a war between the church, the corporate city, and a group of neo-Nazi thugs for hire.

If you think this sounds like The Matrix meets Snow Crash via Terry Pratchett, you'd be right. I recommend this for anyone who speaks German and likes their humor with a touch of sarcastic irony.

No comments: