Today, Ellen is on the blog tour for Qualityland, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down.
About the author:
Marc-Uwe Kling, born in 1982, lives and works as a songwriter, political stand-up comedian and author in Berlin. He studied philosophy and theatre science at the Freie Universität Berlin and since 2003 has been a guest at various reading events and poetry slams all over Germany. In 2004 he founded his own series of public literary events which is running until today. A two-time German Poetry Slam Champion, Marc-Uwe Kling has also won numerous awards for his stage shows. For his Kangaroo Trilogy, bestsellers in Germany, he was awarded the German Radio Award, the German Cabaret Award and the German Audiobook Prize. In 2018, Kling received the German Science Fiction Award for his novel “QualityLand”. According to the jury, “QualityLand” is the best German genre novel in the category of science fiction.
About the book:
Everything in QualityLand is geared towards optimizing your life. QualityPartner identifies your ideal mate, earworm personal assistants get you where you need to go and android drones know you need a six pack of beer at the end of a long day even before you crave one. Humans, robots and algorithms co-exist, everything is seamlessly corporatised, stratified and monetized. Your very name reveals much of what we need to know about you and your profile discloses the rest.
Peter Jobless is a down and out metal press operator, dumped by his long term girlfriend when she is alerted to a better option on her QualityPad. But Peter has another problem – he seems to be the only one noticing that his fellow Qualityland robot citizens are experiencing an existential crisis. There is a drone who’s afraid to fly. A sex droid with erectile dysfunction. A combat robot with PTSD. Instructed to destroy these malfunctioning A.I., Peter starts to suspect the technology that rules us all has a flaw, perhaps a fatal one. Not only that, these robots might be his only friends…
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As soon as I read the blurb for Quality land I was sold on the idea! A seemingly perfect future where everything is provided…whether you want it or not. QualityPartner will find you the perfect man/woman, TheShop delivers everything to your doorstep using an extremely helpful (and somewhat needy) drone and there is a robot available to fulfil everything you might need. Sex bot? You got it! Combat robot? Yours! The perfect politician – well you’ll see about that!
I have to admit to not being sure at first but once you get into the language and style of the story it’s hilarious. The humour and satire reminded me of Douglas Adams and Charlie Brooker (creator/writer of Black Mirror) and you can’t go far wrong with that.
Although this book is set in the future it feels like one that we are not too far away from. In this digital age anything seems possible and in my *whispers* 42 years, technology has evolved so much! In a world where people make their wants and desires so available it’s easy to imagine that we’ll all happily and thoughtlessly be under the control of some massive corporation, some would say we are already…
Our protagonist Peter Jobless begins to question the whole idea of this world and indeed his place in it and so we join him on his quest to find the truth behind the shiny advertisements and pointless products. With his raggedy army of dysfunctional robots (that he should have destroyed but didn’t have the heart to) he aims to take on “the man” and correct the problems within the system.