Alert! Another favourite! So happy to kick off this blog tour!
Author: Marc-Uwe Kling
Date of publication: 20 January 2020
Format read: NetGalley ARC
Number of pages: 352
FAVOURITE ALERT 5 ⭐️
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…
Welcome on this QualityBlog, sponsored by QualityCompulsiveReaders. This is Meggy BookBlogger, and I am your host today.
Have you ever dreamed of a system who knows yourself better than you? Applications ready to find the ideal dating partner or the object you most want, even if you’re not aware of it? A world in which AI decides who you are in the society? Who you can be friend with, what you can or can’t do? Me neither.
No more need to drive, intelligent cars take you where you want to. Follow the system’s rules and you may up levels, gain credits, and therefore more options. Doesn’t it sound fabulous?
I know, I find it dreadful too. But guess what! Qualityland may be our future! You can’t tell me you don’t believe it, just look at the elections in every country. The world is sick.
Marc-Uwe Kling deserves applauds. I am all for dystopian worlds, places that make me pray hard that the universe won’t ever turn this way. But with Qualityland, I have reached the summit! I can’t think of a better representation of my nightmarish future.
Now, all is not gloomy. In fact, the book is actually quite funny. QualityHilarity around! Because in the middle of this dreadful satire lives John Jobless. John is a man. John is jobless. Hence the name. And my own name above. I much prefer mine, by the way! Anyway, John has inherited a machine scrapper company, where robots and other machines are sent when they don’t fit the system or a flaw is discovered. His business is… small and not very successful, hence the jobless surname. Machine scrappers are not really trendy. At the beginning of the book, John has a girlfriend. He is somewhat bored by the life he is leading. It is quite a ride to follow him to get acquainted with his surroundings. A crazy, ‘what on earth’ kind of ride. The more I read, the more horrified I was. And yet, I couldn’t stop reading. An intense and sick urge to see how far the author had gone in my nightmare spurred me to spend time in QualityLand. But you know what? I don’t regret a minute of it.
An AI running for president? A very powerful country that should remain unnamed got an orange monkey elected, so why not? Home-delivery of whatever is in your mind? Yes, please. Well, John is not happy with his gift. A lovely… pink dolphin sex toy. Yes, you read this right.
So, you get used to a digital place where humans are made to believe technology is here to help them when in fact jobs are cuts, people are tricked into losing their free will and opinions, but hey, they have nice tailored ads! And then, the glitch happens.
Can humans beat the system? Helped by his unconventional army, John Jobless embarks on a quest: return the sex toy, and shout to the world that whatever computers think they know about him, they are wrong. HE DID NOT WANT THE DOLPHIN!
To be honest, the dolphin itself is not the problem. The problem is when you are surrounded by algorithms narrowing your life to such a tiny tiny tiny tunnel that you lose the essence of who you are.
Did I say I loved the book? Because I did.
Did I say why? It is bloody brilliant!!!!
John & Co settle to have the last work and get the unwanted object return, despite TheShop’s insistence there is no mistake. That’s the limit to binary and cold technology awesomness. It takes a mind, a bit of courage, a dose of luck, and nothing much to lose, to stand against a big machine and say ‘No’ That’s what humans do!
I won’t divulge anything about John’s friends, John’s love life, or the weirdly familiar and very important politic race of the book, because that would take away the QualityFun of discovering how beautiful and cleverly forked-up this book is.
I adored it. Simple at that. It’s different, it’s hilarious even when it shouldn’t be, it’s irreverent. It raises the question of technology as improvement, or as a threat. Where is the line?
The idea might be far-fetched for some, but the more you read, the more real it becomes and you become part of QualityLand. This book has all I love, great lines, good and bad guys, weird situations, weirder moments, and a soul.
Find the book here and remember, your pass for QualityLand will be valid starting January 20th!
Thank you so much to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for inviting me to be part of this blog tour! Look out for blog posts in the next two weeks!
Marc-Uwe Kling is one of the most successful authors in Germany. His latest book QualityLand is an astounding satire of the future that sometimes feels closer to the present than you could wish for. QualityLand spent months on the German bestseller lists, has up to now been translated into twenty-four languages and the HBO is planning an adaptation with Mike Judge as show runner.