Marten Weber has delivered a literary roller-coaster of Jamesian proportions.
Henry James meets the Matrix
. Simply brilliant.
From the Author
From a magazine interview with Marten Weber during the launch of "Bodensee"
What is "Bodensee" about--and why the name of lake?
Thelake features as a symbol, a metaphor if you want, in the book. Lakesare supposed to make you tranquil and at peace. Your mind it easierinfluenced--or manipulated--if you are in a tranquil state. Mindmanipulation is one key element of the Bodensee story.
Can you sum up the story of "Bodensee" for our readers?
It's hard to give you a summary of the book because any such attempt willgive away the key to this strange world. I can tell you this: The story follows one man as he grapples with apparent memory loss in a strangeworld, where some things are perfectly familiar, others remind him ofbooks he's read, and some elements are perfectly frightening. It's analien world that is also a part of him... but inhabited by creatures andpeople he is at once familiar with, and terribly afraid of. Even hisown lover, or husband, seems unnaturally friendly, especially becauseour protagonist simply can't remember falling in love with him in thefirst place. There is an element of fear in even the most everydaythings he does.
In this world, mundane questions of loveand attraction play out in a mixture of futuristic techno-adventure and 19th century society novel. Our hero, although ostensibly gay, ishopelessly attracted to a seductive woman who exhibits strangequirks--she talks funny, says things which sound all too familiar, Ihope even to modern readers, but certainly anyone familiar with HenryJames or Jane Austen, and she seduces him, all the way. But theirattempts at intimacy always end in disaster... and that's where the keyto the novel lies.
You mentioned Henry James, Jane Austen... is this a mashup novel? Any zombies?
No, not at all. No zombies? It quotes extensively from D.H. Lawrence andHenry James, but not to copy or ridicule classical English literature,but for a very specific purpose. The quotations are an integral part of this alien world, and at the heart of the novel's conception ofsci-fi.
Why this book now? You've never done sci-fi before.
The American election! My book, although it starts rather cheery, is ableak vision of the future. It depicts what I think will happen ifAmerica goes down one of the paths open to it. The polarization ofAmerican politics has me deeply worried. If the right-wing voices in the Republican party win, and this party grabs the next election, I fearthat my novel will be more science and less fiction. The sciencedepicted in the book all already exists, it's just a matter of puttingit to such nefarious uses as I envisage.
But the novel ends well I remember reading...
It does. Maybe not well, but hopeful. It ends with a positive,programmatic vision of our future, in which tolerance and acceptance win the day, maybe not in all countries, but at least in part of theworld.
Are you planning to write more sci-fi?
Absolutely. This is only one vision I have, and I do dream of starships andplanets and alien worlds quite a lot. Over the next years I hope tocome up with a few exciting new sci-fi works. But they'll all featurethe same core values: liberty, a touch of the literary, and lots ofgorgeous men of course.