A few days ago I stumbled over an intriguing site: Prometheum Wastes Chopshop, which describes the story (as the creators put it) of a “dry and dirty landscape and the challenges that you are going to have to face to be able to survive here”.
As the author of TWO JOURNEYS, the 2010 adventure novel that predicted the Corona Pandemic ten years ahead of time, apocalyptic and SciFi landscapes continue to intrigue me.
However, what makes Prometheum Wastes Chopshop particularly interesting is the “sustainable creativity in the new normal”. In these times it is hard for all of us to come together, and with a looming economic crisis, money to spend may be running scarce too. But challenging times lead to innovation, as demonstrated here. In this project, young individuals from different parts of the world came together virtually. They share a passion for painting gaming miniatures (such as Warhammer and Dungeon & Dragons), but realized their means were significantly reduced to buy pre-fab miniatures from the stores. So, they created a community that jointly developed the story of a waste planet somewhere in an apocalyptic future. In addition, they ran challenges where actual waste materials (plastics, such as empty and discarded deodorant containers) are used to create the elements of the story – which include for instance the vehicles, transporters, buildings, and landscape. At the links below you can see how this is done, as well as the end result.
This crowd-initiative reminds me of the concept of the circular economy, which is currently being discussed at all levels of society and industry, with the objective to build a more restorative and sustainable society. The core team of this group consists of students and young professionals. For now, the team may well be mostly focused on growing a community of like-minded folk, being creative and inventing a story together – with no direct monetary intentions. But rest assured, such a virtual, high-quality effort will get noticed and may well kindle the interest of either film or game industry. Why am I impressed? These professionals demonstrate what the new normal in pandemic times could look like: 1.digital, 2.global, 3.sustainable, 4.creative, and 5.delivering value.
In a previous post I provided details about the new novel REBOUND – you can get a copy of this book, for instance on your iPhone / iPad.
Alan, our hero, is driven by endless curiosity. A man with unrelenting courage, adaptability, compassion and inventiveness – essential traits to survive in a deserted world. Danger lurks around every corner, and not just from humans. To illustrate the man’s resilience: here’s a short sample from the manuscript.
Part of Chapter 7
Lewis’ eyes explored my face. “What happened to your eye?”
Usually, people ignore the black patch that covers my left eye, they just stare at it curiously, too embarrassed to ask.
“A guy with a knife attacked me.”
“Sorry to hear that.”
I shrugged. “He’s too. I shot him.”
Lewis’ eyebrows went up, a combination of respect and shock. I usually tell anyone who asks me this story. Why not make the best out of the loss of an eye? In addition, the true story was so embarrassingly weird, nobody ever believed it.
I had at one point made the foolish decision to take a motorbike for a ride. In the absence of humans and pesticides, insects had returned in large numbers and as the engine accelerated onto an unspoiled stretch of highway, I hit into a cloud of fat hornets. One had landed in my eye and stung me multiple times. I fell off the bike and barely made it back to base. The next day, my left eye swelled up beyond recognition. I dragged myself to a drugstore where I camped for a few days, trying out any useful medication or antibiotic that I could find. It was no use; without any help, I suddenly had to decide between dying or operating on myself; the left side of my face was swollen like a red balloon, and the eyeball was gray and obviously invested by an aggressive, unbeatable bug. I pulled a stretcher into a backroom, mounted lights and a mirror above it, and prepared an infusion with a cocktail of salt, painkillers and antibiotics. Lying on my back, I anesthetized half of my face. The next hour was the most horrible in my entire life. On some level, even my wife’s death was by comparison a walk in the park. In my dreams, especially after a heavy meal, I sometimes still see the scalpel approaching my eye. The first incision was excruciating. I shortly passed out from pain, and the obnoxious smell of puss and blood that ran down my face. I screamed in horror and shook my head like a wild man. After many minutes I regained some control, and feeling slightly better, I turned my head back to look at my reflection in the mirror. With my gloved hand I opened my half-closed eyelids. The eye itself was gone, the socket a gaping hole, with some ugly bits of tissue and the stump of the nerve in the back. With trembling hands, I rinsed the wound and patched it up with bandages and disinfectant that I had prepared earlier. I fainted.
Find out here how to get a copy of these exciting book!
My books and short stories received additional attention, this time in the newspaper Rhein Neckar Zeitung. A great interview about my work and sources of inspiration. The English translation of this German article can be found below. Here is the direct link to this February 1st, 2021 article. Here is the Article as PDF.
Curious about my books? Find them here on Goodreads.
The “Rheinmonster” short is available in English and German. For the English version, refer to the short story bundle “SHORT STORIES”.
English translation of the interview.
Clemens Suter-Crazzolara likes the city of Hockenheim: “I really enjoy living here.” Now he has set a monument to the city with his first horror story “The Rhine Monster”. It’s a mini science fiction book for young and old that is a little scary. It’s about a grandfather who tells his grandchildren a horror story about a dangerous monster. This monster is up to mischief in Hockenheim until two heroes take action against the monster. Will they actually defeat the monster?
That will not be revealed at this point. “It is my first book that I wrote in German,” says Clemens Suter-Crazzolara. So far, the 60-year-old has written three novels in English. It usually finds readers in Great Britain, the USA or Australia. A fourth novel is in the works and should appear later this year.
The author wrote his debut novel ten years ago: “I could no longer hold back the urge to write.” So he regularly got up at 3 or 4 a.m. to sit at his desk. Then he went to work. His first science fiction book is downright prophetic: An epidemic threatens the world. “By chance I chose a corona virus. As the current situation shows, it is one of the viruses that can quickly become dangerous through mutations.” The novel was published in 2011 and was successful. “With the actual Corona crisis, interest has increased again.”
Clemens Suter-Crazzolara actually comes from the Netherlands. Even as a child he loved to write. “I started a novel then,” he says. He still has the fragments. “They’re flying around somewhere.” After school, he had the choice of studying history, journalism or biology. The author decided to study biology. The first professional station was in Switzerland, where Suter did research in cell biology, also on HIV, and afterwards did his doctorate. He remembers the moment when he and colleagues looked at the first batch of HIV viruses delivered from the USA in their tubes: “We had respect for the danger.” He came to the Heidelberg University Clinic via the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne and did research on Parkinson’s disease. “I was always on the search for the truth. This is how you advance research in small steps in search of cures.”
When he switched to the IT company SAP, the expert once again dealt with health issues, this time from the perspective of the software industry: “How is it possible, for example, to gain new information from the flood of data?” This know-how about viruses, infections, software programs and data flows into creative writing. Readers can deal with current future topics in an entertaining way.
The author publishes his books himself and markets them on the Internet as paperback and e-books. He is now looking for a publisher to publish his English books in Germany. The horror story of Hockenheim is already written in German. It should be noted that the chairman of the Kunstverein Hockenheim also paints and exhibits pictures. After deducting expenses, Clemens Suter-Crazzolara donates the proceeds from pictures and books to a good cause. “It’s great that I have the opportunity to write and paint – that’s where I want to help other people.”
Info: The e-book “Das Rheinmonster” is available in all eStores for 0.99€.
Exciting news about my new book. In case you have been wondering why I have written only a few blog posts over the last months… first, I was very busy with my fundraisers, which managed to raise more than 2500€ for charity through my paintings and books. Then, I was giving several interviews to newspapers about my books, which took up some time time. And next to that I was working on my new novel.
And now, REBOUND was indeed published in March 2022. Research has been taking up considerable time; I had to study the geography of the areas where the novel is situated (USA, France, Switzerland), as well as new technological developments – the Internet-of-Things/IoT, Artificial Intelligence, space travel, robotics, and more. In 2010, TWO JOURNEYS made a prediction about the danger of pandemics and corona virus. My new novel tackles the risk of artificial intelligence and robotics… but I don’t want to give away too much.
For all of you that can’t wait, below is the first chapter & prologue.
Here we go… strap on your seatbelt.
REBOUND / Prologue
It would be great if somebody could be with me when I kick the bucket, but if I must die alone, so be it.
I stare at the sheets of paper in front of me, my handwriting black against white. A tear, which has dropped from my remaining eye, has deformed a word, like a lens enlarging some long-forgotten sorrow. Just five pages completed. If I continue at this speed, I will be long dead before I manage to put the entire story to paper. I have often toyed with the idea of writing down this story, my story. It’s exciting by any man’s standards. My life, however, left little time for scholarly work. I was too busy surviving. And an author needs an audience, but is there any audience left?
The darkness surrounds me like a cloak, only disturbed by the candle’s flicker. I adjust the blankets around my shoulders. A fire roars in the potbelly, but I still feel cold. Outside, a snowstorm tears at the roof and walls of the cabin. The shutters are closed yet rattle with the wind. I have selected this hide-out with great care, far away from any marauder’s path. I’ve had enough unhappy encounters with two- or four-legged predators to last a lifetime.
I tilt my head to listen for any sound that might be able to rise above the storm’s shriek – yes, it almost sounds like a human, tortured and full of hate. It is deep in the night, early morning almost, hardly the time for any creature to be about. Nevertheless, did I hear something, a distant shout perhaps? A growl or a cry for help?
I look at my dogs, but they seem unalarmed. I shrug off my fears and retrace the thoughts that passed through my head just a few moments ago. Why did I survive so long when so many died? All my friends and many of my enemies are long gone. The hand that holds my pen is crooked and covered with spots of age. I have lost weight, muscle, the hair on my scalp, my sense of humor, and bits and pieces of hope. My joints hurt when I get up in the morning. Yet, I am still here, going like a clock, a machine, yes, almost like one of those damned robots.
The pandemic that struck Earth devoured humanity; the fallout sterilized the planet, but they didn’t manage to kill me. Was I chosen… or was I punished? I am neither religious nor superstitious and I know that no god, no miracle, I need no lucky star to explain my survival. It is simply a freak coincidence. I am like the single surviving bacterium that has developed resistance against an antibiotic, the last tree standing after a forest fire.
My thoughts continue to wander until they inevitably home in on the events of that singular period, so many years ago. They always do. With all the past drama in my life, these events stick out like a sore thumb. Impatiently, I stand up from my chair, shedding the blankets from my shoulders and the depressing thoughts from my mind. The hounds raise their heads towards my face, their eyes gleaming in the dark. Although I feel the need to write down my story, in the hope of finally expelling the bad taste from my mouth, I simply cannot continue. Restlessly, I pace the cabin and only slowly my nervousness subsides.
I stop moving and tilt my head again. This time, the dogs follow my example. Together we listen to the night. There is some sound out there. Something is on the move. After a second of hesitation, I grab the loaded rifle and step to the door, remove the bar, and pull it open.
The storm is astonishingly violent, much stronger than I had expected, and snow immediately starts blowing in. Can this hut withstand this gale? Visibility is low, at the most a few yards; I cannot even sense the valley that lies beneath us. The freezing air hurts my face. The candle is blown out, and in the semi-darkness, I see how the papers from the desk are picked up by the wind, carried past me, and disappear into the night. I laugh madly. The dogs, baring their teeth and growling, cower close to me, their tails between their legs. Together we try to recognize some pattern in the whirling darkness. The sound of the storm is overpowering, yet I am convinced that I can hear a sound, far off, irregular, and organic. Friend or foe, I cannot tell.
I remain in the doorframe, waiting. Closing the door and putting the bar back is not an option; it never is. The enemy doesn’t rest; they never give up the chase. They continuously circle, pounce, bite and kill, without mercy. Likewise, the innocents are always in need of help; as they falter hopelessly, they lose themselves in the darkness. Fear or compassion, I am forced to confront any obstacle, to deal with any challenge, swiftly and if need be mercilessly.
I slip into my heavy coat and put on my leather gloves. I stuff a flashlight into my pocket. The storm picks up speed and roars with increased bitterness. The darkness is complete, with no sign of a rising sun, only snowflakes moving in an icy tornado. The snow stings in my eyes as I step into the wild, my gun raised and loaded, the dogs barking, but following. I feel my teeth baring themselves in a menacing grin. This is the life I have chosen, and this is the life that has chosen me. No matter how much these old bones hurt, by everything holy and unholy, throw it at me. I am ready.
Progress in completing the manuscript of the new adventure novel REBOUND was disappointing these two past weeks (November 2021). Other obligations took time and effort: the marketing of TWO JOURNEYS (available e.g. as eBook $2.99, you can find it for instance at Apple Books) and FIELDS OF FIRE (available e.g. as paperback $19.99, for instance at amazon.com), needed urgent attention. In addition, I have been looking at ways to identify a publishing house and a literary agent; both of which take time. And I had a lot of other things to do too… taken together, all these distraction didn’t help to focus on corrections of the manuscript’s storyline. It still needs work; the flow and the action have to be smooth like silk.
So I have set up a rigid schedule, with specific times each a day (also weekends) dedicated to finalizing the corrections. After all, the aim is to publish five books in considerably less than five years… and that, to put it bluntly, that’s a challenge.
Here another tasty snippet from the new manuscript. Enjoy!
++++++++++REBOUND+++Draft+++Copyright+Clemens P. Suter+++++++++
We crossed the Swiss border and passed into the town of Basel. The road was four-lane, but soon we came to a traffic jam that disappeared into a tunnel underneath the northern site of the city. Like so many other tunnels, it had flooded with water shortly after the power-stations had shut down; most tunnels depended on continuously running pumps to stay dry. We had no other option than to maneuver through the narrow streets of the town, across the Rhine bridge, past the old city hall with its characteristic red façade, and from there in the direction of the railway station and the highway beyond. Francois insisted on getting some quality Swiss chocolate, so I parked the truck in an alleyway leading up to the Munster cathedral, a landmark of the town. I stood guard with the dogs, machine gun in my hand, pistols in my belt. Although the city seemed to be deserted, I still felt edgy and listened for sounds constantly.
Finally, Francois appeared again. I couldn’t help smiling, as he was lugging a cardboard box so heavy that the sweat was running down his face. “If I had known you were such a Luculus, we should have stayed in France.” He looked at me vacantly, clearly oblivious of the Roman dignitary famous for organizing lavish banquets. We boarded and continued towards the main station.
The curvy street had allowed only a single file of cars and only in one direction. Parked cars stood on the sides, many blocking the view of the sidewalks and the shops. I was driving slowly and both of us were checking our surroundings intently.
Suddenly a man appeared in the middle of the road. He wore army gear and a machine gun and raised his hand. I saw a couple of other men crouching down behind the parked cars. Although we had been expecting this to happen, we were still surprised, and Francois cursed underneath his breath.
With the bored air of a commanding officer, the man stepped up to our car and signaled me to lower the window. Francois and I had gone over possible scenarios, so it came as no surprise to see Francois steadying his machine gun towards the window. I quickly glanced back at the three dogs.
“Je dois vous demander de sortir de la voiture.” Get out of the car, the man said.
“We have important information for your boss,” I said in English, “tell us where we can find him so that we can speak to him.”
“First get out of ze car. Leave your gunze in ze car.”
“I am not going to discuss this. We are not getting out of this vehicle, and we won’t disarm.” I looked ahead, pretending disinterest.
He seemed slightly astonished and considered his options. After a few seconds he spoke again. “Wher’ ar’ you ‘eading?”
“To your boss. Show us the way and we will talk to him.”
Silence followed. Without speaking, he turned around.
“There will shooting,” I said, “he seems to be in command, there is nobody he is going to ask for advice or commands. He will try to get us out of the truck.” Francois nodded. I checked the gas; the engine was still running. The officer withdrew behind the parked cars. We couldn’t see him or his companions. Somebody shouted. ”Get out of ze car, now!” To emphasize these words, one of the men fired a few shots at us, which cracked the windscreen. I would have been dead if the glass hadn’t been bulletproof. I opened the car door and grabbed Bo by the skin of his neck. “Show us what you can do, boy. Get them! Go! Go!” Enthusiastically, Bo clawed his way over my lap, his claws scratching my bare skin, and jumped to the ground. I didn’t have to say anything to the other two dogs, who immediately followed their leader. With their ears in their necks and low to the ground, the three dogs stormed forward and disappeared between the cars, silent and deadly like ghosts in the night. Francois and I jumped out of the vehicle too, and staying low to the ground we quickly moved forward, one of us on one side of the street. A few shots were fired in our direction, but soon, shortly after a horrible growl, the shooting stopped.
Within seconds, we came upon the officer and two soldiers. The dogs had them pinned to the ground, snarling, holding their arms and necks. The officer tried to go for his pistol, but Lex released the man’s throat and went for his hand, his fangs closing on the man’s fingers. The officer’s face contorted from pain and panic. “Get him off, get him off!” he shrieked with an unnatural high-pitched voice.
Francois and I removed their guns and kicked them underneath the parked cars. I called the dogs back. Immediately they retreated and sat down beside me, liking their jowls. The officer held his bleeding hand close to his chest. “Wat ‘ave you dunn?” I kneeled next to him and took his hand. “You will need to get that hand taken care of, and your colleagues also need medical attention. Is there a doctor in your unit?”