Five reasons to get the complete series of TWO JOURNEYS today.

Here are the reasons why you should order the entire book series today: get 1000 pages of awesome adventure! Ideal for a holiday break or a rainy day. Highly rated at Goodreads, Apple Books, and Amazon. A loveable hero and great friendships. Intelligent, compassionate stories. And…attractively priced!

This series consists of three independent books. In TWO JOURNEYS, Alan finds himself to be the only survivor of a global pandemic. During his travels from Japan to Berlin, he soon finds out that danger lurks around every corner. In FIELDS OF FIRE, Alan crosses the Atlantic Ocean and the continent of America to rescue his family and to find more clues about the cause of the pandemic. And finally, in the novel REBOUND, Alan and his friends strike back to save the future of humankind.

Thrilling stories, full of inquisitiveness, compassion, bravery, and comradery.

Get your copies in any Internet store, simply search for “Clemens P. Suter”. Or find more purchasing details here: www.clemenssuter.com/books. Or get them directly at Apple Books or at amazon.com.

Apple Books Reviews for TWO JOURNEYS. Another reason to get the complete series!

Here’s more info about the last book in the series: REBOUND.

FOREST – a Short Story for you to enjoy.

Forest

Copyright 2020, Clemens P. Suter

„Bonjour Max,“ said the man behind the bar. “Salut Pierre,” he answered. It had been raining since daybreak, and Max was happy to be inside and to enjoy a small, hot café. On his way in, he had picked up a newspaper from one of the tables. Pierre brought him his coffee and a croissant. Pierre’s wasn’t very busy this morning, only a few workmen and pensioners at the tables. The high school teacher was correcting exams at her usual place; although Max didn’t know her name, he knew that her husband would join her for lunch, he always did when she was here. He started reading a more detailed political analysis on page three.

“Been out for a walk?” asked Pierre, wiping the top of the bar with a dirty cloth. Max looked up from his newspaper. Time had progressed and the place was almost empty now.

“Yes, the usual. I walked over through the forêt. It was rainy and quite slippery.”

“Better be careful, some of those paths are steep, and the rain erodes them away. Seen any deer?” Max knew that Pierre was a keen hunter. “No, none. I hardly ever see any deer in the forest, or foxes or boars. Only birds. A lot of birds. I hardly ever meet people.”

“Not many hikers or people visit the forest. An additional reason to be prudent, especially if you are on your own. You never know what may happen; in that forest.” Pierre’s face had darkened, and he looked Max deep in the eyes.

Max hesitated. Ever since he had moved into the area and started his walks in the forest, something had been puzzling him. “Perhaps you can help me, as you are a hunter and probably know the forest better than most…”

Pierre looked at him quizzically. The last patron exited the bar, leaving it empty until lunchtime.

“I have noticed that someone is digging in the woods. I’ve come across dozens of pits, some deep, others only superficial. Then, a few weeks back, I came across this woman, skinny, long hair. She came towards me with a shovel over her shoulder, a shovel with a broad blade and a long handle, almost like a coal shovel. I greeted her in passing, but she didn’t greet back. I stared after her until she disappeared in a turn of the track.”

Pierre’s cloth went over the top of bar in slow circles. His face had a serious expression. “Ah. You met her then. Marie.”

“Who is she? Is Marie the person who digs these holes?”

Pierre glanced first at the window to the kitchen, behind which Pierre’s wife could be heard preparing lunch, then at the clock. Pierre put down his cloth. He moved closer to Max, rested his elbows on the top of the bar, and lowered his voice. “Let me tell you. This is a fascinating story.”

It was a Saturday, the day on which Marie always slept in. She got up around nine, took a shower, then dried her hair as she looked out of the kitchen window. A beautiful summer day lay ahead. She fed her two dogs, dressed, and soon the three of them left the house, followed the field and entered the forest.

Marie was secretary in the hôtel de ville and single. She had been born in the area. Her parents had died in an accident, leaving her an inheritance that had allowed her to buy her small house.

The track that she followed went up steeply beneath pine trees. There were many paths in the forest and she still hadn’t explored all of them. She wasn’t afraid to get lost; the two dogs always helped her find the shortest route home. Today, the ethereal smell of the trees pulled her deeper and deeper into the woods. The dogs moved about swiftly, sniffing traces left by wild animals.

Suddenly, the path ended at a clearing. Not really a clearing: weeds covered it hip-high. It had been a long time since anyone had been here; young trees had started to sprout up. She walked across the open circle, butterflies escaping her approach. On the other side, the ground rose steeply and in this natural wall was an opening that let down into the ground. A red boulder rested next to it. The opening was breast-high and allowed a single person to enter the tunnel beyond. She called back the dogs as they started to walk in, sniffing left and right. Who had created this tunnel? Its walls were made of sand, no special construction was visible. Should she enter to explore? No way! The roof might collapse onto her, or she might get stuck. Exploring a tunnel on your own, a single person, would be very foolhardy. No, she decided to turn back.

She turned around and started walking. However, soon she recalled that this path continued for about twenty minutes until the next intersection. Forty minutes lost in total… without seeing anything new. She looked at the sun and her watch, and after only the slightest hesitation she returned to the clearing and the entrance.

The dogs entered the tunnel unconcerned and without delay, and now Marie followed. The ground was flat and without obstructions. After a minute it became very dark, and she was forced to slow down. The dogs apparently were fearless, and by following their sound, she could still move relatively quickly, holding her hands in front and above her face, to make sure that she didn’t hit her head against any obstruction.

After a while, Marie stopped and looked back. She couldn’t see the entrance anymore, and doubt came over her. She felt the walls. Rock had replaced sand. This seemed to be a natural tunnel, perhaps a river in prehistoric times? What to do next, press on, or return?

What if this cave had bifurcations or even junctions? Unexpectedly, a sense of panic came over her; if this was an underground maze of connected caverns, she could get lost quickly. Even turning back might cause her to take a wrong route, a side tunnel that she had missed on her way in. The tunnel suddenly felt damp and claustrophobic, she could practically feel the weight of the heavy, impenetrable earth pressing down on its roof. She had to breathe deeply to regain composure. Slowly her heavy heartbeat quieted down again. She realized that the dogs could help her. She bent forward, and felt their cold wet noses pushing against her arm.

She removed a line from her waist and clipped it on a neckband. “Search, search,” she said. After some hesitation, the dog pulled on the line and started to hurry forward. For an instance she was alarmed, as the dog started to move deeper into the tunnel, but then she decided to trust its instincts, especially as the other dog was already ahead and barking.

After a few minutes, light appeared. The tunnel made a slight turn to the left and the light grew brighter. She could see the outside world.  After a minute, the three of them reached the end of the tunnel and hurried out into daylight.

The sudden brightness overwhelmed her, and she had to shade her eyes with her hand. Drops of moisture and insects lighted up in the bright and yellowish light. The world looked different; strong mosaics of black shade and patches of color; yet tranquil and welcoming. The air was filled with honey sweet scents. She sat down on the ground, and for a while simply enjoined her surroundings. The songs of the birds and the buzz of the insects were surprisingly loud. Did she just imagine that the light and sounds were much more intensive this side of the tunnel? The petted the dogs, who lay close by, panting in the warm sunlight.

Again, she used her watch and the position of the sun to find the approximate direction of her house. She followed the path downhill, which after ten minutes hit upon a broader track. The dogs turned left, and she followed.

A big man with short black hair sat in the middle of the track, his legs spread wide and his back towards her. A hiker’s backpack and a bottle of water rested next to him. She stopped and inspected the figure; it wasn’t clear what he was doing. The man didn’t move. She looked back and to the left and right: only forest.

Picking up her courage, she moved forward. The man heard her coming, turned and looked at her over his shoulder. The pain that the movement caused was visible in his face. “Thank God, a human,” he grumbled.

“Can I help you?” she stood in front of him. He had untied his left boot, and she could see a red sock. His foot was swollen badly.

“I’m grateful that you are here. I slipped on the bank and sprained my ankle. I am reduced to a blasted limp! I don’t think it is broken but I need to get off this bloody mountain.”

They considered the options. Marie looked at her watch; the afternoon was progressing. After a while they agreed it would be best if he would lean on Marie, so that they could try reach a road in the valley. She helped him up, and he put his arm around her shoulder. He was heavy and strong, and for a moment she was worried. But he was friendly and kept on talking; about his love for hiking and the forest, his job, his family. He introduced himself as Yves.

They stumbled down the path. Sooner than Marie had expected, they came to a road. They waited for ten minutes for a car to come; they waived it down. The driver was an elderly man, who looked skeptical at first, but after their explanation he agreed to take Yves to the next village and a doctor. It didn’t cross Marie’s mind to join them, and she stared after the car that took Yves away.

As the sound of the engine dwindled, she again became aware of the loudness of the singing birds. She had no idea where she was, so she had to rely on her dogs to guide her home. The animals didn’t take the route through the tunnel.

Patrons came in, and Pierre excused himself to take the couples order. Pierre assembled glasses of water, plates with croissants and coffee cups on a tablet and served them. After ten minutes or so, he came over to the bar again.

“Curious story! What happened next?” asked Max, rather impatiently.

Marie returned home after dark. The day had been exhausting and she went to bed early. The next day, a great unrest came over her. She recalled the heaviness of Yves’ body, the scent of his aftershave, his black hair. She tried to shake off the feeling, but to her own surprise, she continued to feel a need to find out what had happened at the doctor, yes to meet him again. She found an excuse: she would inquire about him in the village and see whether he was ok. A civilized thing to do.

She packed the dogs into her car and drove around the mountain. She came to the road that the elderly man and Yves had taken. Soon afterwards, she arrived at a small medical practice, directly at the entrance of the first village. It was a Sunday, and the clinic was closed, but just as Marie parked her car, a woman came out of the building and started to lock the door from the outside. She was a nurse and had been there the whole of Saturday, but no one with an injured foot had turned up, no one with Yves description. The nurse mentioned a few medical practices and hospitals in the area where Yves could have gone for treatment – there weren’t many, only four.

Over the next days, Marie visited all four, but Yves hadn’t turned up in any of them. Marie was puzzled. She couldn’t imagine that the driver would have taken Yves to the next larger town, which after all was quite far away. Or had Yves asked the driver to take him home instead? Perhaps Yves had concluded that a strained ankle could be cured with an icepack and a few days on a sofa…

She realized there was little that she could do. Over the following weeks, she explored some other ideas, such as asking her colleagues at the city halls of the neighboring villages. She also discussed with a few friends. Nobody could help her. She also talked to the police, but the conversation was discouraging; the woman pointed out that Yves wasn’t her relative, he might have taken a bus to another town, or have been picked up by a friend of family member… She promised to make a note of it, but here really was no reason for the police to become involved, the woman stated.

Weeks turned into months and Marie forced herself to forget about Yves. She had to stop chasing this dream.

And she would have given up, but a few unexpected observations threw her back. Marie continued to spend most of her free time outdoors, and during her walks with the dogs, she continued to roam the forest. Unsurprisingly, she was still intrigued by the open enclosure with its red boulder and the entrance to the tunnel. But to her initial amusement, and later wonder and then frustration, she did manage to find the start of the route to the enclosure, but she remained unable to find tunnel itself. It turned into a frustration: she spent weeks trying to locate the tunnel, but she never succeeded to find its entrance, or for that matter the exit.

In addition, she also observed that the feeling of elation, which by now she associated with her passing through the tunnel, was beginning to fade. She didn’t read too much in both observations at first, but when, in addition, nobody could confirm to her that a tunnel existed in the forest, she felt anger growing within her.

One night the anger and frustration exploded, and she grabbed a shovel and started to dig for the tunnel.

Pierre fell silent. The door opened and some regulars entered. “Ca va?” called Pierre and raised his hand in greeting.

“What happened then?” asked Max.

Pierre’s face lost all expression. “Nothing. She is still digging.”

Pierre walked over to the newcomers and started to take care of their order.

After a while, Max ordered another coffee. He sipped it, deep in thought. Not much later, he left the bar, and, taking the shortest route through the forest, returned home.

Max got up early the next day. He packed a small backpack with some essentials; a bottle of water, a few sandwiches, a torch. He put on his hiking boots and selected a robust jacket. Entering the forest, he selected his route with determination. It was leisurely walking at first, but soon it became steep climbing. Max started sweating.

Not many people had traveled this route. Ignoring all crossing paths and bifurcations, Max progressed rapidly. He arrived at a clearing in the forest and walked across it. He set down his backpack on top of the red boulder and inspected his surroundings and the entrance of the tunnel. A raven flapped through the sky, landed on a branch of a large pine and shouted gleefully. It was cloudy and the air was frech. Max was pleased that he had brought a jacket.

He knew this place but had never entered the tunnel. He rummaged through his backpack and grabbed for the torch. Turning it on, he entered the dark hole.

The air was damp and cold. A slight breeze continued to touch his face and hands. With the help if the artificial he managed to progress rapidly. He couldn’t see any traces of anyone having passed through here; neither footsteps nor paws, but he realized that didn’t mean much.

The walls did indeed turn from sand into rock. He could see traces of water erosion in the stone. He hurried along and after fifteen minutes or so, he the exit became visible in the distance.

Shortly thereafter, Max exited the tunnel. The brightness of the sun hit him hard and instinctively he moved his hand above his squinting eyes. He had to wait a few seconds to allow them to adjust to the light.

The air was filled with sounds of insects, that buzzed by at determined speeds. A sparrow swept down and snapped a butterfly, right in front to Max’s face. The suddenness of the movement surprised him, and he took a shocked step back. The sky was blue and most of the clouds had been blown away. Max took off his coat, rolled it up and stored it, together with the torch, in his backpack. He wept the sweat off his face.

Max inspected his surroundings. The forest was quiet and looked slightly different this side of the tunnel. Fewer pines, but more sycamore and eucalyptus trees. It looked more friendly, something to do with the light… he couldn’t put his finger on it. He took a deep breath; the air was invigorating, fresh.

Max started down the path. After a while, he hit upon a broader track.

He came upon a man, sitting in the middle of the track, his legs spread wide and his back towards him. The man had short black hair. A backpack rested on the ground next to the man and he held a bottle of water in his hand.

Max stopped abruptly and stared at the figure. The man, obviously unaware of Max’ presence, didn’t move. Max looked back, and then left and right: the two of them were surrounded by vast, empty forest. The insects lighted up as they passed through beams of sunlight, some fast and hurried, others leisurely, each at its own pace.

Frowning, Max moved forward. The man heard him coming, turned and looked at him over his shoulder. He grimaced with pain. “Thank God, a human,” he grumbled.

Max stopped in front of him. He noticed that the man’s left boot was untied, and he could see a red sock.

“I’m grateful you are here,” said the man. “I slipped on the bank and sprained my ankle. I am reduced to a blasted limp! I don’t think it is broken… nevertheless I need to get off this bloody mountain.”

Max didn’t answer, thoughts racing through his head. He continued to stare at the man. “What’s up?” asked the man, staring up at Max. “Think you can help me?”

Max cleared his throat. “Well… yes, I think so.” He tried to shake off his confusion.

“Great!” said the man, enthusiastically. “By the way, my name is Yves.” He stuck out a big hand. Max stuck out his hand too, and they shook. “I’m Max.”

The man continued chatting. Max hesitated in his answers at first, but after a while the apparent honesty of the man somehow managed to reduce Max’s feeling of apprehension. Max looked at his watch; the day was progressing. After a while they agreed it would be best if Yves would lean on Max, so that they could try reach a road in the valley. Max helped him up, and Yves put his arm around Max’s shoulder. Yves wasn’t very heavy, so walking down the hill wasn’t too much of a challenge. Yves kept on talking; about his love for hiking and the forest, his job, his family. They came to a road, sooner than Max had expected.

They waited for a car to turn up. Yves sat down on the shoulder of the road. Max decided that whatever happened next, he would get in the car with the man and find out where he was going. Max felt that he needed to interview the man more, to better understand what was going on. But either the right questions didn’t enter his head, or Yves’ answers were blatantly simple.

A small truck came into view, and Max waved it down. The driver, and elderly man, was skeptical at first, but after some discussion willing to take Yves to the next town and a doctor. The driver waved at his truck and it contents; he apologized to Max that, with Yves in the passenger seat, there obviously was no room for him. Max nodded in understanding.

The doors slammed shut, and the driver started the engine.

Max stared after the truck as it disappeared. He shook his head. Then, he took a sandwich from his backpack and munched it slowly, trying to decide what to do next.

After some more time, he crossed the road and found a path that lead downhill. After half an hour he could see the first houses of a village.

He hit the high street, took a turn to the right. He entered the bar. The high school teacher was correcting exams at her usual table. Max looked at his watch and concluded that her husband had most likely already left.

„Bonjour Max, ca va?“ said Pierre from behind the bar. Max hesitated for a second, but then answered: “Salut Pierre.” On his way in, he had automatically picked up a newspaper from one of the tables. The place wasn’t very busy, only a few workmen and pensioners. After a while, Pierre brought him a coffee and a croissant.

“Been out for a walk?” asked Pierre, wiping the top of the bar with a dirty cloth. Max inspected Pierre’s face, not exactly sure what to say. “Well… yes, the usual. I walked over through the forêt. Beautiful weather… better than yesterday?” Max turned his last statement into a question.

A serious expression came over Pierre’s face. “Better be careful in the forest, some of the paths are steep and the rain erodes them away. Seen any deer?”

Max shook his head slowly. “No, none. Only birds. A lot of birds, and insects. No humans either.”

A cloud moved in front of the sun, and the interior of the bar turned dark. Somehow, Max felt that he could guess what Pierre would say next. He felt his skin starting to crawl.

Pierre continued to wipe the top of the bar, in exaggeratedly slow, circular movements. He stopped, moved his head towards Max and looked him deep in the eyes. His face darkened and he spoke slowly. “Not many enter the forest. An additional reason to be prudent, especially if you are on your own. In that forest, you never know what may happen.”

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The Forest

Interested in more? Click here for the short story THE TUNNEL.

Originally posted 2020-03-07 22:15:00.

REBOUND teaser – sixty second read. A post-apocalyptic SciFi adventure.

REBOUND is the final installment in the TWO JOURNEYS trilogy. An adventure story set in a post-pandemic, dystopian world.

*********************  Sample **********************

Then one morning, as I stood on the roof looking at the horizon through my spyglass, I noted three independent pillars of white smoke, considerable distances away, twenty to thirty miles to the east, south, and north. They hadn’t been there the day before, and I wondered about their origin. I went in search of Imani and told some people to warn Apollo.

Half an hour later, he joined us on the roof. He stared at the smoke through his binoculars and went in search of a woman whom he knew. The two of them returned a full hour later. Imani and I had continued to look at the pillars of smoke, but they hadn’t changed much in character or size. Apollo introduced the woman as Aderyn, a former power plant inspector who had lived in the area before the pandemic. She was gray-haired, sturdy, and in her fifties. Her glasses dated back to the Fifties, too. She took Apollo’s binoculars and studied the three pillars of smoke.

Finally, she dropped the lenses and turned to us. “In the northeast, Pawnee Generating Station. In the north, Rawhide Energy Station, and in the south, the Ray D. Nixon Power Plant. All three are about 40, definitely less than 60 miles from here. I used to service all three of them before I was made redundant.” I wasn’t sure whether she meant that she had been fired or had been become jobless by the pandemic.

“Are you sure? The smoke seems to originate from a source nearer by… perhaps 20-30 miles?”

She raised her binoculars again. “No, these must be the power stations. It isn’t smoke, you see, it’s steam. And it’s the Denver air. Everything seems closer. My uncle used to say: on a clear day in Colorado, you can see the grim reaper walking towards you.”

Apollo looked at us. “What do you make of it?”

Owosh,” said Imani, with grit.

“Exactly. Robots,” I said. “If I would be a hyper-intelligent robot, interested in embarking on some hyper-evolution, I would crave energy. A helluva lot of electricity. Break into a power plant, get it working, charge the drones… bob’s your uncle.”

“But where do they get the coal?”

Aderyn smiled. “I presume there is still a shitload of coal on-site. Wagons and wagons full of the stuff. That could last for a few weeks.”

I added, “From what we have seen, it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for these creatures to crawl into a mine, drill for coal, and get it onto a train. And drive the train over here, too.”

“Hm. Any evidence for those statements?”

I looked at my notes. “I checked over the last hour and counted forty drones traveling toward the plant in the northeast, about twenty flying away from it. Of those twenty, four came directly towards us and landed somewhere south from here. If you look very closely, you can see drones flying towards the plants and away from them. You lose sight of them in the distance. I bet considerable robotic gymnastics are going on there.”

Originally posted 2021-04-12 17:07:00.

The Magic Pool (Variation on a classic German joke).

Practically everyone seems to dislike Greta Thunberg. Obscurely so, as she is ‘only’ a girl from a remote, partially forgotten and ex-socialist Nordic country. People seem to forget that humor is still the best weapon to deal with serious political issues… so here a joke featuring the Climate-Change Angel.

It is conference time in Saudi Arabia and dignitaries meet to discuss the climate crisis. International guests have been invited by his Royal Highness, Freelance Hacker, and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (known to friends as “MbS“).
The Prince invites Greta Thunberg, Donald Trump and Jordan Peterson to a very special evening event. In the Palace in Riyadh, between the harem and prison, a magic pool has been installed. The sign at the entrance reads: Fantastic news! Jump into the empty pool, wish for your favorite drink and swim in it!” (below that the sign says: “No dogs allowed. No refunds. Skinny dippers will be whipped in traditional fashion“).

As the true gentleman that he is, MbS suggests that Greta should be allowed to jump first. Greta thinks for a few seconds and says in her cute Swedish accent: “I wish that the pool fills itself with soy milk, since ordinary cow milk production is associated with high levels of the gas methane; a gas that is 32-times as potent as the gas carbon dioxide in accelerating the global warming!” The three men smirk, and the Prince pats her on the head belligerently: “Now jump in, little one!” Greta climbs the ladder to the board, jumps into the pool and shouts “soy milk!”… and indeed the pool instantly fills up with the nutritious milk substitute. Greta lands in the white liquid, swims about, and takes big sips of the delicious non-alcoholic potable.

A pool-attendant steps forward and switches on a pump, so that the pool is emptied and the next person can jump in. A slight shuffle takes place, which Jordan (champion debater) wins with one of his typical kill-all arguments (in this case a quick knee to the groin). Jordan climbs the ladder, shouts “orange juice !”, the pool fills up, and Jordan can start swimming and drinking.

Finally, it is Donald’s turn. He climbs the ladder and starts out on one of his rambling speeches, during which he somehow seems to suggest that he is the greatest swimmer since Johnny Weissmuller; and most people leave. Then Donald takes a deep breath, jumps and shouts: “Soda !”

Thud! Donald hits the bare tiles at the bottom of the pool. The pool did not fill with any liquid. He manages to crawl to a ladder, climbs up, and staggers to the pool attendant. “What the hell happened,” says the Donald, “The sign said fantastic news and the pool didn’t fill?! Sad!”

The pool attendant looks at the sky quizzically and says: “…fake news?”

More humor here: the adventures of John and Daphne

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Originally posted 2020-02-08 19:13:00.

A pirate story – John Hawk

John stuck his heavy spade into the ground and started digging. The pile of dirt rapidly increased in height. It was hard work, the sun beating down on his dreadlocks, and every now and then John stopped his work to wipe away the sweat and to drink from his jug of water.

Deeper and deeper went the spade. John checked the map to exclude any mistake. No, this was the right spot.

Suddenly the spade hit an object, and John dropped on his belly to remove the dirt with his hands. The lid of a chest became visible. Hurriedly he cleaned away more sand, and finally his hands found a handle, and with considerable effort he managed to pull the heavy chest from the ground. He pulled his pistol and shot the lock to pieces.

He threw back the lid and the insides of the chest became visible: coins, coins coins! Ecstatically, John threw his hands in the air and did a weird dance around the treasure.

„Hullo dear, I’ve brought you a cup of tea,“ said Daphne, still in her nightgown, She handed him the mug and looked at the hole skeptically. “Are you sure this is better than a bank account? Seems like an awful lot of work…”

Mr. Wanamaker, their neighbor, smirked. “It’s pretty ridiculous, if you ask me. Look at your goddamn lawn! It’s a disgrace. You’re the laughing stock of the neighborhood.” Exasperated, he turned away from the fence and continued watering his plants.

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More About John and Daphne.

Originally posted 2018-12-01 18:30:00.

Interview with the Corona Virus. Viruses do not Read the News.

Lately, I have suffered from nightmares, which ended in murder and blood. Sometimes my imagination is too vivid, or the movies I watch on Mubi are too violent.

Anyway, last night was different, as I dreamed I was watching a talk show, and the experience was even quite enlightening. Imagine a studio, with a host, a virologist, a politician, and… the Corona Virus! A dapper gent, dressed in a three-piece suite, with oily hair. The discussion went something like this.

Host: “So what do you propose should be done to stop the increase of infected people?”

Virologist: “We only have one possibility! We need a lockdown for those that are not vaccinated. Otherwise, the numbers will explode over winter.”

Politician: “A lockdown is out of the question. The incidence rates may be up, the mortality exploding, but we need freedom, for all citizens.”

The host to the virus: “And what do you think about that, Mr. Corona?”

Corina (looking slightly confused). “Well, I… I have no preference.”

Host: “But don’t the masks help? And the social distancing?”

Researcher: “Definitely! We will need to reimplement these! If people stick to those simple rules and wear masks, the problems are solvable. And the vaccine… people must get vaccinated! It also depends on how we calculate the R-value. And let’s not forget the incidence.”

Corona (managing to look bored and satisfied at the same time): “Sounds like a plan.”

Host: “You do not seem to be overwhelmed…?”

Corona: “Look at it this way. at the moment the infection rate is, without a doubt, satisfactory. Sure, I could have infected hundreds of millions of people, but I have already bypassed HIV and the Spanish Flu in mortality rate. I am pleased with the outcome.”

Host: “But aren’t you afraid that you will be eradicated? Haven’t you read about the vaccines, the safety measures, the vaccines, the new medications?”

Corona: “I’m a virus. I do not read newspapers.”

Politician (snorts): “That is absolutely irresponsible! I bet you do not vote either!”

Corona: “I do not watch the news, I do not listen to researchers or politicians, nor do I listen to people who object to wearing masks or those who refuse to get vaccinated. I am indifferent to public opinion… to any opinion. Certainly, for us viruses, plants, and animals are easier prey as they cannot plan ahead at all, yet humans… they are still sufficiently primitive. Take your scientists… on the one hand, their salaries are paid through taxes, collected from the public, yet when the rubber hits the road, nobody listens to them! It’s a contradiction… hilarious and sad at the same time.”

Virologist: “Now listen…”

Corona (hanging back in his chair, suddenly with a whisky in his hand): “For a virus, the job is easy. Multiply, multiply, make the most of the stupidity of our hosts. It’s a slam dunk! No kidding, it’s as easy as drinking water and, after that, as much fun as peeing in the snow.”

Politician (red-faced): “So what you are saying is that we haven’t made any difference? May I perhaps remind you of the billions we have invested with our anti-pandemic plan?”

Corona: “Yes, you did. And it slowed me down a bit. But… I am still here. And I will be here for many years to come. I have already branched out into a dozen other species.”

Virologist (looking clever): “So what do you suggest we do then?”

Corona (looking more clever): “I will gladly tell you, as you won’t be able to implement this within a reasonable timeframe. By the time you will finish discussing and planning I will have mutated into something new and much more exciting. Anyway, the key is education. At the start of the pandemic, people didn’t understand an exponential growth curve. By now most have at least an inkling of what it encompasses. But, now, humans do not understand the benefit of vaccinations… so in most countries, more than 30% are not getting vaccinated. I love it! It’s a gas! Without proper education… without proper information, I’m on a roll! Ooooh yes… Somebody Stop Me!”

Host (looking sweaty, with a slight cough): “Ahh… urghuurghu. With that our time is, alas, up. I thank our panel for the discussion and valuable input… urghuurghu… and I wish all our viewers a perfect night. Urhurghuuu and please stay healthy.” (Thinking he is off-camera, he whispers) “Is it too late to get the vaccine, once you start coughing?” (The virologist covers her face with both hands and shakes her head violently).

More Amazing Stories here!

Originally posted 2021-11-14 22:27:00.

A secret hide-out in the Swiss Alps: the Saint-Gotthard Massif.

A fun preview of the 2022 novel REBOUND, by Clemens P. Suter. Available in all internet stores as eBook and paperback. This chapter takes place in the Saint-Gotthard Massif, a large, ABC-proof tunnel system in the Swiss Alps.

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Meanwhile, our convoy, consisting of hundreds of vehicles, continued to move forward. We drove south for some time, but then we veered east in the direction of Luzern and the Vierwaldstättersee, a large irregularly shaped lake, enclosed by high mountains. From there we moved south again. It started to rain; a heavy precipitation typical for mountainous regions, with low hanging grey clouds that looked as if they would stay forever. It was slow travel, and the convoy came to a stop regularly, which made every single man, woman, and child in the convoy dreadfully nervous. We knew that Urs was behind us and that he had outmaneuvered Antonioni and his clan. What was he up to? With every forced rest, we feared an attack of some kind, either in front of us or at the tail of the party.

When the convoy would start up again, we would soon pass by some car wrecks or other types of blockage that had been pulled from the road. Engineers in front of us used a heavy caterpillar to clear the road.

I continued to wonder where we were heading… northern Italy? Reto had indicated that our goal was a safe place…

Soon our convoy started to crawl up into the mountains. The massif around us grew in height, the rocks turning mean and irregular, and the road started to move up too. I had been on this exact road several times, either on my way to Milano in Northern Italy or to go hiking in the surrounding mountains.

“Where are we?” asked Francois. I explained. We were about to enter the Saint-Gotthard Massif, a mountain range in the south of the Swiss Alps, just north of Italy. This was the road that led to the Gotthard Pass, in ancient and modern times the main route from northern to southern Europe. The highest peak was the Pizzo Rotondo, which, like many other peaks in this mountainous region, exceeded 10,000 feet. The Alps are, from a geological viewpoint, relatively young, and thus the rocks and the peaks are rugged and irregular.

Not much later, our convoy left the highway and turned onto a small road that took us deeper into the mountains. Obviously, we weren’t taking the Gotthard tunnel to Italy and neither were we heading up the pass that would have taken us, in innumerable serpentines, over the mountains. Our goal was closer. The rain intensified and visibility dropped further. Imani was behind the wheel and had to slow down. We could barely see the red lights of the truck in front of us.

After about an hour, the sky brightened a little. The rain diminished to a few irregular drops. We came to an airfield. Many of the cars and trucks that had been in front of us now stood parked in long, orderly rows. People were getting out of the vehicles and had started walking towards a gate in the side of the mountain. We joined them, and soon entered a gaping tunnel, that led into the belly of the Massif.

Soon, the metal doors closed behind us with a loud clang and blocked out the light of the sun. We had entered a stronghold of epic proportions, a complex system of army bunkers dug deep into the Gotthard. Probably the safest place within a radius of a thousand miles.

This chapter of Rebound takes place in the Saint-Gotthard Massif, a large, ABC-proof tunnel system in the Swiss Alps.

Find all buying details about my books here. or Get it directly on your iPhone

Originally posted 2021-10-10 22:34:00.

A Tasty Teaser From my 2022 Novel REBOUND. Don’t Try This at Home.

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.

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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!

Originally posted 2021-02-20 22:19:00.

My list of the best movies & series ever made in the History of Humankind!

Cinema – hard to imagine life without it. Pronounced close to death for years… but nevertheless artists keep on cranking out movies, and good ones too. Why do people enjoy cinema so much? A cinema is a unique place: you visit it with dozens of people, no need to talk, great for a first date, and (added bonus) you have to switch off your mobile. To keep track of all the movies, and some of the television series and shows that I’ve seen, I began creating a list many many years ago.

What makes a great movie?

I’ve seen hundreds of movies over the past 50+ years. The first-ever movie was Mary Poppins, I was a boy of 5 or 6, and going to the city cinema with my parents and older brother and sister was an amazing experience, engraved in my memory. Shortly after that: the Sound of Music. No wonder I still rate these two movies as top of the list. The miracle has never left me. From The Godfather, to Young Frankenstein, all the way to Hannah Arendt and Bohemian Rhapsody… I love cinema.

One key criterium for a great movie is great acting. Charlotte Rampling, Harrison Ford, Stephane Audran, Robert Mitchum, Isabelle Hupert – these actors immerge in their roles so that you actually believe they are the character. Great directing. Francis F. Coppola, Martin Scorsese, John Ford, Margarethe von Trotta,… all these directors managed to great a convincing, wholeness, an consistent atmosphere. A great movie also depends on a great storyline, which may be fantastic and absurd, but which is totally consistent within itself. Most of all, a great movie is memorable. Many movies are utterly forgettable, interchangeable. Good movies you will never forget, even when they were made on the tinniest budget, even with unknown actors.

Based on this handful of criteria, I continuously rank all the movies and series that I watch (current count: 600). Here you can find a list of my favorite movies – ranked. And here you can find the movies that I watched recently, rated but unranked.

My love of cinema is reflected in my books. All my prose is intended to trigger a movie in your head. Find out more: www.clemenssuter.com/books

Originally posted 2019-12-01 19:30:00.

Strap on Your Seatbelt. Sneak peek of the Prologue of REBOUND.

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.


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Originally posted 2021-01-30 20:56:00.