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.

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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.


More info about my books.

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

Ein Weihnachtsmärchen aus Hockenheim. Lesekost für die Weihnachtszeit.

(English version).

Diese humorvolle und leicht gruselige Weihnachtsgeschichte gibt es als ebook (nur €0.99) für alle Geräte (Apple iPhone, iPad; Smartphones, Kindle, Tolino usw.). Du kannst es leicht in deinem Lieblings-eBookstore finden – einfach nach “Clemens P. Suter” suchen.

“Großvater, Großvater, kannst du uns eine Geschichte erzählen?”

Der alte Mann wachte mit einem Schrecken auf. Seine Pfeife war in seiner Hand kalt geworden. Er bemerkte, dass die Asche ein kleines Loch in das weiße Tischtuch gebrannt hatte. Der Mann warf einen schuldbewussten Blick auf seine Tochter Annie, die gerade eine Suppe zubereitete. Er zog den Aschenbecher zu sich heran, um den Schaden zu verbergen.

“Na, mal sehen, ugh ughu”, hustete er. Die beiden Jungen setzten sich neben ihn, einer auf jeder Seite. Ihre Gesichter waren sowohl von der Kälte als auch von der Vorfreude gerötet.

“Die Festtage rücken immer näher. Vielleicht sollte ich mal eine Weihnachtsgeschichte erzählen, hmm?”

Vor vielen, vielen Jahren, aber einige Jahre nach den Corona-Pandemien, verdiente ich mein Geld in Hockenheim. Das Leben war ruhig… wenn man es mit den Zeiten des “Großen Umbruchs” vergleicht. Allerdings waren die Leute nicht reich, und die meisten Geschäfte in der Karlsruher Straße waren pleite, mit Ausnahme einer großen Anzahl von Bäckereien und Friseursalons. Aus unerfindlichen Gründen hatten diese es immer geschafft zu überleben.

Eines Tages, Anfang November, ging ich die Karlsruher Straße entlang. Ich bemerkte einen Umzugswagen, der vor einem kleinen leeren Laden geparkt war. Offensichtlich waren die Arbeiter damit beschäftigt, ein neues Geschäft einzurichten. Sie trugen schwere Holzmöbel in das Gebäude. Selbst der Regen, der gelegentlich in Schneeregen überging, konnte sie nicht ablenken.

Es war zu kalt, um stehen zu bleiben und die Szene zu beobachten. Ich zog den Kragen meines Mantels hoch, um mich vor dem Wind zu schützen, und ging weiter.

Einige Tage später wurde tatsächlich ein neues Geschäft eröffnet. Über dem Schaufenster prangte ein großes Schild mit der Aufschrift “Marie”. Das fand ich interessant, denn es erklärte nicht, welche Art von Produkten Marie anbot. Und auch das Schaufenster gab nicht viele Hinweise. In der Regel waren nur einige wenige Gegenstände zu sehen: eine Schachtel mit Kerzen, ein Stift auf einem roten Samtkissen oder eine Haarbürste. Manchmal war ein Regenschirm das einzige Stück, oder ein einzelnes Buch, ein Kleid oder etwas Gemüse. Die Gegenstände wurden jeden Tag gewechselt. Preisschildchen sucht man vergebens. Ich lächelte traurig, denn es war zu erwarten, dass auch dieser Laden bald bankrottgehen würde. Wie so viele ähnliche Versuche in dieser einsamen Rheintalstadt.

Nun bin ich kein Mensch für Klatsch und Tratsch, aber selbst ich schnappte einige Gerüchte über Maries auf. An einem Samstagmorgen, als ich mein Brot in meiner Lieblingsbäckerei abholte, bemerkte die Bäckereibesitzerin Frau Zeh, dass Maries Laden erstaunlich leer sei. Sie schüttelte den Kopf und ihre Mundwinkel zogen sich noch weiter nach unten als sonst. Auch Herr Gelb, der gerade hereinkam, um sich frische Brezeln zu holen, war nicht erfreut. Er erzählte, dass er bei Maries reingegangen war und nur ein paar Kleidungsstücke gefunden hatte: eine Hose, einen Mantel und eine einfache Strickjacke. Sein grauer Ziegenbart zuckte vor Aufregung, und er biss sich sichtlich verärgert in den Schnurrbart. Eine übergewichtige Frau meldete sich zu Wort. “Ich habe bei Marie Gemüse gekauft, aber es waren tatsächlich nur fünf verschiedene Sorten im Angebot. Können Sie sich das vorstellen?” “Na ja”, versuchte ich zu beschwichtigen, “es ist vielleicht nicht schlecht, nur Kartoffeln oder Erbsen oder Möhren anzubieten … wenn sie die richtige Qualität haben?”

“Ja, aber nur EINES von jedem? Eine Kartoffel, eine Karotte… EINE Erbse?” Herr Gelb schüttelte missbilligend den Kopf. Alle Kunden verstummten. Das war in der Tat überraschend. Frau Zeh schüttelte erneut den Kopf und sah weiterhin irritiert aus. Herr Gelb musterte unsere erstaunten Gesichter und gluckste triumphierend.

Meine Neugierde war geweckt, aber ich hatte keine Veranlassung, das neue Geschäft zu besuchen. Erstens hatte ich sehr wenig Geld, und zweitens versuchte ich als Junggeselle, mich von den Feinheiten des Dorflebens fernzuhalten.

Die Tage und Wochen vergingen. Mit dem Zusammenbruch des Golfstroms, einem der ersten Opfer der Klimaerwärmung, traf der Winter das Rheintal mit voller Wucht. Schwerer Schnee kam aus dem Osten, und die Dorfbewohner zogen sich in ihre Häuser zurück. Auch ich tat dies. Ich konnte mich glücklich schätzen, denn ich hatte einen Kellerraum mit Küche unter einem Fachwerkhaus, genannt “Der güldener Engel”. In einem kleinen Ofen verbrannte ich Holz, das ich im benachbarten Schwetzinger Hardt erbeutete. So konnte ich mit ein paar Wollpullovern übereinander auch die kälteste Witterung überstehen.

Eines Abends, etwa eine Woche vor Weihnachten, klopfte es an meine Tür. Ich warf einen Blick auf die Uhr: Es war neun, eine ungewöhnliche Zeit für Besucher. Doch nach einigem Zögern entfernte ich den Riegel, zog die Tür auf und sah eine dunkle Gestalt auf der Treppe. Hinter dem Menschen wehte ein wütender Wind Schneeflocken durch die Luft. Es war ein Bekannter, ein Mann namens Richard. Er trug einen schweren Mantel. Sein Atem kristallisierte sich in der kalten Luft.

“Darf ich reinkommen?”, fragte er. Ich hörte seine Zähne klappern. Gefrorener Schnee bedeckte seine Schultern.

“Sicher, sicher”, sagte ich und hielt die Tür auf. Er schob sich an mir vorbei durch den engen Flur und betrat mein Zimmer. Ich nahm ihm den Mantel ab und wir setzten uns an meinen kleinen Tisch. Ich schenkte ihm einen heißen Tee aus dem Samowar ein.

“Verdammt kalt draußen”, sagte er, “verdammt kalt”. Richard war groß, breitschultrig und hatte ein markantes Gesicht. Dunkles, lockiges Haar krönte seinen Kopf. Er sprach nicht und hielt die Tasse mit beiden Händen, offensichtlich um die Kälte aus seinen roten Händen und Fingern zu vertreiben.

“Was ist los?” fragte ich. Ich war von seinem Besuch überrascht, denn wir kannten uns nicht besonders gut. Warum hatte er beschlossen, ausgerechnet bei mir aufzutauchen? Nach Einbruch der Dunkelheit, die Straßen menschenleer und der Schnee knietief?

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Originally posted 2021-12-30 06:59:37.

First-class Corona Pandemic Apocalyptic Thriller (2010) “What a fantastic book!”

Here’s another five star review for TWO JOURNEYS, this one is by “St. Louis Cards”. You can find it here at amazon.com: LINK.

Here’s the full text by this reader

Book Review: Two Journeys
Author: Clemens P. Suter
Publisher: BookBuzz/CreateSpace
Publication Date: April 1, 2012 (NetGalley Archive Date: August 30, 2019)
Review Date: August 21, 2019
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.From the blurb:
“During a routine business trip to Tokyo, Alan finds himself to be the sole survivor of a global pandemic. A viral disease wipes away all of humanity… and Alan’s past life. Fearing injury, sickness and hunger, he sets out to travel back to his family in Berlin, straight across Asia and 10,000 miles of hardship and adventure.Suter combines post-apocalyptic elements with an adventurous road novel in this book about a man left alone on earth. The hardships and landscapes (the Gobi desert, Siberia) are described in all ferocity. A few other humans have survived as well, some eager to use the disaster for their own advantage. Electrifying chapters describe the encounter with Somerset, a charming yet psychotic warlord, who is assembling an army to conquer Moscow, if not the entire world.”This is a first-class apocalyptic thriller. I find most self-published books to be absolutely dreadful. The exception is often science fiction/apocalyptic thrillers and other books of this type category.Two Journeys is no exception. What a fantastic book! Better than I expected. It is written in the first person, and I often felt that I was reading a memoir of events that actually happened. Suter’s style is very easy to read; I couldn’t put the book down.

A caveat: it is a fairly long book, 551 pages. It took me 3-4 days on nonstop reading, which is much longer than it usually takes me to read a book.

The character of Alan, the protagonist, is well built, as well as the few other characters encountered during his journey. The plot is perfect; I appreciate how slowly Suter built up the story and all the details of the journey he included. The settings were well written and an important part of the book, as horrifying as they often were.

There were a few mysterious elements that added to the depth of the story.

I highly, highly recommend this book, 5 stars! The author has written a couple of sequels to this book that are available as Kindle books, for only $1.99 each, so I plan to finish out the series.

Humanity has gone a long time without a major pandemic. Outbreaks of viruses such as SARS, corona or influenza (e.g. H2N2 or the Asian Flu H3N2; or bird flu) have occurred again and again. Are we prepared? 

 

Interested in a copy? Get it here: www.clemenssuter.com/books

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Originally posted 2019-10-26 21:02:00.