I wish all my readers, friends and fellow writers a happy, successful and healthy new year. After a grim year 2016 that has robbed the art, pop-rock and Nerd communities a number of their idols, things can only get better. 2016 has also been a difficult year for myself but I managed to give it a positive twist toward its end. I hope I have established the preconditions for a much more active and productive year 2017.
A number of people who have supported me over the year deserve to be thanked explicitly: my publishers Uschi Zietsch und Harald Giersche for their understanding and patience, Hannes Riffel and the team of Fischer/Tor online, Sigrun Schmidt and her colleagues of advertising agency Hiller in Duesseldorf, Patrizia Hoffman of Infoman AG, my Second Life companions Thorsten Kueper aka Kueperpunk Korhonen, Moewe Winkler, Harter Fall and Asmita Duranjaya, my fellow writers and regular discussion companions Horst Pukallus, Olaf Kemmler, Michael Steinmann and Wilfried Bienek, my Nova co-editor Olaf G. Hilscher and our publisher Juergen Eglseer of Amrun Verlag, our colleagues of Exodus magazine and especially my cousin and roommate Martina and our awesome cat Minka who has tamed me like no human female ever could.
I send special wishes to my daughter Juliana for a successful continuation and completion of her art history studies and for a happy private life. It has been my best moment of 2016 when I saw a photo of you on the Internet. I know you will make your way.
Aspiring young writer Melanie Ulrike Junge has interviewed me for her book blog Buchelefanten. The talk which is mainly about several general and practical aspects of the craft of writing can be read online here.
It has been noted that an above avarage percentage of writers suffer from depressions and other mental illnesses. The most famous recent example may have been renowned American postmodernist David Foster Wallace, author of Infinite Jest, who after more then twenty years of severe depressions ended his life in 2008. I know of several among my German fellow sf writers who suffer from similar problems in various degrees. I myself have been treated for depressions since a hospital stay in 2009. It has kept me from writing and especially from completing several new writing projects for years.
Last month I’ve finally accomplished a stage victory over the illness and completed my novel Der Moloch. Based on my Kurd Laßwitz Preis winning novella of the same title from 2007, but with completely new plot and characters, it’s going to be published by Fabylon (publisher of my novel Psyhack from 2007). I expect the book to be available not before the second half of 2017 and will announce the exact publishing date here as soon as I have further new. Another as yet unfinished novel is in the making again too.
In 1989 Heyne published the novel Hinter den Mauern der Zeit that I had written in collaboration with my mentor and teacher Horst Pukallus. The book was a tribut to the great American science fiction writer Philip K. Dick and elaborated rumors that Dick had feigned his death in 1982 to live in anonymity from then on. Small publisher Apex, specialized in reissues of older science fiction works, some of them by German writers, has recently republished the novel as a nice ebook edition in mobi/Kindle and epub formats.
For more than twenty years I’ve contributed numerous essays and reviews to the unique German science fiction almanac Das Science Fiction Jahr. Started in the mid-eighties and initially edited by the late Wolfgang Jeschke at Heyne – at that time one of the world’s largest science fiction publishers -, the almac has by now found a new home with renowned small publisher Golkonda.
After a hiatus of several issues I’m again involved with the project. Das Science Fiction Jahr 2016, edited by Hannes Riffel and current Heyne sf editor Sascha Mamczak, has just been published and includes my second annual critical survey of the German science fiction short story scene. Reading several thousand pages for an article of just twelve pages is quite a challenge, to say the least, but I’ve just decided that I will continue the survey in the coming years. To also incorporate German horror and fantasy short fiction, however, (as I had initially planed with Hannes Riffel) has proved to be beyond my scope.
As all know who are still convinced that the 3d Internet world of Second Life can be an interesting and flexible medium for artistic expression, the platform has its tricky moments. Crashes of a whole sims during an event have become very rare but we’re reminded time and again that we’re still in a pioneering stage of virtual worlding and that an adventerous attitude is required to make use of it.
Being an enthusiast of electronic music, I’ve had a number of live music events over the years, streaming from my home studio into SL, on my humble amateur level but still always encouragingly received. Luckily enough, I’ve had little technical trouble most of the time – until last Sunday when during a live performance on occasion of Frantz Cattaneo’s and Asmita Duranjaya‘s exhibition opening of Virtual Beauties in Cyberspace my main computer crashed and I was faced with the notorious Blue Screen of Death, perhaps Microsoft’s most unique contribution to the modern world. And again I’ve learned something: as new features are introduced, Second Life’s hardware requirements are constantly on the rise. If you run a sequencer, streaming software and an SL client in full resolution on the same vintage dual core computer, you’re on the best way to invite entertaining major malfunctions.
Asmita has made a video of the event, combining my complete performance with impressions of the exhibition opening.(The sound level is a little low, so you may enjoy it most when you crank up the volume to a solid bone-shattering level.)
It’s no exaggeration that Nova, the German science fiction magazine edited by Olaf G. Hilscher and me, has earned some acclaim over the more than twelve years of its publication. A number of contributions have been awarded with the Kurd Laßwitz Preis, the most prestigious German science fiction award, named after a groundbraking German science fiction pioneer and, as a professionals’ award, similar in conception to the Nebula Award.
The 2016 prize round, however, was the first time that two works from the same Nova issue were awarded. “Was geschieht dem Licht am Ende des Tunnels?” (Nova #23) by Karsten Kruschel – in my humble opinion maybe the most interesting German science fiction writer currently producing (with due respect to young turk Frank Hebben) – was awarded as best German short story of the year 2015. Dirk Berger’s cover received the prize for the best science fiction artwork.