Fascinating futuristic novel
Science and technology remain the most important engines of progress. Perhaps technological progress could eventually produce a society like the one described in Marco Kunst’s debut novel Wiped: the ultimate welfare state where poverty, suffering, desire, and hunger for knowledge are completely unknown, in which humanity has achieved a permanent state of emotional bliss, driven and guided by a single computer. A fantasy or a terrifying vision of the world to come? The obvious question is whether a society so lacking in emotion would still be ‘human’. Would it ever be right for mankind to hand over its power and freedom to a single machine? Wiped is Marco Kunst’s response to questions like these, a fascinating futuristic novel in three parts, rich in ideas and packed with excitement and adventure.
In a distant future, thousands of towering apartment blocks and office buildings rise high into the sky. ‘Floaters’ and air scooters criss-cross the air between them. This is the City, ‘both a miracle and a monstrosity’, where thirteen-year-old Sig seems destined to spend his life. Well-organized, peaceful, but completely artificial, it is enclosed by city walls several kilometres high. Everything, ‘right down to your thoughts, feelings and memories,’ is regulated by the Central Computer, ‘the CC ’. But Sig, dumped on a rubbish heap outside the city walls by accident, discovers that the City is a meaningless illusion, cut off as it is from its surroundings and history.
In the belt, a grimy grey-green no man’s land, Sig is rescued by old Plyster, an extraordinary man who shares his fate. With the help of this peculiar character, Sig narrowly escapes having his personality and memory ‘wiped’ by the CC. Together they set out on an adventurous journey, intending to liberate the inhabitants of the City from the city wall.
After a long struggle, beset by doubts and uncertainty, Sig achieves this goal with the help of Montesquieu’s three-branch theory of government (the legislative, executive and judicial branches that balance each other), which turns out to be the key to the liberation.