East Berlin, Summer 1994 In the wake of a divisive referendum, the people of the GDR are struggling to find common ground.
Concerned that populist leader, Klaus Kaminsky, is poised to take power in East Germany, Karo and Martin come together again to defend the grassroots democracy they are helping to build.
But as Kaminsky holds rallies across the country, the mood of the people of the GDR begins to change. Can the delicate balance of round tables and workers’ councils survive, or will the country be dragged back into the authoritarian rule of the past?
“The Soldiers’ Council of the Border Regiment 33 had a
meeting this morning. We’re on strike.”
“You call this being on strike?”
“Yeah, fun isn’t it?”
This post takes a look at the experiences of political activists in East Germany (GDR) who had to deal with Stasi informants and infiltration before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.Continue reading “Stasi Tactics – Zersetzung”
There’s a referendum in the offing and the far right is on the rise…. in East Berlin, 1994, the capital of the counter-factual people’s Grassroots Democratic Republic of East Germany, created when the Communist government was dissolved and the people turned down the option of uniting with West Germany. Continue reading “Peace News review for Thoughts Are Free”
It’s always an exciting moment when my publisher sends me the maps for my next book. I like maps, and I’m pleased that my publishers are prepared to put the effort into making decent maps for the books I write.
As the author of Stealing the Future I’ve been asked a fair bit about Deutschland 83 over the last few weeks – mostly about whether or not the series is at all realistic. The series is a fun but unreliable witness to both East and West in 1983, but in this post I shall be outlining how Martin Rauch would have been recruited in the real GDR of 1983.
When writing a political novel the author needs to be very clear about the political structures that form the framework of the story, not to mention how they work on a day-to-day basis (indeed it is the tension between the theory and the practice of these institutions that provide the gaps that allow such stories to be developed).
West Berlin, Westberlin, West-Berlin, Berlin (West), B(W), BW?!?
It wasn’t until I’d finished my first draft of Stealing The Future that I started worrying about how to spell Westberlin (or West Berlin, West-Berlin or even Berlin (West)!). I’d blithely tapped away at my keyboard, using the Eastgerman (East German) vernacular, only realising that this may seem odd to a non-German audience, or even a Westgerman (West German) audience.
When I started writing Stealing the Future I didn’t waste much time thinking about spelling and transliteration. Of course, I had some decisions to make quite early on: I decided to leave the umlauts as they were and not make ä into ae, ö into oe and ü into ue – that just looks ugly, and most English language readers, I imagined, would be quite happy to ignore the strange dots over some of the vowels. Continue reading “Spelling – Introduction”
I am fortunate that my publishers, Wolf Press, are as passionate about Free and Open Source software as I am. That must be a pretty rare thing, despite the fact that there are lots of people using Free and Open Source software, and there are lots of good reasons to do so.
Unser Land steckt in einer tiefen Krise. Wie wir bisher gelebt haben, können und wollen wir nicht mehr leben. Die Führung einer Partei hatte sich die Herrschaft über das Volk und seine Vertretungen angemaßt, vom Stalinismus geprägte Strukturen hatten alle Lebensbereiche durchdrungen. Gewaltfrei, durch Massendemonstrationen hat das Volk den Prozess der revolutionären Erneuerung erzwungen, der sich in atemberaubender Geschwindigkeit vollzieht. Uns bleibt nur wenig Zeit, auf die verschiedenen Möglichkeiten Einfluss zu nehmen, die sich als Auswege aus der Krise anbieten. Continue reading “Für unser Land”
One of the joys of writing fiction, I find, is the absolute power an author has over the characters and events in the story. Nevertheless, that power is limited by the needs of the reader—unconvincing, illogical and irrational plots may be fun to dream up and write, but will leave most readers unsatisfied. For that reason, when writing The East Berlin Series I found I needed to place the events into various kinds of frameworks and contexts—there was a real need to make the story both plausible and believable.
Clearly history presented me with one set of limits. The novel is counter-factual – branching away from ‘real’ history at the beginning of November 1989 – but I felt there was a practical limit as to what a society (no matter how energetic and idealistic) could achieve in just under three years. Continue reading “Constitution of 1990”
Stealing the Future is set in 1993 – nearly three years after (in ‘our’ world) the GDR ceased to exist. But in the East Berlin Series, the GDR has continued to exist, and is searching for ways to remain economically, politically and socially viable as a country in its own right.