The East Berlin Series

Stories from the edge of utopia

This “compelling” series (Fiona Rintoul) is set in an East Germany that didn’t end in 1990. Participatory democracy, citizen’s movements and de-centralization are part of a new political landscape.

Stealing The Future

Stealing The Future is the first in the East Berlin Trilogy of crime and spy novels set in a counterfactual GDR.

They’re also part of a thought experiment: how could the East Germany of 1989 go from communist dictatorship to the equitable, fair and  just society that many East Germans at the time dreamed of?

Most utopian novels are set in a new environment: perhaps a new planet¹, an ‘uninhabited’ or isolated island², or some future or parallel place³. But in the East Berlin Series we follow the progress of a society that is much like ours to one with more utopian properties. The series maps the changes, the successes and failures of a society navigating by the light of utopian ideals.

The GDR is changing fast, transforming itself from a Marxist-Leninist planned society into something equitable and fair – a Grassroots Democratic Republic.

But the pace of change shouldn’t be overestimated, there’s a limit to how much can be achieved in just a few short years, and opponents to the project can be found on both sides of the Berlin Wall.

Stealing The Future

Cover of Stealing The Future
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Behind the Berlin Wall a dissident turned investigator is on the trail of a killer.
But is there something bigger at stake?

When a politician’s crushed body is found the ex-dissident Martin Grobe turns detective.

His investigation leads him to the Stasi—has he uncovered a putsch against the new GDR, or just a conspiracy to murder?

The first book, Stealing The Future, is set in East Germany in 1993, four years after the start of the revolution in 1989.


Thoughts Are Free

Cover of Thoughts Are Free
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1994: Life isn’t easy in the GDR
Fascist skinheads roam the streets of East Berlin, the country is divided by a referendum.
With the start of the East German revolution in 1989 Martin Grobe switched from opposing the state to working for the state.
Four years later, the GDR is in turmoil: in a city ravaged by politics and economic meltdown it’s up to Martin to make the dreamers of 1989 face up to hard reality.
But when an ex-Stasi agent goes undercover on a mission against the fascists, events begin to spiral out of Martin’s control.

In the second book in the series, Thoughts Are Free, the narration of events is shared between Martin Grobe and the punk Karo. Between them they tell the story of resistance against the right-wing and populist threats to the Grassroots Democratic Republic.

Spectre At The Feast

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In the wake of a divisive referendum the people of the GDR are trying to find some common ground.

But an ex-dissident uncovers plans for a power grab by communist hard-liners—can the grassroots democracy of round tables and workers’ councils survive, or will the country be dragged back into the authoritarian rule of the past?

The final part of the East Berlin Trilogy sees Karo take an active role in defending the revolution from a populist politician.


↑¹ H.G. Well’s Modern Utopia, Ursula Le Guin’s Anarres, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars

↑² Thomas More’s Utopia, Aldous Huxley’s Island

↑³ William Morris’ News from Nowhere, Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time