Map for Book 2 of the East Berlin Series, Thoughts Are Free

GDR made map of Berlin - West Berlin is just a blank

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.

For a small publisher like Wolf Press the costs of a professional cartographer and licences for commercial maps would be prohibitive – there just isn’t very much money in publishing any more. So thank goodness for Open Street Maps! Continue reading “Map for Book 2 of the East Berlin Series, Thoughts Are Free”

How realistic is Deutschland 83?

As the author of various novels set in East Germany 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.

Continue reading “How realistic is Deutschland 83?”

Spelling – how to spell West Berlin, Westberlin, West-Berlin…

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.

In English it’s really not very hard: West Berlin, West Germany, East Berlin, East Germany. But in German the way you spell West Berlin tells the reader something about you, and your politics. Yep, you guessed right, it’s about the Cold War, of course. Continue reading “Spelling – how to spell West Berlin, Westberlin, West-Berlin…”

Verfassung der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik – Entwurf 1990

Header from the government gazette of the GDR
  • For a discussion of the background to the drafting of this constitution see the post Constitution of 1990.

Berlin, April 1990



I. Kapitel
Art. 1-40 Menschen- und Bürgerrechte
Art. 1-25 Würde, Gleichheit, Freiheit, Solidarität .
Art. 26-33 Arbeit, Wirtschaft, Umwelt
Art. 34 Rechte der Sorben
Art. 35-39 Gesellschaftliche Gruppen und Verbände
Art. 40 Geltung Continue reading “Verfassung der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik – Entwurf 1990”

Point of Divergence – when history splits

GDR Coat of Arms

Point of Divergence

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.

Inevitably a change such as this would have an impact on the rest of the world, and perhaps more importantly, demands other changes in order to be at all possible. I talk about this more in the post How plausible is Stealing the Future, (including a look at the economic and the geo-political situation). Continue reading “Point of Divergence – when history splits”

Could the GDR have survived? Part II – the Economics of Stealing the Future

External factors were the main cause of death for the GDR economy. In those days the economies of the Soviet dominated Eastern Bloc were far more globalised than we are even today, and the collapse of COMECON – the East European trading bloc in January 1990 meant that export markets disappeared overnight. New trade links could theoretically have been built were it not for the preparations to introduce the West German D-Mark in the GDR. This happened in June 1990 and meant that all the GDR’s traditional trade partners were simply unable to pay for goods or services from East Germany. Continue reading “Could the GDR have survived? Part II – the Economics of Stealing the Future”

Martin’s Music Part II – Not Fade Away by the Amiga Blues Band

LP Cover for Not Fade Away

The Blues Scene in the GDR started in the late 1950s, gaining official recognition in the 1960s and peaking by the 1970s. But it wasn’t until the 1980s that the cultural power of the Bluesers was turned to political ends – this was the point at which the scene became strongly associated with the independent grassroots peace movement. Continue reading “Martin’s Music Part II – Not Fade Away by the Amiga Blues Band”