In an unnamed wasteland we see the blinking lights of Lightraff, an artificial town that was speedily built around an oil refinery and promises work in a world destroyed by climate disasters. Koslov, a barkeeper in Darkraff, is hoping to find his luck there, just like famer Schreiber and super slick Haye, who even managed to get a job in the municipality. The three share more than their hopes for better life in Lightraff: They share a single bed in shifts – eight hours a night for each man. Once the oil runs dry and the city's tight structure starts to flail, the three bed-sharers meet for the first time. Henceforth, things simply can't go well…
Philine has a mom with a fickle love life and a bunch of changing dads. Instead of going to school she prefers going around the school and in water she turns into a fish. Then she also looses her foothold on land. After a breakdown, Philine moves to a quiet village, where she meets Planta – Planta-who-has-a-plan. Planta who serves her the best scrambled eggs ever at dawn and whose eyes are as blue as a shark pool. He shows her all there is to see, the highest and lowest places, and the bottle house at the lake, where everyone is welcome. Another life seems within reach, a happy, care-free life. But when winter comes and the bottle house commune breaks up, Philine decides not to break and holds on to everything that was, everything that wasn't, and everything that can't be held on to because it's somewhere between the lines and slips through your fingers like the quickest fish in the world: like everything you need to know.
A small consolation for 21st century parents: Mothers and fathers have had to face a load of challenges since forever. This tongue-in-cheek book charmingly traces what it was like to be a parent in past eras. Living up to the expectations of being a "good parent" has never been easy. Advice on conception and pregnancy was supposed to help create ideal circumstances before the child was even born. Infant care and child-rearing strategies have changed like seasons in the course of history. What is timeless, however, is parents' love for their offspring. Our ancestors already knew: Puberty is a critical phase and more than one ambitious father's plan was thwarted by teenage rebellion.
What's the moral of the story? Most parents pulled through and humankind did not go extinct. So moms and dads, stay calm and carry on!
Throughout the world, hi-tech reproduction medicine is paving the way for whole new forms of intervention into human life. Between supply and demand, a global market for dream-child medicine has grown up, its services ranging from in-vitro fertilisation to selecting the child’s sex, from illustrated catalogues of semen and egg-cell donors to the provision of surrogate mothers. Looking at this vast array, Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim asks some urgent, critical questions: are the wishes of parents choosing their ideal child compatible with that child’s needs? Should everything technically possible actually be done? And if not, what are the limits and who should define them?
Under right-wing populist Michael Hichl, Austria has become a despotically ruled police state. Dissidents, foreigners, and homosexuals are made illegal, the country is run down, and border regions are abused as cheap production sites where the rural population and regime critics slave away in sweatshops. We meet some drifters cluelessly wandering around Austria: Emma with her dilettante assassination plans, opportunistic former callboy Pascal, Alwine who's searching for the love of her, and Wolferl the no-good son of Hichl's chief PR guy who can't get over the murder of his ex-girlfriend Valli Putschek. But something is going on in Upper Austria's impoverished Mühlviertel: Austria's first terror militia, the "Christian Republic" is making its way towards the hills around Linz. Just then the four lost souls cross paths and things quickly get out of hand.
Creativity has never been as topical as it is today. It is no longer the privilege of few, but is rather considered a basic human skill. If you want to be up to date, you better choose something like poetry or expressive dance, painting or spinning the decks. The pressure to be creative overwhelms a lot of people and produces more stress than release. As a result, many seek new ways to be creative and inspiration is in high demand. Consumer products advertise with mentally stimulating qualities, while the wellness industry thrives on the promise of uncovering hidden creativity deep within. And art is no longer expected to produce great masterpieces, but is rather called upon to create creative atmospheres.
Creativity as a problem – Wolfgang Ullrich's unexpected ideas shed new light on the subject.
"Topografie der Erinnerung" is a collection of the brilliant essayist's most striking speeches and articles. They deal with topics as diverse as the massacre of Reichnitz in the last weeks of the war; so-called "Reibepartien" (scrub groups) where Jews were humiliated and forced to scrub the street; the myth of Galicia; Poland and Ukraine's postwar history; or Pollack's own family's entanglement with the Nazis. His investigations are always astute and critical, they are always aimed at keeping memory alive and against false claims of innocence. Time and again he asks the key question of memory politics: How can and must we deal with these memories today?
Every Saturday, three superheroines meet in a run-down café called Sette Fontane. There is Mascha, the brave supportive one, Direktorka, the inexperienced one ready for adventure, and Marija's granddaughter who has a flexible conscience and revenge in her veins. The three have dark, chaotic powers and want to bring justice to Vienna's suburbs as they plan a futile uprising of the middle class. "Lightening of Fate" and "Annihilation" are the weapons that grandma Marija already successfully used to destabilize an entire country. After failed appearances and painful years of learning in Berlin, Belgrade, Sarajevo and other cities, our three superheroines ultimately find triumph in the darkest of all happy ends.
Lechner's stories collide like waves. They pass on words, images, or moods, flow into one another and yet, remain self-contained. They are uncanny and high-spirited and tell us about desperate lakes and knees to fall in love with. They are about films we vaguely remember and brightly lit cities, silently bursting bubbles of blood and summers long brushed aside. They are all at home in a language where something new and unexpected awaits behind each turn. Lechner achieves this feat with humor, the absurd and sentences that give us a touch of the ungraspable.
Lilly spends seven summers with her Italian friends on Sardinia, savoring the uncomplicated, delightful air of an endless vacation – and time spent with Gianni, who is the opposite of a Latin lover, but impossible to forget. Seven winters bring Lilly back to Vienna and the unpleasant routine of her daily life: Her ex-husband has a new, young girlfriend, her best friend dies of cancer, and her father comes out of the closet and writes a tell-all book about it. And so Lilly escapes into a fantasy world, dreaming of life with Gianni, of having a child. But the last summer forces her to finally bring her wishes and reality face to face.