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Dorian Gray:

The Cyberpunk

Version

133 pages.

ISBN 9798508445263

$9 On Amazon

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The story of the "Dandy Ponzi"

Photo courtesy P. Smetana

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Pictures by Menwa

Oscar Wilde's novel transferred to 2121 dystopian Dubai.

Basil Hallward, a computer game designer, has incorporated Dorian Gray into a game playing his own life. Neural implants permit an interconnectivity that confuses dream and reality. Sibyl Vane, though dead in reality, continues to live in the game. In Dubai in 2121, all peoples' brains are interconnected. Dorian assumes his new life as a stockbroker and creates a virtual financial empire because his clients’ trust in his innocent face is unlimited. The money is not real, but what is real anyway? Everything is a matter of perception. Can the game go on forever?

"He would leave everything behind, his job, his computer, and his apartment, which was a unique island of taste in an ocean of kitsch. He no longer cared about anything. Was there an afterlife? Who could know? If there was one, he wanted to reenter the game and be with Sibyl in Eternity. Now he only desired to fall. Decadent comes from de-cadere, which means “to fall.” “Cadunt in pulchritudo…” “cadere in bellezza…” Falling beautifully… tragically-beautifully… This would be the last aesthetic act of Dorian Gray. “Everything is a matter of perception,” Dorian said aloud, and in one big leap he jumped through the open window into the Dubai night.

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It took him exactly ninety-six seconds to hit the ground of the Khalifa Plaza. While he was flying, his arms and legs stretched out like those of an apo of some teenage flight simulator, the two thousand mosques of Dubai sent the waves of their call to  prayer, the adhan al-isha, into the pink evening air. Some photic moment, some epipelagic zone cropped up from the advanced darkness. Ideas of speed and slowness emerged next to him and accompanied his fall like first beliefs, first noises, and first shapes. His cataleptic body pierced the air like an impurity coming forth in a sick man’s sleep, bound to develop into a dream. There was speech, but he could not use it because the words had lost their axis in real life. The more he was falling, the more he became a mirror of times.

The adhan al-isha lasted exactly ninety seconds during which it changed its color three times: from vermeil to amaranth and then to transparent egg yolk, and finally, to bluish milk in the form of pearls. Dorian knew that these changes were futile, that they were the hopeless attempts of a painter of nothingness whom he could still remember from another life. It was a temperature, a flocculation, no more. Whatever was falling through the fog would not be affirmed by the new day. This one sentence he knew very well.

 

When Dorian hit the ground, the borough was shaken by a rare kind of peace. The people from the demonstration dropped their posters and stared at him, their necks stretched forward and their mouths wide open. Even the blackguards did not endeavor to approach him. Some noticed the rosary that Dorian was still holding in his hand, but nobody dared to speak. They were cowards and did not want to get in trouble. His body was a text, but the terrestrians could not decipher it.

Dorian Gray’s body would never be identified, and his disappearance entered history as one of the great mysteries of modern Dubai. He had been forgotten in the game, but in real life his name would be eternalized in peoples’ memories. Basil was never found, which did not raise much concern during the first two years, though an intensive search for him did eventually take place. Even the famous detective agency Wong and Wong participated in the investigations. All searches remained fruitless: the vital leads that would have helped crack the case had been irreversibly destroyed. Finally, Basil’s case was also added to the list of Dubai mysteries, when, one day, a young Bedouin discovered a floating game in which a handsome young man called Cyril was constantly fanning himself with a fan that had Basil’s name written on it. The End.

Want to read? Amazon

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© US Copyright Office Registered Nr. 1-100025201324

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Kuwait 2059
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Cover photo botzbornstein©

Kuwait 2059

A Cyberpunk Novella

2019. 100 pages.  ISBN: 9781704928814. Paperback $8 on Amazon

We are in the year 2059. Boubyan Island, which is situated three kilometers off the north shore of Kuwait, is inhabited by five million Chinese. After the slow decline of oil prices, the Kuwaiti and Chinese governments signed contracts assigning the urban development as well as the cyber development of this small oil nation to Chinese companies. China invested massively in real estate but also sold large software packages to all sectors of the Kuwaiti economy. According to unofficial reports, the software contained spy elements that enabled the Chinese to claim significant amounts of Kuwaiti resources. Will we have conflicts between Confucianism and Islam? Will there be a revolution? Provocative, funny. A dystopian satire.

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Boubayan Island in 2059

Amazon Review: "This is a unique perspective that rarely anyone in Kuwait can give you. As a Kuwaiti and a science fiction fan i was fascinated with this short work. The writer mixes philosophical themes and satire while keeping the reader engaged with the action. I doubt i can find such work published here in Kuwait, the censorship committee unfortunately would give the publisher a hard time before publishing . There are issues in Kuwait, political, issues. The writer explores some of those. Geopolitics and cultural dogma are timeless here. I would have loved to see this dystopian reality from the POV of a Kuwaiti. I cant imagine a dystopia where our social problems like classism / tribalism / psychological problems are worse that what they currently are now. The sociopsychological issues of Kuwait , can also to lead to a real dystopia. Recommended for anyone who like dystopia."

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Chen had probably never heard of a Citroen. It was one of those brands that had definitely disappeared in 2028. Yes, 2028, the same year in which Dubai had collapsed.

Monstrous

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The Monstrous Darkness of Tomorrow

 

A Hungarian art historian comes to Kuwait to classify buildings built by the eccentric Hungarian architect Goldfinger in the 1950s. He soon discovers mysteries surrounding one of the buildings. Goldfinger had collaborated with the genius scientist Marcel (Makár) Neumann. Research into the matter becomes a journey into the culture of the Middle East and into borderline experiences with science and religion.

2017. Novella, 71 pages. Available on Amazon.

Paperback  $8. ISBN: 9781693471100

Kindle $5. Only from your regional Kindle store like Amazon.fr, Amazon.co.uk, etc. 

Read Goodreads Review

"I am glad that I came to this country for a purpose. Unlike many other Westerners who are living here, I am not drifting around just killing time, but I know perfectly well what I am doing. The purpose of my coming to this most dusty corner of the Middle East was not to wallow in impeccable metaphysical insouciance or in the harmonious inertness of locals. Nor was it to delve into the deepest layers of ignorance, as adventurous as this might seem from time to time. No, my purpose for coming here was lofty and truly “mankind-saving.” The waves of enlightenment will hover over the sand and the indistinct buildings of this country. Through my knowledge of technology and my humanist spirit, the region, and finally the entire world, will be led to unredeemable improvement.

(...)

"The Ayan Palace used to be a hotel for the official guests of the Emir of Kuwait and it is situated in the area of Al-Qurain. In 1968, the palace was used for negotiations between the Kuwaiti state and the British oil industry. On October 13, the CEO of British Petroleum, Robert Brenner, resided in the palace and was about to sign an important contract concerning the financial aspects of the partnership, particularly with respect to the expensing of royalties and the charging of royalty payments as a cost against the company's income. For unknown reasons, instead of entering the ceremonial hall on the first floor at eleven o’clock to meet with the Emir as it had been agreed upon, Dr. Brenner made a few phone calls from his hotel room, took a taxi to the airport and took the next flight back to London. The reasons for Dr. Brenner’s strange actions could never be elucidated. The contract would only be signed five years later by his successor...

"It is actually not entirely my spirit that will hover there but that of the eccentric Hungarian architect Györgyi (George) Goldfinger (1897-1988) who lived in Kuwait from 1956 to 1961 and who had ambitious projects for the entire Middle East. Long before Goldfinger became famous for his modernist structures in London, New York, and Hong Kong, this slightly crazy utopianist experimented with what he called “psychodynamic architecture." Certain devices could have an effect on peoples' religious consciousness ...

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Courtesy Antje Seeger (artist)

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Amazon Review: "This book does what it says in its title. It places the Mysterious House (mysterious in more ways than one) firmly at the heart of the story; and by the time we get to the mention of the ' Monstrous Darkness of Tomorrow', we are familiar enough with the fabric and nuances of this world that we well understand the very aptness of this phrase for describing the state of affairs. The strange world of 'Kuwait' is shown to us through the eyes of the bewildered main protagonist, making for a very tentative and shifting reality. Questions always arise: Where is this person from and what is their intent? Will he/she/I be summarily deported tomorrow, next week; for this or that action, or for the way we walk, or for the kind of baggage we use? It reminds me of some Strugatsky Brothers novels, particularly, 'Definitely, Maybe', 'Monday Starts on Saturday', and 'The Dead Mountaineers Inn'. These novels have strange characters who are here one minute and gone the next, or who might be doing 'eccentric' things. We don't have a clue what makes them tick though we strain to know. And like in 'The Monstrous Darkness of Tomorrow', their worlds are changeable and unreliable and 'something' strange may or may not be going to happen. This is a very funny novella and it maintains it's dramatic tension right to the last full stop."

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