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Publisher's Summary

In the near future sci-fi world of Qualityland, algorithms help create an idyllic life for its citizens, but what if the perfect world wasn't built for you?

Welcome to QualityLand, the best country on Earth. Here, a universal ranking system determines the social advantages and career opportunities of every member of society. An automated matchmaking service knows the best partners for everyone and helps with the break up when your ideal match (frequently) changes. And the foolproof algorithms of the biggest, most successful company in the world, TheShop, know what you want before you do and conveniently deliver to your doorstep before you even order it.

In QualityCity, Peter Jobless is a machine scrapper who can't quite bring himself to destroy the imperfect machines sent his way, and has become the unwitting leader of a band of robotic misfits hidden in his home and workplace. One day, Peter receives a product from TheShop that he absolutely, positively knows he does not want, and which he decides, at great personal cost, to return. The only problem: doing so means proving the perfect algorithm of TheShop wrong, calling into question the very foundations of QualityLand itself.

Qualityland, Marc-Uwe Kling's first book to be translated into English, is a brilliantly clever, illuminating satire in the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and George Orwell that offers a visionary, frightening, and all-too funny glimpse at a near future we may be hurtling toward faster than it's at all comfortable to admit. So why delay any longer? TheShop already knows you're going to love this book. You may as well head to the cash register, crack the covers, and see why that is for yourself.

©2020 Marc-Uwe Kling (P)2020 Grand Central Publishing

Critic Reviews

"Kling's sharp observations target the economy, the law, xenophobia, relationships, security, and government, sparing few and exposing with delightful brutality how close QualityLand is to reality." (Booklist)

"A hilarious romp through an absurd hypercapitalist dystopia...This is spot-on satire." (Publishers Weekly)

"How much you enjoy this is in direct proportion to how much trouble you think we're all in. Sleep tight." (Kirkus)

What listeners say about Qualityland

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Patricia Rodriguez does an amazing job narrating

Patricia Rodriguez won a well deserved "Earphones Award" from audiophile magazine for her narration of this book. This book is particular challenging considering the number of different characters she had to bring to life. She brings a distinct voice to each character, bringing them all to vibrant life. The story itself is a humorous look at the real issues and repercussions facing our society regarding how the internet is feeding us only what it "thinks" we want to see and read based on search engines algorithms. The book points out the reality of how we are not customers of the internet, but rather, we are the products of the internet, with our information being sold to big corporations, the actually customers.

3 people found this helpful

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This book helped me come to terms with filing my ******* taxes.

It’s usually pretty difficult for me to find books that really catch my eye, but this one did. The cover and the premise were very interesting. The book started off a little slow, but that’s not a problem. Once I gave the author a chance to set the scene, the story became much more entertaining. The characters developed well. The circumstances enraged me but also made me laugh more and more as the story went on. The conflict built really well and left me wondering how it could possibly end. And then it did. Really well. As Neil Gaiman says, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” I recently had to send the government a check for three whole dollars via snail mail because I didn’t have the proper ID to do it online anymore. This book helped me come to terms with that. So thank you Mr. Kling lol. Also, the narrator did a great job of making the propaganda sound sickeningly nice.

3 people found this helpful

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Very average story not suited for audio

Reader was fine, but reading out commercials etc is irratating. This story meanders for so long before anything interesting happens, when it finally does it goes nowhere. The ending is beyond simple and shallow. I got the satire and it didn't help. Not a fan at all, but I don't blame the reader for the material.

2 people found this helpful

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My rate is to keep the algorithms happy.

I hope by like this book, I can make my profile the type that gets the attention of nerdy hot people.

2 people found this helpful

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Tries really hard

I purchased Qualityland because I was looking for a hidden gem that would make me laugh like Hitchhiker's Guide, and it was listed on a couple is websites with good reviews.

The first half presrnted a clever situation and a few chuckles, but was already not living up to the hype. But the second half ceased being funny at all. Oh, it was trying, and clearly thought it was hilarious while offering a heavy-handed socio-political commentary that the author clearly thought was insightful and biting.

It failed to be any of the things it was trying so hard to be. Ultimately, the conclusion was unsatisfying, many threads were left dangling, and what it did resolve were done so quite clumsily. And it wasn't funny.

The fact that I largely enjoyed the first half warrants a couple of stars, but in my opinion, there was too much soapbox ranting and heavy-handed lecturing, and not enough storytelling in the second half.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story very small issue with reader

The story was hilarious. The reader was great minus the voice for two characters, Pink and the combat droid. Pink's voice was just grating and I am not fully sure what the combat droid said so I just assumed "kaboom". Other than that everything was awesome and well done.

1 person found this helpful

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One of the best I've read in a while

Kling weaves a compelling narrative around many of the most important social issues of our times.

1 person found this helpful

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Not my cup of tea

I didn't love it, but I also didn't hate it, overall I felt it was okay. It felt like a mish mash of all the best sci-fi/dystopian/speculative fiction, with hints of black mirror, 1984, brave new world, Philip K Dick, etc etc, and I like all of those ideas so it was at least mildly entertaining. But honestly most of those ideas were already done really well in their original format and this felt like a worse version of them.

I wish the author had narrowed the scope and explored maybe just a handful of these ideas in depth - for instance, I thought the idea about the self-fulfilling algorithm was really neat and it was one of the few ideas in the book that was new to me, so I think I might've enjoyed the book more if he'd focused mainly on that in depth. Overall I enjoyed it but I thought the author was overambitious.

Also, the narrator really grated on my nerves and I found her to be way over the top. I guess that does fit the over the top humor of the book, but it often just felt like too much to me and I didn't look forward to listening. The narrator came across, to me, like an actor that hadn't fully committed and felt anxious and tried to overcompensate for this by being over-dramatic.

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Woke Trump Era Nonsense

“Alternative facts”
“Right wing advertising money”
Published in 2017
You know exactly what this whole story is going to be about. The author, like so many other woke leftist activists, is obsessed with the idea that woke tech companies are actually just far right demagogues in disguise and that bad things and bad people are just inherently conservative.

Skip this drivel.

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Great first translation!

Really enjoyable stuff with sly mentions of plenty of sci fi ideas. Forgot(?) to mention Philip K Dick but for sure channeling him! Can't wait for more translations from this author!