Dath, Dietmar

Tagged: Author

(1970-    ) German editor and author, active from the mid-1990s (see Germany since 1990). Several of his earlier novels contain homages to sf, though sometimes remotely: Am Blinden Ufer ["On the Blind Side"] (2000) alludes within an apocalyptic frame to H P Lovecraft and Michael Moorcock; and Dirac (2006) is an historical/contemporary story attempt to recreate the life – but not quite the actual presence – of the physicist Paul Dirac (1902-1984). More directly embedded in sf topoi, the Space Opera Das versteckte Sternbild ["The Hidden Constellation"] (2007) as by David Dalek features romanticized interstellar criminals, showing influences as widely separated as the novels of Joanna Russ, the stories of Cordwainer Smith, and Joss Whedon's tv series Firefly (2002).

Dath's most ambitious novel to date is Die Abschaffung der Arten ["The Abolition of Species"] (2008; trans Samuel P Willcocks as The Abolition of Species 2013), for which he won his first Kurd Laßwitz Preis ["Kurd Laßwitz Award"] (see Awards). Behind the scenes of the long tale and manipulating its course (see Secret Master), a Temporal Adventuress and composer named Spãth moves back and forth over its millennium-long Future History, which she sees a memory palace the iteration of whose charged Icons are like notes in Music, which she plays. Over this period, Homo sapiens is transformed into a metamorphic, Posthuman Telepathic multi-species known as the Gente: the history of the future is the song of the Gente. Each matured entity is capable of constant metamorphosis: into animals evocative of the Beast Fable [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]; from one sex to another (see Transgender SF); and into AI-like animations of artefacts and Machines. As time passes, however, it becomes clear that the Gente are an interim stage in Evolution; and their encounter with an utterly tone-deaf Hive Mind species challenges them deeply. The focus of the tale moves via Spindizzy-driven Spaceships to Mars and Venus. There are some echoes of Olaf Stapledon as the tale expands; the overall mood of the tale homages works like Clifford D Simak's City (fixup 1952) or William Wharton's Simakian fable of transformation, Franky Furbo (1989). [JC]

Dietmar Dath

born Rheinfelden, Baden-Württemberg, West Germany: 3 April 1970

died

works

  • Am Blinden Ufer ["On the Blind Side"] (Berlin: Verbrecher-Verl, 2000) [binding unknown/]
  • Das versteckte Sternbild ["The Hidden Constellation"] (Berlin: Shayol, 2007) as by David Dalek [binding unknown/]
  • Dirac (Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2006) [hb/]
  • Die Abschaffung der Arten (Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2008) [hb/]
    • The Abolition of Species (London/New York: Seagull Books, 2013) [trans by Samuel P Willcocks of the above: title is sometimes listed as 2012, but is not recorded until 2013 and seems to have been delayed: the cited edition is copyright 2012 but explicitly dated 2013: hb/Sunandini Baherjee]
  • Pulsarnacht (Munich, Germany: Heyne Verlag, 2012) [hb/Nele Schütz]

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