Fiction, 136,000 words
In this near-future saga of a Royal Tenenbaums of a family, young MAX is set on a mission to fight natural death the moment he sees his father die in the street in Budapest, hit by an ecru-colored Trabant (hence the title of the book). Already eccentric, Max’s focus and intelligence make him an odd fit for most people but a dedicated friend to few, who stick with him in this far-reaching examination of the impact on the human condition by emergent technologies like bio-nanotech and advanced VR, the possibilities of science, human consciousness, mortality, and love.
In another part of the world, GENIE is born with supernatural powers of omniscience. On the run from an ancient cult for which her family was grooming her, she meets Max. Their lives take them around the world, to London, Paris, Japan, and California, as they fall in love, outrun the cult, have a child, become tech leaders and gurus, and ultimately, experimental guinea pigs themselves. This is an art world, tech, music, and conspiracy theory romp through reams of culture and the vibrant decades of the Seventies, Eighties, Nineties and into the future.
From Laurie Viera Rigler, author of the Jane Austen Addict Series:
I’m in awe of John Couch’s talent and brilliance—this book will have book groups debating till the end of days. Every time I thought I was reading a book about one thing, the book turned my world upside down and became a book about something else, then something else, then something else again, while being completely and rapturously unified. I may spend the rest of my life wondering whose bardo is it anyway, or is it everyone’s, and does any of that matter as long as we’re left contemplating the nature of reality and love and death and empathy and true connection and art and music and all forms of creation and virtual reality and AI and nanotechnology and immortality and our death-grip-attachment to everything we think/know/insist is real while inside there is that spark that knows there is something greater than our ego selves. I cannot wait to read more by this remarkable author.