Book Review: Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling (ARC)


Author: Marc-Uwe Kling

Publication Date: 07 January 2020 (US)

Genre: Adult Fiction – Science Fiction/Humor

Pages: 352

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY meets 1984. In the near-future, all decision-making is automated, until one man makes a brazen choice of his own, with global consequences.

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 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. 

Y’all, I finished this book days ago, and I am still trying to wrap my head around what I just read. This book is straight bananas…I’m NOT making that up. It’s equal parts laugh out loud and holy sh*t did that just happen?!

In my opinion, this book is Wall-E meets The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Black Mirror…don’t believe me? Read this book.

Qualityland is a place in the near future where the lives of the people are dictated by ratings. One’s place in society is a ranking system. If you’re less than a 10, you’re a Useless and everyone and their mother avoids you like the plague. If you’re any number above that, you’re at least trying to improve your rating at all times. And if you’re one of those people who are in the 90s, well you’re a billionaire who can get away with murder (no joke).

The main character Peter starts off just above a 10…not high, but respectable. Unfortunately, he finds himself in the single digits labeling his as a Useless. Peter honestly isn’t that bothered until a drone from the beloved TheShop delivers an item that he KNOWS that he doesn’t want or need. Now he’s on a mission to return this ridiculous item and prove that the algorithm system that Qualityland is built upon is a fraud.

I swear there were so many times I nearly choked on or spit out my drink because this book is hysterical. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that if you are easily offended or don’t really have a sense of humor, steer clear (I warned you)….I also extend this warning to political views for our current political climate. Again, I found it hilarious, but not all will.

Even though this book is down right funny, it’s also incredibly terrifying from a societal point of view. We already see how much influence companies have on consumerism and our strive to be liked and rated in society, so the world of Qualityland isn’t far fetched. And the things that people are willing to do to each other to selfishly get higher ranked? Also, totally believable.

Honestly, go into this one with an open mind. Sit back and enjoy this wild and thrilling ride, and I promise you won’t forget it!

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing a copy for review. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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