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Authors: Juli Zeh

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The Method

BOOK: The Method
12.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


About the Book

About the Author

Also by Juli Zeh


Title Page


The Foreword

The Judgment

Midday, Mid-Century


The Ideal Inamorata

A Nice Gesture

Genetic Fingerprint

No High-flown Beliefs

Through Plexiglas

A Special Gift for Pain

Tin of Beans

An Ordinary Juicer

Not Made to Be Understood

Personal Matter

Pointed Horns: Part I


No More Mediation

Nice Guy


Centre of Operations

People’s Right to Illness

The End of the Fish

The Gavel

Which Side Are You On?




Without the Tears

Our Home

Vigilance Required


Pointed Horns: Part II

The Right to Remain Silent


That’s Our Mia

Maximal Triumph

The Second Category

The Nature of the Question

A Matter of Trust


Statue of Liberty

The Healthy Mind

Colourless, Odourless


No Love in the World

The Middle Ages

’ is Raining

Thin Air

See Above




About the Book


Mia Hall lives in a state governed by The Method, where good health is the highest duty of the citizen. Everyone must submit medical data and sleep records to the authorities on a monthly basis, and regular exercise is mandatory. Mia is young and beautiful, a successful scientist who is outwardly obedient but with an intellect that marks her as subversive. Convinced that her brother has been wrongfully convicted of a terrible crime, Mia comes up against the full force of a regime determined to control every aspect of its citizens’ lives.


The Method
, set in the middle of the twenty-first century, deals with pressing questions: to what extent can the state curtail the rights of the individual? And does the individual have a right to resist? Juli Zeh has written a thrilling and visionary book about our future, and our present.


About the Author


Juli Zeh was born in 1974 and lives in Brandenburg. She studied International Law, worked with the UN in New York, and completed her studies in Creative Writing. Juli Zeh has won numerous awards, including the international Per Olov Enquist Award and the French Prix Cévennes for Best European Novel. Her work has been translated into thirty languages.


Sally-Ann Spencer studied Modern and Medieval Languages at the University of Cambridge. She is the translator of several contemporary German novels, including Frank Schätzing’s
The Swarm
, for which she was awarded the Schlegel-Tieck prize. At present she is working on a PhD on literary translation at the University of Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand.

Also by Juli Zeh


Eagles and Angels

Dark Matter

For Ben

The Foreword

state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of infirmity or disease.

Health is the unrestricted flow of life in the physical body, through every organ and cell. Health is body and mind in harmony, biological energy achieving its fullest potential without obstacle or interruption. A healthy organism will interact positively with its environment. A healthy human will feel invigorated and capable. He or she will feel invulnerable to infirmity, be mentally vigorous and emotionally balanced.

Health is not static; it is the dynamic relationship between body and brain. Health must be maintained and enhanced on a daily basis over a period of years and decades, long into old age. Health is not a statistical average, but a potentiated norm; the highest possible individual accomplishment. It is willpower in visible form, a lasting monument to the strength of our will. Health is the optimisation of the individual for the optimal social good. Health is what we naturally desire for ourselves and is therefore the natural objective of
, politics and law. If we cease to strive for health, we are not at risk of illness, we are already ill.


Foreword to Heinrich Kramer,
Health as the Principle of State Legitimacy
, Berlin/Munich/Stuttgart, 25th edition

The Judgment

In the name of THE METHOD


Judgment in the case of Mia Holl, German national and biologist


1. The Charge

The Defendant was charged with anti-Method activities.


2. Composition of the Court

Judgment was given in a public sitting of the second penal chamber of the criminal court, composed as follows:


– Dr Ernest Hutschneider, chairperson and presiding judge

– Dr Hager and Frau Stock, associate judges

– Lay judges:

Irmgard Gehling, housewife

Max Maring, businessman

– Dr Barker, public prosecutor

– Dr Lutz Rosentreter, defence counsel

– Herr Danner, clerk of the court


3. Decision of the Court

i. The Defendant has been found guilty of anti-Method activities on the following counts: orchestrating a terrorist campaign, conspiring to cause civil unrest, unauthorised use of toxic substances and non-participation in compulsory testing to the detriment of the general good.

ii. The Defendant is sentenced to freezing for an unlimited term.

iii. The Defendant is ordered to pay court fees and all associated costs.


4. Background to the Case

The court’s decision was based on the following facts:

Midday, Mid-Century

a tree-lined ring around towns that have grown into each other. Transmitters reach up to the clouds, where fleecy undersides are no longer grey with the foul breath of a civilisation that marked its presence on the planet by expelling filth on an epic scale. A few wide-eyed lakes with long, reedy lashes gaze up at the sky – gravel pits and quarries, now abandoned and flooded. Not far from the lakes, disused factories are home to community centres. A stretch of abandoned motorway and some abandoned churches with belfries are the main attractions of a scenic but seldom visited open-air museum.

These days nothing stinks here. Nothing is mined, drilled, burnt or covered in soot; the people here have found peace, have stopped fighting nature and stopped fighting themselves. White houses, small and box-like, are scattered across the hillsides; here and there they join together in rows, lining the slopes like tiers of an apartment block. A vista of flat roofs fills the horizon, mirroring the blue of the sky – a frozen ocean stretching endlessly into the distance, solar panels by the million, an almost unbroken expanse.

Magnetic train tracks cut long metallic pathways through the woods, heading straight for the middle of the glassy ocean of roofs. This is where our story begins, in the middle of the city, in the middle of the day, in the middle of the twenty-first century.

Beneath one of these roofs, longer and wider than most, Justitia is going about her usual business. Room 20/12, the room for conciliation hearings F–H, is maintained at a steady 19.5 degrees – the temperature at which humans think best. Sophie never comes to work without her cardigan, which in criminal hearings she wears beneath her robes. By her right hand are the files from the morning’s session; by her left, a smaller stack of cases is waiting to be heard. With her blonde hair and high ponytail, Sophie looks like the eager student she once was. She chews on a pencil and studies the image on the wall. Noticing that the counsel representing the public interest is looking at her, she removes the pencil from her mouth. Eight years ago, when she and Barker were at law school together, he used to drone on incessantly about the dangers of placing germ-riddled objects near the mouth. Not that anyone was likely to find a germ in a civic building.

A short distance away, Barker faces her, his files distributed across the desk, leaving a small corner for the private counsel to stack his notes. To signal their unity of purpose, the defenders of the public and private interest share a desk – in practical terms, an uncomfortable arrangement, but a worthy legal tradition all the same. Barker raises his right index finger and a new image is projected onto the wall. The picture shows a man in his twenties.

‘A trivial offence,’ says Sophie. ‘Any previous charges or convictions?’

Rosentreter, the private counsel, is a nice young chap. When nervous, he has a habit of pulling out his hair and dropping it quietly to the floor. ‘Nothing,’ he assures her.

‘An isolated case of excessive blood caffeine levels,’ says Sophie. ‘A written warning and no further action. Are we agreed?’

‘Absolutely.’ Rosentreter turns and looks expectantly at the public counsel, who nods. Sophie transfers a file from the left to the right.

BOOK: The Method
12.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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