The Teleportation Accident (Ned Beauman)

26 March 2014

The Teleportation Accident

When you haven't had sex in a long time, it feels like the worst thing that is happening to anyone anywhere. If you're living in Germany in the 1930s, it probably isn't. But that's no consolation to Egon Loeser, whose carnal misfortunes will push him from the experimental theatres of Berlin to the absinthe bars of Paris to the physics laboratories of Los Angeles, trying all the while to solve two mysteries: whether it was really a deal with Satan that claimed the life of his hero, the great Renaissance stage designer Adriano Lavicini; and why a handsome, clever, charming, modest guy like him can't, just once in a while, get himself laid. From the author of the acclaimed Boxer, Beetle comes a historical novel that doesn't know what year it is; a noir novel that turns all the lights on; a romance novel that arrives drunk to dinner; a science fiction novel that can't remember what 'isotope' means; a stunningly inventive, exceptionally funny, dangerously unsteady and (largely) coherent novel about sex, violence, space, time, and how the best way to deal with history is to ignore it.


Average Rating:

Graham MacDonald (29 March 2014 15:05)

Happy to overlook the fact that this probably doesn't quite qualify as Science Fiction or Fantasy because it's such tremendous fun!

Sinclair Manson (28 March 2014 20:48)

So I'm afraid I overestimated the scientific fictional content of this book. It squeaks in on a technicality but I did read it with an increasing sense of guilt at having made everyone read an historical novel. That said, I'm still not sure that it even qualifies as an historical novel. It nimbly evades that classification with the same agility with which it avoids being science fiction or fantasy. It also has some close scrapes with being a spy thriller, a murder mystery and any number of other things. The protagonist's zealous indifference to anything other than his own frustrated libido ensures that he manages to more or less avoid the several actual plots of the book. Although all are wrapped up in the end, it's Loeser's incidental journey that entertains, as suggested by his own reaction to the eventual requital of his lust. Extremely entertaining for a book that works very hard to be about nothing.