Schätzing, Frank 1957–
Schätzing, Frank 1957–
Born May 28, 1957, in Cologne, Germany; married; wife's name Sabina.
Writer. INTEVI (advertising company), Cologne, Germany, owner and president.
KölnLiteratur Prize, 2002; Corine Prize, 2004; German Science Fiction Prize, 2005.
Tod und Teufel, Emons (Cologne, Germany), 1995, English translation published as Death and the Devil, Morrow (New York, NY), 2007.
Mordshunger, Emons (Cologne, Germany), 1996.
Keine Angst, Goldmann Wilhelm (Munich, Germany), 1997.
Lautlos, Emons (Cologne, Germany), 2002.
Der Schwarm, Kiepenheuer & Witsch (Cologne, Germany), 2004, English translation by Sally-Ann Spencer published as The Swarm, Regan Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Die dunkle Seite, Emons (Cologne, Germany), 2005.
Nachrichten aus einem unbekannten Universum, Kiepenheuer & Witsch (Cologne, Germany), 2006.
Die tollkühnen Abenteuer der Ducks auf hoher See (children's fiction), Marebuchberlag (Hamburg, Germany), 2006.
Mordshunger and Die Dunkle Seite were adapted for television in 2008.
Frank Schätzing is a German writer. Born in Cologne, Germany, on May 28, 1957, Schätzing went on to found and run his own advertising company in Cologne, called INTEVI, and in 1990 he started writing. Eventually he won several awards for his writing, including the KölnLiteratur Prize in 2002. Two years later he won the Corine Prize, and he won the German Science Fiction Prize in 2005.
In 1995 Schätzing published his first novel, Tod und Teufel, which was translated into English and published in 2007 as Death and the Devil. The author centers his story on his hometown's most famous landmark, the Dom, a large gothic cathedral. Schätzing takes the death of its architect, Gerhard Morart, in 1260 and fictionalizes that he was murdered as he fell from its roof, suggesting that church officials themselves had reasons to kill the cathedral's creator. The only witness to the murder, Jacob the Fox, a petty thief, is subsequently pursued to prevent him from telling the authorities about the murder.
Booklist contributor Jennifer Baker mentioned that Death and the Devil's "clumsiness" could be ignored by readers interested in the medieval setting, but readers "expecting suspense won't sit still for a history lesson in lieu of a gothic mystery." Similarly, a contributor to Kirkus Reviews observed that the story "jumps disjointedly from person to person, from scene to scene, and fails to establish much of a voice." In concluding the review, the same critic wrote that "lackluster characters populate a choppy narrative." A contributor to Publishers Weekly, however, opined that the "strong action sequences and a dramatic look" into the medieval period would "help solidify Schätzing's reputation as a versatile storyteller." And Laurel Bliss, reviewing the book in Library Journal, said that "political intrigue, philosophical musing, and a dash of romance mix together beautifully in" Death and the Devil. Bliss also pointed out that the historical sections of the novel were "quite entertaining."
With the success of his first novel, Schätzing went on to publish more novels, novellas, and satires. The following year he published Mordshunger, which was adapted for German television in 2008. In 1997 he published Keine Angst and in 2000 Lautlos, a thriller.
In 2004 Schätzing published Der Schwarm. The novel was translated into English in 2006 by Sally-Ann Spencer and published as The Swarm. The novel, which was on numerous best-seller lists, deals with alien intelligence controlling animals on Earth in order to eliminate the human population. Schätzing takes an ecological approach to telling the story, focusing on the changing environment, and makes a group of scientists the lead characters. They eventually discover the cause of the animals' strange behavior and the origin of the poisonous algae that have destroyed large segments of the human population.
Jonathan McCalmont, reviewing the novel in Strange Horizons, pointed out that the novel "is so full of science that you can't go more than a couple of pages without encountering some talk of oceanic currents or whale DNA," adding that the author "seems confused over which moral message his book is supposed to carry." McCalmont concluded that "at the heart of The Swarm there is an intensely readable eco-thriller full of action and destruction trying to get out. The problem is that this hypothetically punchy little book is weighted down with hundreds of pages of … scientific detail."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August 1, 2007, Jennifer Baker, review of Death and the Devil, p. 42.
Bookseller, May 19, 2006, "Hodder Releases Huge ‘Swarm,’" p. 12; June 2, 2006, Anna Richardson, "Thurman Snaps up Swarm," p. 46.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007, review of Death and the Devil.
Library Journal, August 1, 2007, Laurel Bliss, review of Death and the Devil, p. 74.
Nature, October 5, 2006, Britta Danger, review of The Swarm, p. 505.
Publishers Weekly, July 23, 2007, review of Death and the Devil, p. 44.
Science, December 8, 2006, Boris Worm, review of The Swarm, p. 1546.
Frank Schätzing Home Page,http://www.frankschaetzing.com (June 16, 2008).
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (June 16, 2008), author profile.
Strange Horizons,http://www.strangehorizons.com/ (September 26, 2006), Jonathan McCalmont, review of The Swarm.