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I remember:

  • The boys classmates put a dream-inducing microchip into his cereals (I think) as a prank. He then dreams in the subway home, but oversleeps, and eventually somehow accidentally leaves his walled-off city, I think by way of tripping into a garbage disposal chute. He can't just go back in.

  • The book happens very far into the future.

  • Outside, there is almost nothing; The city is not supposed to be entered or left. The boy does meet an old man, though, which I think is the only other human character in the novel. The existence of other cities is mentioned, but there is no known contact between any of them.

  • The boy and the old man eat mostly canned goods, which the city dwellers throw away, even though it is perfectly fit for consumption. This is also how they meet: Since the boy left the city trough garbage disposal, he landed where the man gathered food.

  • Around the town, there are three(?) towers, some kind of power-generators or shield-generators or something. The boy and the old man work together to... destroy them, or connect them, or something.

  • I distinctly remember Faraday cages being an integral part of the story. That is, the boy hides inside a Faraday cage from some sort of guard robot, which had sensor that could not notice the boy through the cage. This happens in some sort of museum or warehouse. The boy discovered the hiding effect of the cages for himself, the old man did not previously know this, I believe.

  • At the end, the boy throws himself into a beam of light, or electricity, or a manifestation of an evil artificial intelligence, or something like that, to connect a cable into it. I think he also used a Faraday Cage at the end here, but I'm not sure.

  • I've first read this book about 10-15 years ago, in a smallish German library. I have no idea how old it was at the time.

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3

This seems to be the Dutch novel Gewist, by Marco Kunst, published in 2004. This indicates that it was translated in German as Gelöscht.

I found this English plot summary online:

Set in the future, the population has condensed into a city with a huge wall around it. A boy gets accidentally expelled with the trash and needs to find his way back in.

Along the way he discovers that food uses to be made or of real food, instead of nutritional pellets, hides from a robot in a faraday cage and meets an outsider girl. The robot threatens to 'reset' him.

In the end he decides that the main computer has gone rogue, and that he needs to patch it. He goes to the place that houses the AI and hides in a faraday cage to get close enough. He almost makes it, but needs to sacrifice himself to fulfil the plan. Book ends when he wakes up and is explained that he made it, and the computer restored his memory.

And the English translation of the Dutch plot summary here:

Sigma-fi-alpha-277, or Sig for short, is swept up at a metro station by a rail cleaner. After a wild ride, the machine throws him into a massive garbage dump far beyond the City's boundaries. This is how Sig discovers that there is a world outside the safe place where he grew up. A world that nobody knows anymore ...

By venturing out of the City, Sig has been erased from the memories of everyone who knew him, and the Central Computer will not rest until Sig's own memories are erased as well. To prevent that, he flees.

During his trip Sig discovers for the first time what rain and wind is. Which is pain, and sadness and loneliness. Yet when he gets to know the outside world better with its forests, lakes and mysteries, he is faced with the most difficult choice: does he really want to go back home?

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  • Amazing, thank you! That's the one! Dec 27 '20 at 9:59

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