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I'm trying to find a series of novels from the '90s that I read as a teenager back then. Here's what I remember (sorry, it's more than a bit vague, but it was a long time ago and my memory fails me):

  • French author (pretty sure but not 100%, I read them in French and I don't think they were translated from English)
  • I read them in the mid-late '90s and I think they were new at the time so written somewhere in the early to mid-'90s
  • Several books, I read probably the first 2 or 3, there were more (already published or coming soon) but my local library didn't have them. Each book wasn't very long.

Plot: the world was a not so far in the future Earth (maybe mid or late 21st century), with heavy anti-globalization themes, criticism of ultra-liberalism and capitalism. The rich lived in a series of ultra-modern cities, interconnected by hi-speed rails and heavily protected, with surveillance etc. The rest of the population (the majority), the poor, lived in desolate slums, called something like "The Rift", in very hard conditions.

The plot I think took place between Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The environment was devastated by global warming and/or other disasters and contamination. Resources were scare. The outside world was very violent and dangerous.

The hero/protagonist was a young man, somehow a rebel, getting involved in a plot to change the system. Engaging in acts of terrorism or whatever fight against the system. There was probably a romantic interest as well.

I enjoyed it at the time, and would be curious to take a look again now.

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  • Do you remember the exact french phrase used for "the rift"? Google Translate is suggesting "la faille", but I know they're not alway right.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 22:24
  • @FuzzyBoots It was somehow the same in French, so "Le Rift". Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 18:39
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    @FuzzyBoots It was actually "the Veld", see my answer. Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 19:07
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    I'm glad you that you found it! Don't forget that you can still self-accept your answer by clicking on the check mark, although you do have to wait until 48 hours after asking for it will accept that acceptance.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 20:01

1 Answer 1

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Asking here motivated me to do some more googling (I had already tried many times) and this time I got lucky and I found it.

It's the trilogy F.A.U.S.T by Serge Lehman.

I couldn't find any information in English about it since it was only published in French (afaics). But her'es a link to a blog post in French that was written after the series was re-edited in 2019: https://leschroniquesduchroniqueur.wordpress.com/2019/11/11/f-a-u-s-t-integrale-de-serge-lehman/

It consists of 3 novels and 2 novellas. It was originally published in 1996-1997. Here's an excerpt of the blog post, translated by Deepl and edited by myself:

In F.A.U.S.T., Serge Lehman depicts a society at the end of the 21st century, in which private companies have taken precedence over the states. Thus, the various "Powers", i.e. large corporations such as Microsoft, DATEX, Saxxon, or the Lion of Orion, which form the "Forum", have gained enormous power and have supplanted the nations, which were too indebted to be able to ensure their public service missions any more.

However, the advent of the Powers has greatly increased social inequality, to the point that one third of the world's population lives in the "Village", large urban areas with developed technologies, where the rich and the executives of the Powers live, with comfort and luxury, while the remaining two thirds are in the "Veld", underprivileged and unhealthy spaces, where the police no longer exist, there is no medical coverage, and wars, famine, disease and pollution are omnipresent.

Edit: I can't resit to add this other excerpt, as it looks straight from Black Mirror (or actually, might have inspired it as it was pusbished 20 years earlier):

In Distant Thunder, the third volume, we discover the existence of the "compiled", which are human minds digitized from their brains and emulated in environments that give them the impression of "really" existing, so that they are not aware of being programs and are therefore alienated, because they can't do anything and are systematically modified or reset so that they don't realize anything, or worse, they are aware that they are programs without bodies, and that copies of them, physical or virtual, exist all over the world, which makes their condition tragic. The compiled are in fact employed by the Powers to serve as laborers in telecommunications or transportation companies, thinking that they are "real workers" who are just starting out in their functions, whereas they are reset every day, which makes their alienation total.

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