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Literature / Limit

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Limit is a 2009 novel by German author Frank Schätzing (who also wrote Der Schwarm).

The year is 2025. Man has returned to the moon and started mining helium-3, an isotope needed for running fusion reactors. As you can imagine, shipping stuff to and from the moon is quite expensive, meaning that mankind is nevertheless still far away from not having to rely on fossil fuels anymore. Julian Orley, visionary and founder of Orley Industries, wants to change this by means of a Space Elevator. Also, he wants to establish moon tourism. To this end he gives a grand tour through his space and moon facilities for a hand-picked group of potential investors, super-rich people from all around the world. At first, everything goes as planned, with everyone having a splendid time. But soon, trouble starts to crop up...


Meanwhile in China, Private Detective Owen Jericho gets hired to find his client's daughter, Chen "Yoyo" Yuyun, a cyber-dissident. Owen soon discovers that Yoyo had to go into hiding because she accidentally stumbled over something she was not meant to see. Now the highly dangerous, psychopathic hitman Kenny Xin is close on her and Owen's heels...

Contains examples of:

  • Door Stopper: Over 1000 pages, this book certainly qualifies.
  • Inscrutable Oriental: Kenny Xin, though occasionally his stoic facade gets some cracks.
  • Karma Houdini: Kenny Xin, the Psycho for Hire and Professional Killer. The last time he appears in a scene, he isn't even there in person, just to be heard via phone. In his last line of dialogue, he says that all the recent events have quite exhausted him, and he considers taking a holiday...
  • Punch-Clock Villain: When Kenny Xin realizes that his client's cover has been blown and his cause is lost, what does he do? He simply declares their contract to be expired and announces that he will take a holiday.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Averted. Although Julian Orley's plans for revolutionizing the energy industry via the worthwhile mining of helium-3 are portrayed as a generally good thing, the issue of thousands of employees of the oil industry losing their jobs as a result is part of the story.
  • Shout-Out: Julian Orley is an avid Science Fiction fan, resulting in numerous in-universe shout outs to famous Sci-Fi works like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek within the facilities he built in space and on the moon.
    • The novel has another obvious Shout-Out in Finn O'Keefe being an actor who got famous by playing Perry Rhodan.
  • Space Elevator: The whole premise of the novel is building one of these so the mining will be more economically feasible.
  • Title Drop:
    You went beyond all limits, Gerald.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: It takes place in 2025. Schätzing explained in an interview that although 2050 would be more realistic for the technologies portrayed, he considered it more important to immerse the reader in a time in which he or she might still be alive.


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