The Employees by Olga Ravn, Translated by Martin Aitken


Shortlisted for the International Booker prize, The Employees reshuffles a sci-fi voyage into a riotously original existential nightmare.

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Our Bookseller says:

Olga Ravn’s The Employees was inspired by an art installation, Lea Gulditte Hestelund’s “Consumed Future Spewed Up as Present.” Suitably, this blackly comical sci-fi is filled to the brim with sensuous prose describing mysterious “objects” found while mining resources on a freshly discovered planet. Considering that The Employees is structured as a series of HR paperwork, that’s no mean feet! The interviews with crew members never fail to fascinate, with Ravn introducing new wonders on every page: come for the android revolution, stay for the emotional deep-dive into how capitalism’s cult of productivity impacts what it means to be human. – Terry

Funny and doom-drenched, The Employees chronicles the fate of the Six-Thousand Ship. The human and humanoid crew members complain about their daily tasks in a series of staff reports and memos. When the ship takes on a number of strange objects from the planet New Discovery, the crew becomes strangely and deeply attached to them, even as tensions boil toward mutiny, especially among the humanoids.

Olga Ravn’s prose is chilling, crackling, exhilarating, and foreboding. The Employees probes into what makes us human, while delivering a hilariously stinging critique of life governed by the logic of productivity.

The Employees by Olga Ravn, Translated by Martin Aitken