Jack Faust by Michael Swanwick: A novel we've had lying around for aaages. The undertitle (ehrm, or whatever it's called...) always put me off: "The devil has all the best tricks..." I mean, really. But when desperate... it seems much better than the title when you read the cover blurb after all.
Faust lives in Nuremberg at the turn of the 15th century or thereabouts. He is disillusioned with the so-called science of the time, because he has come to the conclusion that it is all based on lies. While burning his books in anger he opens his mind and begs for any higher power to help him find the truth, and he is contacted by Mephistopheles. This is an artificial creature from an alien world, a different dimension maybe?, whose creators hate humans because their life span is longer then theirs (or something to this effect). Anyway, Mephistopheles will give Faust all the knowledge he desires if he will promise to always listen to him, because he knows that this will end with the destruction of mankind. He shows Faust this, but Faust chooses to enter into agreement with him nonetheless. Now Faust is given knowledge galore, and the world rapidly makes jumps into the 20th century and is industrialized, while keeping mediaeval laws.
Sounds pretty good, right? Sci-fi-promising? Well, it wasn't really. It's not badly written, I just couldn't give much of a toss about any of the characters, and it was too much about (base) sex, all cocks and cunts and blah blah blah. I totally skimmed the last bits. I think it kind of ends with Faust becoming a sort of Hitler with nuclear weapons (implied), and thus mankind will be ruined. Hm.