Book Review: Semmant by Vadim Babenko

untitledTitle: Semmant written by Vadim Babenko
Genre: Science Fiction, Cyberpunk
Published by Ergo Sum Publishing
Page count: 285
Format: EPUB (read on Microsoft Surface, Nook app)
Rating: 4/5 – loved this book

A brilliant scientist creates a brilliant robot. Working together, they beat the stock market. But which one will survive the battle for love?

When Bogdan Bogdanov, a troubled cybernetics genius, creates Semmant, a robot living inside a computer, he feels on top of the world. Semmant takes on the capital markets and makes money with the ruthless efficiency of a machine. Bogdan grows richer by the day, but when he falls deeply for the irresistible Lidia, Semmant’s artificial mind faces a new challenge. The robot becomes involved in a genuine human drama and is forced to confront the cruelty of real life. He discovers the eternal joy of what it means to have free will, but it takes him to a destination no one could have predicted.

This is a tale of lust and affection, an erotically charged story of betrayal and murder. It explores the scope of human feelings from a truly unique point of view. Universal chaos and the strict laws of society; precise mathematical rules and the elusive nature of love: all interact and clash, working together and against one another. Tragedy looms, but free will fights back – bringing hope that lasts forever. (Goodreads)

I received a copy of Semmant  in an exchange for an honest review and was instantly intrigued after reading the description of the book. I’ve been aching to add more books to my reading list from the Sci-Fi and Cyberpunk genres so I literally jumped at the chance to read this.

I gave Semmant a 4 out of 5 which indicates that I loved the book. I think the book is really well written and in retrospect was a really good book. While I was actually reading the book I was confused for maybe the first fifty or so pages but kept reading because the story was definitely interesting. Semmant is actually a book unlike which I have ever read which is a generally good thing. I definitely think this book was a lot more intellectually stimulating than the books I typically read which is why it took me a little bit longer to read this book than it would normally take me to read a book of its size but even though it was a bit more intellectual it was still enjoyable and entertaining.

I think I expected to see more about Semmant and less about Bogdan and his exploits but looking back at the story and how it unfolded and came to fruition at the end, it was definitely necessary to have such an intimate look at Bogdan, his actions, his needs and how these translated to and impacted Semmant. It was definitely interesting  to see the impact of reality  on a being of artificial intelligence who does not really have the capacity to express himself as we are familiar with and capable of understanding. I really liked Bogdan’s view of Semmant and the possibility of his existence changing the way mortality is viewed. It’s interesting that this possibility is undone by love much as Bogdan is as well.

I found a lot about this story to be quite interesting. I really loved all the descriptions about the stock market and Semmant’s handling of the market…I also really liked the descriptions of the women that Bogdan knew and observed in the story. He was an interesting character to me and his relationship with Lidia was doubly interesting. A few times in the story he mentions his sort of inability to genuinely love but I really think he was in love with Lidia no matter how many times he tells himself it is just lust. I especially feel this way because of how things end up towards the end, I don’t think he would have tried what he did had he not loved her and been utterly crushed by her and what transpired between them. I enjoyed contrasting his relationship with Lidia to the “relationship” between Semmant and Adele – each ending in such stark contrast to the other.

Overall, while I didn’t love the book so much  that I want to go outside and shout it at the top of my lungs, I did end up loving it in a way. I actually feel completely wrecked by this book because in part I think it is quite tragic in how it ends both on Semmant’s end as well as on Bogdan’s end.  It was an enjoyable read and I think that sci-fi and cyberpunk fans will enjoy it! As for myself, I am really intrigued by the work of this author and am looking forward to reading and reviewing another one of this books so be looking forward to that!

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