Review: Semmant by Vadim Babenko

Semmant by Vadim Babenko
Release Date: March 25, 2013
Publisher: Ergo Sum Publishing
Pages: 304
Source:  book provided by the publisher for review



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.


Review:  Semmant is a very strange sort of love story. It starts with Bogdan in a mental institution where he lusts after the nurses and makes references to Semmant. Bogdan then expounds on his life, how he got to where was at that moment. He was an exceptional child who turned into an exceptional man, but even exceptional men need love and friendship. This is what drives Bogdan – friendship, love, acceptance.

Bogdan begins life an ordinary child but is soon discovered to be an Indigo – a child with unusual traits. He goes to a special school which shapes the rest of his life and he ends up a true genius in cybernetics, always challenging teachers and himself. Eventually he develops Semmant, a computer of artificial intelligence.

I was able to identify (to some degree) with Bogdan’s yearn for socialization, for friendship, for love. While he builds Semmant as a sort of test of his own intelligence, Semmant soon becomes his friend and confident. To communicate, Bogdan writes letters and Semmant answers in pictures of classic paintings. When Semmant appears to fall in love, the computer screen explodes in a cacophony of artwork.

I love Babenko’s writing and look forward to reading more from him.

Favorite Quotes: As with A Simple Soul, I found a plethora of quotes I can’t seem to get out of my head – far too many to list here. Just a few of my favorites are:

“I smoked grass with guitar players from the local scene and orderlies from the city morgue. Not that I found them very interesting – I was just looking for release from the garish despair of the conventional, the common.”

“I saw again that chaos was everywhere, and I understood: chaos is death.”

“A dream – that is what is worth aiming for, aspiring to with every ounce of strength.”

“Everyone seeks his own harmony, the one closest to him. The one able to stir him, to move him.”

“There is no creature more venomous than a woman looking to pay you back in full.”