Review – Semmant by Vadim Babenko

Synopsis: 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

When I first started reading Semmant, I was unsure where it was going. Bogdan came across as a pervert fantasizing about having sex with the nurses. Bogdan is extremely smart on genius level which also goes hand in hand with social difficulties. He was smart enough to know how to relate to others but didn’t always understand the importance of not alienating people. The plot pace was choppy, starting slow, speeding up and slowing down again. I feel this was due to the extensive self reflection and the fact that the story was told from the stand point of Bogdan’s memories. Semmant was not really a robot but more of an artificial intelligence. Semmant’s  intelligence increased learning from letters that Bogdan wrote. Bogdan was infatuated with Lidia and when their relationship had stagnated she lost interest in him. Bogdan devised a plan to win her back that I would say backfired because then she became obsessed with him and the fantasies he created. I felt like if he had been honest with Lidia when he realized that the relationship they had was not he wanted that they could have parted ways somewhat amicably. Lidia was strong willed and used to getting what she wanted. Babenko created well-rounded characters who I almost could sympathize with except they were so selfish. Overall, decent read for anyone who likes to read the internal workings of the mind similar to the Bio of Space Tyrant series by Piers Anthony.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Sounds like a really interesting book. Not so keen on the choppy pacing, but the rest sounds good.

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