29 May 2013

SEMMANT.

SEMMANT by VADIM BABENKO.

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.

...... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): I'm writing this in dark-blue ink, sitting by the wall where my shadow moves.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 97): I wonder if he understood, Semmant, that I was just fantasizing, nearly in vain. Yet if he did, he gave no sign. He was tactful, my robot. Tactful and well-mannered.


MY THOUGHTS: Without a doubt I'm convinced that this has the potential to become a huge cult hit amongst the devotees of the Artificial Intelligence/cybernetics genre and just like the teenage me's fixation with the creation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein's monster the adult me thought the possibility of creating such a robot fascinating but alas overall this just wasn't to my taste.

Certainly a very different read and the author, a recognised leader in the area of Artificial Intelligence, is obviously very knowledgeable and knows his stuff but the style of writing combined with the amount of underlying philosophical musings that, though I was aware they were there, I just didn't get, meant that for me personally Semmant proved a somewhat exhausting read.

Arguably my fault, not exactly the traditional robot that I was expecting/hoping for - perhaps rather naively I was expecting something along the lines of I, Robot or Bicentennial Man instead of which I got what I'm reliably informed was a sentient robotic computer program - I also felt that Semmant (the robot of the title) did not feature as much in the story as I would have liked, the author concentrating too much on the love-life, much of it quite frankly bordering on what I considered soft-porn, of main (human) character, Bogdanov.

(Apologies that that last paragraph is of a different size, no particular reason why it should be and for some unknown reason I can't alter it. I shall refer the matter to my Technical Department, aka Husband dearest, as soon as possible.)



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10 comments:

Kelly said...

Hmmm...this sounds interesting, but it always disturbs me at the thought of AI having free will rather than sticking with how it's programmed. I guess that's what makes for excitement, though!

I imagine I would have shared your disappointment in the story.

Gina R said...

Definitely not one for my wish list....and is it just me or is the cover a a bit creepy on the cyborg side of things? *-* Thanks for the share!

Suko said...

The idea of a robot being tactful and well-mannered is enough to draw me into this story. Excellent review, Tracy!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Too bad. However, there are several books out there with the same premise. Perhaps one of those would be more to your taste. Hopefully the next one is better!

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

Not sure if this one if for me- but I did enjoy this review! Very helpful. Glad to see I am not the only one who has formatting issues. :)

Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books said...

I think this one might be a bit too sci-fi for me. Thanks for the review!

Betty Manousos said...

another brilliant review, tracy!
i'm sorry this one wasn't to your taste. hopefully the next one is better!
i don't think it sounds like my kind of book either.

xx

Barbara said...

What a great name Bogdan Bogdanov is! When I started reading your review, I was sure this would be something I wanted to read, not so sure now. I would prefer less soft porn and more robot story! Might give it a miss.

Brian Joseph said...

I am, a big fan of Asimov's old robot stories as well as lots of the other old science fiction robot tales. This is a fascinating subject that has real and important implications for the future.

Too bad that this one did not exactly work.

Jinky said...

The premise intrigued me until it stated "erotically charged" then you confirmed it by saying that it bordered soft porn ..so this one is a definite pass.