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Babylon Babies

3.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  381 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
In a futuristic thriller, a veteran of Sarajevo must escort a young woman pregnant with a mutant embryo, a genetically modified messiah whose birth may signal the end of human life as we know it. A cult novel in France, this sci-fi thriller is now being made into a movie by Mathieu Kassovitz. Set in the hidden flesh and chip breeding grounds of the first cyborg communities ...more
Paperback, 526 pages
Published September 30th 2005 by Semiotext(e) (first published March 12th 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 823)
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Bart Everson
Dec 28, 2011 Bart Everson rated it did not like it
I got about a quarter of the way through Babylon Babies before giving up. The first chapter was a brutally boring account of one man's love affair with his AK-47, but I slogged through it. I waded through faux hardboiled lines like:

It was fucking hot.


Romanenko scanned his screen with fucking intensity...

I don't mind the f-bombs, but this just seems poorly written. Still I slogged on. Here’s the passage that did me in:

She was pretty. Her color was coming back. A mysterious glow played in the
Feb 02, 2011 Paul rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Dantec is a French writer, and I suspect his novel is poorly translated. Why else would "smoked meat" be italicized? Not one but twice, a character purchases smoked meat. Everyone says "gonna," as in "I'm gonna do this or that," but there are no other contractions or slang -- never a "we're" or "I'll," always "we are" or "I will." I tripped on repeated references to the XXth and XXIst centuries. And while I might use "Dr." when addressing a check to my dermatologist, I would never write a senten ...more
Michael Burnam-fink
Jun 21, 2012 Michael Burnam-fink rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, 2012
This is a novel with ambition, but underneath the gloss, I'm doubt there's anything there. Babylon Babies riffs on the usual cyberpunk tropes, mercenaries, mobsters, New Age cults, hackers and shamans, and it tries to transcend the genre by bringing in a bunch of abstruse theory, Deleuze and Guttari, Donna Harraway, Sun Tzu and Liddell Hart.

Instead of deepening the story, the philosophy about schizophrenia and the next evolutionary stage of mankind just overwhelms what could have been a tight, n
Ce roman nous raconte les aventures presque communes de Toorop, mercenaire désabusé revenu de tous les conflits européano-asiatiques, et de Marie Zorn, une jeune psycho-quelque chose, qui transporte quelque chose. Babylon Babies est à ranger pour moi dans les grands romans du cyberpunk. Si il débute comme uen espèce de banal roman de guerre, et continue pendant un bon moment (à peu près jusqu’à la moitié) comme une bête histoire de gangs digne d’une partie de Shadowrun pré-éveil (1).
Mais passée
Jan 19, 2009 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating look at a fractured world. This world is not set hundreds of years into the future but rather just around the corner. It is very well-translated with very believable characters and realistic scenarios. There's lot of action and interesting characters.

Huge governments are falling apart. Science "progresses" without regard to morality or government. People are stealing everything everywhere. The struggles: person vs. person, individual vs. collective group, groups vs. govern
Apr 03, 2009 Lucky rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I liked the movie Babylon AD(well up until the last 15 minutes) and so I picked up the book. I liked the book a whole lot more, while the story is similar, the book of course is much deeper. The cast is larger and it doesn't have the "WTF where did the kids come from" moment.

I would have rated it higher, unfortunately though some of the descriptions were awful. I think it was a combination translation from the original French novel, and what I interpret as an artificial effort by the author to t
Aug 13, 2008 Dawn rated it really liked it
Stylistically, this was not an easy book to read. The author is frequently described as a "French cyberpunk," and there are good reasons for that. But, the story was so cool that I have to give it four stars. The concept sounds like X-Men (humanity as we know it is about to mutate into something different, and homo sapiens will soon go the way of the Neanderthals), but it plays out more like if Timothy Leary had given acid to a colony of Borg. I'm very curious how this will translate into a movi ...more
-Es difícil decir lo que se quiere si no se encuentran las palabras para ello o si las que se encuentran no son las precisas.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. A comienzos de la segunda década del siglo XXI, Hugo Cornelius Toorop es un veterano de la guerra de Bosnia y de otros conflictos que actualmente desempeña trabajos tácticos en solitario como mercenario al servicio de intereses independentistas uigures, pero con apoyo de la inteligencia militar rusa, en el territorio fronterizo d
Ronald Burton
May 23, 2014 Ronald Burton rated it really liked it
I found this looking through books by semiotext(e), which mainly publishes a lot of radical philosophy and critique. The cyberpunk tropes are pretty standard - the noir antihero, bizarre techno cults, cyber fetishists and pill popping every which way, but the twist in everything for me is the philosophical place it's exploring, with Deleuze everywhere, talking about becoming-animal, becoming-machine, the multitude, nomadology and 'schizoanalysis.' It is a way to give concrete expression to some ...more
Theodora Catalina
Oct 14, 2014 Theodora Catalina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Babylon Babies

Gândurile mele (Theo): Uneori eşti pus în faţa unui fenomen pe care pe moment nu eşti capabil să îl explici şi atunci te laşi puţin pe spate şi încerci să reanalizezi situaţia şi să încerci să vezi dincolo de limite.
Cartea aceasta este atât o compilaţie de sentimente în care nu eşti sigur dacă eşti furios sau fericit, sau ambele. Sau poate niciuna. Este cu adevărat una din puţinele cărţi care au reuşit să mă scoată din sărite pentru ca mai apoi să mă reintroducă în starea de calmă
Jul 31, 2011 Nicolas rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pas révolutionnaire, pas polémique et pas même doucement raciste et conservateur comme son auteur.

Juste étonnamment chiant en fin de compte.

Très chiant quand même...
Jan 13, 2016 CJ rated it it was ok
It is not in the far-future and a man named Toorop is a hardened veteran. He has for a while seen all the tough atrocities that haunt him so and looks for some kind of escape. He gets the chance to get away but by an unusual offer. He has to be on the run and escort a mysterious young woman named Marie to Canada where the plans for her are ready to take place. This all seems like some easy money for Toorop but does it come at a price?

That is the best way I can describe the plot and I was mostly
Sep 27, 2013 Timmy rated it liked it
Okay, I'm pretty sure this is one of those books that takes several reads to fully grasp the message and story as one cohesive whole.
His writing style is flamboyant, colourful and supplemented with a diverse vocabulary which makes the reading enjoyable purely from an artistic viewpoint, yet his subject matter and descriptive style often make passages and plot chains vague and over confusing to say the least.
It took me about 200 pages in to finally work out a rough plan in my head of what was goi
D. Scott Meek
May 02, 2013 D. Scott Meek rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sci fi nerds
Recommended to D. by: no one
In some not-too-distant future, a grizzled veteran of foreign wars from the Balkans to the steppes of Kazakhstan, is hired by the Siberian mafia for what seems like a simple job: transport a package from Almaty to Montreal and keep said package secure until pick-up. What's not know is that said package is a young woman, a schizophrenic with a terrible secret that will doom all of Mankind.

Maurice G. Dantec, a French writer, brings us a novel that could be a successor to Neuromancer. He takes us a
April Durham
Jun 03, 2013 April Durham rated it really liked it
This book is a fantastic ride through an imagined near-future where the Russians, the Chinese, and peripheral Arabic speaking tribes are duking it out for world dominance while North American scientists are perfecting a schizo-machine from human and AI interface. The end of the world as we know it is nigh and it looks completely crazy but oh so interesting. Human evolution is being forced by greed, quest for power, and cultish nuttiness but no one is in control, except maybe the data.

While the t
Sep 22, 2008 Yune rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
"So living was an incredible experience, where the most beautiful day of your entire existence could be your last, where sleeping with death guaranteed seeing the next morning, and where a few golden rules were constant. Never walk in the direction of the wind, never turn your back to a window, never sleep in the same place twice, always stay in the sun's axis, trust in nothing and no one, suspend your breath with the perfection of the living dead on the point of freeing the metal's salvation."

Aug 20, 2008 Joshua rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Any fan of hard cyberpunk sci-fi. Are there many out there?
This book is both brilliant and infuriating at the same time. The story, the concept, the imagery are simply stunning. The descriptions, the same imagery's, the execution are head-scratchingly numbing-- like grabbing a handful of M&M's, throwing them into your mouth and finding out they're rocks.

This is cyberpunk at its most faithful. And like most cyberpunk, this book deals with the Adam and Eve motif-- rebirth/birth of mankind through the shedding of flesh and the accepting of technologica
Feb 27, 2014 Steven added it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I was not able to finish it. I gave it 10%. The writing style is not fun to read, I assume it's not translated well from the French - clearly some of it is translation error (XXth century?) and some of it is just style that goes over as mellifluous in French and malodorous in English. None of the characters are sufficiently compelling to keep me fighting through the prose.
Red Haircrow
Aug 15, 2011 Red Haircrow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having so much more breadth and depth than was creatable in the screen adaptation, Babylon A.D., the book itself was magnificent. From a nearly post-apocalyptica world full of violence and strife, a being is created that transcends mankind by the sheer accumulation of knowledge within them, with a secret buried inside they do not even themselves know, and it will literally transform chosen ones of mankind into a new species.

After I saw the film, I wanted to read the book, which I try to do for
the book is rather difficult to read, due to all the descriptions of warfare, computer-technics, genetics, biology and the like... the story itself is good, but it takes some serious time to get behind all the workings of this version of our world. that's why I never got overly excited about the book and it's characters (which is sad, because all the characters were quite distinct, they just lacked in compelling, all consuming relationships with each other). I wouldn't actually recommend it to a ...more
May 13, 2012 Terry rated it liked it
Babylon Babies is a cyber-punk novel on which the movie Babylon A.D. was very loosely based. The novel has Russian and Canadian mobsters, mercenaries, psuedo-religious groups, cyborg societies, genetic engineering, brain implants, psychic powers, killer robots, bio-enhancement and control drugs, ghosts and visions, solid historically - based stuff and science- fiction set in an alternate 2005. There is perhaps too much 'stuff' in the book. Some things are introduced which deserve more developmen ...more
Elliott Smith
Nov 05, 2014 Elliott Smith rated it did not like it
Maybe something was missed in translation, maybe there was a cultural aspect I needed to be informed of. I spent the entire book waiting for the climax, then the book ended.
Cameron Bethell
Mar 22, 2015 Cameron Bethell rated it really liked it
great writing style, cyber-punk-esque, more dystopian scifi and spiritualism.
Mark Montgomery
Jan 21, 2015 Mark Montgomery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those of books that is better than the Movie is it based on.
Oct 24, 2008 Sandrine rated it liked it
I didn't really enjoy the style of this book (read it in french, and it made me think about those S.A.S novels, with some "techno-scientifico-new age" vocabulary that didn't always make sense to me). But the main character was very interesting to follow, and the development of the story was pretty brilliant.
I am not sure I will read another book by Maurice Dantec, but i will certainly not watch the film: I can't understand why a french director chose Vin Diesel to play Toorop, and in addition t
Odd book. Sort of cyber-punky piece about a mercenary assigned to deliver a schizophrenic woman pregnant with genetically altered clones of a wacky cult leader, said clones ending up being the next step in human evolution that will probably lead to the annihilation of humanity as we know it. Oddly written, perhaps as a function of the translation, perhaps as a function of the author's loopy sensibility. Interesting but not fully engaging. Despite how that plot summary sounds, totally serious in ...more
Sep 23, 2014 Ashley rated it it was ok
A book that I really wanted to love. I liked Toorop and that the book was kind of a cyberpunk/mystery with a lot of action. I think the main problem, aside from the author trying to do too much in one book, might be that it is not a very good translation. It didn't flow well, and I found that many times I had to go back and re-read entire paragraphs to try and understand what was supposed to be happening. It's one of those books where i'll always think about what it could have been.
I read this to better understand the movie. After reading the book, I'm not sure what to think. I can't tell if the translation was just bizarre, or the original writing was just bizarre. But I do wonder why they thought they could make this into a movie. The story is so convoluted and such an attempt is made to pull you into the world of schizophrenia that I don't think would translate to screen no matter how you approached.

I wouldn't read it again, but it was interesting.
Aug 23, 2008 JW rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Someone needs an editor. Wow.

There's some awesome writing that peeks out from the pretentiousness, and a great story buried in the new age/ transhuman drivel. I'm kind of intrigued to see what they do with the movie. Pared down this book would kick major ass in the post-cyberpunk milieu. Hopefully Hollywood (snowmobile backflips over a missile?) and Vin Diesel's ego won't wreck it like Chronicles of Riddick.
Sep 29, 2014 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superlative writing really makes this great story/mystery/sci-fi come alive. A dystopia near future where governments are clueless about the gangs and cults wandering between countries using bio-engineered animals as sales goods.
Engrossing read!
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(English version below) Maurice Georges Dantec naît à Grenoble le 13 juin 1959, au sein d'une famille communiste, d'un père journaliste scientifique et d'une mère couturière et employée de service de la Ville d'Ivry-sur-Seine. Il passe la majeure partie de sa prime enfance dans cette ville, en pleine banlieue « rouge ». À l'âge de 5 ans, de violentes crises d'asthme vont éveiller en lui « d’atroce ...more
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