Ashryn's Reviews > Equations of Life

Equations of Life by Simon Morden
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Nov 13, 11

bookshelves: to-read-again
Read in October, 2011

A post-apocalyptic journey of self-redemption and bildungsroman. Probably aimed at millenials who develop intellectually at the expense of interpersonal relationships; thanks to a steady diet of technologically assisted personal interactions and freely available information. It explores the divide between the physical and the virtual and draws parallels using physics and artificial intelligence. It is an intelligent novel that does not try to instruct or lecture the reader.

It took a tiny bit of getting used to the Russian swearing in this one; mainly because I don’t speak Russian and so I never knew what flavour of expletive was being used. Since the Russian turn of phrase is rather interesting, it would have been good to have a translation somewhere for language geeks too lazy to google it. There are plenty of nods to memes and cult icons that draw the reader into a relationship with Petrovich by creating a bridge of shared experience.

I love the world this novel and the following two, are set in (London - Called Metrozone after the 'apocaplypse' the details of which are not really important to the story except that it involved radiation). I love the fierceness and vulnerability of the main character, though I had a bit of trouble believing Petrovich’s age, given his educational quals, health limitations and employment history. When I eventually made peace with the idea, it was much easier to enjoy the story and the relationships between characters.

It can be read purely for entertainment, and it succeeds in this sense; it is difficult to put down after the first 100 pages, and I was compelled to immediately buy the next two books as soon as I finished the first. Scratch the surface and there is plenty of social commentary and philosophical content packed within the subtext and for those interested in such things, Morden has shown himself to be an astute observer of social change.

I found that the second and third books in this series were more enjoyable, but I’m not sure if it is a case of practice makes perfect on behalf of the reader or the writer.
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Tikhon Jelvis I don't think you're missing much by not knowing Russian. I mostly found it awkward, and knowing the meanings of the words never added much.


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