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Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus

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Welcome, he says, to the "fabulous fabulous" Lawrence Booth show. His flamboyance is well-practiced. They all know him, he's world-renowned (he reminds them). Then he calls them the faceless masses, says he doesn't care who they are. It's a familiar deadpan, his particular brand of sensationalism through effrontery. Then he gets more personal, but it isn't sincere—how could it be? I'll be your guide, he says, your mentor, your guru, your spiritual advisor, leading you along the "sordid paths of the sublime, the seedy, and the sensational." And it's true, he will be.

This is Lawrence Booth, host of a 22nd-century variety show; an ultimate evolution of vaudeville; a tangible expression of social media and a venue for the people's justice. And his favorite toy is a superhero—a popular bounty hunter called Beowulf.

When New York's paragons turn to violent crime, it falls to Booth and Beowulf to restore order (and, more importantly, to make a good show of it). Is this an unraveling of the social fabric? Have our leaders turned, as parasites on a host? Or are they victims themselves of a society dependent on the wonders—and the dangers—of high technology?

Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus, is a frenetic exploration of logical extremes. It's about superheroes as the products of marketing machines, social media as a fundamental and frightening social adhesive, summary justice as a Utilitarian exigency. It's part mystery, part thriller, all in the plugged-in context of a cyberpunk future.

And it's one a helluva ride.

WINNER! Independent Author Network SCI-FI BOOK OF THE YEAR.
WINNER! London Book Festival BEST SCI-FI.
WINNER! Beverly Hills Book Awards BEST SCI-FI.

198 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2014

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About the author

Milo Behr

1 book9 followers
WINNER! London Book Festival BEST SCI-FI.
WINNER! Beverly Hills Book Awards BEST SCI-FI.

Milo Behr grew up in New York, Central America, Europe and the Middle East. His short-form fiction has appeared in the MechMuse Anthology alongside David Farland, Kevin J. Anderson, Eugie Foster, and others. He is an entertainment technologist, musician and writer. He has published academically through IEEE and others, and spoken at SIGGRAPH, BIA/Kelsey's ILM, VFX and elsewhere. He invented DigiClay Animation, Cryptocast streaming encryption, and a variety of other technologies. As a musician, Milo is a classically-trained countertenor, singing the works of Bach, Händel, Monteverdi, Babbitt, Britten and others. He lives among the Rocky Mountains with his wife and three children.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 47 reviews
Profile Image for Craig.
5,143 reviews122 followers
November 10, 2014
I won a copy of this short quirky novel in a Goodreads giveaway. It's a fun story examining a superhero in a cyber-pervasive future set about ninety years from now. I call it quirky because it's written in a sometimes awkward present tense narrative, and sometimes the dialog is summarized without quotation marks which gets a little clumsy, and the last chapter is far longer than any of the others and switches back and forth in time a little confusingly, but the overall effect seems to hold together pretty well. There were several phrases thrown in that were in Chinese and French that were a little discordant for no good reason, and, as is common with small press titles, there were a few copy-editing errors that should have been caught. (Canon is not cannon, for example.) But I wouldn't have noticed what I perceived as flaws if I hadn't thought it was a pretty good and memorable story. There's a preview of the second volume at the end and it looks like fun, too.
Profile Image for Sapheron.
140 reviews25 followers
October 25, 2014
This isn’t a story about characters; there’s really only one character we can claim to know in this entire book, and even Beowulf himself remains largely a mystery, even with the tantalizing peeks given into the morality behind the armoured bear suit. And it’s not a story that focuses on the universe Behr has created, because even though we know enough to understand what’s happening, as we read, we don’t know enough to not be intrigued. What this was for me was a story about those facets of society today that could lead us towards the future portrayed in Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus—our wanton sensationalism, compulsive voyeurism and latent vigilantism.

What I liked most about the book was that nothing was as it seemed to be at first, like Beowulf not being a thoughtless machine. When it started, the conflict didn’t seem like anything really special; a bunch of mass murders perpetrated by high-profile people, but it turned into something that was not just engrossing for all the mystery and awesomely-written action, but thought provoking as well.

The style of writing takes some getting used to, but it didn’t take long to realize it was style and not ignorance that drove the wonky punctuation. Behr’s use of words is impressive, and there was humour laced into this intense book, both serving to make it a virtually un-put-downable good read. I eagerly await the second instalment. Five stars!
Profile Image for Evan.
4 reviews
March 12, 2015
It was a fun, fast read that was somewhat thought-provoking, but overall pretty light fare. Films like the Running Man and Robocop came to mind while I was reading. It also brought to mind the comic X-Statix, which also explored super heroes and violence as a commercial commodity.

Aside from the story itself, I was put off by the overall formatting of the book. Monologue/dialogue was randomly presented in different styles (this seemed very contrived to me and served no purpose), and seemingly poor editing.

I am curious to see where Behr goes with Beowulf 2.
Profile Image for William III.
Author 34 books475 followers
November 3, 2014
I won this little novella on First Reads and read the entire thing in one sitting. It's shorter than what I was expecting it to be, even after having received it. The last twenty or thirty pages are an excerpt from the second book in the series, so the actual book is only something like 150 pages.

I liked the author's style and sense of humor, but more than anything, I really enjoyed the dialogue shared between characters. It's spot on. It's an entertaining tale in a dangerous, chaotic world. No one is safe! Cops, politicians, and even Santa Claus are enemies here.

I wish I had gotten to spend more time with the characters though, and no, not in the "I'd like to read an entire series about these people" kind of way either. After it was over, I felt like the characters could have all been replaced and the story wouldn't have changed in any way.

Also, the editing/formatting is pretty distracting. Every sentence has about five spaces between the last and the curse words have all been censored with asterisks. Either say the word or don't, don't censor it. Completely took me out of the story every time that happened. The dialogue also shifts from using the traditional quotation marks to not using them (Cormac McCarthy-style). Either way is fine by me, but using both styles in the same book for no reason at all is confusing.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and will read the second book out of curiosity (which I guess I'll be getting for free come January for writing this review...at least that's what the publisher's letter that came with the book said. We'll see.)
1 review
September 11, 2014
I could put A Bloody Calculus down (only AFTER I finished reading it) but I couldn't stop thinking out it. Milo Behr's story springs--seemingly inevitably--from the intersection of character, situation, and philosophy. His world and people are both intriguingly unique and believably real. The central Beowulf character immediately gripped my imagination and then, upon better acquaintance, captured my emotions. Here is a rip-roaring action novel about a guy who is so much more than just really scary; a book that leads the reader through a vivid exploration of consequences, law, morality, and the human soul. A Bloody Calculus reveals Milo Behr as a powerful new talent of astonishing intellect and exceptional mastery of character, background, plot and philosophical inquiry. But if you don't want all that, just read it for the amazing action! Wherever you are Milo, go home and write the next Beowulf book!
Profile Image for Todd Romney.
1 review
September 17, 2014
Much like J.K. Rowling did with fantasy, Behr seems to come out of no where as a master of the scifi genre. Not since Blade Runner have I been so completely transported to an awesomely constructed future. And unlike Blade Runner, Behr has the advantage of having seen into the future a few more years, creating an even more intriguing Blade Runneresque future by mixing in believable, and highly thought provoking, social media and hard core science elements. Think Blade Runner meets The Hunger Games. And yet as legitimate as the future science is, the prose doesn't go too Neil Stephenson - Behr manages to keep it light and highly entertaining with his comic book action sequences. (Before you send me a hate comment, Cryptonomicon is one of my all time favorite books.) This is a novelette I highly recommend equally to the casual blue-moon scifi reader, as well as to those that, like me, grew up reading Asimov and Orson Scott Card.
Profile Image for Pauna oana.
4 reviews4 followers
February 17, 2015
Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus was a great ride, a journey in another land and time, a journey filled with mystery, emotions, fear and most of all suspense. I came to love Beowulf for what he does, for how he acts in this crazy frenetic world.

Beowulf is a complex character. Always trying to bring the peace in, the world in which he is stuck is more like a TV show where anything can happen. And each one of us has a Beowulf inside himself. We all try to make the right decisions, protect the truth and the peace even if we don’t always succeed.

Living in a technology controlled future, he teaches a lesson worth learning: technology is not always made to help us and make our lives easier. We must be very careful what exactly we create. Small errors can ruin our lives or even kill us.

This book will stay with me. It's subtly changed my way of thinking about technology, future, decisions, and even made me think hard about humanity.
Profile Image for Spencer Romney.
1 review2 followers
September 17, 2014
As I said in my Amazon review of Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus, I think it's deserving of a place in the Cyberpunk canon, next to entries by such luminaries as Stephenson and Gibson, but the most exciting thing to me is that Milo Behr is just getting started. I can't wait to see what's in store next.
Profile Image for Miranda Wood.
33 reviews11 followers
October 3, 2014
The future of an ancient myth.
A futuristic mystery that really did have me guessing. Superheros doing advertising plugs while trying to catch the villian. Justice at your finger tips. I was completely surprised by who the bad guy was. I did not expect that. It was a true pleasure to read this.
Profile Image for Amanda.
70 reviews13 followers
November 9, 2018
Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus is a dry sterile tale in a world that should be brimming with the smell of ozone, sweat and concrete. Instead we're dealing with stop-start stream of consciousness that doesn't build people or the world they live in. It's hard to get into, hard to stay in, and I feel like little was gained when I left it behind. This is not a book I would buy the next in the series too, and felt blessed that it was a loaner.

Styling jumps strange places, chapter to chapter, and I think that novella was the wrong medium for this particular work. It would have been better served in motion - comics, short film, whatever. But we are given little to no detail of Beowulf's world, just a suggestion of the throng of humanity that's become a bigger clusterfuck than it is now, a bizarre legal system, and a world that has as much substance as a soap bubble.

This isn't to say it's bad. It isn't. It stops short of being bad. It's just not very good. It hits several of the right cyberpunk notes, but it seems like a list of tv tropes tossed in a salad spinner than any coherent worldbuilding or character creation. Beowulf is a grizzled murder man in a city that lauds them. He does the killing. Occasionally he regrets it. A hot dame is rescued, a conspiracy uncovered. It's paint by numbers techno-thriller with no thrills. There's so many points where I see glimmers of potential, only to never have them touched upon or explained.

There could have been a magnificent book here. Behr's got some good lines (the "red meat" line was fucking on point!) but he needs to give me a lot more to have me come back, because I definitely won't be picking up the rest of the series. Maybe we'll see what shakes out of him a couple of years down the road, with a couple more books out.
Profile Image for Catherine.
293 reviews12 followers
January 26, 2015
Beowulf is the type to put on a show. Well, that's really his job. He works with Lawrence Booth, the DJ of a show. Beowulf hunts down criminals and Booth obtains a sentence handed down by his viewers. While Beowulf saves the day, Booth broadcasts it to his viewers in the hopes of good ratings. That's what the future is like. This is how justice is in the year 2104.

At first the book is difficult to get into and, subsequently, it's taken me a while to read. I think the main problem is that the beginning is a broadcast to heaps of viewers, but it gets a little bit convoluted because the author needs to explain a lot of information at once and it's confusing due to that. The overall book reminds me of a few other futuristic plots I've read or seen. I first thought it very similar to Demolition Man. However, it's also like the Dredd franchise is what it seemed most familiar to, for me. Though, instead of Beowulf choosing the sentence, it's done by a public choice. The thing that most seemed reminiscent is that essentially it's a one man crusade against evil, which is what makes it seem kind of cliché. Except, with Beowulf, much of it seems like more of a performance. In the midst of battle, he is still trying to make it look cool to the follow cams. He snipes one liners and tries to make his kills look better for whoever might be watching. Or reading, in this case.

In fact, it's cliché in a lot of aspects as well. In some areas, it just seems like a generic action movie where we begin with a bunch of people doing bad stuff for, what we don't understand but seems like, no reason. The good guys get confused at this. Instead of doing his job, Beowulf takes up his own investigation and uncovers more than a ton of other people combined can. My main consideration is that he never would have found out the criminal plot without his female companion telling him to look into something. In fact, that's one of the other things that bothers me. He stumbled upon the answer to the problem quite easily. He was literally looking into something else and, through that, found out everything he needed to know about the criminal mastermind behind the plot. We go through a few more action scenes and then we even have our bad guy running through his whole plot and reasons behind his work. It seemed very much like a lot of movies where the bad guy can't keep his mouth shut and confesses just to pass the time in the book. Later, he actually gives a few reasons for his criminal confession, one being that he actually did need to pass the time. Sometimes, in the book, I can't make my mind up. It sometimes seems like a plot from a generic action move. In other portions, it kind of feels like that's the direction the author is putting it through deliberately; is if it's some sort of parody of those types of movies or other related media.

Let's get back to Beowulf. He's a one man army. From the beginning descriptions of the author, he seems big and strong. He wears body armour and is awesome at everything he does. Though, he seems somewhat weaker as we go along because he relies on the decisions of the public to lay down his version of justice. He essentially, in his reality, is an actor where his only job is to do what the public want from him. It just makes him seem, to me, like a very weak person. Sure, he would probably best me in a fight, if I'm honest. However, he wouldn't be able to without someone else telling him what to do.

As for other characters... They seem kind of generic as well. Alexis is probably the most useless character. We get introduced to her by happenstance. She's just walking along and bam, we find out who she is. It turns out that she's a model, beautiful, smart, and other kind of generic qualities to make her seem better than she is. I don't deny that she's beautiful or smart, but her entire presence just seems really unnecessary. She commits crimes and then Beowulf immediately wants to take her to his home and keep her. It's his job to deal with justice but somehow, when she becomes involved, he turns kind of incompetent and can't seem to do it anymore. Later on, we get some scenes at his place and she tries to have sex with him. She doesn't even bother seducing him, she just wants to have it off with him because she's bored. She actually says that in the book, too; that the only reason she wants to have sex with him is because she's bored. Later on, she provides minimal interest. She pretty much just lazes about his apartment and looks beautiful. She's generally unlikeable because she is kind of whiny, demanding and also useless. She just seems like such a wasted character that could amount to more. Bennett seems equally generic. His wife died and that's his main reason for doing what he does in his life. I won't go into that because it provides spoiler-ish aspects, but his entire plot line is kind of cliché.

I actually liked the premise of the book. I think the futuristic world was created reasonably well. There are all sorts of futuristic devices and gadgets that seem interesting to me. The better part of that point is that they all seem realistic and the author doesn't stretch it too far. What I mean here is that they could have added anything they wanted, but here it's believable because they've created gadgets or technology that seem fitting for that era in the future. Mixed with that, we have little throwbacks and tidbits of information to the past. There are portions in the book where characters mention prior events that add more information to the future society, like the mentions of special events that happen in our future, but would be common history for the characters.

Overall, despite the various cliché areas, I didn't think it was a bad book. It's written reasonably well, despite a generic plot, the author has an interesting style of writing. I would like to read more from this author. I would probably like to read the next book in this series, in fact, just because it's kind of an interesting future for our society and I'd like to see more of that. As for this book, I would rate it three stars. It's not terrible, but it's not brilliant either. I'm choosing to mark it up a star because I thought it had some redeeming qualities to it. I was particularly impressed with the way the author wrote the future society and thought that was well done. The characters and plot could use a lot of help, though.
Profile Image for Meg Pontecorvo.
Author 3 books22 followers
February 14, 2020
Behr has mastered noir style and pacing; the novella is stylistically tight. Yet it indulges in scene after scene of elegant, stylized descriptions of violence while at the same time criticizing how the media celebrates stylized violence and eggs on audiences to want more and more of it. Sorry, but that approach seemed hypocritical to me (plus reading the novella felt too much like watching movies that also validate "gorgeous," slo-mo violence even while supposedly siding with the good guys who violently fight perpetrators of violence). I won't be reading the next installments of this series.
Profile Image for Travis Pike.
1 review
October 28, 2014
So the cyber punk genre has always been a niche market with it’s own problems. Cyberpunk is rarely done right, and often is misunderstood as a genre, a lot of cyber punk these days are stuck in the 1980s/90s vision of the future and in reality it’s simply not believable. Beowulf incorporates an elevated and expanded vision based on today’s technology and culture and days it quite right.
This includes reality shows, the current crop of ‘journalists’ who essentially use blood and carnage to draw an audience, as well as us, as people who view pain, carnage, and drama enthusiastically. Beowulf utilizes this this extensively and it feels like it could be real, it feels like an evolution of current culture to an extreme and undesirable level, but a real level. Also the sheer amount of advertising we all face on a daily basis is implemented here and without giving away too many spoilers does involve our hero giving a product shout out in the midst of a fight.
The story doesn’t dive headfirst into politics, but touches on it here and there, and again it’s not overblown or overly dramatic, but feels like a natural evolution to an undesirable effect. For example private ownership of firearms is looked down upon, and even seen similar to pornography in terms of the shame you may face if caught with it.
One thing I liked is the book didn’t treat the reader like he or she was stupid regarding technology. The book introduced technology smoothly and seamlessly, showed how it worked without having to explain over several paragraphs how it worked. An excellent example of show me, don’t tell me is in effect regarding technology.
The world itself was built brilliantly. The evolution of society from politics, to video games, journalism, advertising, video games, and our fascination with electronics, and of course our own human nature that is struggling to keep up with it all. The story addresses all that as well as addressing our current and growing dependence on technology. It addresses the dependence without trying to shame the reader against technology, but merely a warning that too much of a good thing is not a good thing.
Unfortunately I feel the same is applied to some of the characters. They are introduced and feel somewhat shallow. I was left wanting to know more about them, about who they are and I wanted to see more character development. The characters all felt vaguely glanced over outside of the main character, and even he had only a little back story or development.
I have small issue, near the end of the story there are a series of flash forwards back and forth to the present. My problem was the flash forwards could become somewhat annoying. For example initially the book flash forwards to a particular time, then back to the present, and then a flash forward again, but half an hour earlier than the initial flash forward. It just felt jumpy and ruined the pacing.
Overall the story was excellent, well paced, interesting characters(we needed more time with them) and the vision felt real, the store is an excellent introduction to Behr’s work and I look
forward to the sequel.
Profile Image for Nina Harrington.
Author 253 books52 followers
February 15, 2015
This book delivers on the promise made on the cover and delivers in a stunning way that is both entertaining, thought provoking and deeply satisfying to the reader.
It's part mystery, part thriller, all in the plugged-in context of a cyberpunk future.

Milo Behr is an author who likes to break the rules.
Layers of language slip over one another to create a stacked complex of a fascinating experience which is equal to the deep immersion show presented by Lawrence Booth to the plugged in masses.
Only parts of the dialogue are in quotation marks and physical description is laser sharp, all written in a style so spare and back to the bones hard that it would not be out of place in an Elmore Leonard crime novel.
Only here the lone detective is a Julien Clarke, brought in by Booth to be the persona of Beowulf, a “musclebound pop icon to fight thugs and gangsters” wearing leather armour and a bear’s head.

Short hard sentences with third person omniscient narration are a perfect match for the impersonal and steely cold ambience of the storytelling that reminded me of Neal Stephenson’s ‘Snow Crash.’

This is not the easiest medium to work with but in this first book of the Beowulf series it feels like an extra device, helping the reader to slip into the observer role, just as the audience for the Booth show are hooked into the ritual death and justice projected into their headsets from drone cameras all over New York.

The omniscient narration is a neutral voice, like an infinite view camera lens, mirroring the spectacle of the virtual game the characters are trapped inside. But when it slips inside the voice of the main characters they magically sparkle with life as real people. They are not simply marginalised characters struggling to maintain their individuality and standards.

The multiple time slips of Chapter 12 felt a little disjointed for me and I was pulled out of the story for a few pages, but the use of the multiple drone camera footage was both fun and a perfect fit for the story world.

Because Behr keeps us focused on only a few main characters, their personal stories and limiting beliefs clash with the immersion violence of the Booth show, throwing them into sharp relief, so that when the mystery is solved, the motivation for the violent crime and their responses feels real and understandable.

This is quite a remarkable achievement.

Profile Image for Joanna.
1 review
October 27, 2014
Fast-paced action, intriguing characters, and a universe that I can’t wait to further explore in Milo Behr’s second novella… I think it’s fair to say that “Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus” is one of the best cyberpunk reads I’ve come across lately. The story grabbed my attention from page one, and I couldn’t put my Kindle down until I finished it. I simply had to know what happened next.

Beowulf is a different kind of superhero. It’s the kind of superhero that people of a highly technologized 22nd century need to assure them that they’re still in control of their own lives and what happens out there, in the world, when their implants allow them to experience anything they want from the comfort of their home. Together with Booth, the host of the most popular variety show, Beowulf tracks down outlaws and punishes them for their crimes live, at the public’s request. Sometimes, this means killing them. So, yes, Milo Behr’s novella is dark, gritty, and it explores a possible outcome of allowing technology to take over our lives. The enhancements do make things easier, but they also make people vulnerable, as it happens to the victims in “Beowulf”. Also, they may give a truly smart hacker the possibility of playing God.

The author starts from an interesting premise, which, of course, has been present before in cyberpunk works, and delivers an action-packed story that keeps readers guessing. The characters are well defined, and by the end of the novella I found myself liking a character that I initially disliked. And I’m talking here about Booth, who seems to be only interested in the rankings of his show, and not about morality and justice. The final scenes, however, put him in a different light, and I started to see that he does care about the people’s safety and freedom. I think Booth is a good example of character development done well in the limited space given by a novella.

“Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus” is a must-read for all fans of science-fiction and cyberpunk. The author’s original writing style is immersive, and the action scenes have just enough details to give you a clear view of what is happening and how. Bottom line: it was a fun and intense read that got me thinking about how it would be if we had everything we needed – information, medicines, entertainment –, just a thought away, and how much we’d have to pay for this comfort.
Profile Image for Salvodaze.
20 reviews4 followers
July 10, 2015
Good, clean writing, beautiful style. Author's talent in cyberpunk and dystopian world creation, as well as command of language is obvious and should be kept an eye on, but I also greatly enjoyed the capturing and depiction of human emotions. While I thought the writer could do much better without a jocky jock main character like Beowulf, it doesn't mean I didn't care for him at all and that's surprising.

The parts with the female character were well written in terms of seeing her through Beowulf's eyes, but I think she was also a bit underwritten as a character, serving as a bit too much of a male fantasy.
***SPOILER START***How come she didn't even care a tiny bit about the man she's supposed to be in love with being shot dead, yet she asks about the bus driver right away? That's got to be some love because it seemed more like she was there to pleasure Beowulf the whole time she stayed with him, despite being a fugitive from justice with a death sentence awaiting her upon capture. And did I mention her lover being shot dead right before? It's a bit of a shame, considering she was the only female character in the book, apart from the dead wife of the "sidekick".***SPOILER END***

The plot was good for such a short novel, not groundbreaking or anything but I loved the resolve. Ended much better than I expected and for that I salute the author. From what I've seen in my limited experience, a good ending seems hard to come by among new writers of fiction and Behr's hit the sweet spot for me.

All in all, it was a quite enjoyable read. Despite the tiny character/plot problem I mentioned above, I thought it was well written. In the edition I purchased from Google Books I did see a few spelling errors, so it could do with one more round of editing, but nothing important (one I remember is Booth being typed "Both" in one instance, if the author wants to get it fixed). I plan to follow up with the series, but especially with the author himself.
Profile Image for Kory.
1 review
September 18, 2014
I've never done this before. I've never taken the time to review a book on both GoodReads and Amazon, but Beowulf deserves it.

Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus is real science fiction. Forget the `space operas' that have deluged the genre for decades turning `geek to chic' on popular television and film. Behr's work is gritty; a return to the science fiction that weaves unsettling, real-world questions into our hero's tale.

Yes, Beowulf is scary, but not because of the villains the eponymous protagonist battles throughout the work. With every page I further questioned my own relationship with digital entertainment, gonzo journalism, smart phones, video games, and the router under my desk pumping a wireless signal to a dozen devices in my home. Simultaneously outlandish yet all too real, Behr has laid out a near future that kept me tossing under my covers, and not in the figurative sense. Beowulf kept me awake at night. I can't stop thinking about it.

The writing and prose come across as a digital drug. Behr's successful experiment with punctuation paired with masterful word choice remind me of my first experience with hospital-grade nitrous oxide. When you read Behr's writing you are transported, instantly engrossed, the prose itself an extension of the setting and themes of the work. You are in the story, a part of it. You are next to Beowulf.

Behr's is a cyberpunk tale for the person that wants more from their reading. Beowulf is for the thinkers, the self-reflective, the kind of person more interested in answers than being mollycoddled in the comfort and safety of convenience and popular perception. Beowulf is a return to the themes and ideas that led to the creation of science fiction in the first place.

Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus is one hell of an awesome book. Don't miss it.
Profile Image for Lara.
79 reviews13 followers
August 17, 2015
I was offered an e-copy of this book after having lost the win in the Goodsreads First reads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

I found this story to have a very interesting concept of a futuristic world, some details not being overly futuristic in fact, which had a great plot that could be further developed (thus, I suppose, the fact that this can/is a series). I see a lot of potential, but what made it less enjoyable for me was the style itself - the present tense narrative seemed awkward at times (as if not entirely sure that this was what the character in fact thought), the lack of quotation marks made it difficult to follow at times, and the last chapter being so different in length and back-and-forth confused me (I'm still not quite sure if I got the time line correct).

Regardless of these complications and couple of typos, once you get the awkward style, you get into the story and it is a very interesting read with a good concept that makes you want to know more. The fact that it's a short read is also alluring, and the preview of the second book at the end grabs you attention just enough that you wish you had the second book there.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys sci-fi novels and likes short but captivating stories. This new author deserves the exposure to develop and find his style in his fascinating world!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
473 reviews9 followers
October 31, 2014
A truly captivating story. I was completely engrossed from start to finish. Milo Behr has created the kind of sci-fi story that not only entertains but leaves you thinking about the possibilities that the future may hold for mankind. Beowulf’s job is to carry out the sentence of a jury when a crime is committed. Too often, the sentence is death. When a string of killing sprees begins he begins to question the cause. The character of Beowulf is well thought out and beautifully presented. He is not only the hand of justice in this future society but a complicated individual who wants to understand why things are happening, what is causing the killing. I also really enjoyed the technological innovations incorporated. While they are futuristic and a little hard, for me at least, to visualize how they would work, I nevertheless believed that they were a possible direction that our current technology could go in.

I think anyone who enjoys sci-fi would definitely enjoy this book. This would also be a good starting place for those who are new to science fiction and want to give it a try. I would highly recommend it and while the ending leaves you hanging a bit there is a sequel coming soon which I hope I get the chance to read. Good job Milo Behr and keep it coming.
Profile Image for Samantha Pellegrini.
7 reviews1 follower
August 17, 2015
I do like your book and the world you created. The fact that no one is safe in your dangerous world is truly an entertaining and enjoyable aspect for me.

I am the type of reader that really likes to make connections with the characters so that I can become even more immersed in the world the author created. I didn't get a lot from the characters and I feel like more time could've been spent on them - not a whole book per character, but definitely more than was there.

Also, all of your curse and swear words were censored with asterisks and I didn't like that. If you're going to swear, own it. It took me out of the "zone" I go into when I'm reading.

Another thing is that your dialogue is a little confusing at times. You keep switching between using and not using quotation marks for your dialogue. I had to reread a few sentences once or twice to figure out if something was part of the dialogue, a passing thought, or something else that the character wanted to be known. Either way to make dialogue is fine, but it's completely confusing and downright frustrating when you have both and you have to distinguish what is what by yourself.

Altogether I do like your book. It's fun and interesting and definitely something of itself.
Profile Image for WTEK.
64 reviews18 followers
August 22, 2015
***I received a free copy through the Apocalypse Whenever group giveaway***

I would actually give this 3.5 stars

I wasn't sure how I would like this book. I've been burned by a number of free giveaway books, so I've been shying away from them. When this showed up in my group though, it hit me at just the right time. I was in the mood for something cyberpunk-ish and fast paced.

This didn't disappoint. The book is only about 100 pages and it is SUPER fast paced. It just keeps hitting you BAM BAM BAM with action. It's violent and stylized and has that kind of frenetic super huge and technical world that cyberpunk usually delivers. But he balances it with a few quiet vingettes in Beowulf's home and all of the scenes were fully realized in my mind, so it wasn't that ridiculousness I sometimes get with steampunk.

There are a lot of fight scenes, a callous attitude toward life, and did I mention all the violence? But that's the point of the whole story. It's an interesting plot, though I was able to figure out who the villain was before it was revealed, but I didn't know his motivation. I would definitely recommend it if you want something fast and dirty and I can't wait for the sequel!
February 15, 2015
Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus is a thrilling, fast paced book that keeps you on the edge of your seat from the get go. The book provides an interesting blend of dark humor, philosophy, technology and RPG vs. reality. As an added bonus there are even some mythological references in this book too.

Based in a world that is ruled by technology, media and the justice of the masses; this book is a clear eye opener that shows how our love for technological advancement can be used against us in the most evil and calculating ways.

The author writes in a refreshing brutally honest way, that leaves other authors lacking. He is not afraid of stating things the way they are, or sugar-coating the characters.

Even though Beowulf is based on the mythical hero, he still comes across as a fully developed human, that discovers some aspects of himself he did not believe he possessed.

I personally can not wait to read the next installment of this series, Beowulf and his brash personality is a character that will remain with me for a long time.

If you’re gonna feed the monster, only red meat will do.
1 review1 follower
October 25, 2014
A short novel set around the year 2100, in New York. Everyone has implants that help them connect to any database or more-than-lifelike simulation they choose. Talk-shows also function as live news channels, because the crowd's appetite for entertainment has grown to demand brutal diversions. Milo Behr puts forward an interesting question about our modern existence in the context of a possible future: Can technological advancement make us doubt even more the meaning of our existence?

The book is fast-paced, yet a quality read. Every main character is well fleshed out. I was surprised the concise, intriguing descriptions of situations and complex technology do not slow the pace down. The dialogues are entertaining, I laughed a lot at some of the comebacks. The plot, however, is a bit linear, and there isn't anything unexpected about the twists.

All the while reading the novel I was thinking it is definitely movie material, as it has thrilling action sequences and a few sensual scenes on top of the interesting basic premise. I will definitely check out the follow-up.
Profile Image for Steve.
4 reviews7 followers
April 12, 2016
I bought this book as part of StoryBundle's Cyberpunk Bundle and this book was kind of what I was looking for.

Milo Behr drops you directly into his vision of the future with no explantion.
I found it a little disjointing at first however it's nice that the author trusts that you can figure it out yourself/confident in the writing that it will be come clear.

The main character Beowulf is a kind of futuristic bounty hunter that is televised on a show where a presenter riles up a watching audience to vote on the sentencing of perpetrators.

This quickly shifts in the story where former famous people start committing horrendous acts of violence and Beowulf decides to start investigating instead of react to it all.

This was a great read and the first chapter of the second story that was included at the end promises more great stuff.
I look forward to reading the next adventure of Beowulf.
November 3, 2014
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads

This was engaging and full of action and, with a little bit of mystery and enough elements of my favorite genres (cyberpunk and scifi), it was hard for me to put it down.

Not fully cyberpunk in a traditional sense, but more of a futuristic action novel with a batman style superhero who's actions are streamed to, and influenced by, a live audience. Devoid of boring, drawn out descriptions and explanations, the story moves along quickly enough and held my interest until the end. For me, it made for an enjoyable quick read between longer, more time-demanding novels.

My only negative: I'm not sure if it's just the author's writing style or not, but there were many areas of dialogue that had no quotation marks, or, a mixture of quotations and no quotations, and this sometimes made it hard (for me) to follow what was actually being said.
Profile Image for Jack Quick.
2 reviews
October 27, 2014
BEOWULF, A BLOODY CALCULUS, by Milo Behr: Remember Elvis Presley and the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Television Variety Show? Its 2104 and the Lawrence Booth Show outdoes anything the un-expressive Ed ever had on his show. Booth has Beowulf, New York City’s most celebrated Bounty Hunter. In an era when distinguishing between reality and fantasy is all but impossible Beowulf stands out as being the ultimate super-being. And Beowulf can be given authority to summarily execute his catch – if the studio audience so votes. But then things get ugly. First, it’s a priest and then a highly decorated officer of the NYPD. Both seemingly go berserk, but there appears to be more, much more. Next it is a world famous model. Beowulf must get to the bottom of this or other people will die. Who knows, maybe Beowulf himself. A good mystery set in a believable future world. Startling parallels to today’s Ebola crisis and an ending that will surprise and shock.
Profile Image for Margaret Daly.
Author 7 books243 followers
February 12, 2015
It’s rare that I’m completely mesmerized by a story. This book had me within the first few paragraphs. The timeline, positioning, and eccentricities made this story come alive for me, even playing like a movie in my mind.

A spark ignites as Milo Behr creates an engaging chemistry between his readers and characters.
When I read a book, I like to be connected with the characters, this was easily accomplished with the vibrant description of character and setting alike, bringing me into the story with vivid images.

As I read, similarities arose to my own reflection on the world we actually live in. Similarities of government, of society and its sickness, our ever evolving technologies, all of these echoing through my mind. Diving deeper into myself, searching for truth, as Beowulf does.

This “work of art”, yes I said work of art, is easy to read and leaves you enticed to read on.

Do I recommend this book? No matter what genre you like, this book will engulf you!
Profile Image for Marissa.
3,099 reviews36 followers
September 28, 2014
4 out of 5 stars Author Kindle copy for Review

A fast paced thrilling read that quickly moves along.

We are drawn into a television show with a flashy host named Larry Bennett who is more than meets the eye. A show where the audience are the judge of people crimes but is it really justice? It’s a game to him as the people so called justice are brought to an end by someone called Beowulf.

He is a well known bounty hunter going by Julien Clarke who ends the sentenced people lives. When the crimes brought forward turn to more violent and deadly, the two of them begin to research the accused pasts. Is there more than meets the eye, as technology might play a bigger role.

Who is really behind it all and what do they want? Are the leaders apart of this plot or are they victims along with the criminals? Who can we really trust in this Utilitarian world or are we doomed?
October 26, 2014
I'll condense my reading experience into one word–exhilarating!

From the very first chapter, I was kept guessing. Where is the writer going with this? The story's set in a future that gives it a touch of technology as if you're watching an action movie with all the latest gadgets built for the user's absolute convenience and prompt response to everything.

The tricky part is that the reader gets into the head of almost every character introduced. It's like the reader appreciates the perspective of each individual although they are of opposite nature.

Overall it's a well-written rollercoaster-ride-like story which keeps us guessing. The mystery and suspense hold up right to the end, which I also thought was a cliffhanger.

I would absolutely enjoy a cinematic version of this story as well since everything is so well-defined.
3 reviews
October 27, 2014
Some books take 'getting into' before one is really interested. This one grabbed me on the 1st page when the unnamed 'he' jams on the brakes & hot coffee 'sloshes over his legs' ... (been there, done that).
I'm interested, involved and wow! surprised already by the end of the 2nd page.
It's a very interesting and different future... maybe something it could be argued we're heading towards... but maybe, and hopefully, not. One small peek, without giving away too much: violent crime happens and an instantaneously formed jury votes - all connected to constant active 'tv' of sorts, that includes mass participation and ratings, 'reality tv' with a vengeance!
The book is multi-layered, and honestly, one reading isn't enough to perceive all that's buried within the various layers. A second reading is something I definitely plan, and am eager to see what's next by this author.
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