Equations of Life by Simon Morden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Loved this book! Great dystopian novel. Samuil Petrovitch is a Russian ex-pat living in the London Metrozone after an apocalypse, that we’re told little about, has occurred some years in the past. He’s a grad student in physics and about to solve the problem of time travel with a colleague. Then something happens. He gets involved. He notices a beautiful young lady about to be kidnapped and possibly assassinated and grabs her. A chase ensues and they escape. The police get involved, of course. Turns out she’s the daughter of the biggest Japanese mobster there is and the Russian mob was out to get her. Now there’s a price on his head.
The book is one major chase scene after another through a rapidly deteriorating London. In the midst of this, he meets Maddy, a young Amazonian nun with the biggest gun he’s ever seen. They become partners. See, the girl he saved does end up getting kidnapped after all and he vows to save her. In the meantime, something called the New Machine Jihad starts tearing the city apart, with all of the electronics going crazy. He comes close to dying I don’t know how many times and many people do die in this book, but it’s not overly gross. I was reading Jack Womack’s Ambient at the same time, another dystopian novel that I really enjoyed, but I was seriously glad to be done with it because its violence was so insane. Not so with this book. My only real complaint with this book was the ages of the primary characters. Petrovich and Maddy are both about 20 and the girl he saved, Sonja, was about 17. Yet all have the emotional and mental abilities of people much older, in their mid-30s perhaps, as well as academic and work qualifications. Not totally believable there.
I don’t want to give away the plot ending and apparently there are two sequels, so I put them on my Amazon Wish List, as I really enjoyed this book and want to read more. I can see why this won the Philip K. Dick award. It’s not really cyberpunk, although it’s got some elements of it. It was published in 1987, so technology was more limited then. Still, the author did foresee some things, which was pretty cool. If you like this type of novel, try it out — you won’t be disappointed. Recommended.