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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 communitie 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 and peopled by Serbian Mafiosi, Babylon Babies has as its hero a hard-boiled leatherneck veteran of Sarajevo named Thoorop who is hired by a mysterious source to escort a young woman named Marie Zorn from Russia to Canada. A garden variety job, he figures. But when Thoorop is offered an even higher fee by another organization, he realizes Marie is no ordinary girl. A schizophrenic and the possible carrier of a new artificial virus, Marie is carrying a mutant embryo created by an American cult that dreams of producing a genetically modified messiah, a dream that spells out the end of human life as we know it. Inspired by Philip K. Dick, William S. Burroughs, Gilles Deleuze, and other extrapolationists of the future, Babylon Babies unfolds at breakneck speed as Thoorop risks his life to save Marie, whose brain--linking to the neuromatrix--loses all limits and becomes the universe itself. Exploring the symbiosis between organic matter and computer power to spin new forms of consciousness, Maurice Dantec rides Nietzsche's prophecy: "Man is something to be overcome."


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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 communitie 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 and peopled by Serbian Mafiosi, Babylon Babies has as its hero a hard-boiled leatherneck veteran of Sarajevo named Thoorop who is hired by a mysterious source to escort a young woman named Marie Zorn from Russia to Canada. A garden variety job, he figures. But when Thoorop is offered an even higher fee by another organization, he realizes Marie is no ordinary girl. A schizophrenic and the possible carrier of a new artificial virus, Marie is carrying a mutant embryo created by an American cult that dreams of producing a genetically modified messiah, a dream that spells out the end of human life as we know it. Inspired by Philip K. Dick, William S. Burroughs, Gilles Deleuze, and other extrapolationists of the future, Babylon Babies unfolds at breakneck speed as Thoorop risks his life to save Marie, whose brain--linking to the neuromatrix--loses all limits and becomes the universe itself. Exploring the symbiosis between organic matter and computer power to spin new forms of consciousness, Maurice Dantec rides Nietzsche's prophecy: "Man is something to be overcome."

30 review for Babylon Babies

  1. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    It’s not a great sign when the title of your experimental cyberpunk novel — published by “semiotext(e),” MIT’s theory imprint, yet! — has a title that makes you think of the Muppet Babies except everyone is in those big hats and beards. I thought maybe it’d be better in French — “Enfants de Babylone” doesn’t sound so dumb — but nope! Dantec gave it that English title despite the novel itself being in French. Anyway… for a 560 page novel replete with references to literature, history, and especial It’s not a great sign when the title of your experimental cyberpunk novel — published by “semiotext(e),” MIT’s theory imprint, yet! — has a title that makes you think of the Muppet Babies except everyone is in those big hats and beards. I thought maybe it’d be better in French — “Enfants de Babylone” doesn’t sound so dumb — but nope! Dantec gave it that English title despite the novel itself being in French. Anyway… for a 560 page novel replete with references to literature, history, and especially high theory like Deleuze (presumably by it got translated into English by a theory-specialist academic press), I haven’t got that much to say about the actual plot. A magical girl holds the key to a future of Deleuzean schizo-something or other, where the boundaries between people, machines, animals, plants, et al break down and everything gets all freaky and liberated (but in a scary way) somehow. I don’t hate that kind of theory in the way vengeful nerds often do. Some of it I even get something out of. But more of it strikes me as posturing obfuscation, not offensive so much as uninteresting. Perhaps in keeping with the muddle of this kind of postmodern thought, it’s not entirely clear how the girl, or one of multiple hard-to-distinguish cults with an interest in her, is going to effect this change- something about viruses and genetically engineered babies? Who knows. This magical girl (Marie- natch) needs to be escorted by the main character, Toorop, a Flemish mercenary with a philosophical bent, initially hired by the Russian mob but then wooed away to save the girl and one of the nicer cults, or… something. Honestly it got hard to keep track. At 560 pages and numerous digressions into High Theory you’re not doing cyberpunk, you’re doing cyberprog. There’s some cool stuff in here; it’s not the worst laid out near-future dystopia I’ve seen, and there’s some good twisty crime stuff. But it gets overwhelmed by sheer volume of (basically indistinguishable) characters, digressions, and just words. It’s too long and confusing to work as a novel. The translation doesn’t help- among other things, there’s mistakes even someone who can maybe quarter-read French could pick up, like translating “ancien,” as in “former,” to “ancient,” so you get stuff like “Toorop was an ancient soldier” when really he’s a retired, hence former, soldier, only in his forties. Sloppy, or “post-modern”? You decide! I will say I’m curious about this Dantec figure. He died a few years back, but apparently cut quite a swath in French-language literature, a sort of love-him-or-hate-him kind of guy. Supposedly his real magnum opus is where he pulls a Leon Bloy and wrote something like 3000 pages about how all of the rest of contemporary French literature is awful, and written by awful people. Untranslated, alas, and even the wikipedia article in French isn’t that informative- seems to be one of those literary fights waged fiercely in its circles and not making its way out, certainly not to Anglophone schlubs like me. Apparently, Dantec was on the political right, a supporter of the Iraq War and Israel. He selects some interesting backgrounds for his characters- Toorop fought for the Chechens against the Russians and the Bosnian Muslims against the Serbs, and his two friends on his mission are an American emigrant to Israel and a Protestant militant from Belfast… the romance of small nationalisms? A lot of our contemporary very-online far right seems to prefer big nationalisms against smaller forces seen as disintegrative, ala Russia, the US, Syria… but you do get the other side too, the fantasy of breaking apart the liberal global monolith through multiple secessions of militant nationalities, eccentric enclaves and ministates, and so on, which is pretty in keeping with cyberpunk tropes… anyway, who knows if that’s what Dantec was in to, but I’m basically more interested in that than the theory-inflected stuff. **’ https://toomuchberard.wordpress.com/2...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    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 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 sentence like "The dr. sat down on a chair." Babylon Babies starts out as a good war story, focused on a mercenary soldier fighting in a war-torn region between China, Mongolia, and Russia. The conflict is based on current realities, projected only a little into the future. Dantec quickly introduces science fiction elements, a la the near-future fiction of William Gibson -- cyberpunks, mafia figures, artificial intelligence, secretive labs manipulating DNA, and an interesting plot line where the mercenary is hired by the Russian mafia to transport a pregnant girl carrying genetically-modified babies out of harm's way, then protect her to term. All good so far. Then, halfway through the novel, Dantec lays on a bunch of New Age nonsense about the wisdom of primitive peyote-smoking native shamans and cosmic snakes, a frankly unbelievable war between outlaw motorcycle gang militias with military capabilities approaching those of First World nation states, and two rival religious groups modeled on the Heaven's Gate cult (remember the group that committed mass suicide during the transit of Comet Hale-Bopp?), complete with male and female Do and Ti figures. We go from a conceivable, reality-founded near future to mere fantasy, mumbo-jumbo fantasy at that. At first I thought Dantec was joking, but as the plot became more and more ridiculous I began to think he must actually believe all this UFO cult conspiratorial horseshit, and I lost my grip on the story, flipping past page after page of self-indulgent drug-addled nonsense, looking for the threads I'd lost -- the soldier of fortune, the woman he's supposed to be guarding, the babies. The threads were still there, buried under a thick layer of distracting, repetitive verbiage, and I had to hunt for them. Can the novel's progression from solid near-future sci-fi to Weekly World News Bat Boy fantasy also be a result of poor translation? Somehow I doubt it, and I doubt I'll be reading any more work by Maurice Dantec.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bart Everson

    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. and 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 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. and 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 blue of her stare. Toorop felt a kind of bulldozer turn on in a deeply buried excavation. Something knotted at the base of his stomach. Now is not the time, a warning light displayed on the dashboard of his consciousness. Get this shit into program self-destruct right away, another voice screamed. Imminent threat of sentimentalism, the alarm siren wailed. He stared at the young woman with a strange smile… I think the protagonist, Toorop, is falling in love with the other main character, Marie. But I’m not really sure, because I gave up shortly thereafter. The author’s name is Maurice Dantec. I have to wonder if something got lost in translation. I gather he's big in France. This book has been made into a movie called Bablylon A.D. which I will studiously avoid.

  4. 4 out of 5

    C. J. Scurria

    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 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 mentally thinking of the plot to the film version called "Babylon A. D." (but I put in the original details from the book_). This book is definitely interesting. But the best way I can describe the novel in one word would be "convoluted." That is actually the perfect word to describe it actually I think. The most annoying thing about this book though is how confusing and long it feels. Everything involving the story felt it winded around stretching off to a long degree at times. My experience reading it kept veering back and forth from "this is interesting" to "I have no idea what in the world is going on." The book takes so much time developing a history in the future I started just taking the details as they came after a while as just tiny pointless bits of rubbish. (Quick note: To tell you how "bad" I thought this book was, I saw the movie first. It was called Babylon A. D. I didn't completely like the film though I thought it had interesting and intriguing concepts but I felt it was flat in many ways like coming up with a point. Then I read the book... and I appreciate the film a lot more than I ever have before!) While Dantec's writing style is somewhat interesting he makes the pace of reading irritating with preposterous scenes that sometimes aren't clear with the plot and long stretches of back-story. And normally I do not care too much if an author uses language but this writer used it like a ten-year old that has learned it for the first time. (Statements almost as silly as "the potatoes were ****ing creamy" and "the day was so ****ingly clear as the sky was pure blue"). Even Stephen King has used it at times in a humorous way but seemingly not in a gratuitous way. Yet here it is just sloppy. To get more specific: (view spoiler)[For people who have seen the film version the plot to this book is stretched out to a huge extent. The familiar parts of the plot come later than you might hope for. The Noelite Church is not revealed until near the middle of the book and events are somewhat the same though pointlessly ridiculous. You might not like the "writer" twist that I think makes no sense. Plus there are at least two major deaths where the characters later were revealed did not die (and at least one is not clearly explained). The "Cosmic Serpent" thing is hard to understand as well. (hide spoiler)] The content in the story is very awkward and I will not go into details here (I will not get into it but it made me think the sexual detail sometimes told too much information). Besides this book having a few easy transitions here and there as the plot thickened I found myself becoming impatient with how long this book seemed. I actually set "page goals" because after a while I just wanted it to get finished. There is a lot to cover but I do not know how to describe it all. I did not completely regret reading it though- I just wish it went along a lot easier than expected. There were times I did not hate the book and loved the language and word-usage but not at most times. And while it was not so bad, I hope this is not a good example of the cyberpunk genre because if so, I want no part in reading it ever again.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    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 technological ta 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 technological take-over. This is the story of a world at odds: mafia vs. military, water vs. food, killing vs. starvation. This is the story of a man who has shed his humanity, becoming a machine, and longs to reclaim it. This is the story of a woman who seeks to live long enough to give birth to a being/virus which can bridge the gap between humanity and machine, creating a messiah untold in our scriptures. This is a story on how through computers and drugs can someone access streams of consciousness unheard of-- much like the info dumps in Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan series. This is the first book to be translated and released here in the States from the French writer Maurice G. Dantec. The translator deserves a world of credit because I can't imagine translating a French cyber-punk story into English to have been easy. Maurice's military and war knowledge is great and I loved how this is more a book on a man trying to fight a war through planning and not with guns a-blazzing. Brilliant and flawed. I enjoyed this but cannot recommend this to many because it's just so hard to digest with all its cyberpunk symbolism. However, if the reader is well versed in this sub-genre they will be greatly rewarded with a hard fought reading. -- this has been made into a movie starring Vin Diesel. If you had asked me what books I thought could never be made into movies, this book would be one of them. I imagine that all deapth and insight have been taken making the movie a hollywood actionair. Great. Why Diesel? Why? Stop making movies!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael Burnam-Fink

    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 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, noirish cyberpunk thriller. In the incredibly fractured setting and plot, the inevitable betrayals and triple-crosses happen because they we all agree they're supposed to. Psyches break and go mad because the plot demands it, not because the characters have been pushed beyond their limits. This novel consciously follows in the footsteps of Neuromancer. But while the novelty of its ideas at the time and the stark evocative force of Gibson's langauge made Neuromancer an instant classic, Babylon Babies just feels trite and forced.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lucky Bradley

    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 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 try and sound more knowledgeable or highbrow, or perhaps the concepts themselves don't transfer directly between the languages as well as Dantec hoped. Whatever the reason, it is a good, truly cyperpunk book, as long as you can get past some of the descriptions.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    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 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 movie...with Vin Diesel, no less. [later edit: The movie was a complete disaster.]

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dominick

    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 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 tone.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chade66

    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. 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Veach Glines

    Couldn't stay on the page. Not poorly written -- but the plotting and characters and dialogue made it impossible for me to want to keep reading. Ever have a book that seems to be something you would like? There is some bones in this book that I am drawn to . . . but all the flesh and character and plotting suck and force me to shelve it unfinished. Couldn't stay on the page. Not poorly written -- but the plotting and characters and dialogue made it impossible for me to want to keep reading. Ever have a book that seems to be something you would like? There is some bones in this book that I am drawn to . . . but all the flesh and character and plotting suck and force me to shelve it unfinished.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Virna

    I thought the story was long and a little strange but ok.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeff J.

    The influences for Babylon Babies range from Philip K. Dick to more recent cyberpunk writers - pretty much a genre that I struggle with. Nevertheless, the Sarajevo setting was unique and the story kept me interested, a credit to the writer and the reason this has become a cult novel.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Edward ott

    I found the characters to be interesting and by the end well fleshed out. the story keeps you guessing. a lot of back story at the beginning of the book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    April Durham

    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 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 translation has been claimed here and on many blogs to be faulty, in fact it is not. Dantec's writing style is intended to reflect the schizo-status of the characters and to develop the novel as its own schizo-machine. The wierd poetics are part of the punk vibe that uses disruption and inappropriateness to challenge given authority structures. Addendum: I have been writing an article about violence and creativity and analyzing this book and so have read it now three times and once in French. I stand by my interest in Dantec's schizo-machines which combine an advanced consciousness occurring in schizophrenic awareness that is corralled in a way that is managable for the schizophrenic, combined with the auto-augmenting artificial intelligence in the character Joe-Jane. But now I want to say that all his disruption and fragmentation and zany punk ideology results in the re-establishment of the heteronormative family in the form of the ex-war machine/protector daddy (Toorop) and the Mommy Machine in Joe-Jane. Interesting that the hope for humanity to survive its catastrophic climate change/technology induced apocalypse is the omnipresent data knowledge of little girls. It seems so purile. Well, maybe when I finish the article, I'll have something else to say.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    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 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 going on in the shape of protag and antag characters and aims and counter aims of the largely varying and interlinked groups. 50 pages later, I was lost again hah. I loved Toorop as a character, especially his shady and guilty/fond recollections of past conflicts and wars, and his continuing introspective analysis. In relation to all else, the book moves ahead at a stumbling pace, dispersed with coherent and understandable segments followed by completely mad and psychedelic phases (most often from Marie's schizophrenic point of view). It was heavy going, yet entices you on with a vague promise of some plot based catharsis, basically a desire to know what the hell is going on and how it all connects, as well as a vaguely accurate if not morbid view of the near future, well, you eventually get a definite confirmation of the story's time setting and it occurs late 2013 to early 2014, eerie.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steven Allen

    After the horrible Vin Diesel movie, I was dubious reading this novel - thankfully the movie is very loosely based on the book, and I mean very loosely. While the movie takes the names of the characters, and some basic tenets such as the Noelite church, escorting a pregnant woman from one place to another, and a few other things. This book is a cult classic in its native France, and the other regarded as the "French cyber punk" father. I had high hopes for this book, since I like some cyber punk After the horrible Vin Diesel movie, I was dubious reading this novel - thankfully the movie is very loosely based on the book, and I mean very loosely. While the movie takes the names of the characters, and some basic tenets such as the Noelite church, escorting a pregnant woman from one place to another, and a few other things. This book is a cult classic in its native France, and the other regarded as the "French cyber punk" father. I had high hopes for this book, since I like some cyber punk (when done well) and I like reading books from authors other than from my native country. Some have said that since this book was translated into English from the original French, several things might be missing in the translation. The total lack of contractions, and everyone saying "gonna" is mildly irritating, but I can get by. There are a lot of F bombs in the book, but I am used to those too, as I was a soldier once and understand the frequency that the F bomb is used. Others have also mentioned a hatred of organized religion in this book, but I did not sense that unless I am not reading enough into the text. The main "bad" religion is actually a cult attempting to birth a mutated "super messiah." Only thing I did not really like in this book was the new-age ancient mysticism that permeates the story. I just skipped most of the mysticism and moved on.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was....complex to read, mostly towards the end(maybe the translation, but I’ve heard the author himself has written many books like this). The year is 2014, Russia and China are engaged in civil wars, Quebec is its own, independent region. The world is pretty bleak I’m gonna be honest, and it revolves around a Bosnian mercenary, Toorop, who has to escort a young woman, Marie Zoro, to Quebec from Siberia. Marie is pregnant with twins despite never being in a relationship with any man(th This book was....complex to read, mostly towards the end(maybe the translation, but I’ve heard the author himself has written many books like this). The year is 2014, Russia and China are engaged in civil wars, Quebec is its own, independent region. The world is pretty bleak I’m gonna be honest, and it revolves around a Bosnian mercenary, Toorop, who has to escort a young woman, Marie Zoro, to Quebec from Siberia. Marie is pregnant with twins despite never being in a relationship with any man(thanks to the science of a neo catholic organization) and also has schizophrenia. Basically, she’s a genetic modified Messiah with serious mental health issues. The first half of the book was pretty simple, but then it started getting weird and chaotic as it progressed. Super computers that can talk, scientists using the teachings of Native shamans and hallucinogenic drugs and the girls twin babies are suppose to bring about the next stage in human evolution. The concepts were interesting, but I don’t think the author gathered his thoughts properly. Just had idea and threw them all on the book, made it very tough to read tbh, had to re-read some chapters several times.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Yune

    "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." I "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." I confess I read this mostly to make sense of Babylon A.D. And it was illuminating about some otherwise senseless plot points of the movie. Unfortunately, the book introduced a lot more complexity: characters leaping on stage and then off, hallucinations of potential validity... The translation was off a bit, too (accurate as it is, one doesn't usually say "he swallowed his saliva"), which was jarring. Some interesting concepts, but two much one-dimensionality to really make me sit up and look at it twice.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Red Haircrow

    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 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 sci-fi movies I don't exactly understand or I want to know more about. This book went beyond all bounds for me, which I found hugely exciting. In the scope of the changes to mankind and the strength of the vision by the author, I would compare it to Frank Herbert's later Dune books and Dan Simmons Hyperion series. It's a great re-read also.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Burton

    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 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 very abstract ideas. Those explorations are probably at odds with a satisfying narrative however... I highly suspect that reading it in French is a lot richer - the language is purposely fractured and associative and that's the kind of thing almost impossible to translate. I enjoyed it for the ideas it engaged.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nitachan

    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 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 anybody just because it's really exhausting to read but I don't regret having read it, because there are some strange concepts presented in this book that got me to some serious thinking about the workings of our world and the people in it...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    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 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 development then they receive, other things get more story time then they are worth. The early flashbacks are both effective and needed, but the later flashbacks take us away from the main action too often. A cool, strange book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sandrine Legal

    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 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 to transpose the story in New York!

  25. 4 out of 5

    JW

    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. 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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    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. 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.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Saborio

    An excellent translation (I think). I'm not sure how they got from this novel to the movie... Dantec combines a mastery of descriptive language and knowledge of recent events to weave several narratives into a read that had me mistaking his fiction for reality; even writing himself in (which I love, when done well). An excellent translation (I think). I'm not sure how they got from this novel to the movie... Dantec combines a mastery of descriptive language and knowledge of recent events to weave several narratives into a read that had me mistaking his fiction for reality; even writing himself in (which I love, when done well).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Motorcycle

    This one really didn't do it for me either. Again, I didn't care about any of the characters. The author seemed to be lugubriously longwinded, and the plot was totally mono-tonal. I didn't even find the science interesting, which has been the saving grace of several sci-fi books I've read in this vein. This one really didn't do it for me either. Again, I didn't care about any of the characters. The author seemed to be lugubriously longwinded, and the plot was totally mono-tonal. I didn't even find the science interesting, which has been the saving grace of several sci-fi books I've read in this vein.

  29. 4 out of 5

    David

    Well...the basic story was good, average at least, but it was lost in it's socio-political screed and techno babble and the prose were flat...not to mention the dialogue. The latter could have been the fault of an indifferent translator. Best that could be said...it's okay. Hope the movie is better....it wasn't -_- Well...the basic story was good, average at least, but it was lost in it's socio-political screed and techno babble and the prose were flat...not to mention the dialogue. The latter could have been the fault of an indifferent translator. Best that could be said...it's okay. Hope the movie is better....it wasn't -_-

  30. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    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. 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.

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