Sunday, 3 July 2011

Equations of Life, Theories of Flight and Degrees of Freedom by Simon Morden

Some Trippy Shizz
I LOVE these covers, while I was reading them not a single day went by where someone didn't stop to ask me what I was reading because of the eye melting graphics. And I would proudly say "oh this? this is just the craziest story about a Russian physics student in post nuclear London and war has just broken out on the streets and ...........oh sorry I forgot you were there, go away I'm reading"

I would like to add that although I think these covers are the bees nuts I kind of hate the actual book titles, they're all a little vague and sort of cheesy sounding, which is probably why they've been relegated to the side and the publishers have just let the graphics do the selling. Smart move Orbit. Give yourselves a sweetie.

The Blurbington
Petrovitch likes being anonymous in the huge crowded city of the London Metrozone. He keeps his head down and spends his days battling nothing more life threatening then mathematical equations at the University, carefully never drawing attention to himself or his past. Unfortunately on the same day he witnesses a kidnapping, his altruistic side decides to act and he leaps to the rescue of one Sonja Oshicora. The only child of of a Japanese crime king pin who is now in Petrovitch's debt, much to the rival gangs' displeasure. Now Petrovitch needs to find a way of regaining his anonymity in a city filled with people looking to either kill or save him, all the while trying to figure out who the New Machine Jihad is and how they have managed to take complete control of the Metrozone and all it's inhabitants. Help rides along in the form of the apathetic Police Detective Harry Chain and Madeleine, a Catholic nun trained by the Order of Joan as a very effective killing machine. 

The Pizdets
I will warn you now, these books are relentless, non-stop action. Each only takes place over the course of a few days but Morden packs so much in to each you barely get any time to pause. Petrovich certainly doesn't, from the second he grabs Sonja Oshicora's hand in Equations of Life till the final page in book three he is subjected to every type of injury, pain and hurt imaginable. And he just carries on through it all with a single mindedness thats really quite endearing. Even though he's hardly a good guy (at one point he shoots a street kid in the foot, there's logic to it but it's not the behavior of your average hero) I found myself completely on his side throughout the whole three books. He's smart, in a way a
lot of characters aren't these days, he figures out solutions and enemies way before I did and better then that, his solutions to are almost always exactly the right ones. 

You know in those war movies where there's always that shouty American General demanding the President nuke all sons of bitches that so much as look at him funny? Petrovitch is that scientist guy who always comes through at the last minute with that technologically amazing alternative that saves everybody from sprouting extra radioactive limbs. He's like Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day, but very sweary, and Russian. Actually the constant Russian swearing was one of the things I loved bout Petrovitch, after reading all three books I'm having a difficult time not yelling yobany stos! every time I stub a toe or spill some coffee.

"'Why didn't the bastard ment tell me this in the hospital?' 
Petrovitch bent down to scoop up the crumpled form, and laboriously started to flatten out the creases over his knee.

'I'm sure he had his reasons. By the way, this is church. I'd appreciate you not swearing in it.'

Petrovitch considered his options. If the priest didn't hold to turning the other cheek, hitting him might end badly. But just skulking off didn't strike him as being appropriate either. 'Past' zakroi, podonok.'

Though the words were incomprehensible, his sentiment was resonant in his delivery. Father John's face grew hard, and he took a step forward. 'Get out.'"

There's a veritable zoo of amazing secondary characters as well, most who join Petrovitch's merry little band in the second book. And pretty much all women, brilliant, hardcore, indispensable women who are the only reasons he manages to survive an apocalypse caused by a computer, a war with a humongous army of violent barbarians (outies) and an international pissing contest with a puritanical America. He may have all the ideas and plans but these ladies are the ones who put them in to action and drag his weak arse out of danger whenever he manages to wander in to the line of fire. There's Valentina, a true Soviet communist to her red core and demolitions expert. Lucy, the schoolgirl found hiding in a bathtub from the outies who saves his life more than once. And of course Madeleine, the amazonian, Catholic trained bodyguard who does things to Petrovitch's synthetic heart that has nothing to do with the fact it's constantly malfunctioning. I adored all of these guys, they were all useful fully realised people, no extra bits of skirt who are only good for the hero to perv over in these stories, and I loved Morden for that. Also any writer that includes sly nods to The Princess Bride, Eddie Izzard and Zero Wing in their books is a-ok with me.

If you're looking for something clever, fast paced and exhilarating then you can't do much better than these three books. In Communist Russia book reads you.


Holly said... [Reply to comment]

I haven't heard of this series before but I do love the covers. They are attention grabbers for sure. I would start to feel self-conscious reading them in public if you got that many comments on them from random strangers.

HollyG said... [Reply to comment]

oh I take any chance I can get to foist a book recommendation on people!