526 pp., 6 x 9 in,
- Published: September 30, 2005
- Publisher: Semiotext(e)
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."
Dantec has created a compelling story with evocative ideas that may prove even more illuminating with subsequent readings, and a reader who undertakes the arduous journey from cover to cover will be rewarded with an entertaining tale.
Arthur Bangs, sffworld.com
Dantec is a literary revolution.
Babylon Babies, an under-appreciated novel by French punk rocker turned writer Maurice G. Dantec, deserves a wider audience, and not just because its author is frequently mentioned in the same breath as Michel Houellebecq (and definitely not because the book is being adapted into a movie starring Vin Diesel)... what makes this novel (translated by Noura Wedell) so haunting is its vision of a near future in which society has fractured along every possible national, tribal and sectarian fault line.
New York Times Book Review
Riddled with acronyms and pop culture allusions, this is an intense, intellectually labyrinthine ride.
[T]his novel by Maurice Dantec was an epic ride.
The book deals with the breakdown of community and political certainty. It is gingered with snippets from Dantec's favourite philosophers and loaded with thoughts of his own. The result is a real workout for the reader. Babylon Babies is a vast encyclopedia of the future as seen through a crystal ball with cracks in the glass.... Babylon Babies is part of a genre that makes play with religious ideas. You might call it theo-fiction.
The Sydney Morning Herald