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Meet Vadim Babenko Author of Semmant
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Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.

To read more about Norm Follow Here






 
By Norm Goldman
Published on April 25, 2013
 


Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com Interviews Vadim Babenko Author of Semmant, The Black Pelican and A Simple Soul

                                                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                                                                                      


Today, Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest Vadim Babenko. Vadim has published five books in the Russian language including two novels The Black Pelican and A Simple Soul. Both of these novels were nominated for the National Bestseller and the Big Book awards, Russia’s most prestigious literary prizes. His most recent novel, Semmant has been published in English. He has also published two books of poetry.

Vadim was born in the Soviet Union and earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from the Moscow Institute of Physics & Technology, Russia’s equivalent to MIT. As a scientist at the Soviet Academy of Sciences, he became a recognized leader in the area of artificial intelligence. He moved to the U.S.A. and co-founded a high-tech bioinformatics company. He left the company right after a successful IPO – to the bewilderment of everybody – and he became a full-time writer.

Good day Vadim and thanks for participating in our interview

Norm:

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? What keeps you going?

Vadim:

I read a lot as a child. I considered books to be the most fascinating thing in the world, and I knew back then I would write fiction myself. I just knew it – no one told me about it or encouraged me in any way. I even had “writer dreams” – line after line of a written text running before my eyes and resounding in my head. I didn’t understand the meaning of the words but I felt their rhythm.

As for keeping me going, my books are just the reality I live in – I can’t stop writing and/or contemplating new plots and ideas just like I cannot stop moving, breathing, etc.

Norm:

How and why did you become interested in cybernetics?

Vadim:

I was finishing my MS in physics and had my scientific future all planned, but at that very moment in time I met a recruiter from the newly created Institute of Informatics Problems who told me about the artificial intelligence concept. I was hooked right away, left physics behind, and jumped head first into AI. I wanted to create the most powerful artificial mind – and nothing less.

Norm:

How did you decide you were ready to write Semmant and how did you know when your book was finished?

Vadim:

After finishing my previous novel, A Simple Soul, I spent two years not writing anything – just doing some research and elaborating on the idea for Semmant. I was exhausted and didn’t believe I could actually write another book. Then, at some point, I hated myself SO much for idling that I felt it would be better to start to write at least something. So I started and suddenly realized I’d recuperated enough to take on a project as big as I wanted Semmant to be. As for the finishing a book, it’s always the same: you improve and improve your text until the text resists any further improvement.

Norm:

What purpose do you believe your novel Semmant serves and what matters to you about the story?

Vadim:

I think, as with any literary fiction, it serves only one purpose: to create its own, logically complete and believable world that gives a reader a unique viewpoint of our life. As for the story, everything in it matters to me equally, I can’t distinguish any specific issues.

Norm:

What was the most difficult part of writing Semmant? As a follow up, did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Vadim:

I think the most difficult part of writing any novel is maintaining the required level of energy and concentration for several years it takes to complete it. Semmant wasn’t different in that regard. And of course, while you write you learn – systemizing all the thoughts you had before, going deeper into understanding the true nature of your ideas, your protagonists, their motivations, etc.

Maybe, sometimes, writing a book gives you a more authentic real life experience than real life itself.

Norm:

Do you worry about the human race?

Vadim:

I wouldn’t say I’ve ever caught myself “worrying” about it. But I do think about it a lot. :) The very phenomenon of humanity has always interested me enormously – more than anything else. By humanity I’m referring to the aspects of humans that make them different from other species: the human mind, emotions, reasoning, and so on.

Norm:

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?

Vadim:

I received an excellent education – for which I’m very grateful to the Soviet Union, a country that doesn’t exist anymore. And I grew up reading great Russian literature – which really shaped my literary tastes.

Maybe the most important thing I got from my childhood and my youth is a habit not to be frightened by the problems that appear unsolvable and the goals that look unachievable. And that’s important for a writer: when you start a book it often seems impossible to take all those diverse thoughts that scurry through your head and put them into words on a page. :)

Norm:

You have authored a few books including two poetry books. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Vadim:

I don’t feel I have any right to give advice or that I know any more or anything better than other writers.

Norm:

Where can our readers find out more about you and your novels and what is next for Vadim Babenko?

Vadim:

A lot of info can be found on my WEBSITE  – including the stories behind my books, which in and of themselves are quite interesting and worth a look. As for the future, I have two well-developed ideas that I’m going to convert into novels during the next five to six years. I just started writing one of these new books.

Norm:

As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.

Vadim:

I like the question asked by a protagonist of my second novel, A Simple Soul: what’s the sense of our ability of looking for a sense? My answer is: I don’t know – yet!

Norm:

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors

Vadim:

Thank you very much!

Follow Here To Read Norm's Review of Semmant

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