Samuil Petrovitch is a Russian PhD student with a shady past living in post-Armageddon London, whose PhD supervisor is Pif, a mathematician working on the Grand Unified Theory. This is a theory of ‘everything’ that would enable huge strides forward in technology just like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity enabled a huge technological leap forward, including nuclear power and quantum computers. (Hence the title Equations of Life.) Petrovich sets out to convince everyone that he is a cold, selfish bastard but when he gets in the way (literally) of a kidnapping, he rescues a girl at great personal cost. The girl Petrovitch rescued was Sonja Oshicora, the daughter of the Japanese crime overlord, and the kidnappers were agents of Marchenkho, a Ukrainian crime boss. Petrovich and Sonja take refuge in a church where they meet Sister Madeline, an armed and armoured nun, whose job is to protect her priest.
Armageddon was a terrorist bombing in London with results similar to Nagaskai and Hiroshima, except the winds took radiation to the east, impacting on other countries.
Equations of Life is a sci-fi/action/comedy with a bit of romance thrown in. There is overt, light-hearted humour at the beginning, but the humour becomes darker and less obvious as the action progresses. Spoofs galore are intertwined with the plot; sometimes spoofs are laugh out loud funny and other times dryly obscure references. My favourite was possibly the reference to the old can’t-climb-stairs dilemma (Daleks anyone?). Intense and fast-paced throughout, Life culminates in scenes that belong in a high budget movie.
Equations of Life is part gangster movie, part Die Hard, part Stainless Steel Rat, part Transformers. Highly recommended for people who enjoy hard SF blended with comedy. Also recommended for strategy game geeks, who get their own back in Life.
This article was previously published in Dark Matter issue 3, April 2011, and predated on this website to reflect the original publication date.