Author Archives: Vadim Babenko

About Vadim Babenko

Writing for me is not a career, not a means to celebrity. It’s truly the essence of my being, the core of my existence. I knew this from my early twenties and have never doubted it for a second. The most fascinating thing in the world for me has always been the magic of words, the beauty and harmony hidden within texts. I wanted to learn how to trace and expose them, how to capture them, touch them with my fingers. I know it’s impossible. But I’m still trying. Each book is a separate universe, a cosmos with its own metrics. The only thing that makes sense in my life is nourishing these universes in my mind for years, and when they’re mature enough, converting them into written narratives, fixing their inner logic, setting the laws of their physics. This is a tough job which never leaves you in peace. I wouldn’t want any other.

SEMMANT – Atonement

“Never tamper with love!” – SEMMANT


Everything was overturned; the flat looked like a ruined animal lair. I don’t know what Lidia was searching for, but she had made a concerted effort. Maybe she was just working off anger, venting her roiling rage.

The computer, thankfully, was still on. However, the monitor had been turned off, and a message was drawn on it in lipstick: “I’ll always have my eye on you!” I didn’t care; I wasn’t afraid of her. Only one thing concerned me: how was Semmant doing?

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SEMMANT – Light of Eve 2

“All the wickedness maturing in her soul is not able to mar her image….” – SEMMANT


My secret surveillance took on new meaning; I was fixated on women more than ever before. None escaped my field of vision – dazzling beauties and plain girls-next-door, socialites and carefree faeries, mothers of families laden with concerns, and office bitches with sharp, icy eyes. Each one, it seemed, was driven by her own motivations: career, children, envy and the admiration of friends. But the softest ray, as if on its own, was born inside and would pierce through the clouds. Despite complexes and prohibitions, disappointments and social pressure. I had only to try to capture it, to break it up into its elementary components. To generalize it and turn it into an abstract image.

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A SIMPLE SOUL – Her Lovers

“Men fell for her, flocking like corpulent moths to her wicked glow and silent call…” – A SIMPLE SOULvisuals-simplesoul-herlovers



“The desire for fire and passion quickly returned, but they proved elusive despite her cheerful disposition and energetic search. As a result, Elizaveta’s personal life was reduced to compromise and a quest to satisfy her lust. This held its own brand of passion: risky and shameless, with a sharp, musky aftertaste. Her outward detachment would give way to a surge of stormy intensity; she seemed to break free of her cage, growing unrestrained and insatiable. It had little to do with crude sensuality; the nature of these whirlwinds that tossed her about was much deeper and subtler. Elizaveta had no name for it, but with a bit of work, she could convince herself it was the energy of love.

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SEMMANT – Indigo Chidren 2

“Let your cheeks be salty only from the ocean spray…” – SEMMANT

Visuals - SEMMANT - Indigo2


The circus was touring the thermal pools then, entertaining fat cats with ailing livers. My girl did not dance there anymore; she’d suddenly grown up and run off with some Romanian officer. I bore her no ill will and wished her the best, for somehow I knew: wings are just not meant to last. As for Simon, he remained true to his top hat with the stars and his tattered black tailcoat. His trade implied a certain erudition, and he knew about the phenomenon of Indigo. Once he heard about me, his ears pricked up. My father took notice, and for the first time he began to think I might finally be of some use. After draining the entire bottle, they decided to make me a whiz kid in the circus. Simon convinced my father that the talent for doing quick calculations, if I was found to possess the ability, was all the rage now and could bring in good money. I think that was his best trick ever.

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“He wanted desperately to seize the tantalizing essence: why? The rustle and smell of the essence were somewhere here, but he knew it would not yield itself up…” – A SIMPLE SOUL

Visuals - SIMPLESOUL - LostHope


“So, what’s up? How are you?” she asked with a yawn. “Come on, speak up fast. I’m a little busy here.” In the background some smooth jazz was playing, and men’s voices could be heard. Frank felt his heart would rip out of his chest and fly into the abyss.

“Olga,” he uttered, “please, will you marry me?”

She was silent a long time, then mumbled, “Hang on,” and yelled in frustration at someone close by, “Bug off, will you! This doesn’t concern you!” Then she sighed and said tenderly and warmly, “Frankie, you’re still such a child. Go home. It’s better for you there – much, much better, trust me.”

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SEMMANT – Breakup

“I don’t know what cry she shouted at the sky over the frost-covered Taiga; whether she wished her father’s death, where she is now, or what became of her…” – SEMMANT

Visuals - SEMMANT - Breakup

cover_semmantmyqmarkOnce I finished off the next automatic trader, I cut the project short and declared I was leaving. Lucco was inconsolable and promised me the moon, but my interest in him had already dissipated. To his credit, he gave me a solid bonus and very nearly shed a tear when we parted ways at the airport.

I explained my departure with personal reasons – and quite by happenstance, one of the twins, whom I had forgotten to think about, appeared out of nowhere to announce she could not live without me. I was cold and somewhat rude, having not forgiven her for the Marseille saga, but she endured it and spent a few months with me – as far as I know, she didn’t cheat on me even once. We probably would have kept living together – and then everything might have turned out differently – but her cruel Siberian father tracked us down on the seacoast of Spain, and simply took her by force while I was playing tennis two steps from the house.
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“And right then I felt that universal chaos was neither an abstraction nor a joke. It emphatically, impudently had just interfered in my life…” – SEMMANT

Visuals - SEMMANT - Chaos

cover_semmantmyqmarkLater, I wandered to the taxi stand through a veil of poisonous smoke in a city that had long been sinking into its own detritus. It felt as though something really terrible had happened that morning. I was crushed, downtrodden – and it was not just me. The work I had done was openly ridiculed. They had proven that the world did not need me – not one bit!

For the first time, I felt utter hopelessness. I was unprepared for the misery that enshrouded me. The burning sun was nearly at its zenith, scoured by haze, but knowing no mercy. I then understood: this must be what a cosmic disaster looks like. It’s as if we are falling into our star, losing our orbit, unable to resist the gravitational pull. Or the star itself, contrary to calculations, just now decided to spit out its last thermonuclear blast from the remaining hydrogen. One way or another, we’re out of time – as we always were, to tell the truth. All the efforts, all the attempts are in vain and will not be needed – ever, by anyone.

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