- Paperback: 348 pages
- Publisher: Forge; First Ed edition (May 1, 1986)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812531507
- ISBN-13: 978-0812531503
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 30 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Kundalini Equation Paperback – May 1, 1986
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"The Kundalini Equation" is a classic Steven Barnes book which mixes the genre of martial arts, Japanese manga, and biochemistry. The main character is a "no one" happens upon my ancient Ayran mystic knowledge from a superman race allowing them to change their body chemistry to be able to do super human things. The explanation of how it works is slow revealed through out the book -- the Kundalini Equation -- which give a fun slow reveal to rules of how the alternate world in this novel work. This is the strength of Steven Barnes -- he takes interesting facts from various genres and weaves them into a nicely integrated world that sucks in the reader.
The book does start off a bit slowly but it is worth the reader's patience. The main character is a "no one" who does have exceptional mental focus and some martial art skills but otherwise is a classic nerd and a loser. The evolution of the main character is very well done which shows a wide evolution from loser to near God but he never loses his humanity. The book also does an interesting study of how power corrupts people.
If you have a kindle, the price for the kindle version is well worth the money.
If you are not familiar with Steve Barnes, you should take a look at his other books. If you like RPGs, the Dream Park series of novels are excellent. He has also some alternative African and Colonial history.
I once heard a story,possibly apocryphal, of a study in which the question was asked a group of elite athletes: If there were a technique or substance that allowed you to be absolutely the best in your sport but would seriously curtail your lifespan, would you take it? The answer was an overwhelming "Yes!" This is the kind of story behind the Kundalini Equation. Adam Ludlum, in his attempt to get in shape in order to win his father's approval and his girlfriend's respect and admiration, comes upon a technique for transformation, a technique to which he becomes addicted with disastrous consequences to himself, to those around him, and ultimately to the world.
The lesson I find over and over: how does one strive for excellence without becoming unhealthily obsessive? How does one maintain sufficient contact with one's community to be pulled back from the brink of self-destruction? How does our obsession with technique manifest as addiction wherein we are powerless to stop even in the face of the unmanageability of the consequences both societal and personal?
This is a solid book, well written with good secondary characters. Barnes gets you deeply into Adam's emotional life so that you appreciate his progression and demise. The secondary characters are also fleshed out well enough that you appreciate their concern and ultimately their anguish over Adam. The story is three dimensional and real.
I first bought this book in 1986 and have re-read it enough that my copy is held together by a rubber band. I got the Kindle version so that I wouldn't have to deal with keeping all the pages in their proper order as I read it again.
I guess blood, gore and mass destruction are the norm these days, and that's the case here. I will credit Barnes for concluding the story, not purposely setting up a sequel as everyone seems to do these days ( as I wait feverishly for the next "Expsnse" installment!).
So much great sci-fi revolves around a whodunnit, and the characters develop along that journey. Barnes does this well, so you end up rooting for, and often saddened by, their fate.
If you enjoy an inner battle as well as good guy-bad guy, this 'equation ' has a solution for you.
Wish there were more good martial arts sci fi stuff out there.
The Kundalini Equation proposes just such a theory. Although a work of fiction, it does provide food for thought. Just what are the limits of our human bodies if we discipline our minds?