The world is a composite being known as the Living, a bland, machine-encoded world. Ironically, the only being truly alive is known as 'Zero', treated as an outcast by the Living.
I came to this book because of my interest in Russian literature, not as a sci-fi enthusiast. If you are one of the latter, then this novel deserves your attention, although it's not always easy to understand what's going on! All credit to James Rann for taking on the formidable task of translating this book.