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Showing posts from August, 2011

Brasyl by Ian McDonald : Quantum Physic in Brazil with a lot of great writing

How does Ian McDonald do it. He delighted me with River of Gods. He surprised me with Cyberabad Days and Brasyl is an absolute beauty. There are three parallel stories all set in different times in Brazil. The one I liked most is set in the 17th century and is about a prise Luiss Quinn(that I remember after two weeks ought to speak for the book). The sword fights are the equal to anything that Alexandre Dumas does in Three Musketeers and the writing is fantastic. I also learnt a lot of strange facts about a lot of strange things including the origin of computing. The second arc is set in the present and concerns itself with a reporter on the hunt of disgraced Goalkeeper who lost Brazil the fateful final against Uruguay. This probably has the best description of a football match that I have ever read. (Admittedly I haven't read many but its hard to see how it can get better than this). The third strand is set in the future and I found it to be the most confusing. Qua

The windup girl by Paolo Bacigalupi : A future without Oil and genetic engineering

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi  (Don't even try to pronounce the author's name,  I gave up after a few tries) is an extraordinary book. Its hard to see how this is his first novel (Even China Mieville wrote King Rat first up). The book is about the near future and is set in Thailand. The world has been afflicted by a plague due to which new food varities need to be developed again. Human tinkering has produced new cpecies and of course since we have run out of fossil fuels new energy sources have to be found. It is against this backdrop that a rich cast of characters comes to life. The plot concerns itself with a Mr Anderson Lake a factory manager who is actually in Thailand on a covert mission to get the aforementioned foods which somehow Thailand has managed to procure. The other characters includes Enmiko the windup girl, a yellow chinese who has had to migrate to Thailand.  This is a wonderfully realized tale. Bacigalupi walks the tightrope between expositi

Parshurama's presence of mind

Jamadgini was a great sage, among the most powerful of his era. As can be imagined he lived the most austere of lives with no fancy bells and whistles. Revathi was his wife. They also had five sons, the youngest of them being Parasurama(Literally meaning Rama of the axe(Parasu)). Parshurama would later attain fame as the killer of the entire Kshatriya race and for being a supreme warrior brahmin. Once it so happened that as Revathi was filling up water in the mornings as she usually did, she happened to see Gandharvas and Apsaras frolicking and enjoying themselves. They were beings of such beauty and grace that she could not help but imagine herself amongst them partaking in their activities. While she was imagining things, the pot in her hand slipped thereby breaking the spell. Revathi was too shaken to make any sense of things. She ran back not taking care of the trees and their thorny branches. By the time she arrived back to the ashram she and her clothes were in tatters. Jamadgini

A super sad true love story by Gary Shteyngart

A brilliant book. Just goes to show that funniest books are actually tragedies. The future it presents is eerily close and feels scary to say the least. I hope the what he says does not happen but a small part of me says that it will. The novel is set in a America of the future and is largely about the story of the Lenny Abramov, a jew who also happens to be a Russian immigrant and a  much younger Korean Eunice. The world goes haywire even as they develop their relationship. Everyone uses a device called an apparat which seems like an extension of cell phones. This is an innovation that tells you everything you need to know about the room, How you rank and what your various indexes are. Scary to say the least. Funny when applied to the predicament of Lenny. Reading is frowned upon and thought to be outdated. Its all streams, images and visuals in the future. In short it takes every predicament that seems to be affecting the world at present and extrapolates it. A beautiful nove

On the advice giving blogs

It is amazing how many people are giving advice and earning money out of it these days they do nothing but sprout bullshit doing nothing on their own. The stupid self proclaimed experts who know nothing of the field they talk about. This self esteem movement is doing more to lower self esteem than anything else ever before. Every self help book shows you what you need to do to achieve inner piece. How the fuck does someone decide that they have the answers to all the problems in the world. Its all bullshit folks, its all bullshit.

Hyperion by Dan Simmons : Storytelling at its absolute finest

What an outstanding book Hyperion turned out to be. (The cover is extremely tacky though. Brings to mind the old adage, don't judge a book by its cover) Seven pilgrims are chosen and tell their tales en route to Hyperion of how they encountered the Shrike. A god who can play with space and time. The stories are magnificent, each is a novella in itself. There is a reverse aging story that puts Benjamin Button to shame. The first is a story about encountering an alien but not so alien species. There is story of lovers who age at different rates thanks to one of them having to travel in space.  The best one however is told by a poet about his muse and writing, getting his books published,  I suppose this is Dan Simmons way of taking a dig at the publishing industry. Absolutely fantastic and beautifully written. Dan Simmons writes with a deft touch and it is obvious he is well read with many references to the poetry of John Keats but all this doesn't come in the way o