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Archive for October 2013

CyberStormName: CyberStorm

Author: Matthew Mather

Genre : techno-thriller

Pages : 362

Publication Year: March 15, 2013

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 4/5

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Remember this dialogue from the movie ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘ –

Selina Kyle: There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.

But that’s the fictional storm in the movie, everyday we hear about some storm hitting some country, it may be cold-weather storms or snow storms or Thunderstorms or lightning storms or sand storms or Hurricanes – all these storms are God made natural storms. There is one storm if it’s hit us in today’s well-connected through internet world – then it will be a most devastating storm of all and it’s called the CyberStorm.

Today, almost everyone is dependent on machines and internet – either it may be the water supply chain or electric supply chain or food chain or career for delivering goods or mobile networks almost everything is dependent on internet. just imagine what will happen if internet goes down for couple of weeks due to some virus – which will also bring down all the power stations including water supply chain and on top of that you are witnessing one of the worst snow storm of all time. Just imagine how the life will be devastated by all this? No water, No electricity, No GPS, No internet everything is out – and you are pushed back in a 70’s era.

This exactly same scenario put into fiction brilliantly by Matthew Mather in his book CyberStorm. The story revolves around bunch of guys stuck in an apartment in new york on Christmas eve when CyberStorm storms their lives. In this book you won’t find how the virus took over all the essential of life or how it being created but here you will know how to survive the cyber attack shown in this book through bunch of friends/neighbors of Mike Mitchell who try survive the cyber attack and a worst snow storm.

And the worst part of CyberStorm is – no one knows who did it? as all the communication and transport systems are down due to CyberStorm (and worst Snow Storm of all time). Chinese? Iranians? Russians? No one knows exactly but many theories and conspiracy theories are floating all around New York, some say they are Chinese, some Iranians and some Russians other conspiracy theorist say it’s alien invasion or inside job to wage war against some other country by blaming it on them.

What I liked most in this book is the events shown in this book are believable not like other end of the world fiction in which zombies or aliens etc invade us to take control of the world. The cyber attack shown in this book was very realistic – that you almost feel like it will happen anytime and you want to prepare for it. The character development is good and you will feel the connect with most the characters in this book.

Why four stars? well few things in this book looked bit of unreal to me – like people drinking the blood of dead people as water supply is down for weeks though whole New York is covered in snow and also people eating infant childs? seriously? apart from these parts the book is very well written and neatly organized.

CyberStorm is a novel for anyone who enjoys insightful, cutting-edge fiction mixed with action and adventure.

dajjalName: Story of the Dajjal: The Antichrist

Author: Ibn Iftikhar

Genre : non-fiction

Pages : 86

Publication Year: October 7, 2013

 Rating: 5/5

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Story of the Dajjal: The Antichrist by Ibn Iftikhar – In this book ibn Iftikhar presents the story of the Dajjal(The Antichrist) the Great Deceiver and False Messiah in a biographical way in the light of Quran, Hadith’s and classical works.

What I liked most in this book is the way author presented the Hadiths related to Dajjal in a biographical way – from the emergence of the system of Dajjal to the actual coming of physical Dajjal and the coming Imam Mahadi(r.a) who will gather the forces to fight against Dajjal and the coming Isa(Jessus, Peace be upon him) who will defeat the Dajjal at the end.

Prophet Muhammad(Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) has said that before the coming of actual Dajjal – 30 minor Dajjal’s will come who will claim themselves to be Prophet’s sent by Allah(God).

In this book ibn Iftikhar has listed down the list of minor Dajjal’s came till now who claimed themselves to be Prophet’s sent by Allah(God).

“The Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alahi wasalam) reported that there would be thirty Dajjals (Bukhari 88:237) who claim to be an apostle from his nation (Ahmad, Tirmidhi).”

There are many recorded self-proclaimed Prophets (or Messengers) throughout history and they include:

  1. Musaylima the Liar (7th Century) and though his wife also declared she was a Prophetess, she is understood to have reverted back,
  2. Saf ibn Sayyad (7th Century), Tulayha ibn Khwalid (7th Century),
  3. Aswad al-Ansi (7th Century),
  4. Al-Harith bin Sa’id (7th Century),
  5. Salih bin Tarif (8th Century),
  6. Saleh bin Tarif Burghwari (8th Century),
  7. Mahmud ibn al-Faraj (9th Century),
  8. Abu Mansoo Eessa (10th Century),
  9. Ali Muhammad Shirazi Bab (19th Century),
  10. Mizra Hussein Ali Nuri ‘Bahaullah’ (19th Century),
  11. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (19th Century),
  12. Al Mira Abbas (19th Century),
  13. Elijah Muhammad (20th Century),
  14. Kareem Agha Khan (20th Century),
  15. Riyaz Ahmad Gohar Shahi (20th Century),
  16. Dr. Dwight York (20th Century),
  17. Rashida Khalifa (20th Century) and
  18. Mahmood Muhammad Taha (20th Century).

And recently ‘A Woman booked for declaring herself Prophet in Pakistan‘.

Quoting author:

“It is strange that among the history of the Muslim Ummah; these Dajjals have tried to claim the Prophet-hood when the Qur’an has been clear on the ‘Ayah of Khatam-ul-Nabi’ (33:40).”

Indeed it is strange – Quran is very clear that no Prophet or Messenger will come after Prophet Muhammad(Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) [read ayah on the Khatam-ul-Nabi’ (33:40)] even though people claimed themselves to be Prophet’s sent by Allah(God). Here we see a clear sign that the coming of Actual Dajjal – the Great Deceiver, False Messiah and The Antichrist is indeed very near.

Quoting author:

“Muslims must be aware of this as no divinely inspired Prophet or Messenger is to come after Muhammad (salallahu alahi wasalam) and there is not a single Ayah of the Qur’an or any Hadith, or any hint at all that indicates the coming of one.”

Some of the signs before the coming of actual Dajjal and Day of Judgement:

1. Family ties will be cut (Ahmad).
2. A man will obey his wife and disobey mother (Tirmidhi).
3. A man will treat his friend kindly and shun his father (Tirmidhi).
4. A trust will become a means of making a profit (Bukhari).
5. Everyone will consume Riba that even if we don’t, we will not be able to escape from it (Abu Dawud).
6. Trade will be so widespread it will force women into business with their husbands (Ahmad).
7. A man will not care how he gets things whether lawful or unlawful (Bukhari).
8. Music and instruments will be in every home and female singers will be popular (Tirmidhi, Ahmad).

[As for music and instruments in the home, over 1.4 Billion television sets worldwide and 71 out of 100 in a population are internet users (in    ‘Developed Countries) and these instruments allow for the access of music and tunes in the home. Women singers have become very popular]
9. Drinking of Wine will be common (Bukhari).
10. Adultery and Fornication will be prevalent and diseases will be the result of it (Bukhari, Ibn Majah).
11. Women will be dressed but will be naked (Muslim).
12. Increase in homosexuality (al-Musannaf of Imam Haythami).
13. Respect will be given to people given because of fear (Tirmidhi).
14. Non-Religious people will have a say in affairs (Ahmad).
15. Leaders will become oppressors (al-Musannaf of Imam Haythami).
16. Afflictions and killing will increase (Bukhari).

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.553: Narrated Ibn Umar: Once Allah’s Apostle stood amongst the people, glorified and praised Allah as He deserved. Then, mentioning Dajjal, he said, “I warn you against him (i.e. the Dajjal) and there was no prophet but warned his nation against him. No doubt, Noah warned his nation against him but I tell you about him something of which no prophet told his nation before me. You should know that he is one-eyed, and Allah is not one-eyed.”

Quoting Author:

In our modern-age, the One-Eye is symbolic in every area of the globe and is usually connected to the Occult (those who claim to know the Unseen, only Allah knows!). The infamous one-dollar bill of the United States has the ‘Eye of Ra’ or Eye of Providence, which symbolizes an eye watching over us with a pyramid and the written words ‘Novus Ordo Seclorum’ (New Order of the Ages). The news stations and media use the eye and this includes television programming.

I will recommend this book everyone who wants to know about the Dajjal and the system of Dajjal which in place since first world war and how the stage is all set for coming of Actual False Masih ad-Dajjal.

woolName: Wool

Author: Hugh Howey

Genre : Post-apocalyptic

Pages : 550

Publication Year: January 25, 2012

Is Review Spoiler: No

Awards: Winner of Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book of 2012 Award

 Rating: 5/5

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I am huge science fiction fan and reading science fiction novels science many years. Never did I read any science fiction book which made me to skip my sleep to complete it but this is the one book which did it to me.

I was unable to close my eyes until I finished this book and this is the greatest reading experience I had since ‘The Davinci Code’.

The story telling is great and the development of characters are amazing and it keeps you on the edge of your seat in anticipation.

The book is divided into five parts namely:
1. Holston
2. Proper Gauge
3. Casting Off
4. The Unravelling
5. The Stranded

The first Wool story (Holston) was released as a standalone short in July of 2011. Due to the huge demand author released rest of the story the next six months.

The first book ‘Holston’ presents us the view of 134 floor silo(an underground chamber) in which the last survivors Post-apocalyptic earth lives, protected from outside environment which has become wildly toxic and not-breathable.

This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people,
the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple.
They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

I recommend this book to everyone and I am 100% sure once you read first part ‘Holston’ – you will definitely read rest of the books in the series, that’s for sure.

I love reading being said that I also love coding and writing. Most of my free time I spend reading the books and writing code and blogging.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Very true, indeed a reader lives many lives of different characters as and when he picks up a new book. A reader becomes Sherlock Holmes or James Bond or a warrior or a knight.

readingA reader will never be alone – why? because he has books with him and thousand of characters in those books who will come alive when He opens those books.

A book is like a blood and words in it are like RBC’s and WBC’s which will keep its reader alive.

Why reading is important? it’s important because – if you know reading then you can know anything you want and everything you want. Once you start reading and addicted to it – reading will act like a drug but a good drug which will cure diseases.

reading1

Can there be bad books? many people might say ‘yes’ – but what’s the criteria which will decided the book is good or bad? Why can’t we just say as ‘Chris Geiger‘ said:

“There is no such thing as a bad book, I just like some books more than others…”
Chris Geiger

Keep reading!

reamdeName : Reamde

Author: Neal Stephenson

Genre : Techno-thriller

Pages : 1056

Publication Year: September 20, 2011

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 2/5

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Reamde by Neal Stephenson is released on 21st September 2011. This books covers a wide range of topics like gold farming and social networking to the criminal methods of the Russian mafia and Islamic terrorists.

The book begins with very good plot which revolves around Richard who owns the nearly one billion dollars company that designed and operates an Massively multiplayer online role-playing game(MMORPG) called “T’Rain”. In T’Rain users can acts as gold farmers, warriors and kinngs. In order to buy magical spells, armers etc you need to buy the Gold coins by paying actual money. Gold farmer can get the money for the gold they gathered by going to Money Changers.

One of the hacker in China finds a loophole in T’Rain and develops a virus named ‘Reamde’ which affects millions of T’Rain users world-wide. The virus will encrypt all the files of a laptop/computer and converts it into a single file named ‘Troll.jpg’ and it will provide a text file called ‘Reamde.txt’ in which users of T’Rain are instructed to drop certain amount of gold in specified location to get decryption key.

Till here story goes fine and characters development is also good but all of sudden the story takes unexpected turn, that’s where everything becomes unreadable and boring. Neal Stephenson all of sudden diverts a very good story into a wild terrorist hunt with lots of unnecessary description of about how guns works, about different demographics which doesn’t contribute anything to story apart from filling the pages. He even included a 100+ pages lengthy gun fight sequence. I escaped so many pages while reading this book which didn’t had any direct or indirect link to the underlying story of the book.

This is not the best work from the author of widely acclaimed novels like ‘Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash and Anathem’. The book is very interesting till Russian Mafia jumps in to it – from this point onwards the book lost all its charm and plot. From this point it’s all about Russian Mafia, Chinese, How to get into a country without Visa, Terrorism and Hostage Rescued operation.

I have given this book two stars because I liked the concept of the T’Rain and APIS which I thought is really interesting and I enjoyed reading it otherwise I would have given it 1 star. I won’t recommend this book to any one and If I had a chance I would have sent back my Kindle Edition to Amazon for refund but I read it two or three-week after I purchased it from amazon.in by that time refund period was expired.

DuneName : Dune

Author: Frank Herbert

Genre : Planetary romance, Political thriller, Psychological thriller, Conspiracy fiction, Adventure, Military science fiction

Pages : 800+

Publication Year: 1965

Is Review Spoiler: No

Movies based on book: Dune (film)

Rating: 5/5

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Dune first in the series, is considered as a masterpiece in science fiction genre. Dune was the first novel to win Nebula Award in 1965 and shared Hugo Award in 1966. The Dune is considered by some critics to be the best science fiction book ever written and rightly so, in My opinion it’s best science fiction novel ever written.

The novel is set in more than 21,000 years in the future,humanity has settled on countless habitable planets, which are ruled by aristocratic Great Houses that owe allegiance to the Emperor Shaddam IV. Science and technology has grown significantly since 20th century but 10000 years before the events of this novel – the use of “artificial Intelligence’ have been prohibited after the events of “The Butlerian Jihad”.

In Terminology of the Imperium, the glossary of 1965’s Dune, Frank Herbert provides the following definition:

Jihad, Butlerian: (see also Great Revolt) — the crusade against computers, thinking machines, and conscious robots begun in 201 B.G. and concluded in 108 B.G. Its chief commandment remains in the O.C. Bible as “Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind.”

Due to this humans have been trained to do the most complex tasks, including mental computing and those who are trained to do this are known as Mentats (aka Human Super Computers).

Arrakis also known as Dune (aka Desert Planet) is the only planet in whole universe which can produce the “spice” melange which is most valuable spice throughout the universe. The galactic Emperor Shaddam IV and all the Great Houses are depended on the profits earned by the “spice” melange. Dune was ruled by House Harkonnen but Shaddam IV removes House Harkonnen places House Atreides’s Leto as ruler of Dune. This triggers all the events which will unfold in this book.

Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family–and would bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream. The story is told in this by different characters POV and each character has been crafted with such a mastery that you will know every character and start sharing their thoughts.

The culture, demographics, religion and most of the things in Dune apart from “spice” melange – resembles Arabia. Many words, titles and names (e.g. the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, Hawat, Bashar, Harq-al-Ada) in the Dune universe as well as a large number of words in the language of the Fremen people like Kalima, erg, salat, Muad’Dib, Sunni, Hajj, Fedayakin etc., are derived or taken directly from Arabic (e.g. erg, the Arabic word for ‘dune’, is used frequently throughout the novel).  Paul Atreides’ character bears some similarities to the historical T. E. Lawrence – who being foreigner in Arabia, adopts the ways of a desert-dwelling Arabian people and leads them to military expeditions.

The Fremen people of Dune are awaiting for a Messiah named “Mahdi” who will come and fulfill certain prophecies and will lead the people of Dune to salvation. The reference to “Mahdi” is directly taken from Islamic prophecies  which states that before the end of time and just before the second coming of Prophet Isa alaiye-salam(Jesus) ‘Imam Mahdi(RA)’ will come who is prophesied redeemer of Islam who will rule for seven, nine or nineteen years (according to various interpretations) before the Day of Judgment and will rid the world of evil. Isa (Jesus Christ) will return to aid Mahdi, or the guided one, against Masih ad-Dajjal(anti-christ), the false messiah, and his followers.

That first day when Muad’Dib rode through the streets of Arrakeen with his family, some of the people along the way recalled the legends and the prophecy and they ventured to shout: ‘Mahdi!’

Frank Herbert has masterfully crafted each character and every great house in Dune universe that you can tell by dialogues of each character to which house he/she belongs. Dune has everything a masterpiece needs – political plots(between Emperor and Great Houses), sabotage, evasion, holy war(jihad), survival tactics one has to adopt in order to survive in planet Dune, coup, and revenge.

A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics. The complex and intricate world created by Frank Herbert will blow your mind with its creativity and uniqueness. This one is the best science fiction book I ever read and will definitely read all the sequels of this book Insha Allah.

A must read for everyone, doesn’t matter whether you like science-fiction or not.

“Unique…I know nothing comparable to it except Lord of the Rings.”–Arthur C. Clarke.

Some awesome lines from Dune:

1. A popular man arouses the jealousy of the powerful.

2. I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

3. You shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a man’s mind.

4. The willow submits to the wind and prospers until one day it is many willows – a wall against the wind. This is the willow’s purpose.

5. A world is supported by four things …’ She held up four big-knuckled fingers. ‘… the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the righteous and the valor of the brave. But all of these are as nothing …’ She closed her fingers into a fist. ‘… without a ruler who knows the art of ruling. Make that the science of your tradition!

6. A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.

7. If wishes were fishes we’d all cast nets.

8. Polish comes from the cities; wisdom from the desert.

9. When God hath ordained a creature to die in a particular place, He causeth that creature’s wants to direct him to that place.

10. Parting with people is a sadness; a place is only a place.

11. A stone is heavy and the sand is weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.

12. Paradise on my right, Hell on my left and the Angel of Death behind.

13. God created Arrakis to train the faithful.

14. The concept of progress acts as a protective mechanism to shield us from the terrors of the future.

15. Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.

atmechoedName :  And the Mountains Echoed

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Genre : Historical fiction, Drama

Pages : 400+

Publication Year: May 21, 2013

Is Review Spoiler: No

Would you recommend this book: Yes

Rating: 5/5

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And The Mountains Echoed is the third book by acclaimed author Khaled Hosseini, whose previous two books ‘The Kite Runner’ and ‘The Thousand Splendid Suns’ are bestsellers.

‘You want a story and I will tell you one,’ –  The story begins in Afaganistan 1952, where Saboor is travaling with his son Abdullah and his daughter ‘Pari’ to Kabul through the MOUNTAINS.

Saboor tells them a story, a story to prepare Pari and Abdullah, specially Abdullah who has unusually powerful bond to his sister ‘Pari’. Saboor narrates them a story which has a simple moral – ‘how at times of need, one has to sacrifice a finger to save a hand’. A mythical story of a div (or demon) and a father who will give away his most loved son to demon for a better life on a pact that he will never see him again. Saboor is telling this story to his son to prepare him for the coming disaster which will changes the lives of everyone, the one that will ECHO down the generations.

The book compared to other Hosseini’s book doesn’t have single or two character narrative instead this book has the multi-layered narrative in which the different characters linked to same family in different timelines narrates the story.

There are only few writers who can produce back-to-back masterpieces and Husseini is one of those writers.There is lot to learn in this book, Love, Friendship, political turmoil in Afghanistan. The portrayal of each character in this book excellent, you will feel the pain, sadness and happiness of each character in this book. Each character and each story in this book is crafted perfectly and the stories in this book though at beginning you won’t find any relevance  to actual story but at the end all threads will meet perfectly to make a perfect story.

As I proceeded with the story, I realized that each character in this book is a hero, either it be Parawana step mother of Abdullah or Nabi uncle of Adbullah or Nila Wahdati – each and every character has a story to tell and each story will make that character a hero. Each character has a purpose in this book though a purpose he/she never had in her mind.

At times I felt that narrative was disjointed and doesn’t have a clear picture as to their relation to the story of Abdullah and Pari. Like the narrative of Markos – a Greek aid worker in Afghanistan and acquaintance of Nabi.

But nevertheless – And The Mountains Echoed is an epic tale of heartbreak and hope, hope of meeting your loved ones, hope of reuniting with your family. And Indeed “This story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop on-board, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later.”

I recommend this book for everyone. Go ahead and read it.

Some awesome lines from the book:

1. For courage, there must be something at stake. I come here with nothing to lose.

2. Nothing good came free. Even love. You paid for all things. And if you were poor, suffering was your currency.

3. Today I have seen the charm, the beauty, the unfathomable grace of the face that I was looking for.

4. I swear, since seeing Your face, the whole world is fraud and fantasy. The garden is bewildered as to what is leaf or blossom. The distracted birds can’t distinguish the birdseed from the snare.

5. A story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later.

6. I suspect the truth is that we are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen to us.

7. They say, Find a purpose in your life and live it. But, sometimes, it is only after you have lived that you recognize your life had a purpose, and likely one you never had in mind.

8. You know I don’t like dogs. They have no self-respect. You kick them and they still love you.It’s depressing.

9. They think they live by what they want. But really what guides them is what they’re afraid of. What they don’t want.

10. But time, it is like charm. You never have as much as you think.


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