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Archive for November 2013

shift-by-hugh-howeyName: Shift Omnibus Edition (Shift 1-3) (Silo Saga)

Author: Hugh Howey

Genre : Post-apocalyptic

Pages : 608

Publication Year: January 27, 2013

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 2 stars (out of 5)

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You can find the review of ‘Wool’  – here.

Shift Omnibus Edition (Shift 1-3) (Silo Saga) is prequel to best-selling post-apocalyptic ‘Wool’ series by Hugh Howey. Before starting with the review for Shift (1-3), let me tell you, I liked all the ‘Wool’ books very much and gave them very high rating – Reason being ‘the whole Wool series was very innovative and story and settings were very unique and interesting’.

In 2007, the Center for Automation in Nanobiotech (CAN) outlined the hardware and software platform that would one day allow robots smaller than human cells to make medical diagnoses, conduct repairs, and even self-propagate.

In the same year, the CBS network re-aired a program about the effects of propranolol on sufferers of extreme trauma. A simple pill, it had been discovered, could wipe out the memory of any traumatic event.

At almost the same moment in humanity’s broad history, mankind had discovered the means for bringing about its utter downfall. And the ability to forget it ever happened.

Now coming to ‘Shift’ – the book is divided into three parts namely:
1. First Shift – The Legacy
2. Second Shift – The Order
3. Third Shift – The Pact

Each book tells a story which will eventually be linked to the events happened in ‘Wool’ series. The book one, i.e., First Shift is mainly focused on how and why the silo’s built and reason behind the man made apocalypse. Two stories run parallel in book one – first one in mid 21st century where it is focused on building of ‘silos’ and second one in ’22nd century inside silo one – where a guy named ‘Troy’ is taking controller of Silo 1 who is woken up from deep freeze after 50+ years and Silo 1 controls all the silos’.

Now coming to problems with story – I ask where is innovations? Didn’t Hugh Howey saw the movie ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’? If yes – he should have known that the concept of ‘Nano machines’ destroying the world and humans was already being told in this movie. Though the only difference between book and the movie is –  in movie the ‘Nano Machines’ where bought from aliens to earth and whereas in ‘First Shift’ – Israel built it first then Iranians copied it and made it more ‘DNA’ centric – means it will attack only on certain DNA types (like ‘Jews’ etc) and left them lose on Americans. Some guys in US government found out about this (like they found nano machines in almost everyone’s blood in US) and developed cure also but instead of curing the people – they built 50 Silo’s for each state of US and nuked whole world – where’s is the logic? If you have the cure then why nuke everyone?

And ‘Second Shift’ and ‘Third Shift’ – similarly deviled into two different story line: in both the story one story line is focused on ‘Silo 1’ and second story line revolves around ‘Silo 17’ and ‘Silo 18’. I found the story of ‘Solo’ in Silo 17 is totally unnecessary and pretty boring. By the end – we come to know that the world outside is green and habitable – when our main protagonist ‘Donald’ fires a drone to check world outside – and it is finally revealed that the ‘Nano Dust’ is surrounding the only limited area (i.e., the area surrounding fifty silos) behind that the world is green and habitable. I ask ‘What the hell – they were doing in Silo for almost three centuries?’, ‘Why didn’t they checked before – whether the world is habitable outside the surrounding area of Silo?’, ‘Are they so dumb?’.

All three books in Shift didn’t add much to the ‘Wool’ events – most of the things you already know from Wool. All three novels are pointless and you can avoid them – they are not going to add much to the ‘Wool’ series. The idea/plot of all three books doesn’t’ make any sense and the book itself is too big and boring. The story which is set in 2049, but it feels like 2000 because the technology, specially touch screen computers are non-existing and no one is using ‘Twitter or Facebook’ or any amazing replacement – the social media is dead in 2049 as per Hugh Howey. The only things which makes it 2049 is Nano machines.

Even the ‘technology/challenges’ faced in building Silos and the working Silos didn’t actually explained in all three novels? Where is the part which explains – how the oxygen supply is provided to 150 storey building? How electricity is generated underground? How water is being provided? And the logic explained for cleaning doesn’t’ make sense at all!

Overall – Shift Omnibus Edition (Shift 1-3) (Silo Saga) is pretty boring and repetitive narration of rebellion sequence of ‘Wool’ makes it even boring. No innovative story line even the Nano Machines part seems like taken from movie ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’.

So, My verdict is you can avoid it.

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Today, when Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar came for batting in Wankhede Stadium Mumbai – that was the end of my childhood. Today is children’s day [14th November] on this occasion our childhood ended when Sachin stepped into Wankhede for the last time!

sachin-tendulkar-when-young

I remember when I was child – ours is the only house which had a television – the black and white ‘Dynora’ TV and people from our village used to come to our house for watching the matches in 90’s on DD national. Whenever Sachin came to bat – all my family members and everyone from my village who came to watch match (actually they came to watch Sachin bating) will get very excited. There were cheers, clapping every time Sachin used to hit a boundary.

He was[and is] our hero and everyone while playing cricket – wanted to bat because of Sachin and no wanted to bowl. Everyone was crazy about him in our village – mimicking his each stroke and even doing that ‘adjusting underwear every few minutes’.

sachin452

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar who holds the most records in the history of cricket and in India –  “Sachin” is  the synonym for “Cricket”.

And now it was like an end of an era – the end of childhood. Thank you Sachin for making our childhood so memorable and extending till 2013.  It’s almost unbelievable that he is retiring and he is playing the last match today. It was like only yesterday – we were watching him play in our old black and white Dynora  TV.

It’s like the saying ‘Every beginning has an end’ – and this is the end of an era of Sachin and our childhood but he will remain alive in our hearts as greatest legend of cricket!

I was thinking since some days and this question is driving me crazy. Looks like everyone has their own answer for this question? achha teek hai, let them have their own answers – the question to that question is [aap soch rahen hogen ‘question to that question’ ab ye kya hai?] whatever answer we get for this question are all of them correct? or do we lack the answer for this question?

Akhir ye question hai kya? here it is – ‘What does being modern mean to you?’. Whenever you ask this question to someone, you will get a different answer from each person. Some might say

1. ‘being modern to me means – being in touch with all the technical and scientific progress mankind has done so far’.
2. ‘being modern to me means – being open-minded, unbiased, environmentally enlightened’.
3. ‘being modern to me means – to prove myself or to contribute towards the growth of country.’
4. ‘being modern to me means – to study in abroad and follow western culture’.

Here is a definition of modern [Google Sir aap ka bahoth shukriya for quick answer]modern11. “relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past.”
2. “characterized by or using the most up-to-date techniques, ideas, or equipment.”
3. “denoting the form of a language that is currently used, as opposed to any earlier form.”
4. “denoting a current or recent style or trend in art, architecture, or other cultural activity marked by a significant departure from traditional styles and values.”

modern

What I think is being modern means,  I think that being modern is to be:

1. Open-Minded – willing to consider new ideas not having or showing a dislike or distrust based on fixed or preconceived ideas.

2. Respecting elders – everyone who think himself to be modern should respect their elders, don’t forget one day you will also become elder – you won’t going to remain youth forever.

3. Contributing towards society –  like by spreading awareness about the importance of voting etc.

4. Being modest in your dressing (applicable for men and women).

5. Using technology to solve the problem not creating new ones.

thinker

What I think is not being modern:

1. Disrespecting your parents – I have heard many time people start to disrespect their parents in their old age and unfortunately they think it’s modern. What more they respect their friends above their parent and some unfortunate souls put their parents in old age home. Dear friends it’s not at all modern and if you think it’s modern then Animal are more modern than you.

2. Being not modest in your dressing – Simple hai ‘If you think half-naked is modern then Animal are most modern creatures in this world!’.

3. Wasting your money in buying falto gadgets which you hardly use. You just buy it because you think it’s modern and everyone else got one. Nahi mere bhai ye modern nahi hai.

[All the views expressed here are my personal, agar kisiko bora laga hai isse tu sorry ji, maaf kardena].

wpid-the-krishna-key_3.jpgName: The Krishna Key

Author: Ashwin Sanghi

Genre : historical fiction

Pages : 400+

Publication Year: 2012

Is Review Spoiler: Yes

Rating: 1 star (out of 5)

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I didn’t expected this from the author who wrote ‘Chanayka’s Chant’. This book direct mixture of three Dan Brown’s book – ‘The Davinci Code, Angels and Demons and The Lost Symbol’. You might be wondering how? here is how –

Story starts with a murder of a symbologist who the same night had dinner with our protagonist Saini. The murderer leaves a message at murder scene – a symbol and intials R.M which happens to be the same initials as Mr Ravi Mohan Saini’s name(remember p.s. find Robert Landon). Police arrests Saini for murder exactly same happens to Robert Landon in davinci code and the Saini is rescued by female sidekick Priya – exactly same as Davinci code in which Landon is rescued by Sophie. What more the inspector in charge is known as Sniffer Singh because she solves almost all case assigned to her and in Davinci code the inspector in charge is know as Bull.

What more – after each murder killer leaves a symbol at murder scene, remember Angels and Demons in which killer also leaves a anagram at each murder scene and that to happen to be four symbols and combining all four will result in mega symbol which will be key everyone is after.

And the climax, O God, is exact replica of Lost symbol. Remember a science mentioned in lost symbol known as Neutic Science – and the climax or answer for this puzzle is Neutic Science.

Murderer in this book thinks himself to be Kalki avatar, who is under influence of a women named Mataji – who is after this secret – again exact replica of Davinci code in which a murderer who think himself as chosen by god start killing people who is under influence of a priest from Vatican.

And most of the things mentioned in this book doesn’t have any historical background and lack historical accuracy. I was shocked – doesn’t Sanghi read history in school? How come someone who wrote Chanayka’s Chant authored this terrible novel? A year has 365 days not 360 days, what’s the logic behind 9×1 = 9 and 786 etc? how on earth they are relevant to plot? would you care to explain?

I think he has done zero research or no research at all! otherwise it wouldn’t have contained so many historical errors. I agree it’s fiction but that doesn’t mean – you will simply write whatever comes to your mind without logic or proper research and which doesn’t have any significance to plot.

No recommendation from my side.

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aliftheunseenName: Alif the Unseen

Author: G. Willow Wilson

Genre : techno-thriller/fantasy/cyberpunk

Pages : 448

Publication Year: September 1, 2012

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 4/5

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Alif the unseen by G. Willow Wilson is part techno-thriller, part fantasy and part cyberpunk. Alif the unseen set in near future in a middle eastern fictional city. This fictional city is ruled by dictator who is watching closely all the internet activities and throwing all dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups in a prison for talking against the state.

The protagonist a young Arab-Indian hacker shields these groups from State’s electronic security force. He goes by the alias Alif – the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. Then one day his computer is breached by someone in State’s electronic force who in hacker circles is knows as ‘The Hand’ putting all Alif’s clients at risk.

Next day Intisar sends him a book titled ‘The Thousand and One Days’ which is the book of Jinns and suddenly Alif is exposed to the hidden world of Jinns – who are living with us in parallel reality unseen by human eyes. Alif must find out in time to save his hacker buddies, clients and himself from the State – why ‘The Hand’ and the evil Jinns are after the book?

In this book you will find the shades of Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, and The Thousand and One Nights, Alif the Unseen is a tour de force debut—a sophisticated melting pot of ideas, philosophy, religion, technology and spirituality smuggled inside an irresistible page-turner.

G. Willow Wilson did an excellent job in developing both the male and female lead characters as well as raising philosophical, metaphysical and religious topic for debate. Technical aspects in the book is describe very neatly that you don’t have to be a geek to understand the topics discussed in this book.

Wilson has beautifully portrayed the world of Jinn’s and also the legendary city Irem – which is known as ‘City of Pillars’ or ‘Iram of the Pillars’ in Holy Quran and in the early 1990s a team lead by amateur archaeologist and film maker Nicholas Clapp and adventurer Ranulph Fiennes, archaeologist Juris Zarins and lawyer George Hedges announced that they had found Ubar.The conclusion they reached, based on site excavations at the site of a Bedouin well at Shisr in Dhofar province, Oman, and an inspection of NASA satellite photographs, was that this was the site of Ubar, or Iram of the Pillars, the name for an ancient city destroyed by a natural disaster.

Overall a very good techno-thriller come fantasy come cyberpunk novel. A must read for all fantasy/techno-thriller fans.


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