Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Hungry Goat

Those who know me, know me to be a voracious reader of all possible kinds of things. "I use it as a means to pass time, that's all", is my response in defence. But this time, post summer, I have bettered myself. Within a month of my stay at the University, I have read seven full books and am well on the way to finishing my 8th. By the way, that reminds me of a bibliophile joke:

Two goats go to the cinema to watch a movie
After the movie:

Goat 1: How did you like the movie?
Goat 2: Not bad...but the book was better (satisfied bleats in unison)

The last three of these books have been (yeah guys, hold your breath!)
1) Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
2) V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd (yeah the real one, with paper pages; not the .pdf you losers!)
3) Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear

Pandu asked me how was I able to get hold of these books, for you see, most of the new ones that I have read belong to that holy collection which Pandu, Nitesh, AK and I, being the Science Fiction freaks that we are, had been trying to get hold of. The answer is the Science Fiction Forum at the University.

Basically they are a set of really cool guys who share the same passion for science fiction that we had back there at Surathkal. But they are not lazy bums like us who were content with the .pdf graphic novels and SF anime (that Panda and Ra used to supply us with) and the Science Fiction library of Professor Timothy Poston (which by the way, was by no means small). They are dynamic, armed with more resources than the annual budget of a decently sized Indian University and they are willing to share which makes them totally cool. Hats off to them...

Snow Crash is a real nice cyberpunk book but still pales in comparison to what I believe is the greatest Science Fiction book-Neuromancer-the most compact, concise, brilliant, dark and (most importantly?) dystopic science fiction I've read. Snow Crash kicks ass too by the way. It amalgamates many divergent and totally unrelated topics into the cyberpunk sensitivity and has a brilliant, wry sense of humour that Neuromancer did not have either time or space for. However, let me end by quoting from one of the best opening lines ever for a novel (Neuromancer)

“The sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel”.

About V for Vendetta: the duo of Alan Moore and David Lloyd have created a masterpiece of sorts (I concur with the goats and think that the book was better). I finished the book with an evil smirk stuck on my face. Totally satisfying! Goats are wise!

It is ironical that the comic book was far more mature and subtle than the movie where everything is caricatured. The Fascist Leader is totally evil, V is more a freedom fighter than an anarchist and The Party captures power by nerve gas detonations or something and not the fair way through democratic elections as is shown in the graphic novel.

Darwin's Radio will be covered sometime later. Let me mention however, that it is one of the few books that was mentioned favourably in the magazine Nature for having portrayed things as they are.

Well, while you losers slug it out in the real world sitting in your cubicles programming for giant code factories for people whom you've not seen and probably will never know, I am on this SF mission.

Let me get back to you when I've finished the Sandman Series. (L to you!)


Ankur Pandey said...

Hell man! I thought I am really doing things in my second life (i.e. post India), but you seem to be on a killing spree.
The secret to do most things is more than keeping your ass stuck to the couch. Hats off.
And the pleasant surprise (for you that is, so I foresee) is that all this is in that SF forum. I am sure that their webpage is soon to feature few pics with your hands grabbing some babe's grabbles. You know you got lucky again, you slothful bastard.
I hope the situation is not too different in maths, game theory etc.

Ankur Pandey said...

Came across this SUNY sb SF convention-

Other conventions in NY are , , , , &

best of luck for your PhD.

Nanga Fakir said...

Ahem, ahem...Shukriya janab, shukriya!

Arvind Krishna said...

what a fucking nerd you are!
SF is when you get bored in India without any chicks. You are in the US man...go hump somebody.

Oh by the way, I read American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Hugo, Nebula and what-not winner.

Arvind Krishna said...

by the way, did you get an ra/ta? i heard you are working on game theory...actually even might do it man.

Nanga Fakir said...


You wouldn't believe it, but I refused an RAship in Computational Math this sem since they wanted me to do a PhD in that field if I were given the RAgiri...

So nothing until I clear the Qual 1 in Jan end...

You too in Game Theory? Cool...