Thursday, June 24, 2010


  • Those of you with extra, disposable cash are directed to the following link - Science Fiction Anthology - which features a short story by Shuchikar - a close friend of Nanga Fakir and Ghongha Basant.
  • It is said that the song Professional Widow by the crazy-alien-from-outer-space-visiting-earth-in-the-guise-of-the-absolutely-brilliant-Tori Amos is about Courtney Love (cf. "Don't blow those brains yet/
    We gotta be big boy/We gotta be big"; "Give me peace, love, peace, love/Give me peace/Love/And a hard cock."(See also the 'peace, love (and empathy)' reference in Kurt Cobain's suicide note.)). If it's true, then she's just harsh. Harsh, harsh, harsh.
  • Recent acquisitions are Gravity's Rainbow and V. by Pynchon. NF also dithered for a real long time over the question of To-Acquire-or-not-to-Acquire Cryptonomicon by the great Neal Stephenson. He eventually decided to not acquire the voluminous (1100 pages to be precise) tome deferring the acquisition to some perhaps more opportune time. Meanwhile, back on the bookshelf, the pile of unread books keeps climbing higher.
  • The absolutely too-crazy-to-be-real match's venue should be shifted from the Wimbledon to the Lord's. They play test matches there, don't they?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


The Droste Effect in Escher's Print Gallery. Very sexy!


A brief technical article, explaining the Droste Effect and techniques used in making the video can be found here. To follow the article, a working knowledge of Complex Analysis is recommended (but not required).

Sunday, June 06, 2010

DFW is not a Quickie

Oblivion is quintessentially DFWish - longish stories that meander and digress and ruminate and dwell on details in a way that is typical of the fiction of DFW. Compared to his previous short story book - Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (which has been made into a not-so-bad film by John Krasinski), the stories are longer; and the humor - much more subtle and dark. Apart from Incarnations of Burned Children (click on link to read the story - one of the most killer, heart rending, brilliant, absolutely unendurable-in-what-it-describes pieces of short fiction with an unforgettable, devastating-yet-uplifting last line1), which is only two and a half page long, the others are somewhat lengthy and take their own sweet time to build up and have a nasty tendency to hang around somewhat languorously in your head a long time after you're done reading. Don't expect twist endings, clever plotting or character building; the stories have an amorphous, hard-to-point-but-easy-to-experience quality that compels you to revisit the book again and again and the experience is augmented after each such iteration.

The best stories in this volume are clearly the aforementioned Incarnations..., Good Old Neon, Another Pioneer and The Soul is not a Smithy.

If there were ever a quintessential, representative, archetypal work that summarizes, condenses, distills and weaves into one all the multifarious, hidden, interconnected-yet-divergent themes that any writer (or for that matter, a director or musician etc.) might address in her entire oeuvre - if there were a single piece of work that characterizes completely, a creative mind and typifies her Weltanschauung - then Good Old Neon is definitely DFW's representative work.2 It opens with:

My whole life I've been a fraud...


...all I've ever done all the time is try to create a certain impression of me in other people.

The narrator is a hyper-self-aware, obscenely well educated and an intensely self critical, successful, modern yuppie. His bouts of self criticism and perception of his own shallowness and remarkable ease with which he can manipulate people's opinion of him drives him to despair and eventually to suicide. The prose stretches the limits of self consciousness and relentlessly probes the very limits of communication amongst humans.

...what goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant...

The story Another Pioneer is:

derived from an acquaintance of a close friend who said that he had himself overheard this exemplum aboard a high-altitude commercial flight

The aforementioned story turns out to be a quasi-mythological tale of a wonderboy in a prehistoric society who seems to have answers to all possible questions, albeit in a literal, somewhat robotic manner - so much so that he becomes the chief counselor of the village and a clique of wise people emerges who charge the villagers to frame their questions and anxieties in precisely the correct form so that the response of the wonderboy is meaningful. (The garbage-in-garbage-out paradigm of programming and the way the wise-people-of-the-village construct is mapped on to the modern day programmers of computing behemoths is unmistakable.) However, jealous of the village's subsequent prosperity, the neighboring village's wise man 'bugs' the system and the boy transcends his previous (autistic) savantness and becomes wiser - but in a somewhat grotesque way.

In The Soul is not a Smithy the narrator recounts a violent episode from his childhood, in which he and three classmates were allegedly held hostage by a deranged substitute teacher. However, he never quite gets to it, as he's preoccupied with the story that he was imagining at the time, visualizing it in the panes of the schoolroom window - a story of a blind girl and her lost dog, which becomes increasingly bizarre as the real world situation around him becomes life threatening.


Believe it or not, but Nanga Fakir has begun reading Infinite Jest again.

<*must... not... give in to... temptation. must... resist*>



1. Although decontextualized, it should still hit you hard enough to sit back and take notice. It ends with the child...

having learned to leave himself and watch the whole rest unfold from a point overhead, and whatever was lost never thenceforth mattered, and the child's body expanded and walked about and drew pay and lived its life untenanted, a thing among things, its self's soul so much vapor aloft, falling as rain and then rising, the sun up and down like a yoyo.


2. Like Annie Hall is Woody Allen's, Eraserhead is David Lynch's, Slackers is Richard Linklater's, Adaptation is Charlie Kauffman's, Godaan is Premchand's, Laal Teen ki Chchat (Red Tin Roof) is Nirmal Verma's, Neuromancer is William Gibson's...