“It’s easy to think that as a result of the extinction of the dodo, we are now sadder and wiser, but there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that we are merely sadder and better informed.”
“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” – Douglas Adams
In 1985, literary genius, Douglas Adams decided to go on a tour with zoologist Mark Carwardine around the world in search of Critically endangered animals for BBC. They goto Bali in search for Komodo Dragons, Zaire to see Northern White Rhinoceros, New Zealand to watch Kakapos, China to witness Yangtze River Dolphins and lastly to Mauritius to watch Rodriguez Fruitbats. Mark’s role, in this endeavor, was to be the one who knew what he was talking about and Adam’s was to be extremely ignorant and to whom everything that happened should come as a complete surprise. This book is written as if he is narrating his incredible and life changing journey, around a campfire to a bunch of his friends. Continue reading
With Adhar being forced down our throats for anything and everything, a society increasingly polarized along religious and political lines, fascist chest thumping nationalists committing crimes so frequently that it has become a norm, protected by an indifferent law and order, a government of trolls and ignorant nitwits led by a goblin of a leader… we as a nation are facing doom.
The Adhar, especially, drew parallels with Orwell’s 1984 on how it’d make surveillance easy and for an authoritarian government such as this one… this is a wet dream come true. There are people who’d say that this is all paranoia but considering this government which is at helm, what guarantee do we have from them, who has history of secretly surveilling people and shadow banning people and trends on Twitter, that it wouldn’t do it? Also why is such a hare brained idea with serious technological loopholes being implemented in such haste?
But then arguments in favor of it all is what baffles me. Ache Din they say. Welfare for everyone, no corruption, every one equal in front of law, rainbows and unicorns in sky. Fucking Utopia. Bunch of bullshite.
Alfonso Cuaron, much before he created a gripping adventure in outer space Gravity, had directed a much underrated science fiction titled Children of Men. I had watched this movie when I was in college and I guess I might not have appreciated the beauty of that work as I was sleepwalking through semester exams. Until recently, when I happened to see it again as a result of an ineluctable revival of the film online as lot many spoke about how relevant that movie is in today’s time. The impact of the movie this time on me has been much harder. Children of Men, is by far one of most frightful view of future I have seen on screen. It is frightful, because it is so close to real.
It is 2027, and it has been eighteen years since the last human child was born. Women are unable to conceive and the society, as we know it, is crumbling as humanity faces extinction. The world has collapsed and Britain, as we see on TV in the movie, is the only stable government that ‘marches on’. Being the last functional government in the world, the country is plagued by a refugee crisis. The government, as a result, is a police state and has shut down its borders, simultaneously coming down heavily on illegal immigrants, throwing them into refugee camps much similar to concentration camps of Nazi Germany. The movie begins with our protagonist Theo, getting a coffee while the news of the murder of the youngest person in the world, an 18 year old boy, is being reported in the TV news. As soon as Theo exits the shop, a bomb goes off in the very same coffee shop and we know we are in a grim, chaotic world with no escape.
With the aathemaar-u* being away for couple of weeks, I suddenly found myself with lot of free time to spare after work everyday, which was inadvertently spent watching reaction videos on YouTube and staring at ceiling contemplating about Life and universe.
After slacking away couple of days in such a manner, marinating in my own mediocrity, it became apparent to me, while watching a Hindi dubbed Telugu film ‘Daring Gundaraj’, that how pathetic last few days have been. I needed to refresh myself. Lord Tyrion’s words reverberated in my head “a mind need books like a sword needs a whetstone if it’s too keep it’s edge”. I decided to give my brain some much needed exercise by indulging in some heavy work of fiction.
–Trivial Details Ends–
Anathem by Neal Stephenson was zeroed in for this absurd task, solely because it was huge and it’s blob contained words like Extramuros. Few chapters into the book, it dawned on me that I have bitten more than I could chew. The alacrity quickly turned into regret as I tried to make sense of an Alien world with its own vernacular that author plunged into starting from the midday Provenor. I was like a Sline who’d been to no Suvins, getting lecture on Hylaen Theoric World, which even after being translated from ancient Orth to fluccish, was incomprehensible much like how the praxis of kineograms would have been to a Millenarial. I reckoned I’d rather have watched some spec-fic Speelies accessed from reticulum on my jeejah. Continue reading
Eight Friends meet up for a dinner party on the night a huge comet is supposed to be passing by the Earth. Things get stranger and stranger from there on.
James Ward Byrkit’s Coherence is a Sci-Fi film which tries to comprehend Quantum Physics. For beginners, it has to be mentioned beforehand, quantum physics is inherently fuzzy.
A property of the particles in quantum universe is called Superposition. As per the theory, particles don’t exist in one state or the other, but in all of its possible states at once. Its weird, Yes. I should be more clearer, I know. For example once you roll a die, according to quantum theory, the die exists in all its six states simultaneously. Continue reading
Moonward was on my to-read list for a long time because it was conceptualized and conceived by a figure named Appupen. The Malayali in me was quickly attracted to this seemingly abstract work of art. I consumed the book in a single sitting, which is not that hard with Moonward, what’s hard is comprehending it completely. Appupen’s Moonward is an engaging read. It graphically presents an absurd dystopian future. Its not a fun read though, its vicious, dark and brutally honest. I had to pore over it a couple of times to get a hang of it.
We are introduced to the fantastical universe of Halahala. A bright meteor flashes across the heavens and crashes into the primordial landscape. Life emerges from the spot where the meteor crashed. The plants and the animals evolves and within time Halahala is full of life. Soon the strong starts feeding on the weak… and inevitably a war erupts between the animals. To maintain peace among them, wisest of them all, a ‘Tortle’, tells them of a divine being called God who might invoke earthquakes and erupt volcanoes if they don’t behave themselves. He then goes onto draw an image of the God on a rock. Continue reading
Brilliant performance by Jodie Foster is what makes this film must watch
Have you ever enjoyed an opening sequence of a film so much that you wished it never ended. Contact’s opening sequence is absolutely brilliant and for about two minutes you are lost in its awesomeness as the visuals zooms out of Earth into far end of the universe.
Robert Zemeckis’s (director of Forrest Gump) Contact happens to be one of my favorite science fiction films. Sure it doesn’t have lead protagonist battling in space or stranded in another planet to stay alive, it doesn’t have a magnanimous black hole into which our hero falls. Or a killer robot hellbent on eliminating our protagonist. No! but its a satisfying film to say the least. It doesn’t answer anything but help us get comfortable with our unawareness.
Towards the end Dr Ellie Arroway played by Jodie Foster, talking to a bunch of school kids, says that she will tell them one thing about the universe. That its big. Bigger than anything we ever imagined. And if its just us.. seems like an awful waste of space.
Indeed! Continue reading