Saturday, June 6, 2015

Book Review: The Sands of Mars by Arthur C. Clarke

Well, this is the first science fiction novel I read. It was certainly very intriguing for me to understand the genre even though I have read the short story collection Tales From Planet Earth by the same author. This work is also his first published novel.

Book Cover
The story starts with Martin Gibson, a science fiction author making his maiden journey to the red planet. On his way on board the spaceship Ares, the change of gravity he experiences and the beauty of stars in space he witnesses through the port-hole is explained splendidly. Then the process of homing in on a rocket that is carrying medicine for Martian fever, the joy of floating in space is described in a simple way which is enough to seize your senses. Essentially, it is never boring and at the same time not too exciting to go through these pages. It maintains a steady pace throughout.

Once the crew of Ares land on Mars, Gibson discovers the establishment of human colonies. The Martian city of Port Lowell is made out of huge domes. The domes are supplied with oxygen for people to survive. Gibson learns about the Martian surface and the daily routines of humans of the city. Man has setup industries which uses sand - rich in iron oxide - as raw material. They help in produce infrastructure resources liberating oxygen as a byproduct. When Gibson decides to explore the planet, he goes on an excursion to another Martian city where his drone (sand flea) crash lands in an unknown region. Clarke describes the discovery of Martian vegetation and animals having peculiar characteristics in neat way. All said and done, most part of the book talks about Martian geography. The scientific elements are very realistically described. At this time, it may seem very ordinary or obvious to us. But imagine Clarke envisioned Earth having its own space stations, interplanetary communication systems using radiograms, establishment of colonies on Mars and all of it back in the 1950s!
It was ironic that, having found his son so late, he must now lose him again. Perhaps that was part of the punishment for the selfishness and lack of courage-to put it no more strongly-he had shown twenty years ago. But the past must bury itself; he must think of the future now.
There is a human side running parallel to the scientific part of the story. The human side starts slowly in beginning and emerges into prominence near the end. It has a dark back story of Gibson which links to a pleasant love affair between young couple. The story gets even darker with the game of politics played between the two worlds. Earth, being the ultimate authority, is planning to shut down all operations on Mars. Meanwhile Mars conspires against the wishes of Earth. This is the part where the story gets really interesting. And the climax is really mind-boggling, because it is like, no one can even dream of such a thing to happen. And Clarke is a genius to explain that its scientifically possible! The book cover is the hint to the final act.

Initially I thought why should there be human elements in science fiction? Later I realized that it’s not important, but it’s necessary. It’s important to build up a motive - a motive which is capable of touching human senses. The beauty lies in coming up with a plot that blends science and human behavior perfectly. Then it certainly gains unquestionable curiosity in the mind; compels you to think. Thus it makes the story blossom beautifully. And this novel successfully does it in a smart way. Suppose there were aliens with bizarre faces walking around, then you would have to just accept the story as it is without bothering your brains. One thing is for sure is, that you will live on Mars when you reading this book. I found it very enjoyable and it was worth spending my leisure time.
For it was their world, not Man's. However he might shape it for his own purposes, it would be his duty always to safeguard the interests of its rightful owners. No one could tell what part they might have to play in the history of the universe. And when, as was one inevitable, Man himself came to the notice of yet higher races, he might well be judged by his behaviour here on Mars.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Human Element

The Human Element. The first short story I wrote. I have lots of feelings attached with this since it's my bold attempt on writing fiction. It's very close to my heart. I shared it only with my family and close friends then. Today, it's finally out for everyone. I am very excited about this! I hope you'd enjoy reading it. I appreciate your feedback. Thank you.



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Friday, May 1, 2015

Below the Night Sky


Below The Night Sky
Studded with myriad of stars
Up in the dark sky
Alone was the night
Waiting for me
And my thoughts
To wander with noise
For memories of pleasure
Causes soothing tides
Within my heart
Against the roaring sea 
In this silent wilderness

April 2015

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Book Review: First Among Equals by Jeffery Archer

I wasn't sure about reading this novel as my mind was going crazy without any activity. I browsed through my book shelf; I was even bored of looking at the books which I have not read (Not bored, actually. It was a feeling of sickness when realization hit me yet again: "There are so many good books to read!"). This was one of them. You know, sometimes, having done everything at your disposal, you still don't know how to kill time; even by wasting it. Well, start with something, I thought. I did eeny, meeny, miny, moe and it wasn't a bad choice after all.


This is the third novel by Jeffery Archer I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Its a political tale of four ambitious MPs of British Parliament wanting to be Prime Minister. All four, able men, hailing from different backgrounds and belonging to different constituencies. The story spans from 1964 to 1991. It is not just about their political careers, but it tells about how their personal lives get entangled with different problems and how they deal with them. Ultimately, as the title says, there is only one winner. The story is a little slow in the beginning because it took some time for me to get used to the jargon, but it gets interesting eventually. From the top view, its a battle between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. There are some peculiar points that will surprise the reader. For instance, the MPs appear to fight in the Westminster like wild cats and dogs; but behind the scenes they will be good friends. And, there are also quite a few characters in the novel which are real, like, Harold Wilson, Edward Heath, Margaret Thatcher, etc. who served for the United Kingdom. When the novel nears the end, the climax is very gripping as Archer always keeps his promise.

What I take away from this novel is, that I learnt a lot about the British political structure and procedures involved in it. To me, it is always interesting to gain general knowledge about the things you already know by understanding the differences.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Unrewarded


Unrewarded



In the name of God, prayers are sung everyday
Day and night, relegating every vital thing away
Always faithful in my duties to serve my Lord
It shields me from all kinds of earthly miseries
And entitles me to be in the garden of canaries

But... I always sit on the ledge in apprehension
My mind is messed up with crazy superstitions
I have postulated my own theory on Providence
Life is clogged with lies making it awfully filthy
And crammed with irrational thoughts of insanity

Maelstrom of undesirable sorrow pulls me in
I am stuck in an abyss of despair and chagrin
Without understanding the cause for my pains
Wandering in this darkness is not helping me
Oh, Lord; unshackle me from unbearable misery

*      *      *

My Dear Child,

Your faith is unrewarded because of your pride
It brags about your conceit for it is not kept aside
Stabbing the hearts of dear ones who helped you
And inflicting unrecoverable pains in their souls
So your prayers are relegated as unopened scrolls

You should know that you are an imperfect being
Thus, I created you to have emotions and feelings
Which are same in the hearts of people around you
Drench your eyes with the joy seen in those dear eyes
Learn to honor those souls praying for your cries

You bow your head down to show your humility
And join your hands in your prayers for mercy
Rest assured that it will not help until you change
Think on your acts that jabbed the hearts of others
They will unfold your wrongs one after another

Learn to be the champion of genuine kindness
Let the words from your mouth have cheerfulness
Be a tender soul for those who care for your heart
Do not be rude and put a leash on your tongue
Remember, I am the only judge for the unsung

Be obliged to those who pray for your redemption;
They entreated me to guide you out of perturbation
By sparking a faint light from your despairing soul:
Their prayers have compelled me to act right away
Before the sun rises on the horizon for a new day

March 01, 2015