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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Ruskin Bond - Snappy Surprises

Published by Rupa, this collection of short ("super shorts", according to Mr Bond) stories is a breezy read, partly due to the format itself, but mainly because the twist-in-the-tale genre was handled better by authors of old. From the occult to the criminal, motives that arose from individual character exploration were a fairly common hallmark of English fiction writers.

Ambrose Bierce, whose stories have been placed by Ruskin at the beginning of the anthology, had a sharp wit by all accounts. I have had his Devil's Dictionary on iBooks since day one, and still find myself flicking through it while traveling. It certainly rips apart the contemporary political and religious landscape, with his trademark satire and acerbic wordplay. One of Douglas Adams' books, Liff, was constructed/compiled along somewhat similar lines, but to equally, if not more, uproarious effect.

Ruskin (he is a charming, gentle, all-smiles man, so I like to refer to him by first name - when I got his autograph at the Times Lit Fest in Delhi this year, he did me the honor of signing my copy of Douglas Adams' A Salmon of Doubt as well, chuckling as he scribbled his "Rusty" scrawl) mentions Bierce's mysterious disappearance in America, which had intrigued me even when I had read about it earlier. His stories, too, are puzzling - at least the ones chosen by Ruskin for this collection.

Kipling and Saki prove their exalted statuses with just a couple of stories plucked from their expansive repertoire. Rudyard Kipling is also one of that tribe of authors living out the ends of their lives in the New Continent/World. Saki (the pen name for H H Munro) was influenced by Kipling by his own admission.

Lord Halifax and Mr Bond themselves pitch in a pair of stories each, and I was surprised - pleasantly - seeing H P Lovecraft's name in the contents. The story, The Statement of Randolph Carter, is quite notable for his usual imaginations of nefarious beasts lurking under the earth's surface.

Overall, the four sections (Bierce, Crime, Supernatural and Classic) provide good options for switching genres at the tip of a hat - or a bend in the road. Great for traveling, as well as preserving for the history of words contained therein.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Television - Westworld (no spoilers)

In short: I like the show. Great production values and impeccable performances. The convoluted plotlines may put off some viewers, as might the graphic content, but it builds up to a larger-than-the-characters scenario.
Adamant viewers' patience is rewarded with unexpected (or, in the case of Anthony Hopkins' character of Dr. Ford, expected) outcomes and plot twists.
The concept has been taken further than Michael Crichton's original treatment, which starred Yul Brenner. Additionally, the later episodes are pacier, with out-of-the-blue murders (of real people, not hosts) and hidden intentions plus actions. These serve well to increase the anticipation going into the season finale, and high expectations from the upcoming season.
The trailer at Comic Con in July 2017 was well-received, although trailers are not the most accurate yardstick for the quality of TV shows.

Drawbacks: meanders sometimes. That's about it.

It's All Good, Man

Writing is going well. It is giving me peace of mind with only a few minor hiccups. This restful phase is certainly letting my body recover from the extensive stress - not damage - that it had gotten used to. Now, on to the Delhi Book Fair to stock up some new books!

Friday, August 4, 2017

New Write

Perhaps the intrinsic inability of any person to “see” neither the light entering the eyes of another, nor the sounds heard, odors smelt, skin crawls felt and palates tickled, is the reason we cannot ever empathize truly. Whilst this observation may not fall into the 'epiphany' category, I fail to see a reason NOT to put it in here on my blog, considering this is How I Wrote The Book I Never Wrote.

Expounding upon the fragments and snatches of self-conversations that continuously go on in my mind is fruitful, to the end that I make better sense of the world than before. When I re-read things I am working on, the endless urge to edit, re-write and alter comes to the fore, and I give in to it. Well, 32 is as good an age as any to get rejected for getting published, so this August, 2017, I shall print out the hundred-odd pages of single-spaced text spanning my under-construction works, and do the proverbial rounds. As I keep telling myself (and immediately ignoring), I’ve got to take the actions that will lead me to the glory I feel certain is mine. Grandiose, lofty thoughts of others can't hold a candle to mine. I think that’s a completely infallible statement, as is this.

Words. I love playing with them, teasing out their relations and connotations, ungrammarizing sometimes, sometimes neowording. This is newwrite, as opposed to Orwell’s Newspeak, which focused on brevity and censure (among other dystopian things). I am utopian in outlook, there is nowhere to go but the metaphorical up for humanity. Literally, however, it is to space that we must migrate as a species, taking other forms of life with us, to attain Asimov’s galactic scale of human exploration. His prescience is a wonder to me, more so than my other favorites, Philip K Dick, Ursula Le Guin, Douglas Adams and Ray Bradbury. His concept of Ba-lee and Da-neel is already moving to fruition, with our tech visionaries taking opposing sides in the Artificial Intelligence debate. I feel better already, even more so than when I started writing this newwrite.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Great start to 2017

Off to Kathmandu to attend Sappy's wedding, and 2017 couldn't be off to a better start.

Even if Twitter closes down this year, I will have tweeted enough to compile a repository of epiphanies (and reactions to others).

TBH, the self-imposed constraints on my tweets can be irksome sometimes. This is part of the reason behind this post.

This company has tided me over 6 months, and I am richer by 50k (already), so it's been a great half-year, especially after the momentous first half of 2016. On second thought, the momentous SECOND QUARTER (April, May, June) of 2016 were EXCELLENT. From July onward, the year flashed by in an extended session of information-devouring through the WORLD WIDE WEB - slightly different from the Internet in that my surfing was highly eclectic.

Tomorrow, if the intervening #6hourisms go well, I will take a break from this slowly-getting-monotonous office and chill out a bit. Au revoir.