Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Beyond Lies the Wub by Philip K. Dick - Short Story Review

Beyond Lies the WubBeyond Lies the Wub by Philip K. Dick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While reading this short story, my first Philip K. Dick work, this song kept playing in my mind:

Big man, pig man
Ha, ha, charade you are
You well heeled big wheel
Ha, ha, charade you are

- Pigs (Three Different Ones) by Pink Floyd

I was wondering if the travesty was really apt. I wondered if there was something in this story that crossed the gravitational force and escaped me. All I know is that here is a nice, short story about a wub (A rather stout, big pig-like being) that is picked up from Mars for an amount of 50 cents, fated to land on the tasty plates of the hungry space travelers. What happens then is for you to find out. How the hungry earthling captain is fed and satiated? Does he return back, like Odysseus?

I am sure reading it will take less time than eating your Eggs and Bacon. (The story is available on Project Gutenberg)

At that, yes, more PKD will be devoured.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse - Book Review

Right Ho JeevesRight Ho Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Stimulated by the juice, I believe, men have even been known to ride alligators."

With lines like these, it is definitely not difficult to love a Wodehouse book. Right Ho, Jeeves sits right there amongst the best of Wodehouse that includes almost all of his books. :)

Right Ho, Jeeves goes on to narrate a story about the suggestively piscine Gussie Fink-Nottle (or as Aunt Dahlia prefers to call him eventually Spink-Bottle, and you will know why!) and his problematic betrothal to Madeline Bassett and along with that a story about the lover's rift between Hildebrand AKA Tuppy Glossop and Cousin Angela. Thrown in are some sub-plots about Aunt Dahlia and her gambling issues, the sensitive cook Anatole (god's gift to gastric juices), the paranoid Uncle Tom, and the overall happenings at Brinkley Manor.

Who takes charge of solving all of these cases? No, not Jeeves, it's Bertram Wilberforce Wooster! (For an insight into the Woosters, do take a gander at the Wooster Guide: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....)

Bertie believes that Jeeves is unable to pull swift ones as before and decides to take over the reign. So, then the Unstoppable farce meets the Immovable object:

Unstoppable farce: "You see now how right I was."
Immovable object: "Yes, sir."
U.f: "It must have been rather an eye-opener for you, watching me handle this case."
I.o:"Yes, sir."
U.f:"The simple, direct method never fails."
I.o:"No, sir."
U.f:"Whereas the elaborate does."
I.o:"Yes, sir."
U.f:"Right ho, Jeeves."

When the farce, better known as Bertie, is aggressively convinced that the supreme spin-doctor, problem-solver Jeeves is not in his right elements, and decides to take control of the thoughtful steering wheel, all falls down. Or at least some of them do.

Wodehouse, in his own inimitable style, then goes on to describe the fun and at times laugh-out-loud events that happen and things tumble down, and eventually rise up. It's fun to read his descriptions about a certain fishy chap who become highly inebriated and delivers a superb speech!

Eventually, Bertie has to shake off his illusion about the not-in-form Jeeves after he sees how everything is solved by the trustworthy chap. Jeeves actions thoroughly convince us about the aberration that the Wooster spirit is. As Sheldon Cooper would say, there seems to be too much chlorine in the Wooster gene pool!

Oh and not to mention about the white mess jacket! All it took was a hot instrument...

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Cat's Crade by Kurt Vonnegut - Book Review

Cat's CradleCat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To write a review of this book in three words:
'busy, busy, busy'.
But there is no such restriction, so...

I have a strong belief that Vonnegut was a really baroque spider who weaved webs more intricate than any other. And these cobwebs are not normal ones. They are fractal webs. Designs within designs. The more you understand, the more there is to understand. The deeper you go, the meaninglessness of everything comes about.

Some authors elicit direct questions in the reader's minds. Some elicit questions under the garb of strange humour. Vonnegut belongs to the latter. He makes you think about religion, men of god, politics, science, society, utopia, dystopia, metaphysics, human behaviour, and some more topics without explicitly speaking about them. All of this indulgence goes along with the story of a man, who preferred to call himself Jonah, and his quest to find out what the scientist, who designed the atom bomb, was doing on the day the bomb was dropped. From then on, there are threads revealed. Some are very obvious, most hidden under the seemingly funny lines. Then, things happen and keep happening, and then some more things happen.

This is not Sirens of Titans, neither is it Slaughterhouse-Five. Cat's Cradle stands on a different track. Though it has style. Vonnegut has style. A style that opens the keys to the warehouse where every little thing makes you think. Makes you wonder and question and eventually come with an answer "There is no damn Cat, and there is no damn Cradle". Ensuring that you get the the futility of it all.

As with the previous two Vonnegut books I have read, this one really needs a reread. Maybe to understand it more, or maybe to find out that there is actually nothing relevant in the book, that everything is just made up. Made up just like life seems at times.

The other day, I was thinking what an interesting conversation Vonnegut and Wodehouse would have in the Bar of Heaven over a couple of drinks. Talking about the pitiful humans and their actions, humans writing theorems after watching apples fall down. Laughing at us all.

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Monday, June 4, 2012


I want to go back. Back to the trees and their shadows. Back to the falling mangoes and the chase to find out if they are half eaten by the mischievious monkeys. To the heavenly food and it's uplifting soporific qualities. To the awesome country life and the gracious hosts. To beaches, the resilient sand, and the peace of the night. To the plumping moon, the fireflys, the conversations and reminisces. The stories, the moments of wonderful wandering. Picking fruits from trees and eating them fresh. To fun-filled moments and laughter and joy.