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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

September Reading – Part 2

 

Continued from previous post …

 

11. Short Story: Cleaner by Ashok Banker

Frankly speaking this story made no sense to me at all. I had heard some good things about Arvind Adiga's 'The White Tiger' and when I came across 2 of his short stories; I decided to start with them rather than the Tiger. But now I am not so sure about reading the Tiger. I am tempted to drop AA from my list but as usual, I give a second chance before abandoning

 

12. ACD Shorts: The Surgeon of Gaster Fell by Arthur Conan Doyle

 

A man, who is just about to move into new lodgings, finds a new neighbor moving into his existing lodgings. The new neighbor, a charming mysterious lady, is surprised at the man's plan to move into his new lodgings which are located in the solitude and wilderness of the hills; and gives him a parting word of advice 'lock your door from inside at night'.

The man begins to live in the wilderness and strange things happen which have a certain sinister element attached. The climax explains things simply. 

 

13. PKD Shorts: Strange Eden by Philip K Dick

A spacecraft lands on an uncharted planet. One of the members is adventurous and wants to explore the planet while the others are wary of unforeseen dangers. Our adventurous protagonist encounters some scary looking 'tame' animals and just when he is thinking of 'owning' this virgin planet, uncharted and yet-to-be-discovered by mankind … he gets a shock of his life which only gets intensified with each passing moment. He undergoes a transformation which shocks others too.

 

14. Sherlock Misadventures: The Adventure of the Murdered Art Editor by Frederic Dorr Steele

A somewhat weird tale of the disappearance of the Art Editor who drew the artwork for many Sherlockian publications; It can be seen as a recognition for a person otherwise ignored. Sherlock and Watson travel to America in search of this missing Art Editor …  

 

15. Novel: The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi

I had pre-ordered the book and I had 2 other novels by Ashwin but they were lined up for next year along with Krishna Key. The blogAdda review just brought this one up in the schedule.

The Krishna Key has quite a few parallels with Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code … the stories begins with a murder and then a pair (our protagonist who is a professor and a lady companion) gets involved closely with the murder. The hunt and the chase begins as the duo move from one place to another closely followed or preceded by another person/agency who is out to stop them. I have already made a book review post for this one last month.

There are some things that I did not like … unconvincing clues and the key which does not really open any door or uncover any treasure. There is too much of speculation and little of convincing conclusions.

Overall, this one was a good read and I would readily recommend this (with some reservations and some disclaimers). But while you are at it, try not to compare it with Dan Brown and other author works with similar plots and you would enjoy it. Full review posted last month. 

 

16. ACD Shorts: How It Happened by Arthur Conan Doyle

 

This story has a gentleman trying out his new car one fine night. The road he takes has dangerous curves and he is trying out the high speeds the new car is capable of. The climax, although predictable, is interesting.

 

17. PKD Shorts: Tony and the Beetles by Philip K Dick

Humans have a tendency to go ahead and conquer stuff … places, land, space … As the space they occupy gets cramped due to population explosion. They keep driving the existing population and colonize the new planets with humans.

But how long can this continue. The species being driven out or enslaved will reach a point where they can't go further and the only choice they have left with them is to fight back. And what happens when a century of pain, anger and frustration begins to show in the 'fight back' and humans begin to lose ground. Yet another century of driving a species across planetary boundaries will begin. This time around, the humans are the ones fleeing. 

 

18. Sherlock Misadventures: The Canterbury Cathedral Murder by Frederic Arnold Kummer & Basil Mitchell

Instead of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson; we have 2 ladies leading the show in this story. Appropriately named Shirley Holmes and Joan Watson; the daughters of Sherlock and Watson do an equally good job of solving the case of a murder. Shirley displays her flair for deductions just like her father while Joan, unlike her father' is not a medical student.

 

19. ACD Challenger Short Novel: The Poison Belt by Arthur Conan Doyle

This is my second Dr. Challenger short novel; after last month's Lost World.  

The same cast as earlier repeats. The 3 are invited by Challenger to his home in the hills with a request to carry 'oxygen'. This is in the backdrop of an uproar over Challenger's article in the newspapers regarding some cosmic aberrations which could prove to be fatal for the entire human race. His fears slowly turn true as the earth passes through a cosmic poison belt and the entire human race is facing a cosmic death sentence (Challenger equates this situation to a gardener spraying pesticide in his garden to eliminate the pests … the pests here being the human race).

The 4 along with Challenger's wife survive the poison belt having fortified their room and having an adequate supply of Oxygen to last a day and a half. They wonder what about present and future as the lone survivors on the earth.

The story is supposed to raise a lot of philosophical questions in the readers mind about humanity, its frugal existence and wasting away of time and resources on inconsequential material things. The end has a surprise albeit laden with lessons to be learnt by humanity.

 

20. PKD Shorts: Null-O by Philip K Dick

A sub-species of the human race who thinks that the universe has lived out its age and needs to go back to the state at the time of inception. The World needs to now collapse into itself; starting with the planet earth and then another planet and then the solar system … through a series of 'Bombs'. The ultimate goal is to collapse the galaxy and then the universe.

Interestingly the bombs are identified by the entity they will collapse … the E-bomb, V-bomb, S-bomb, G-bomb and ultimately the U-bomb. Evolution takes the next step !

 

To Be Continued …

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