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Saturday, November 03, 2012

October Reading – Part 2


Continued from previous post …

7. PKD Shorts: Sales Pitch by Philip K Dick
We all are vary of the spam in our mailbox, the sms and sales calls on our mobile phones selling us houses, home loans, credit cards and holiday packages. Marketing is moving over from informational to irritating to intrusive.
Fast Forward life a couple of decades and imagine how far would this intrusion go? This short one from PKD is about a guy who gets frustrated by the constant 'sales pitch' he is being subjected to. One fine day, something happens and he decides that the 'sales pitch' has gone too far. He takes some decisive action (pretty destructive one) and the results are ironic and funny at the same time.

8. Sherlock Misadventures: The Case of the Diabolical Plot by Richard Mallett
What would you think if you heard that thieves / robbers were stealing piano keys, circus elephants, billiard balls and chess pieces across the city?
If you are Sherlock Holmes, you are sure to smell a rat here and deduce that this is a diabolic plot to defeat the country in war or blackmail the country into submission.

9. Novel: Red Jihad by Sami Ahmad Khan  
After Shadow Throne, this was yet another novel based on the India-Pakistan political tension; the difference was the inclusion of Naxalites and the backdrop of the Red Corridor. Red Jihad by Sami Ahmad Khan was a truly enjoyable read with elements of international espionage and war in the Indo-Pak setting.
I liked Sami's writing style; reminded me of Ludlum … introduction of events as well as characters, usage of temporary characters to describe an event (temporary because these characters eventually die within 2-3 pages of their introduction in the event which is often an armed  disaster!! The story has a constant chain of events which keep you on the proverbial 'edge of the seat'.
I liked the way Sami has woven the story with India-Pak-China-US relationships as well as the inner non-state players like Naxalites and terrorist groups from Pak-Afghanistan region. He ties them all pretty well.
Full review posted last month.

10. ACD Shorts: The Case of Lady Sannox by Arthur Conan Doyle

A lady notorious for having affairs with gentlemen is at the centre of the story. A thorough gentleman (a doctor) falls prey to her charms and is losing credibility. A man arrives at his clinic with an emergency regarding his wife who has cut her lip with a poisonous dagger, offering a sizable amount for the doctor's services. The doctor has an appointment his lady and is torn between the choices. He makes his choice and the climax brings the two choices together in a very unexpected manner.

11. PKD Shorts: Shell Game by Philip K Dick
A sane person calls a mad person mad and so does the mad person call the same person mad. But what if all the persons in the room are Mad? Would they call each other mad or the collective madness will transform into a collective sanity which would invent
Imagine yourself a part of a society who believes that they are under constant attack. A discovery begins to change their perceptions of themselves and they don't know what to believe.

12. Sherlock Misadventures: Christmas Eve by S. C. Roberts
A lady approaches Sherlock and Watson with the case of the missing pearl necklace of her employer. Sherlock has his doubts and rather than question her on the details of the crime; he indulges her in useless conversations. His deductions are nevertheless in place and the 'non-existent' case is quickly solved. Just FYI - This particular story is written in a stage play format.

13. ACD Challenger Novel: The Land of Mist by Arthur Conan Doyle
This is my third and last of Dr. Challenger novels; I now have just 2 short Challenger stories left to read (next month). There isn't exactly a story there. The novel is but a collection of different experiences of the different characters and it is more like an essay on spirits and séances. (According to Wikipedia) This story is heavily influenced by Doyle's growing belief in Spiritualism after the death of his son, brother, and two nephews in World War.   
Marlon is once again in the story although with a new companion, Challenger's daughter, Enid. Summerlee is dead … but still managed to make an appearance in the story. Why not? The story is about spiritualism and séances etc. Marlon and Enid are investigating spiritualism as journalists. As the story proceeds and both Marlon and Enid have had spiritual experiences. Another of the regular characters; Lord John Roxton, also joins the story in spiritual adventure. Ultimately, Dr. Challenger himself, who has opposed the ideas of spirits and séances vehemently, gets some proof of their existence and begins his exploration of the spiritual world. This wasn't really a Dr. Challenger story; Marlon and Enid commanding the spotlight throughout the story.

14. PKD Shorts: Upon the Dull Earth by Philip K Dick
A girl thinks she can attract fairies from the 'other world' and feels suffocated on earth as she thinks she has a higher calling. In spite of the warnings of the family members and a boy who loves her; she continues to make attempts at getting in touch with the 'fairies'. Accidentally, she crosses over to the other world and gets in touch back with her 'boyfriend' telling him that it happened too soon and she wanted to come back but there was no way of doing it except one and the one who knew it had died.
The boy insists that she try and she does come back in spite of the risks involved. Her coming back is just the start of a nightmare for the boy !!!  

15. Sherlock Exploits: The Adventure of the Deptford Horror by Adrian Doyle
A lady approaches Sherlock with the strange events at her secluded home which seem to be warning of an imminent danger. Sherlock deduces certain things and realizes that the lady has arrived a day too late. He rushes to the lady's home only to find the murder already committed.

To Be Continued …

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