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Saturday, March 09, 2013

January Reading – Part 1

 

Started the year (and the month) with the last episode of the DORK trilogy by Sidin Vadukut, following with PKD short stories and a novella the new 3 Investigators 'Crime-busters' series

Attempted to read a new short story collection of ACD but stumbled … couldn't even finish the first one and never moved beyond. I will probably try another set of ACD stories.

Next I picked up the Hitchcock series books and read a few stories from all 3 of them (the 4th one is still not in my possession). Also picked up the Prof. Shonku collection by Satyajit Ray and read the first short story. I even started off with a short story of O Henry … from a collection of over 200 short stories by O Henry. 

Towards the end of the month, I picked up a Robert Ludlum (a thick novel at 585 pages) and while I was reading it, RIP by Mukul Deva arrived from BlogAdda.com for review.  

New authors this month: The BlogAdda Book Review program once again introduced me to a new author, Mukul Deva through his latest novel RIP. The Hitchcock series short stories are all by different authors, new to me.  

This month's reading score – 18 – with 3 novels, 1 Novella and 14 short stories  

 

1. Novel: 'Who Let the DORK Out?' by Sidin Vadukut

Having read the earlier two novels of this trilogy, I was eagerly waiting for the last episode to arrive. It kind of disappointed me. It was not as good as the earlier too and the author indulged in too many racial and direct frontal attacks on several personalities. After some time, it is neither funny nor interesting actually.

 

2. PKD Shorts: The Variable Man by Philip K Dick

 

A man arrives from the past into a distant future world … and this man has the ability to fix things. He is sort of a mechanic with an ability to fix a variety of things and he has the intuition to make them better. He arrives in a world where people had become too specialized to understand his expansive skills and even consider him as a threat since their computing systems cannot factor in the impact this man can create on their world. He becomes their Variable Man.

 

3. PKD Shorts: The Crystal Crypt by Philip K Dick

 

A spaceship leaving a planet is stopped by law officers who want to search for 3 'criminals' who have destroyed a city. They have a lie detector and all passengers pass. Subsequently, the fellow passengers begin to talk and some of them come together to discuss what actually happened. The city is no more … but it was not actually destroyed. That's how they escaped detection by the Lie Detector.

 

4. PKD Shorts: The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford by Philip K Dick

 

Imagine the 'Principle of Sufficient Irritation' – Irritate an inanimate object so much that it HAS to take some action … like get away, walk away, crawl away or just move. Imagine a machine which can generate the 'sufficient irritation' and objects in the house begin to respond to it. And watching one inanimate object moving, the other gets 'sufficiently irritated' and so on and so forth …

 

5. PKD Shorts: The Builder by Philip K Dick

 

A man staying in town far away from the coastal region is busy building something in his backyard during his spare time (and often taking day off from work) … something that has led most people around him to believe that he has gone bonkers (including his wife). He can't explain why he is building what he is building but there is an inner drive to do so. His small kid is also involved and giving a helping hand in the building activity but not out of his own drive but just following and spending time with dad.

The man finishes his work and wonders for the first time why he built it since he sees no conceivable utility for the thing he has built; putting in a significant portion of his time, effort and life. After all, living far away from the coast; what purpose will a large wooden ship serve him?

 

6. Crimebusters (3I) Novella: Hot Wheeels by William Arden  

The trio has grown up in this new series of the Three Investigator – They have their own cars and they (well, not Jupe) have hot girlfriends which mean that the distractions from a case only increase. It also means real jobs for the 'kids' who have now grown up and the threats from the villains getting more dangerous as they no longer treat them as innocent harmless kids.

Not as good or adventurous as the original series; the new series is just adding more stories to the series without taking them to the next level. Hot Wheels is about a distant cousin on Jupe getting stuck in a car theft robbery scam. The Trio stake out the suspects and what they discover is a gang involved in routinely stealing cars disguised as some other 'popular' cars – stealing them in plain sight in front of everybody. Hope further stories are better.  

 

7. Hitchcock – Shrouds & Pockets: A Matter of Kicks by Lawrence Treat & Richard Plotz

A party - a murder – seems like the man was murdered by a 'kick'. Speculations lead to several suspects and the peculiar ways of but the ultimate case solving evidence is a very interesting thing.  

 

8. Hitchcock – Shrouds & Pockets: Caveat Emptor by Kay Nolte Smith

You have surely heard of 'selling your soul to the devil for a favor' … well … this story is about the tragedy on the other side. Everyone thinks about the tragedy of the individual who sells his soul. No one thinks about the one who is buying …

 

9. Hitchcock – Shrouds & Pockets: The Maundering Syndrome by Dana Lyon

A letter from one old person to another … reflects the state of mind and his 'condition' …  

 

10. Hitchcock – Most Wanted: The Attache Case by Ernest Savage

What happens when you find a locked attaché case? You speculate what it might contain. It may make you happy or you might be sad and miserable. Our protagonist goes through similar emotions and discovers a new life (without even opening the attaché case). What happens in the climax is pretty interesting.

 

To be continued …

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