Hmm… A very tight session just wooshed past me.

I was so busy with work that I could not really go fiction hunting or even casual surfing. But I did find some things worth mentioning here.

I donot know where anybody can find time for something like world building 🙂 . But it is there, that secret desire, to create a world completely of your imagination. If you donot have it yet, just read some of the books by Asimov, Herbert Frank, Larry Niven, etc. Actually you can just look at Discworld created by Terry Pratchet and wonder you could ever build anything like it.

Anyway, the point is, I found some sites where hard science fiction fans have actually tried to build complicated and fantastically detailed worlds set mostly in future. Orion's Arm is one among them. The site is worth a visit, as this is a much detailed approach. I found an interesting story set in this world, which is quite interesting. { The story is quite general, you don't have to know anything about the world }. Again, Epona Project is much more worthwhile visiting, as it takes a single planet case, and tries to explore the possibilities there in a realistic manner. People have tried to create languages of their own, too. Might be inspired by JRR, I think. Check out this site before you make your own language

Visiting these sites will only make you admire writers of 50s and 60s more and more. 😉 They are way better and speak for themselves. If you have not actually read them, I can give you a small intro:

Asimov. Created he fantastic world of robots and psychohistory. Three laws of robotics are so famous that any decent fiction fan respects it like a physics student respects Newton's laws. Robots are main characters in the three detective novels(Trilogy) called the Robot series: Caves of steel, The Naked Sun and Robots of dawn. Has the renowned Robot Daneel Olivaw. The stories he has written spans a timeline of a 1000 years from now to a lakh years. The universe is not created for the sake of it, he backs them up with solid plots and characters. As interesting as the Robot series, is the Foundation trilogy, which revolves around the science called psychohistory. The science specializes in predicting the behaviour of masses, huge populations, planets, constellations,… It cannot predict how an indivigual will react, but it can predict with 99.99% efficiency how a planet's population is going to react to a problem/situation. Aliens are completely absent, in this world, but the author is renowned of creating wonderful story-themes with just humans.

Tolkien Created Middle Earth. NO introduction required, _the_ pinnacle of fantasy. period.

Frank Herbert Created the fantastic world which has this impossible planet called Dune (Arrakis). The author wisely chose to eliminate thinking machines from the world. The world has the structure of ancient feudal systems. Power is split up among 3 interesting races or sects. The spacing guild (mysterious aliens mutants) who control all frigates and therefore hold the monopoly of space travel. The Emperor who rules the galaxy and his impossible sardoukar army who are bred to be war machines on a planet which has impossble living conditions. The other powerful sect in the world is the Laansraad Council which is a council of feudal lords( who command Houses who have personal armies). There is another interesting secret association of women called the Bene Gesserit whose objective is to match human breeding in the world so that the ultimate offspring is created. They are well trained in matters of mind and are considered to be witches by ordinary men. There is this delicate equilibrium, where he expands his complicated plot.

Terry Pratchet Oh my favourite! created the discworld. Incredibly i n s a n e imagination. World is a flat disc. Four elephants carry it. Elephants stand on a giant turtle called A'Tuin, which just swims through the space to god knows where. Oh, and the gods, they dont have any idea too, they just live in a tall mountain at the disc's centre, continuosly at war with the ice giants or playing silly board games. The world has absurd but picturesque things like the rimfalls (disc-edge water falls), rimbow, inverted mountains, etc, etc

Douglas Adams Impossibility at his best. "HitchHiker's guide to the galaxy" is a must read for any one. The world cannot be described with words. You name any possible weird combination, it is there in his book. Three headed four legged heroes and incredibly powerful computers. There is nothing more weird than the impossibility drive or Restaurant mathematics.

I think i wrote enough and more for the week. 😉 I can just go on about all these authors for pages. (Fear not, I have no such plans!). But I still thirst for more worlds….. complicated, stunning and complete.

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sci-fi movies and sci-fi games also qualify to blogged here, i guess. Anyway I am the Master Control Program here… 😉

A look at the tron costumes made by a fan recently, led me to find out more about tron. _that costume was funny, but this one is good.

Tron was a disney movie released back in 1982. Supposed to be the first movie with rich computer graphics in it. The theme of the movie became very popular and an arcade game was made after the movie. Again an FPS was soon released, indicating a rich fan-following for the TRON. (Screen shots look cool). Also found this site: The Killer list of video games which has a good list of arcade games and related info (Dont look for PC games!).

The movie's theme revolves around getting inside cyber-space! Outrageous, but for a movie in 1982, that is ok, i guess. A programmer is digitized into his company's mainframe by the master control program, after he tries to stop it from taking over control of the whole machine. ( Plot actually goes on that, the Company was doing work in matter-energy conversions and the Mcp captures the control of equipment and digitizes the hero to bring him *inside* the mainframe. Well, the hero finds that the Mcp is really a tyrannical overlord ruling over all other programs. He has to find Tron, the security program which can *fight* this villain to finally bring back everything to normal.

Pretty indecent to the brain of the 21st century, but the movie seems to have had a big geek fan-following, and the movie itself is considered a landmark for computer animation industry. And i thought, the theme vaguely resembles the matrix in many aspects. 😉 . Check out wiki page for tron too. Also this site is a popular tron fansite.

In other matters, saw another good flick yesterday on Zee MGM, Basic. Good one there, actually I lost count how many times the plot flipped. Most of the time you thought the movie ends, there is another one coming…

Expect my blogging activity to reduce, I finally got some work to do at this place…

Imagination has no limit. So is the number of weird and fantastic worlds hard science fiction writers can build up.

Had been on casual fiction hunting (which is my hobby, nowadays ), when I found this site: The Multiverse Database . The site has listed around 500 different planets found in science fiction. Each has been given a brief description and cites the Author, book, etc ( Related links can also be found there; Site is designed for IE, what a pity. )

Another writeup at wiki, also provides a good list of planets. Anyway, one of the planets caught my eye.

Rocheworld; found in a book by the same name by Robert L Forward; is worth mentioning because, it is a double planet. It consists of two orbs, both egg shaped, one larger than the other. The smaller one of them is covered by oceans and the other one is a desert. Intelligent life exists on this system and they are called flouwen. They have the form of thin membranes over the water surface and can change shapes at will. The reviews I read also point out that this is one of those rare books where humans and aliens work together in friendship and fight the enemy (nature).

Robert was a contemporary of authors like Asimov and Arthur C Clarke. He was a scientist himself and his bio page rather frightened me. His best known work is Dragon's egg which speaks of formation of life on a neutron star. Well, uggh!

The point is the beauty of hard science fiction. Outrageous ideas are made to look completely plausible. Hats off!!

Big Brother Watching!

April 21, 2004

One of the most famous quote from a book. Incredibly dark and scary.

"Under the chestnut tree,
I sold you and You sold me.."

1984 needs absolutely no introduction to any self respecting bookworm. One of the scariest books I have read, and to which I am not qualified to write anything about. 🙂 Yet, I will try writing what I felt about it. Scary does not always mean zombies or incredible aliens. It can be different.

Ever thought about the fact that we are more or less a product of the past? What we think, do, etc are generally decided by our experience and what other people did in a similar situation. There might be anomalies, but more or less the point I am making is that we are controlled by History.

George Orwell was one of the most influential political writers of all times. The book gives us a nightmarish peep into what a totalitarian regime can do to you. He introduces a lot of famous concepts like Newspeak, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Room 101 and ofcourse the Big Brother. The book actually inscribes another book which provides a lot of information of the political situation in the country. The world is divided into three big similar countries/regimes: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. The (love) story takes place in Oceania, where the government has a striking semblance to Stalin-Russia. ( This made the book much disputed as an anti-communist work, but imho, that is not the point the author tried to make )

Controlling the Past. Everyday, people of the ruling Party (the only one, 🙂 ) work relentlessy towards rewriting the history (which generally consists of media describing historic events, like newspapers and books ). It is re-manufactured to suit the current needs the Big Brother.

Doublethink. People follow the practise of doublethink, which i can comprehend only as believing in truth and lies together. Belief is purely decided by context, and it comes naturally for the ill-fated citizens

Newspeak. The language in Oceania, structured to suit the Party's needs. It has *no* words or means to express feelings that the party thinks unnecessary. Another way to restrict thought ( No anti-party thoughts are possible if you know only Newspeak. nice, eh?) This site will help you more in Newspeak.

Thought Crime. What if you still are able to think evil about the Party ?( Lets say, if you are able to think on your own ?) That is exactly what is known as a thought crime, and there is this thought police to catch you. And it is where the phrase Big Brother Watching! fits in.

Enough scare, you get the point, i presume. Are you suddenly in doubt whether, NOW, you are able to think freely ? 🙂 That is exactly where the scare comes in. And that is why all of us should read that book. ( It is available online. )
A much better description of the book is available here

I should not fail to mention that the book was made into a movie, which had a totally different ending. And the book is said to be slightly inspired from a book called 'We' written by a Russian writer, Yevgeny Zamyatin.

Your thoughts are always welcome.

Square ONE.

April 21, 2004

Hello books, bookworms, stories, friends, life.
This place, I intend to use as my personal space to discuss, re-interpret, search, explore stories that I read, I will read, and maybe i will just wish to read.

Here’s to hoping that those who chance upon these pages, will either help me or help themselves to drown in the deep world of books and stories…..