The Viking incursions of the United Kingdoms was possibly one the major events that impacted trade and culture in Europe. Folks who have been following the series – Vikings about the norsemen and how they changed politics in England would be interested in a new series by James Nelson.
History is written by the winners. It’s quite possible that the then documented history is through the eyes of the winning side.
Reading Mahabharata, one would naturally assume that Duryodhana was an evil prince who oppressed his subjects and was extremely conniving in nature.
Last month, I read 6 books – thanks to the Kindle Unlimited library I had subscribed to. Ample food for thought for some book reviews. I would have loved to go through some classic sci-fi books, however, I chanced upon some historical and mythology books, one of them being The Mahabharata Quest.
Since I had already read through a series of books on Alexander, and was thoroughly piqued to see how Mahabharata is related to Alexander.
Turns out, it wasn’t! Read on to know more :)
Reading to me is a lifelong practice, and I have already written about it some time back on this blog. Over a period of time, my family has been accumulating a series of books … so much so that, it was hightime we did a spring cleaning of our house to make some space (now with kids, where do you put so many toys?).
For some reason, I had stayed away from reading Isaac Asimov. Probably because I had seen some of the poorly done movies based on his books. I finally gave in, and started reading Asimov … Foundation being one of the first novels I got my hands upon.
The story is set in the far future (as is true with most Asimov novels), where the world (or the galaxy in this case) is ruled by an uni-polar government. The human race has advanced far and wide across the galaxy, and has inhabited many planets (25 million and counting). Technology has advanced so much that it is making humans complacent, and hence the cause of its own decay.
This macro-view is held by a visionary (Hari Seldon), and he creates a mission to set two different worlds set at the ends of the galaxy to re-build the human civilization after its fall. The story takes us through the different phases any civilization will face in its rise to power. The government structures, the role of religion in controlling the masses, the role of science and trade in conquering other civilizations.
The original foundation trilogy is very well written and Isaac Asimov shows why till this date he is one of the top read authors.
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One day, in office, I came across this list, the best sci-fi novels of all time (according to Reddit). I was pleased at first as I browsed through the list … I had read the first two of them … as I went down the list … not one read! I had heard about some of them (relief!, but not more than 2 of them finished reading!!).
Off I went to Flipkart, and started ordering … in that order on the list.
Fortunately, this book was delivered to me last Friday. I sat through Sunday and finished it, almost in one sitting (there was a brief nap in the middle ;-)).
The thing about sci-fi novels is that when the author is writing the book (this one was in 1985), he has very less idea of what the future would be like. The rate at which things are changing is too fast, even for the imagination of the author. This is where Orson Scott Card dazzles. He has managed to forecast a future where public opinion can be swayed (and controlled) by digital media, space training facilities, colonization of other planets. While this might have seemed a bit far out back then, these days most of these things are very much achievable.
Ender’s Game is about a young child’s (Andew Wiggin) struggle against a system pitted against him to graduate and eventually save the human civilization from an alien species. I think Starship Troopers has taken some inspiration from this movie. Ender (or Andrew) is a born genius who thrives well under hostile circumstances. So the powers that be decide that for Ender to really sparkly, he has to be thrown into fire. And he is tested, again and again. This book is not about a boy who beats them all, its about someone who beats them, then gets burnt out … but beats them anyway so that he can rest.
There is an Ender in all of us. The tired feeling that we feel when we get burnt out … that’s Ender’s state of mind through out the book. It’s also about prevailing over that and continuing in classic human fashion. There are sequels to the novel, but what I like most about this book, is the attitude with which Ender attacks each problem. Do read the book.