Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

As a child, I had seen Blade Runner … in fact that was when I first came across the phrase Android. Yes, back then android did not mean an operating system for a smart phone.

The title of this blog post is a book by Phillip Dick, this book was adapted as the story behind Blade Runner. The movie on its own was also a fantastic experience, but if you read the book, and then watched the movie, its even better.

Blade Runner Then

blade-runner
Blade Runner the Original

The original Blade Runner tells you pretty much a story adapted from the book. A world where cybernetic human androids are used to do the tough work, and these android somehow not only find sentience, but also free will.

The story itself is about one such android hunter, or a Blade Runner, and how he starts seeing the point of view of the androids.

You have to realize that the time when this movie was shot, a lot of the effects that were shown on screen were difficult to pull off. Yet, here they are. The casting and the characters were spot on, with Harrison Ford, Sean Young and Rutger Hauer making their mark on screen.

Blade Runner Now

blade-runner-2049
Blade Runner 2049 – The Sequel

Blade Runner 2049, is a different story. It picks up from where the previous story left. It does star Harrison Ford, and to explain the age, it does cast him as an aged and retired Blade Runner.

Incidentally, this happens to be the third of Harrison Ford’s characters that has come back and has finally been put to rest (Indiana Jones passes the mantle to his son Le Bouf, Hans Solo is killed by his son, and Deckard finally gets to …). I won’t talk about the details, but the sequel is a good attempt to re-kindle the story. It pays homages to the previous flick in the right dosage, ditto to Ford, and yet … it tells a different story.

A story that makes you wonder. A story that sometimes you want to read as a book.

All the stories have a uniform theme … and all of them raise the question … what is life, and is a sentient being really alive? What do they think … and is an Artificial intelligence still a cognitive being.

Fingall and the Viking Saga


 

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.

Continue reading “Fingall and the Viking Saga”

Constantinopolis

Constantinopolis
Constantinopolis

My interest in Historical titles was piqued by books such as Alexander, Mahabharata, Ramayana and Camelot. However, when I saw Constantinopolis by James D. Shipman, I knew I had to read through this book.

Settled between Europe and Turkey, Istanbul (the erstwhile Constantinople) is right between the crusaders of Europe and the Ottoman army. The tale of Constantinople and its eventual fall at the hands of the Ottoman empire makes for an interesting story.

The Prelude to Constantinopolis

The author does a good job of explaining the history behind the fall of Constantinople. The reason behind Mehmet’s (the then Ottoman emperor) hunger for taking on Constantinople. The reason behind why the Vatican sent such a meagre force to help out the besieged city. The explanation of King Constantinople and the daily frustrations he faced in holding the Ottoman empire at bay.

The Siege

People know of the Trojan War because of the horse, the malware and the movie. However, this tale bellies the same upheavals (if not more), the entire siege had both the sides teetering on the brink of destruction and coming back up to save the day to fight again.king

Sieges take time and well defended cities take months to fall. Likewise even this city which had some of the most formidable defenses took 6 months to finally fall in the hands of the Ottoman Turks. It’s not as if the Ottoman war machine was running in perfect synchronization.

They had their own set of problems, and the politicking within the large empire was subtle and this victory ensured that Mehmet become the all powerful emperor that he was destined to be, surpassing the feats of his father who was loved (and feared) by all his people.

Not just a Story, but History

All in all, the book is not just a tale, but also tells us the truth behind the events that led to the great city’s fall, and the subsequent rise in the Ottoman empire’s impact on Eurasian trade. If you love historical tales, do not forget to pick up this book!

The Mahabharata Quest: The Alexander Secret

The Mahabharata Quest
The Mahabharata Quest

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 :)

 

The Mahabharata Quest

The Mahabharata Quest is a previous hit book by the same author, and it involves the same characters in another sequel.

The great thing about this book is how the author has interwoven the past and the present into one coherent novel. The book is about Alexander’s declaration of being a god (son of Zeus-AmmonRa), and how his prowess in battle could be attributed by scientific reasons.

I will not divulge into much details here, suffice to say that I started reading this book to see how Alexander is related to Mahabharata. Turns out the plot characters were connecting the two books. The good part about the book is that the author has done an excellent job of keeping a fast narrative and has the readers interested through the book till the end.

Yes, there are parts where the scenes seem to Bollywood like, but that’s entertainment for you. No, I am not a grammar nazi and I won’t complain about the bad English. If I can read C’Bag, then I might as well pay homage to the rest of the Indian authors.

Give this book a read, you might just enjoy it! Please keep in mind to not nitpick about mythology and history being intermingled like this, the narrative style is fast and something that I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

Amazon Unlimited and Kindle

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?).

Continue reading “Amazon Unlimited and Kindle”