Book Review: Hyperion by Dan Simmons

One word review: Wow!

Ever so often it happens that I get to suspend disbelief and immerse myself in such a brilliantly constructed fictional universe that it feels like a dream I’d never want to end.

Yes. I did not want to wake up from this.

I’m still book hangover. I am currently reading the sequel.

Hyperion by Dan Simmons is a brilliant SF novel. The world is complex, intriguing, and believable. It tells of certain aspects of humanity that should/could be enhanced as we develop our technology.

This is also a great novel in terms of storytelling. The writing does its job. Each character has its own way of describing events, certain motivations and dreams and hopes and aspirations. Continue reading “Book Review: Hyperion by Dan Simmons”

Book Review: Dune by Frank Herbert

Even though I wrote an article on why this novel is so difficult to adapt into a movie, I didn’t review the novel. It’s time to do just that now.

Few novels have exerted such a tremendous influence on me. Frank Herbert’s masterpiece, and undeniably one of the very best SciFi novels ever written, takes a life of its own over the span of the first few pages.

The universe the story is set in is complex — a vast intergalactic empire working as an intricate mechanism, a lasting feud, and all the treacherous games that are a part of the never ending struggle for power among the powerful.
Continue reading “Book Review: Dune by Frank Herbert”

[Movie Review] Joker: Heartbreaking

“The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.”African proverb

Just trying to gather my thoughts and emotions about this movie makes me feel like crying.

Those who are high in social intelligence/empathy will find it hard to watch this movie. It is, contrary to what some might expect, not the origins story of a maniac supervillain who only wants to watch the world burn. Joker tells the story of a man who has to go through one of the worst fates, that of an outcast rejected by society, abandoned by those whose companionship he seeks.

Continue reading “[Movie Review] Joker: Heartbreaking”

Book Review: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

“It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.”

It takes a special kind of humor to make me laugh. This is that special kind. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman make a fantastic team, and their humor is music to my soul. Even though I loved almost every word they put to paper, I am still aware of the fact that this book might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Especially those who take themselves and the world around them way too seriously. Which is like 90% of the people on the Internet these days.

“Over the years Crowley had found it increasingly difficult to find anything demonic to do which showed up against the natural background of generalized nastiness. There had been times, over the past millennium, when he’d felt like sending a message back Below saying, Look we may as well give up right now, we might as well shut down Dis and Pandemonium and everywhere and move up here, there’s nothing we can do to them that they don’t do to themselves and they do things we’ve never even thought of, often involving electrodes. They’ve got what we lack. They’ve got imagination. And electricity, of course. One of them had written it, hadn’t he…”Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.” …”

Continue reading “Book Review: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman”

Book Review: Christ Recrucified by Nikos Kazantzakis

The inhabitants of a Greek village, ruled by the Turks, plan to enact the life of Christ in a mystery play but are overwhelmed by their task. A group of refugees, fleeing from the ruins of their plundered homes, arrive asking for protection – and suddenly the drama of the Passion becomes reality.

This could easily be a very short review. There are only two novels that made my cry my heart out. The History of Love and this one. By cry my heart out I mean I had to stop reading because I couldn’t read anymore, my vision was blurry because of the tears in my eyes. That kind of good, that kind of wonderful writing.

I believe that Christ Recrucified is is not so much a religious novel, but more about human nature. What happens to us does not create us, only reveals our inner most selves. It is a novel about greed and envy and how distorted our perceptions of reality, of morality, and our own self-conduct can become because of that.

No matter what you believe in, I highly recommend reading this novel. It might make you understand suffering a bit better, how a true dark night of the soul, and how blessed we are to be living in the kind of society that we live in right now. Continue reading “Book Review: Christ Recrucified by Nikos Kazantzakis”

Movie Review: Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Two girlfriends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamored with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture.

Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Stars: Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem

About one in three movies made by Woody Allen is a masterpiece. The remaining two are terrible. Yet, that one which is a masterpiece, is loved by some, loathed by others.

What I am trying to say is that, Allen’s work is polarizing. You either adore it or hate it.

Vicki Cristina Barcelona is one of his best works. Allen weaves a bizarre story, which is kind of his trademark, but this time, he reveals an awful lot about people, which is why we enjoy stories in the first place. Continue reading “Movie Review: Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

Book Review: Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk

Palahniuk managed to amaze me with this novel. I’ve read it in a single night, as most of his other books, but this one was shockingly good, more than his usual standard. He increases the intensity of the novel with such finesse that when you reach the end, it feels as if you’ve gotten out of a roller coaster ride(no way of avoiding a terrible cliche here.) Continue reading “Book Review: Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk”

Book Review: A Knight of Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin

Taking place a hundred years before the events in the Game of Thrones, A Knight of Seven Kingdoms adds a bit more to the incredibly complex universe imagined by George R.R. Martin.

Dunk and Egg are as unlikely a duo as some of the most popular duos of the main series. Also, it is a welcome change to read about a world ruled by the Targaryens. A world at the crossroads of being changed forever. Continue reading “Book Review: A Knight of Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin”

Book Review: The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares

I am a big fan of Latin American writers, especially G.G. Marquez and Julio Cortazar, but I have to admit to the fact that Adolfo Bioy Casares exerts a special influence on me. He lived his life under the shadow of Borges’ immense genius and was often overshadowed by the brilliant prose of a writer who can, with ease, be considered as the best writer never to have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

But Casares, even though not as famous as his best friend, and most certainly not as brilliant, managed to grow in a different direction and forge a different style. He did all that, but he managed one more thing, for which I commend him greatly. He wrote this short novel.
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Book Review: The Pearl by John Steinbeck

From Amazon.com:

Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the Kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull’s egg, as “perfect as the moon.” With the pearl comes hope, the promise of comfort and of security….

A story of classic simplicity, based on a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man’s nature, the darkest depths of evil, and the luminous possibilities of love.

John Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. You’d expect some hefty volumes with his signature on them, but the truth is that his most memorable works are quite short. Continue reading “Book Review: The Pearl by John Steinbeck”