Jun 29, 2016

Review: Interstellar

Interstellar Interstellar by Greg Keyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is the novelization of Interstellar movie. I had watched the movie 3 times and read the book written by Kip Throne. I purchased this E Book from Amazon Kindle.

The story is simple Earth is dying and NASA comes with Plan A and Plan B. Plan A is to send astronauts to find a suitable planet for life and settle the people. Plan B is send astronauts with population bomb. For Plan A to work they have to understand the gravity how to lift a big ship into space for interstellar travel.

The hero Cooper who was once an astronaut and now a farmer gets the coordinates in his home, the mysterious message lands him and his girl Murph to the NASA's secret place. Professor Brand who is known to Cooper already ask him to take up the travel for Plan A. He persuades him so that the next generation can live harmoniously.

The crew of four Cooper, Romilly, Professor Brand's daughter Amelia, Doyle travels interstellar. Did they find the habitable planet to live? or is Plan A a sham? did Cooper returned back to meet his daughter Murph? all are revealed in the novel.

Though it is science fiction story embed with heavy family sentiment, the novel is very much enjoyable. One who had watched the movie will surely enjoy as the author has given much details which are left out in the film.

I liked to quote the below lines from the novel:

Cooper's daughter Murph shows her feelings that she does not like her name. And Cooper replies:

Murphy's Law doesn't mean bad stuff will happen, he explained gently, really wanting her to understand. It means whatever can happen will happen. And that sounded just fine to us.

These lines were spoken by Professor Brand which persuaded Cooper to take up the challenge.

The last people to starve will be the first to suffocate. Your daughter's generation will be the last to survive on Earth.

Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.

Line from Murph when she sends the first video message to her father.

You once told me that when you came back we might be the same age. and today I'm the same age you were when you left. Her eyes glistened as tears started to form. So it'd be a real good time for your to come back, she said.

Below are words of Dr.Mann

Would you have left, if you hadn't believed you were trying to save them? Mann challenged. Evolution has yet to transcend that simple barrier - we care deeply, selflessly for people we know, but our empathy rarely extends beyond our line of sight.

The survival instinct is our greatest single source of inspiration.

Newton's third law how it relates to human life.

The only way humans have ever figured out of getting somewhere is to leave something behind.

And finally the most emotional scene Murph lying in the death bed speaking to her father.

No parent should ever have to watch their child die.

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Jun 22, 2016

Review: Jesus Was a Time Traveler

Jesus Was a Time Traveler Jesus Was a Time Traveler by D.J. Gelner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received this eBook as free download from amazon.

Dr.Phineas Templeton who had devised the time machine sets foot for the first time in the history of mankind for time travel. He chooses to meet Jesus Christ and he finds out that he is also a time traveller. He gives advice that what happened is happened and that noting cannot be changed.
When he tries to return home he finds out that his chances are more than 2.8% the success of reaching desired place and time is 99.9% with 0.1% risk involved. He gets frustrated by the calculations and finds one letter in his compartment which gives precise calculations how to return home safely, the Time table for Time travel:

2.4.1666: Woolsthorpe by Colsterworth, England - Share port with IN
23.1.65,132,571 BC: Isla Yucatan, Mex : Done w/ TR
6.9.532: Chichen Itza, Mex: Save R.C., S.B.
31.12.1985: St. Louis, MO, USA, Communicate w/ VB
13.3.325 : Nicaea, Turkey, Witness C's skepticism at the FEC
18.4.1738: Leipzig, Germany: See the only show in town
17.6.691: Jerusalem: Corner and Deal with T V
6.2.1943: Paris, Seek out VS
6.7.2032 : Baltimore, Home

The scavenger hunt begins and the story becomes exciting as we are on journey with Templeton, he travels to the period of Isaac Newton then hops to Jurassic period then to Mayan period there he saves two characters one is Commander Richard Corcoran and a specialist in time travel Steven Bloomington. Some of the journey are hilarious some are serious.

I enjoyed the Mayan period when Templeton tries to communicate with Mayan people through a Tablet which he took with him in time travel and tries to check the web page for translations and the browser gives the familiar 404 - The page cannot be found, then he thinks how stupid he was that there is no internet in Mayan period.

After all the travel he had done, finally Templeton meets his benefactor now the story takes a twist who is the benefactor? why Templeton had to take the journey mentioned by him and what happens to Corcoran, Bloomington and the hero Templeton remains the rest of the story. I enjoyed the novel and the narration.

The below passage is said Templeton after finishing his journey:

where will I go? Past? Future? Does it matter? My past to change this future, or this future to escape my past?

The author has explained briefly how Templeton's time machine works:

The computer performed an amazing number of calculations per second to flesh out the position of the Earth, not only within the solar system, but also accounting for progression relative to Earth's gravity well.

the mechanism he devised uses the gravity drive and tunnelling lasers as a stirrer, as an artificial gravity semi singularity spins space-time and draws it inward the result is that the very fabric of space-time itself is brought closer together like two points on a table cloth that are drawn nearer when the cloth is formed into a cone.

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Jun 21, 2016

Review: Superman vs. Predator

Superman vs. Predator Superman vs. Predator by David Michelinie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I borrowed the book from a Library and it is not paper back they just bound the three back to back issues as one comic.

The title is mesmerizing. The Man of Steel against another alien. The cover promised action but I was disappointed that right from the first page Superman is crippled. I thought it should be kryptonite. Later the story reveals that Superman is infected by alien virus spread by the predator.

Star labs visits the crash landed space ship that had carried the predator. Unfortunately the self destruct did not worked because of loose wire! Superman comes to crash landed site and gets the fever.

Same time a villain plans to destroy unfit humans from this earth. Lois gets captured and here comes Superman err. just man with less super powers.

Superman is pitted against Predator and the Scientist. With diminishing power, did Superman really saved mankind remains the rest of the story.

Other than Superman being weakened, the story looks good and entertaining. Art work is not that much great. As mentioned by Jimmy Brown in his review that Superman barely looks the same from panel to panel is worth mentioning.

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Jun 16, 2016

Review: Benjamin Franklin's Doppleganger

Benjamin Franklin's Doppleganger Benjamin Franklin's Doppleganger by Jack G. Hills
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this kindle edition as free download.

The story is about path took by CIA Deputy Director Marlow and Mercenary Harry Andrews. Marlow gets once in a life time chance which he tries to utilize but it goes wrong not only it changes the life of Marlow who was made to live in Goa and also for Harry to raise a family.

The story is full of unexpected twist and Harry raising a family and was cut short in the middle by now CIA Deputy Director Gurdie. Harry plans for a revenge with help of his friend Ali Ben Ahmed. Did Harry took revenge? what happened to Marlow and what happened to Harry's friend Ben Ali remains other half of the story.

I like to quote one dialog between Ali and Marlow.

"Don't you people ever screen candidates for jobs in the security service or is it the job that makes them go bad?"

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Jun 5, 2016

Review: SMG A Biography Of Sunil Manohar Gavaskar

SMG A Biography Of Sunil Manohar Gavaskar SMG A Biography Of Sunil Manohar Gavaskar by Devendra Prabhudesai
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to thank the author for making me remember my childhood days. Sunil Gavaskar is my cricket hero. My father introduced me not only comics but also cricket by buying sports magazines and making me to read.

The book like a batsman takes guard by going into the background of middle class Maratha family brining up. Then the author dives into his birth and how he took up cricket, his school days with much detail.

The author has interspersed the biography with interviews of Gavaskar friends related to the particular topic in the chapter. Devendra Prabhudesai, from mesmerizing Sunil's innings had given more details of how Sunny played, his foot work and what kind of strokes he used to tackle the bowler, which made me feel I was there and watching the match again.

Not only he has described in detail the highs and lows of Sunil but also the controversy. When one say about Sunil the detractors will point to two episodes in life the one is Sunny's one day innings of 36 not out and another misbehaviour in Melbourne when got out by Dennis Lillee. I will give you the second incident from the point of view of Sunil. The background of the story, India is down in the series and Sunil batting is not clicking. But in Melbourne Sunil concentration and wrist work returned and he is aiming to get a century on facing Dennis Lillee bowling attack. After reaching 50 a low ball snicks the bat and hits the pad, the umpire Rex Whitehead rises his hand for leg before. Sunil says bat pad and then he starts his walk to the pavilion.

He had completed about one-fourth of the walk back to the pavilion when his ears were alerted to an association drawn by one of the Australians between him and a part of the female anatomy. It was then that Kirmani's walk out threat of the previous day flashed across his mind. Something snapped.

Then he went back to the non strikers end and pushed his partner Chauhan to accompany him to pavilion. The part did by Gavaskar is not sportsmanship but they have provoked him. Below is what Sunil now says;

From Sunil's quote:
I have to admit that it was an absolutely inexcusable behaviour on my part, for whatever the provocation, I should have kept my cool as I was the captain of the team. Sport star 20.2.1999.

Still people say this that Sunil walked off, but they hide the fact what made him to take that decision.

Don Bradman's quote about Sunil Gavaskar

It pains me that I did not get the opportunity to play alongside Sunil, but then, I had retired from Test cricket before he was born.

On reading about some of the matches I had watched were during the fag end of Gavaskar's career, we had TV by 1981 but at the time not all matches are telecasted. We have to get the scores from the Radio commentary. One such incident I remember is when I was 10 years old, after finishing my early dinner sat near the radio for the commentary of Indian innings in Kingston, Jamaica 1983. He was going good then the commentator said Gavaskar was out on 20. That part was in the book which made me nostalgic.

Sunil's famous head gear:

Like Viv Richards Gavaskar also did not use helmet. But in the final year in his career Gavaskar used custom made helmet. Below is the extract.

Sunil unveiled another custom made accessory. Unlike his lightweight leg guards and boots, this one was visible only when he took his sun hat off. It was a skullcap made of fibreglass. He had got it made during his stint with Somerset, after seeing Mike Brearley wear it. The skullcap maker, who was based in Nottingham, had made the headgear in accordance with Sunil's instructions, one of which was that the top be left open, so that he could wear the sun hat over it.

The final chapters ends with the statistics of Gavaskar's batting performance. Since I am using Kindle I cannot read as the stats are given in small letters apart from this complaint the book is a must for Indian cricket fans and especially Sunil fans.

I again thank the author for the painstaking work he had did in this book.

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