Month: January 2015

Martian by Andy Weir – Out of the world, literally

So, that’s it. That is how I come to know of this book. A recommendation by Ramesh Srivats (If you don’t know him, follow him right away on twitter and facebook to receive funny yet deep thoughts on everything, everyday). Here is a man who is insanely witty and knowledgeable and quite possibly well read. Many twitter celebs do the paid tweet thing, but not this person, nor does this book need one. If he says it is the best book he read in ages, this got to be. Rushed off to flipkart and read the description. *wow*. Saw the price. *okay*. Put the book on my wishlist and forgot, almost. New year started and I wanted to start off the year by an amazing book, hence remembered my wishlist. Thankfully now I have Kindle and the price of the ebook version is in my range(*you can do the same, read in Kindle app in you mobile or tab*). Thus started my journey into the Mars and stunning book by Andy Weir.

martian

The book description is a better introduction to this story than any of we readers can give about it. It sums up the situation pretty well. It’s Cast away plus Gravity set on Mars. As if this isn’t enough, the first lines of the book reads, “I’am pretty much fucked”. Martian is a story of an Astronaut named ‘Mark Watney’ who was left alone on Mars because of an accident. The book is about the struggle of Watney to live on the red planet his adventures there and his further plans to return. That is all I can say without any spoilers. To know how he lived and if he actually returned to earth, Read the book.

Every chapter is written wonderfully. There is enough action sequences and humorous lines in what mostly this book is, a journal entry by a lost astronaut. The build up to the major thriller elements are so well written, one doesn’t put the book down. The way our Watney takes care of these adventures and himself in the process is incredible. For a book of this premise, one expects or dreads lot of science depending on one’s interests and fears. This book will be a great read to both of them. The science part is impressively written that one doesn’t feel it’s boring and also mostly true, yes, almost true science in a work of fiction set in a different planet. One might wonder, science, thriller are okay but how come a journal log of a lone guy on a planet funny? It is, Our Mark is not just a brilliant nerdy scientist, he is equally funny, resourceful and cool. He is like John Nash and James Bond into one. There is a TWSS joke and Agatha Christie reference in this sci fi book, that’s how diverse this is. For people still thinking 300 odd pages of monologue should be boring, No, it isn’t boring even for a page. Take my word.

Yes, for a human to be lost on a planet, there has to be lot of philosophy about hope in the book. Sadly it doesn’t even explore that angle even for a page. Andy Weir said in an interview that he didn’t want to make this book not of melodrama. okay then, not much of problem, Andy. The book however focused initially on the minute details but doesn’t do so by the end. In the ending things become a little predictable but Watney’s coolness makes up for it. No complaints there either. Few people might have a complaint about the depth of the book’s Botany, Physics and Chemistry but not me, I enjoyed it. Overall, the reader feels so great about the book there aren’t much things to critic.

Andy Weir has written a great debut book, that’s what it is. He has written the next Hollywood blockbuster(Matt Damon to play Mark Watney). On a Mars mission of 6 people Andy’s choice of making a woman the commander of the mission need a mention. Last paragraph of the book is the best paragraph of the book and it’s not about science or some funny lines, it is about humanity. It is in the end an amazing read. So if the answer to any of Ramesh Srivats’ question is yes, read on,this will go on to become one of the best books read for anyone.

Useful links:

http://www.sfreviews.net/weir_martian.html

https://www.quora.com/Reviews-of-The-Martian-2014-novel/review/Sandhya-Ramesh

http://amazingstoriesmag.com/articles/interview-andy-weir/

http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/11/stuck-on-mars-with-nothing-but-disco-ars-talks-with-the-martians-andy-weir/

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Ridley-Scott-Next-Film-Martian-Starring-Matt-Damon-43626.html

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Primer – A prime film of this genre, indeed

Weird and Wow.

Weird and wow are generally not used together. weird is not some adjective you tend to use with a movie, not at least if it’s in good sense. But those were the two words I said while the end credits were rolling. Primer, originally released in 2004 is such a movie. I am 10 years too late watching this film but better late than never. I actually watched one of the cleverest films ever, finally.

primer

Was randomly searching on the internet in general and Quora in particular for a movie recommendation with the search term ‘mind fuck’. (Yes that’s what I do on a bored Saturday night, don’t judge). Between numerous references of Inception, Memento and likes there was this film, Primer, poster of which didn’t attract me enough. The thing that made me try this film is the run time, 77 minutes. Alright, there’s a film in just above an hour, and it such a film, that no one fully understood it, let alone in first watch. Challenge accepted.

10 minutes into the film, *seriously what do people who gave all those recommendations thought?*

30 minutes into the film, *okay, something is going on, a little here and there, but no not as weirder as I expected*

60 minutes into the film, *okay, lot of things happening, I am lost, may be it’ll get clear by the end*

77 minuted into the film, *what? it ends? that’s it? now who’ll explain those unanswered bits? wait, I understood nothing and the movie ended*

Primer is a Sci-fi yet humane film based on time travel, but explores the ethical angles and characters equally and subtly. Two friends decide to make something in a garage and finally make it. They actually don’t know what it is. The movie is about how they use it and it’s consequences. The camera is sometimes great and sometimes normal, but good enough. Direction and screenplay is what it makes what it is. To top it all, what if I told you entire movie was made in the budget of 7000 USD ?

If inception is one of the films you hold as the most cleverest and weirdest, take this. Primer has overall 10 frames of reference (Inception had 4). Do watch and get lost in story and time. *adding links explaining the plot, to make life easy, a little bit*

Useful links:

http://www.sparknotes.com/mindhut/2013/06/20/primer-understanding-the-most-complicated-sci-fi-movie-ever-made

http://digestivepyrotechnics.blogspot.in/2015/01/primer-plot-explained.html

http://qntm.org/primer

http://unrealitymag.com/movies/at-last-a-definitive-timeline-for-primer/

http://theprimeruniverse.blogspot.in/ (most important link)