The Martian – 3.5 stars
While leaving the planet on an emergency, Mark Watney is accidentally left on the surface of Mars by his crew of Ares and he is assumed to be dead. With no way of contacting anyone and with limited supply of food and shelter, he has to survive.
“Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.”
― Charles Darwin
The Martian is a marvelous diary of a survivor. I am a student of Physics and it gave me more than enough pleasure to read a space-science-fiction novel with ‘Science’ that may really come true in a few upcoming years. I loved the book like a dear brother who speaks up ambitions which makes you proud. But it also contains a lot of things which almost made me throw it from rooftop. I felt like a bi-polar person loving and hating it so much the same time. To make it simpler, let me put it in pros and cons.
There are two types of sci-fi, one which jumps a long way and shows us a new kind of advanced world and another which just goes out for a little walk out of the boundary of actual possible world of today’s science. The Martian is of the second kind. It speaks of a very smooth fictional Mars expedition without ever going over the top. One after another disasters and problems are thrown at our hero and he tires overcomes those with the best weapon a man has – intelligence. The book balances thrill and tension very well to keep up the readers on their toes. Descriptions of the farming, rovers, hub, space station and NASA are so realistic that it makes one wonder if this is a fiction or fictionalized form of real events. Andy Weir has studied like a mad man for writing this book.
It really hurts me to write bad about this book. Biggest problem of the book is it’s language. Our hero is left alone in a stranded planet and he makes fart jokes, boob jokes and puns in his log all the time. While doing some of the most complicated chemical and mathematical calculations he jokes around like a 12 year old. It just blunts the importance of critical situations if a hero constantly says “Booyah, Yeeay etc” throughout the whole book. And most surprising of all – there is literally zero emotional effect on him. He is alone on Mars with almost no chance of survival and he is cool; so cool as if he has gone trekking alone. A man stays frigging alone on a whole frigging planet for more than a year and he never even has one emotional breakdown. What the hell??? This is Andy Weir’s debut novel and it badly shows. Most of the conversations among NASA’s topmost scientists feel tacky, cinematic and forceful to make it funny. It might make some readers smile with all the casual language, jokes and funny situations but let it settle and you will see how unnatural it feels.
It is painful to love a book so much while hating the author at the same time. Even with all the problems this is one of the most entertaining science fiction I’ve ever read. If only it had chosen a less funny and more sentimental approach, it could have been a masterpiece in all aspect. But at the end of the day, who won? Science won! Yeah!
The Cause – 4 stars
In a near distant future, America along with the whole world is at the edge of financial and economic disaster. The rich has got rich while the poor has got poorer. With NSA watching over all, the government has made individual freedom an enemy to be chocked ruthlessly. In a black-ops training camp Isse Corvus, a hacker learns something that contains the fate of U.S. He discovers the leaders are revolutionaries seeking to return the U.S. back to its Constitutional roots. With a gun pointed on his head Corvus learns that if he doesn’t join ‘The Cause’ and help them hack the NSA’s servers, it could mean his life. If he joins, he becomes part of a conspiracy to overthrow America’s financial oligarchy.
First thing first, this is a bomb blasting début! It sticks to a reader’s hands and keeps him/her curious all the way. The best thing about the book for me is the atmosphere. The book balances itself at a very unique position of having all the tension of dystopia novel but without being one. It controls the chill and tension-in-the-air just as the premise promises. There are many surprisingly well written characters with Isse Corvus becoming just the hero everyone wants to be. The book may feel a tiny bit slow at the beginning but once the ground is set, it gives one hell of a ride to the last page. Government Conspiracy has always been a hot topic for thrillers but Mr Vincent has made a new approach throwing sci-fi in the pile because sometimes conspiracy thriller without an all-knowing-hero feels really good to read.
I must mention another thing – analogy. Personally I am not a literature person and I avoid symbolic analogies. So I was really surprised when I liked symbolic quotes and writing placed in a sci-fi thriller! The lines are really deep and compliments the writing greatly.
The only thing that bothered me was the cinematic approach at some places. Quite a few dialogues and situations felt pushy and stiff like movies. I am not saying that is bad because some may like it, some may don’t.
I would recommend this to anyone who loves action packed thrillers with little bits of science fiction mixed in excellent manner and a warm thanks to Roderick Vincent for providing me a copy to review!
Colder Vol 1 – 4 stars
Do you really think you are sane? But what if you just need a tiny little push or a tipsy bit of wrong in your righteous mind to prove that wrong!?! Do you think madness can’t be spread? What if madness is actually a feast for a soul eater? What if everyone mad are just trapped in another world but can not get back? Now tell me what would you do when these happen to you!!
Incredible! The story is so gripping that you can feel it slowly crawling up your spine! A nurse (Reece) keeps a mental patient (Decan) at her house under observation after the mad-house went on fire. Decan is growing colder and colder with each passing day for unknown reasons! But now it is her turn to feel the world going crazy. Now between the soul-eater (read Emo-Joker) and Reece, only Decan can save her by taking a stand against his creator of madness!!
Do you really need more push to read this book?! See the cover! Just that gorgeously horrifying cover is enough to get you interested. Paul Toban’s story is superb and Juan Ferreyra’s art is out of the world. Juan Ferreyra has drawn the mad world like nothing else! It is a creepy yet mesmerising tale of horror and fantasy mixed with scariest nightmares!!
Parasyte Vol 1 – 3 stars
What if an alien invasion starts with parasites taking over human body? (Wait what? Is this 1940s again?) Little worm/snake like parasites take over human heads and start to control them. Then they eat others and become shape shifters (yes it is that much cliché). But a boy accidentally gets it in his right hand instead of his head and as the parasite fails to take control of his brain, they settle to a contract to co-exist. Now they must fight other cannibal parasites to survive together.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked the simplicity, a few likeable characters and clean cut look of drawing. But the problem is nothing really grabbed the attention much and felt bland. At the peak most of the suspenseful situations, I felt Meh! I would have given 4 stars but the story is a too much systematic and predictable. I have heard that there in a kick-ass anime now based on this but this source manga material surely is weak.