The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

September 11, 2008 at 10:48 am (Reviews) (, )

It has been a long time since I read anything classic. I have been reading crime fiction these days and I stumbled upon a free e-book of Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka on Planet PDF. Downloaded it yesterday hoping to read it in some time in future like all the free classic e-books I download from Gutenberg or other such sites. I just opened it in the morning to see if the PDF version was readable quite literally. But as I started reading it I found it gripping. What happens when you wake up one day and find yourself metamorphosized  into a well not so human thing? First thing first, wouldn’t you wonder how you would get about? How would you go to work with this tiny little legs that seems hardly able to support you? You are the sole bread winner of the family, you couldn’t possibly rest but how would you go to work. Maybe you could get up and try and maybe everything would be alright. Only you realize that everything is not alright. The mother who adores you now is disgusted of your sight and your father from whom you took the mantle of the household wants you to disappear from his sight. Your sister, your loving sister, for whom you have dreamt so many things some of which would be a possibility very soon, is the only one who seems to understand. But even she can’t clearly stand your sight. She feeds you and keeps the room clean. But things don’t remain the same. Do they? Your broken father has to get a job, your mother works doubly hard and even your little sister has to go to work to bring food to the table. They are put to all this hard work because of your failure to deliver. Well, because you changed. You changed from a hard working human being into something that has many tiny legs and a huge body. Something so horrible that it has no name. Come to think of it, the change has done something good for the family.  The family is doing quite well without you. Your metamorphosis has made it possible for a metamorphosis in others. But you ugly disgusted thing nobody wants you. Wow! What a story! Every bit as plausible as it could be. Yes. If you would change into an insect, vermin or whatever that is not human this is what will happen. There is no other way it could have happened.  Small novella just 96 pages long and really the best I have read in quite a long time maybe after Heart of Darkness that wrenches your heart.

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Alien Vs Predator Requiem

January 23, 2008 at 8:22 pm (Reviews) ()

AVPR starts from where  AVP ends. There is a new species of Alien that ends up on earth and they start multiplying fast and taking over a town. A lone predator comes to earth to save the earth and destroy the aliens. There is complete mayhem and everyone keeps dying everywhere and Predator does its best to control the aliens. But it does not look much sucessful and it also kills some people in its mission. Most of the time it is not clear whether the creature that appears is a Predator or an alien and who is killing whom. There are a group of people you feel sympathy for as in any movie of this kind. The question is will this group survive? In the end that is the question, isn’t it? It doesn’t really matter what happens to the rest of the humanity in that place, does it? Why doesn’t the predator call for backup if it cannot control the mayhem? Quite a few thrilling scenes and lot of excitement, but where is the story?

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I am Legend

January 15, 2008 at 10:52 am (Reviews) (, , )

The movie starts with a News interview of a doctor who found cure for cancer. The movie moves on to “3 years later”. You find Dr. Robert Neville (Will Smith) living with his pet dog Samantha in a deserted New York. Presumably he is the last man on earth. The cancer cure has become a viral infection killing everybody. Wait! And transforming others into Zombie like night creatures. Neville broadcasts everday on the radio in the hope that if somebody is alive they would get in touch with him. He spends his day hunting for food and nights in his well defended (?) home hidden. He is also working on a cure for this disease. Does he find a cure? So how does the last man on earth become a legend, that is the story. After a point of time the story seems wary and loses the interest.   The trailer seemed so great but the movie is not. There are actually no twists and turns and you can quite expect what is going to come.   

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Promise Me by Harlan Coben

January 11, 2008 at 10:39 pm (Reviews)

This is the second Harlan Coben book that I have read and it features the sports agent plus detective Myron Boltair. If you remember one of my earlier posts I have raised the question that since Myron is  a sports agent will all the crimes he resolves revolve around sports. In this book, Myron has divereged in his work and he now represents writers and also actors. So quite a wide area to throw your net. Anyway, in this story Myron overhears two teenage girls(one his girlfriend’s daughter and another his friends daughter) talk about booze and driving. Unsure how to tell them that drunken driving could be dangerous he makes the girls promise that whatever may be the time, wherever they may be, if they are drunk they should call him so that he would drop them where they want with no quesitons asked. The girls promise him. This seems to be a rather tall promise but Myron keeps his promise when one of the teenagers call him. Then she goes missing. So what happened to her. Is she a runaway? Or something bad had befallen her? Has somebody kidnapped her? Myron investigates. There is a previous case of a missing girl. Are these incidences related? Quite a complex story. The end reminded me of a Ruth Rendell story I had read earlier. Interesting story where you cannot guess what comes next. 

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Fish Tycoon

January 11, 2008 at 10:22 pm (Reviews) ()

It is a real time game. It means that fish grow, get hungry and even die when you are not playing or even when your system is off. So it means you are very very patient or you should do not bother to play this game. Basically you breed fishes and sell and finally find the seven magic fishes. While this sounds easy, it is not. You have to keep track of fish combinations. What you could do is even before you start the game you could download one of the charts from the Last day of work website and keep track of the fishes you have and what fishes you breed. You could also use one of the breeding charts and also the cheats that tell you what are the magic fish and how do you get them. I got the first two magic fish by accident or how it was meant to be found. After that I lost my patience downloaded a fish tycoon tool from a website and used it to see what are the magic fishes and how do you get them. I did not have some fish but was reluctant to buy any. So did lots of breeding to find them. I kept a chart of what I have and what I will get when I combine what and after how many stages I get the magic fish. I cheated a bit. Kept changing the time. After I found all the magic fish I should say I wasn’t happy. I wanted to find all the available fish combinations. I would have found around 125 species when I lost patience and deleted the game. It is a real time game. You can change the speed settings but have to feed your fishes everyday. An interesting and but sometimes frustrating game.

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Wicked woman Whodunit by Davidson, MaryJanice

January 11, 2008 at 10:20 pm (Reviews)

It is a collection of four short stories or is it a collection of novellas. All written by women which feature a central women character. That is quite raunchy. I would compare this stuff with the Rajesh Kumar and others who write pocket books in Tamil. The target for these books I am sure are definitely women who love a whodunit but also a romance. So why not mix them both. Where would you meet a man who is totally different from you but also the Knight you had been waiting? You have sensitive, handsome men who play the love interest of these women.  There is murder and crime and all these women think about is their new love interest. While the collection is not great it is definitely passable.

 

The first takes off as a spoof of Agatha Christie’s And there were None. Here we know who the killer is but the question is who is the victim? The second story is that the heroine takes a break  after a really bad week and meets the man who would blow her off the feet and then there is death. Who is the killer? The fast guys plays on every woman’s fantasy of celebrities. So how would you feel if all of a sudden you catch the interest of the celebrity you had been a fan of all your life. Of course there is a murder thrown in. The final one is quite contemporary based on  reality TV shows and what could go bad in a reality show. What happens when you throw a murder in?

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Historical Whodunit

January 11, 2008 at 10:18 pm (Reviews) (, , )

When I picked it up, I thought it would be one of the books based on real murders in the past. But it is a collection of short stories based in the past.  They feature quite a lot of historical characters who solve the murder, the historical detective. Colombus, Hamlet, and Macbeth feature in a story each. Some stories were really intriguing and some you could guess but all were interesting especially if you have heard about the historical character or know something about them. Even when that is not the case the stories are good and definitely worth a read.

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The Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

January 11, 2008 at 10:11 pm (Reviews) (, )

Have not seen the movie but heard about it especially the soap and the rules that no one ever talks of Fight Club. The story begins with the narrator saying that Mike Dryden is holding a gun to him and pointing to him that he has to die to become eternal. Quite profound. The narrator in bits and pieces tells us how he met Dryden and who is Marla and how fight club and thererafter Project Mayhem was set up. The narrators talks about this and about that and about this and again about that. It is written in simple language and though the story is told in bits and pieces it is very easy to understand. It is a small book and can be read in hours. Some of it is hilarious and some macabre and some doesn’t make any sense. Half-way through the book I was wondering why an author telling a story such as this is writing in such a way. What made him choose such a narrative? I know it is difficult to understand what I am saying but if you read it you would know what I am telling. But you do know that this particular kind of narrative is necessary for this story. The story I would say is mind blowing. By the way, who is the narrator? Would love to see the movie.

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The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie

January 11, 2008 at 10:09 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , )

I have been planning to see the play the Mousetrap running at the St.Martin’s Theatre in London for a long time. Mousetrap is the longest running play in the world, being staged from 1952, it celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2002. I am a die heard Agatha Christie fan and believe that nobody could write a whodunit like her. But reading a book is much different from seeing a play. I should confess that I had never seen a live play in a theatre before and was apprehensive whether we would get good seats and whether the voice would carry, whether I would understand the conversation if it is too fast. But I should say that I got very good seats paid a hefty sum for it but feel it is really worth it. Two stall tickets cost 90 pounds along with the booking charges. We booked the tickets at a booking counter near Leiscester Square on the day of the viewing which was a Saturday. We could have gone to the theatre directly to buy the tickets but were afraid that the theatre would be full. But in the theatre we saw many people buying tickets there directly and the cost was nearly 10 pounds less, that was 36 pounds for the best seats. The theatre is very old as you can surmise as it had been staging this play for the last 55 years or probably more. The seats I would say were tiny.

We got seats in the third row so we were happy about the seats. The beginning of the play removed all our apprehensions about the whether we would understand the accents. The actors were loud and clear. I thoroughly enjoyed the play. The play begins with the radio announcement of a murder in London. The setting is Monkwell Manor Guest House. Mollie and Giles Rasthalon has opened the guest house on the day. It is snowing outside all the guest arrive. Quite an eccentric bunch and the snow cuts them off from all civilization. Sergeant Trout arrives there to reveal there is a murderer among them. There are now eight people there in the guest house including the hosts and the police. And one of them dies. Who is the killer? As in all whodunits there is opportunity for all present but who has the motive? Well the first half was hilarious and the second half keeps you guessing. Well the murderer is ………yes it is somebody you would never guess. A wonderful play may even go to see it again. Don’t forget to eat an ice cream in the break it helps you to concentrate.

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