Thursday, January 4, 2007

Die hard Asimovian

The first science fiction that I read was ' the time machine ' by H G Wells. It was profound in the sense that I hardly grabbed the idea behind the story. The basic concept was that any object has three dimensions - length, width and height. However there is another dimension - duration. One can change any of these dimensions and by changing the dimension of duration, one plays with time. Any way, the concept was too much for me.

Then I came across another sci-fi - ' fantastic voyage 2 ' by someone called Issac Asimov. The book was in my cupboard for at least 3 months before I ventured to read it. As I was thinking it would be a sequal with lots of scintific analogies, I was surprised to find that it was a in fact a thriller. A group of Russian scientists find a breakthrough in miniaturisation technology. Reducing themselves to the size of blood cells, they are injected in the human brain to find the intricacies of mind. I was an instant fan of this Asimov.

I tried to find out more about this guy. Asimov was gifted with a photographic memory. Whatever he read, he could recall. He won the nebula prize for the greatest trilogy for ' the foundation series ' against non other than Mr. J R R Tolkein's ' lord of the rings '.

The next thing I did was reading his foundaton series. Basically it was a trilogy but Mr. Asimov added 5 more in the series to make it an ' Octology '. Written in different stages of his life, the books lost their coherence. However, individually they are great. In fact ' the second foundation' is the runner up in my list of all time favourite books.

Then I came across his short stories. After reading them I had no choice left - I became a die hard Asimovian. Aliens were experimenting on humans with the sense of humour in ' jokster ' . Death was a parasite in ' hostess '. People went mad at night on the planet of six suns in ' the nightfall ' . Everything was part of the same creature on the strange planet of ' the green patches ' . Thats what one calls prolific writing .

The best of Asimov was yet to come. He had proposed the three laws of robotics in ' i, robot' . A series of books followed criticising, correcting, supporting and even discarding the Three Laws - by Asimov only. His touching novel ' the bicentinnial man ' was made into a film starring Robin Williams. It's about a robot who wants to become a man.

One of the Asimov books that I read was ' the end of eternity' . It's about Eternals who govern the human race. They can move in any time - the headquarter being in 575th century by the name of Allwhen council. A technician, Andrew Harlan, finds the flaw in the system and destroys it. With all due respect to Mr. H G Wells, I can say that this was a much mature effort to put time travel on papers than ' the time machine '.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) will live forever in the hearts of true Asimovians.

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