Finished reading a small one - 2001, a Space odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke. On the kindle. All this while, I have been spotting 3001, 2010, on bookshelves but somehow 2001, the first of this series was always unavailable. So when a friend shared this book, the soft copy, I started reading it and this one surely didn't fail to impress. Somehow, since I watched Avatar also during the same time (One real fun movie. Hats off to imagination, to the shoot - at one point, I stretched out my hand to touch the jungle foliage. What I liked most - screwed gravity, magnetic mountains or floating mountains). So, the point is, some of my 2001 is mixed with avatar in my mind. But what I liked most about the book - the way Clarke approaches the prehistoric era - the learning ignited by external forces, or rather the idea of engineered learning rather than human beings inspiring themselves to evolve. The real fun part is when you try to juxtapose the situation in today's times. What is the situation? - this really really old times ape -man who can just think of the immediate thing, food for the day, fearing the night, the wild...and nothing else. One fine day, the monolith arrives - and this ape man gets hypnotised/suggestive hypnostism by this monnolith which gives this being a new idea, a new desire for a healthy, safe life and literally was putting concepts in this ape-being's head. Even things like throwing a stone or eating meat to save himself - which the ape man couldn't even imagine he could do....freeze frame. Now, try to imagine all those things (out of the box) which you wouldn't even imagine you can do...difficult, but still try doing it. And then imagine you can do all those things. the potential, the power, the power of potential. Deeds cant dream what dreams can do. Time is a tree, this life one leaf. Mr EE Cummings, you were never more right.
So thats the beauty of these books and people like Arthur C Clarke. Content apart, even concepts like these act as a spark for the firepowder in your own head - and the extent of the imaginations is Beautiful. I really like such books. Douglas Adams, Clarke, Cameron, yes, Avatar is beautifully imaginative, its a fresh way of looking at things- you just have to be ready to believe anything and leave all the earth given prejudices, nay, civilization given prejudices behind.
All this - just for that sweet sense of wonder - and that overpowering sensation that one doesn't know who rules, who runs all this, one can't even imagine what lies beyond this small little planet of ours. Happy with our toys, occupied, living life as people ask us to do it, lost in this huge random web, made complicated by our own choice - and not even a second spent to justify all this! Not many people feel its wonderful, but that's ok, wonder and awe, like beauty, lie in the eyes of beholder.
What happens after 2001? Next book is 2010. I don't have it on my kindle. The one which I have is 3001. So - next visit to airport for the holidays, I buy it - and not read it. And meanwhile, given its holidays, more coffee and bookshop stuff - and i end up buying more stuff - latest ones are Herta Muller (land of green plums), Sylvia Plath (bell jar) and Ishiguro -remains of the day. So yes, all these about toys and life on this planet -me too away from my wonder stuff. You need the right setting :) Not sure whether I'll finish anything in 2009 - if I do, it should be one of the above...that reminds me, I have to do a book count for 2009. Don't have my notebook on me right now...those updates saved for later.
Looking forward to 2010 (the year, the book), and more reading. Happy New Year.