About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

11 December 2013

Ender Series

I first read about Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, when commentary about the movie started appearing on the web. Intrigued, I read the first chapter at Exclusives, and then got hooked - so got the full series. 

While it is sometimes a straight forward science-fiction novel, what I really like about the series, is the intersection of philosophical discussions on alien interactions - something that is not only applicable with regards to interactions with other sentient species (whose numbers are now far more probable) but also species that seem to be non-sentient. It effectively turns the idea of animal rights on its head - does the fact that humans don't understand communication of other animals on Earth imply that they are not sentient - but rather that we merely can't communicate with them. 

The other key idea is the concept of life itself - specifically, when should a computer program, without a physical presence be considered alive. I did not particularly like the eventual descent into metaphysics of what is the soul - but the very idea of an artificial program that could be alive and is alive in all senses but for the fact that there is no physical body; is a great construct.

It is a brilliant series, and the series had amazing foresight - given that many of the technologies such as the Internet, mobile devices, social media etc. did not exist (or existed only in a very early form) when the series was written. I especially enjoyed the second (Speaker for the Dead) and third (Xenocide) books - and the full series is well worth reading.

08 December 2013

Movie: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

For many trilogies, the second book is often the bridge with a lot of plot development but little in terms of action. In the Hunger Games series, the second book, Catching Fire, IMO, is the most interesting. The first book introduces the reader to a very impressive dystopian world, and the third book's plot line is rather expected. The second book is a bridge - but the brutality of the Hunger Games world is amazing in its depiction. The movie is quite true to the book's depiction, although not as much time is spent on the game itself. It is a very worthy sequel, and a worthy film translation.