Saturday, January 29, 2011

Isaac Asimov: 'Learning' Redefined

If you are into your 20s and I have to introduce you to Isaac Asimov, then this blog is probably not for you.

But if you are a newbie and a teenager, here is my brief introduction:

Isaac Asimov is one of the three grand masters of science fiction along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. He is best known for the Foundation series which is probably the best science fiction series ever written in the history of mankind. It should also be mentioned he has written more books than you have read in your entire life. Don't believe me? Well, tell me, how many years will it take you to read a few above 400 books?

Well, I can write on and on and run out of adjectives. Why don't you check him out in the following videos? It feels like every sentence he uttered in the videos is quotable. Go watch them...

And here is part 2.

If you have liked the videos, consider reading the Foundation series. Or go watch "I, Robot". The famous movie starring Will Smith is based on his book.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ernest Hemingway- My love for the old man's writing

Ernest Hemingway- the greatest American author makes me read each page slower and slower. Not that my reading speed has decreased, but I cannot but control myself reading each paragraph twice for the intricate linguistic beauty that lies underneath. My love for his writing started with Green Hills of Africa 7 years ago and became stronger with each book that I read. With A Farewell to Arms, he has proved why he is light years ahead of other writers at least in linguistic beauty.

I remember one paragraph from the book 'I.Asimov' which is an autobiography written by the science fiction God Isaac Asimov. He made a point about Hemingway. 

Isaac Asimov when he was still an amateur writer barely in his 20s went to meet an editor. The editor asked him how Hemingway would explain if it was going to rain the next day. After thinking for a while, Asimov came up with a beautiful line which had beautiful adjectives and lot of literary ornaments. Listening to that, the editor replied "If it is going to rain tomorrow, Hemingway would say 'It is going to rain tomorrow'". This shows how straight forward, simple and accurate Ernest Hemingway was in his writing. 

When I read the Green Hills of Africa I had little idea about literary facts. I didn't know very well who he was and borrowed the book from the British Council as the cover made me interested in the book. Going home when I started reading it, I could feel that his robust description made me feel even how the air was moving in the valleys of the green hills of Africa. Since then, I have read almost a thousand books, but have hardly found any other writer who could make me feel that way and affect my subconscious mind in a way that I would lose the sense of time and place and feel as if I was moving around in the hills as I read along. The feeling was so deep that still I remember almost all the descriptions in the book. 

Now I am reading A Farewell to Arms and enjoying every word of it. Why don't you pick one book by Hemingway and find yourself lost into the beautiful world that Hemingway will create in your mind?

For you, the opening passage of A Farewell to Arms from Wikipedia.

"In the late summer that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the trees."