Archive for March, 2007

The Traveller

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2007 by Ishrath Farhana

It is set in the present and takes a lot of material from today’s headlines to create a world that could conceivably exist, a world where “big brother” is a reality, where everyone lives in a virtual prison of being watched by someone else. In the tech community there have been discussions of this at length that say that in truth, privacy is an illusion.

The Traveler functions mainly as an Orwellian cautionary tale with some Matrix fight scenes and metaphysical speculation thrown in. An Illuminati-like shadowy organization known only as the Tabula controls modern society through technology. They’re influenced by Bentham’s idea of the Panopticon—a prison in which the prisoners couldn’t see their captors, and thus had to assume they were always being watched. Their methods are fairly plausible, which I’ll admit is quite scary.

Harlequins represent the other group, they are the protectors of the Travelers, or rather, people who can have outer body experiences and travel to other realms, which is totally Lobsang Rampa. When we catch up to the story, it surrounds mainly two brothers who are the sons of a traveler, and as such, could have the same power their father has, and a Harlequin who tried unsuccessfully to blend into the “vast machine” of mundane culture. Unfortunately for her the Tabula, still want her dead. After her father is killed, the Harlequin, Maya, flees Europe and goes to the only place she can go to, to see if the rumors of a Traveler are real and if so she will do as all Harlequins have done in the past, that is protect the Traveler.

Michael and Gabriel Corrigan are the two brothers. Gabriel has taken great pains to be off the grid in his life. He is a courier, rides a motorcycle, and when he is not delivering packages around Los Angeles, he skydives. Michael on the other hand is the older brother and sees himself as the more responsible one. He is in real estate, and is firmly plugged into the vast machine. The vast machine, as a result, knows exactly where he is and they capture him.

Nathan Boone and a General Nash are the faces we see of the Brethren, and the legitimate front corporation they represent, the Evergreen foundation. They convince Michael to help them by becoming a traveler. It turns out that they need Travelers now because they will help the Evergreen foundation to map the entrances and exits to the different realms. On the other side of the that is an alien civilization that will trade them designs for a quantum computer for this road map of different dimensions.

All set for a trilogy, folks.

Mort

Posted in Fantasy, Humor, SF on March 21, 2007 by Ishrath Farhana

Death comes to us all. When he came to Mort, he offered him a job. After being assured that being dead was not compulsory, Mort accepted. However, he soon found that romantic longings did not mix easily with the responsibilities of being Death’s apprentice…

The blurb says it all. And to digress, the footnote:

The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can’t have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles — kingons, or possibly queons — that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.

God must have intended mankind to have loads of fun, or He wouldn’t have invented Terry Pratchett.

The Day Watch

Posted in Action / Thriller, Fantasy, Horror, Translation on March 21, 2007 by Ishrath Farhana

The sequel to The Night Watch follows much the same form of three short stories which drive the larger plot forward. And here the similarity ends. If the Night Watch was taut, suspenseful and thrilling, full of fresh ideas and novelty, by the time we reach The Day Watch it has become dragging, trite and increasingly annoying.

The first story tells of the doomed love story between Alisa, the dark witch, and Igor, the light magician. Previously, Lukyanenko was successful in depicting Anton Gorodetsky’s inner conundrum about how the good side must repeatedly compromise with the evil in the interest of the Balance. This time around, he fails to present Alisa’s moral conflict, or even Igor’s ambivalent morality. We feel no empathy for the Dark ones, or even for Alisa’s situation. The love story meanders until the inevitable challenge between the two, and the duel ends in the death of Alisa.

The second story tells of Vitaly Rozoga, a mysterious Dark magician who lands in Moscow, a stranger with amnesia and a nose for trouble, who is following some unknown inner compulsion. A few important characters die during the events of this story, where Rozoga is handed Fafnir’s Talon, an artefact of untold power, stolen from the Inquisition. The story here would have been vastly more gripping had the countless songs and verses been streamlined – they added needless sentimentality and dragged the proceedings quite a bit.

The final tale talks of Light, Dark, the death of Alisa, even the coming of the great enchantress Svetlana, the boy without a destiny Egor, the hearing of Igor’s duel by the Inquisition, the coming of Vitaly Rozoga, Fafnir’s Talon, Armageddon and the final coming and Czech beer. This is where the novel finally comes into its own. After a lengthy hunt for clues about what the heads of the Watches, Gesar and Zabulon are up to, it is revealed that Svetlana and Anton’s daughter is destined to be the great enchantress, the messiah who will permanently alter the Balance in favor of the good guys.

And thus the plot is set for the third part of the epic, The Twilight Watch, whose preview can be found here. Thankfully, it promises the return of the inimitable Anton Gorodetsky.