Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Natural Victim by Peter Raynard

Peter Raynard the author of this book, approached me to write a review of his debut novel. I would like to thank Peter for sending over a copy of this modern day murder mystery and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors and with the success of this book.

Plot Summary:

Dieter Fox, a skinny university student who along with his unnamed friend (who I'm assuming is the author) live together as the modern Holmes and Watson. Dieter is a great fan of detective novels and his home is a library filled with them. Soon there is murder in the University and Dieter gets a chance to play the detective. A friend of  Dieter's, is accused and arrested by the Police, he engages Dieter and pleads with him to do his own investigation and find out who is the real killer and get him off the hook.

Dieter has his task cut out, he now has to find the real killer among half dozen suspects, get his friend out of jail and stop the murderer before the killer can play out his/her machinations.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov

"He was an ideal man, almost an abstraction. Who could feel love, or even liking for such a man? A man without weaknesses serves only to make everyone else conscious of his own imperfections " - Detective Bailey in the Naked Sun.

Plainclothesman Bailey, from Earth is called upon by Solaria to investigate a murder on their planet, the first one in hundreds of years. Solaria was colonized by humans centuries ago, along with other outer planets in the galaxy. Earth is now reduced to underground cities, where people live in fear of open spaces and the Sun. Colonists who move to other planets are far superior in terms of military and technology and Earth men live in perpetual fear of these spacers.

Solaria in particular has made superlative advancements in Robotics. The ratio of 1 human to robots in solaria is 1:10,000. There are only 20,000 humans in Solaria who own large and self sufficient estates, with armies of robots to fulfill their every whim and fancy. Over a period of time human interaction has become minimum on Solaria, people seldom view each other and almost never see/meet. They use some advanced 3-D technology to interact with each other without ever meeting in person. On the other hand, Earth is over crowded and human interaction is a necessity, for this reason a detective from Earth would do a much better job of investigating a murder then a Solarian.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

What is the reason behind successful people? Did people like Bill Gates, Bill Joy, Robert Oppenheimer made it solely on their own or was there someone helping them. Gladwell explores with stats what makes the successful successful. Gladwell puts across his ideas backed by facts that success is not the work of a man alone but is the consequence of a number of factors including your heritage, your society and sometimes just sheer luck.

Gladwell argues that success of one man is never because of that man alone, but the combined efforts of his family, society and some times even rioters. Gladwell introduces and analyzes some thought provoking data, For e.g. Why most professional hockey players in Canada are born in the first calender quarter of the year, Gladwell states that the school session starts in January, now when kids are around 4-5 year old the try outs for the hockey team starts, those born in the beginning of the year have a natural advantage of their younger peers, as the extra 8-10 months give them a physical advantage over their younger counterparts.

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