Friday, April 29, 2005

October the first is too late

Imagine. Let your imagination go wild. But at the same time, do not let go of the scientific causalities. And never forget the emotions that enrich human lives. If you can stick to these principles, you will surely like this book by Fred Hoyle : "October the first is too late".

I have read many books by Jayant Naralikar, the famous astrophysicist. The name Fred Hoyle, therefore immediately rang a bell : he was Naralikar's colleague/guide at Oxford. So when I found this old book in the library, I got issued without second thoughts.

As all the fictions must, this one also starts by building the characters in the reader's mind. The period is 1966-ish. There is a british Nobel laurate in physics, Jonh Sinclair and there is I, a musician by profession, specialising in western classicals. The physicist is trying to explain the strange occurence of a modulated signal coming from the Sun. And as the explanation is in progress, along a hike in Scotland, things change. We move to the US, where the experiments are going on, confirming that a LOT of information is being sent from somebody to somebody. And when we move to Hawaii, we get the news of the war. The California state is wiped out, or at least it seems like that. There is no communication from the west coast of the US. Fortunately we find an australian plane to take us back to Britain. On our way back, we find that there is hardly any civilisation left on the land of US. I am struck with grief as I find that the city where I had found my love is now little more than nothing. As we land in Britain, we sense a sudden change in the atmosphere. We had left in August 1966 and within just a week we find that we have returned in November 1966!

The truth may seem obvious to the reader: different parts of the world are now transformed into their "states" at different times. The US we saw was living in the seventeenth century, the Britain was ahead by a month, the Europe was burining with the first world was ammo, the greeks were living at a time of 450 years before Christ! We take up the task of finding the state of the entire world. We hit a glass-coating all over the Russian land. Things develope and I decide to escape to Greece of 450 BC to explore the possibilities of music. And do get a chance. John decides to continue with his flights of discovery.

The story thus unfolds, providing the reader with excitement and stuff of ponder upon. Expectedly, in the end, John finds a portion of Earth living six thousand years in the future. I am transported from the Greece of the past to the Mexico of the future after a musical dual at the temple of Apollo. Finally, the world is restored to its original time-space state. And that's the end of the novel!

To me (now: the real me, not the one from the novel), the concept of "changing times", is of not great importance. The story-line may not be great, and the concept may sound a little bit over-stretched, but that's not the point. I have developed a liking for books from the language-content point of view and not from the storyline perspective. The story is just a skelton, it's the words that give it life.

I am quite enjoying this new outlook towards books. And if I may add, I have tried this in my writings too!

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