Saturday, March 03, 2007

Just a few

P.D. James - Children of Men
Eastern Love
A Little Princess - Frances Hodgson Burnett (One of those books which you buy because it feels so good to hold them in your hands)
Faces of the Future - The Lessons of Science Fiction - Brian Ash

Friday, March 02, 2007

Down the memory wormhole

When I think about it, my fascination with science fiction began as a fascination with space when I was a 7-8 year old kid. The earliest memories I have are of a scifi series called Space City Sigma, broadcast every Sunday morning back in those days (mid 80s) when the only TV channel you could get in India was Doordarshan. But I was lucky enough to have a dad who was posted in a remote place near the Indo-Bangladesh border (if you can call that lucky) and the Bangladesh tv signals were stronger than Delhi's. Needless to say, BTV was filled with Hollywood movies and tv series.
But I digress. I remember very little of SCS, because what really filled me with that oft-mentioned sense-of-wonder was another series called Indradhanush. Same channel, same day, but later (or was it earlier?) Briefly, it involved a boy who manages to build a computer from scrap and it actually turns out to be an alien intelligence from the Andromeda nebula. Juvenile stuff? Yes, and it was the kind of stuff which inspires, fills a young boy's mind with the vastness of the universe, makes him want to roam the cosmos in a ship of his own.

That boyhood desire of roaming in a ship of my own has still stayed with me - it manifests itself now with my obsession with space/flight simulations, where there is no predetermined objective or path, but you're free to fly around as you wish. Hm...that also explains my occasional dabbling with OpenGL. Self discovery can be revealing :).

A starship command deck, made out of matchboxes and face-cream boxes covered with white paper. The care I lavished upon it! Gluing and regluing, adding consoles, screens for tracing the starship's destination, pasting white paper over the parts where it would get dirty...

My dad had piles and piles of Reader's Digests, dating back from the 70's. Those used to be my staple diet. And there used to be really good articles on space exploration. Banal stuff about the solar system's planets' atmospheres can be of no interest to a 7 year old boy, but the sheer thrill of just reading about it was enough.