December 16, 2005


Bloing. Post Friday night special. That contented, filled, semisozzled, pacified feeling. Then, of course, you spend half the day in office. Aaaah, the joy of life. I'm going back to Maddu ras soon. Maddu ras, here I come. In the meantime, the Antitrust-IP Guidelines await, with sharpened teeth and black slimy tongues.
Mood meter: Wha?

December 15, 2005


Normality seems restored today. In fact, I seem to have come out the other side.
The temperature in Delhi today was 4 degrees celsius minimum. I'm not sure what it was at 8:00 in the morning today. I decided to have a cold water bath. Was re-educated on the principles of heat transfer when steam started coming off me. Realised that abovesaid steam was actually vital internal body heat disappearing into the air. Continued anyway.
Now, a few hours later, I feel as if I've been reset. Most educational.
Worth trying once, but not more than.

December 14, 2005


That strange feeling that starts in your eyes and moves through your head when you haven't slept in 24 hours. I assume a caffeine high feels like this. I've never had one, though I drink lots of coffee. Symptoms:
1. bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
2. everything is surreal and unconnected to reality, like images viewed through a thick glass pane.
3. people are talking to you, and you can hear what they saying, but relating to them is like pushing through gelatine. Your reactions are on instinct, from a subconscious rulebook you've picked up over years of human survival and etiquette. Nothing really matters.
4. And finally, an underlying layer of bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
And then, somewhere in the middle of the day, you crash. Total systems shutdown.
The only thing I can compare it to is Fever Bright.

October 28, 2005

Stock Spec Fi and Farthana

Okay, I'm back. Found something far freakier from the place I just blogged to earlier. A "speculative" fiction site called strange horizons, which I haven't really checked out yet. What's really interesting is their list of stock plotlines which they will NOT accept from writers:
The original link to the site is here. However, I'm reproducing the same thing here cause I'm too lazy to paraphrase. However, as the legal maxim goes, res ipsa loquitor.
Strange Horizons
Fiction Submission Guidelines: Stories We See Too Often
This is an attempt at classifying the kinds of non-horror plots and themes that we receive too frequently. We have a separate page for horror stories.

Main plot types are numbered; subspecies and variants receive letters.

Of course it's not impossible to write a good story with one of these plots or themes; it's not that these are inherently bad plots, merely that we see too many stories that use them.

  1. Person is (metaphorically) at point A, wants to be at point B. Looks at point B, says "I want to be at point B." Walks to point B, encountering no meaningful obstacles or difficulties. The end. (A.k.a. the linear plot.)
  2. Creative person is having trouble creating.
    1. Writer has writer's block.
    2. Painter can't seem to paint anything good.
    3. Sculptor can't seem to sculpt anything good.
    4. Creative person's work is reviled by critics who don't understand how brilliant it is.
    5. Creative person meets a muse (either one of the nine classical Muses or a more individual muse) and interacts with them, usually by keeping them captive.
  3. Visitor to alien planet ignores information about local rules, inadvertantly violates them, is punished.
    1. New diplomat arrives on alien planet, ignores anthropologist's attempts to explain local rules, is punished.
  4. Weird things happen, but it turns out they're not real.
    1. In the end, it turns out it was all a dream.
    2. In the end, it turns out it was all in virtual reality.
    3. In the end, it turns out the protagonist is insane.
    4. In the end, it turns out the protagonist is writing a novel and the events we've seen are part of the novel.
  5. An A.I. gets loose on the Net despite the computer it was on not being connected to the Net.
    1. An A.I. gets loose on the Net but the author doesn't have a clear concept of what it means for software to be "loose on the Net." (Hint: the Net is currently a collection of individual computers, not some kind of big ubercomputer; software doesn't currently run in the wires between computers.)
  6. The future is soulless.
    1. In the future, all learning is electronic, until kid is exposed to ancient wisdom in the form of a book.
    2. In the future, everything is electronic, until kid is exposed to ancient wisdom in the form of a wise old person who's lived a non-electronic life.
  7. Protagonist is a bad person. (We don't object to this in a story; we merely object to it being the main point of the plot.)
    1. Bad person is told they'll get the reward that they deserve, which ends up being something bad.
    2. Terrorists (especially Osama bin Laden) discover that horrible things happen to them in the afterlife (or otherwise get their comeuppance).
    3. Protagonist is portrayed as really awful, but that portrayal is merely a setup for the ending, in which they see the error of their ways and are redeemed.
  8. A place is described, with no plot or characters.
  9. A surprise twist ending occurs. (Note that we do like endings that were unexpected as long as they derive naturally from character action.)
    1. The characters are described as if they are humans, but in the end it turns out they're not humans.
    2. Creatures are described as "vermin" or "pests" or "monsters," but in the end it turns out they're humans.
    3. The author conceals some essential piece of information from the reader that would be obvious if the reader were present at the scene. (This can be done well, but rarely is.)
    4. Person is floating in a formless void; in the end, they're born.
    5. Person uses time travel to achieve some particular result, but in the end something unexpected happens that thwarts their plan.
    6. The main point of the story is for the author to metaphorically tell the reader, "Ha, ha, I tricked you! You thought one thing was going on, but it was really something else! You sure are dumb!"
  10. Someone calls technical support; wacky hijinx ensue.
    1. Someone calls technical support for a magical item.
    2. Someone calls technical support for a piece of advanced technology.
    3. The title of the story is 1-800-SOMETHING-CUTE.
  11. Scientist uses himself or herself as test subject.
  12. Evil unethical doctor performs medical experiments on unsuspecting patient.
  13. Office life turns out to be soul-deadening, literally or metaphorically.
  14. In the future, criminals are punished much more harshly than they are today.
    1. In the future, the punishment always fits the crime.
    2. In the future, the American constitutional amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment has been repealed, or is interpreted very narrowly, or is just ignored by the author.
  15. White protagonist is given wise and mystical advice by Holy Simple Native Folk.
  16. A party of D&D characters (usually including a fighter, a magic-user, and a thief, one of whom is an elf and one a dwarf) enters a dungeon (or the wilderness, or a town, or a tavern) and fights monsters (usually including orcs).
    1. A group of real-world humans who like roleplaying find themselves transported to D&D world.
  17. An alien observes and comments on the peculiar habits of humans, for allegedly comic effect.
    1. The alien is fluent in English and completely familiar with various English idioms, but is completely unfamiliar with human biology and/or with such concepts as sex or violence.
    2. The alien takes everything literally.
  18. Space travel is wonderful and will solve all our problems. (We may agree that space travel is pretty cool, but we'd rather that weren't the whole point of the story.)
  19. Man has an awful, shrewish wife; in the end he gets revenge on her, by (for example) killing her or leaving her.

That's a lot of stock writing. Though a few of these seem too generic to condemn straight off as stock, I can imagine myself tearing my hair out over the nteenth story about D&D characters named something like Bolar Ironbowels or something tearing bodyparts and loot out of an orc. However, I would be glad to see someone like Farthana the Pregnant Cow (apologies to Gaurav and Annie) wandering around...

October 27, 2005

Peanuts and Lovecraft?

Where on earth did someone think this up? Pretty fun combination, if you like your Peanuts laced with H P Lovecraft.

October 07, 2005

Bollywood SWAT bunch of Americans sitting around commenting on Bollywood and Lollywood (Lahore!) movie posters. The posters are incredible. The comments are moderately funny, but I can see something like them coming out of a conversation with a few of my more mentally traumatised friends. Must visit, at least for the posters. I want a poster of the lion killer guy framed in my bathroom. Anyone know where I can get one?

October 03, 2005

Random Overheards.

Overheard at a coffeetable conversation:
"Of course you need prostitution, yaar. Its very important to have them. Otherwise, imagine what other men would to to all our wives and sisters..."
Have I misplaced the irony again?
By the way, I flicked this concept from the website/blog . Definitely worth a random visit. Dont expect profound revelations, but be pleasantly surprised when you come across a few.

October 01, 2005

Dead Rags and Dust

This was on my dreamscapes blog but i just revisited it and I dont think the poem was so bad, so here it goes again:
Something stirred him as he stared,
something quiet, something scared
turned his head but failed to look
or did he?
From office cramped to office dusty
Aboard the sturdy not quite rusty
He smoked, and stared into the sky
Barely nothing caught his eye
But barely nothing's something still
Dead rags and dust
A hint of elbow, a hint of shirt
A hint of brown skinned, shambling dirt
and no fingers
A hint of hatred, hint of pain
Hints of anguish, hints of shame
Hints of bruises, cuts and sores
Hint of sweat from tired pores
Blood and sweat and hatred hinted
He never saw, he merely squinted
At mounted lingerie
To fail to see is quite a task
How do you do it? One might ask
Think of British Comedy
Bertolt Brecht
Large Breasted women
computer games
Salman Rushdie
The mind it is the queerest thing
A bell once pulled forever rings
And strange detectives dig the earth
Uncovering skeletons spouting dirt
From the subconscious
From a book where once he had escaped
To hide from taunting kids who taped
the memories of childhood tears
and taunts and insults, calls and jeers
A book where shambling cudgel knees
Crunched at skulls, and of a man who sees
India and Indira in a strange double-vision
A word reached out, to drag him back
To the traffic, where commuters hacked
their lungs out, and the smog-filled sky
played strange games with the sun
And squinting worked upto a point
but city eyes can only blind
He who has learned, with his mind
To dull the screams, the blood, the tears
To separate models with big bustiers
from dead rags and dust

September 30, 2005

Mapping the Collective Literary Consciousness

The internet as a collective consciousness. An idea flung about so often its almost become dogma. But has anyone seen a way towards mapping this collective consciouness, of visually tracking the depth of this strange interconnected consciousness. Perhaps such an exercise is impossible, because a collective consciousness, just like any other consciousness, is infinetly multifaceted. However, it may be possible to map out one facet of this consciousness as a sample study, as a showpiece for interconnectedness...
Well, thats my take on gnod, anyway. Gnod is two things at once, an intuitive searchable database and a map. The searchable elements are a little limited: books, movies, music. Its supposed to work like a search engine for things you dont know about. Let me stick with explaining Gnod Books ( Gnooks!) for a start:
1. The intuitive database
Access the intuitive gnooks database and type in three of your favourite authors
Gnooks processes your query and throws back the names of some other authors that you may like, dislike or not know at all. Click accordingly.
The end process is a list of authors that are pretty much connected, on some level or the other, to the ones you just keyed in. In itself, no big deal, the database throws back authors who were liked by other people who keyed in authors similar to yours. Its a learning database, but then again, what isnt nowadays?
Now for the cool part.
2. The map
Access the literature map and key in the name of a random author (try to get it right, please). In about five seconds, the browser takes you to a page that explodes with words, names of authors, that scatter to the corners, or bunch around the center of the page, with your author's name at the epicenter. Slowly they settle into tentative positions, shifting ever so slightly now and then. This is the result of all your database entry creation: A collective map of all the authors who were liked by other users, placed in relation to the author you keyed in. Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, and other satirical science fiction authors huddle together for warmth and comfort, surrounded by at least fifty other names, all placed in relation to Kurt Vonnegut (my search).
It need'nt be more than an exercise in coolness, or a place to find more authors like the ones youve loved, or to map the very idea of a genre as a spot within the landscape of literature... Its potential appears mind boggling, however, as it graphically displays the landscape of literary preferences. Check it out, see what you think. If your a bookie fan, this is some sort of psychedelic dream come true.
Or a totally new way of seeing and mapping the topography of literary preferences.

September 29, 2005

Ruminations on the end

We live in strange times. Our world grows steadily demystified, dissected, denuded of romance, de-romanticised, if you will. There are no points on the map that havent been scanned and scrubbed vigorously of mystery by satellite imagery. There are no races that hold strange esoteric talents or mysterious cultures living in isolation from any but their own way of life. There are no mysterious creatures of fantastic proportions left to discover. They've even uncovered the poor giant squid, caught like paris hilton on spycam. The mysterious kraken of old lies bared to all, its fearsome unimaginable proportions requiring no further imagination in the cold lens of an underwater camera. There is probably no spot left on earth which, if traced for human contact within the past fifty years, would come up negative. There are no more Macchu Picchus. I mean, of course there is a Macchu Picchu, but whats the point, where's the awe and splendour of the unknown, when you've got fat german tourists and korean shutterbugs crawling over that once inaccessible fort where men considered themselves either gods or dead.
Where is the dragon?
Where is el dorado and shangri-la?
Its not surprising that in these rational, scientifically verifiable times, fantasy sees a redux. These are the days where the only true creatures of awe inspiring fantasy lie within the head. the lion was once considered a semi-mythical creature by the Chinese. There's very little myth left in a creature left to feed, fart and fornicate in a cage.
I'm not pretending to make some sort of point here. Perhaps I have little or nothing of any real substance to say, and a whole bunch of you can get back at me on how new the world is... Write in and try to convince me.

Putrid Poetry for Puerile Pessimists

Life in vitro's very sad
Fun as such just cant be had
Enough to drive a foetus mad

Bobbing like a cork

Life on four legs isnt better
Branded chronic diaper wetter
To the nipple always fettered
Toothless mewling larva

Life on two just does'nt cut it
Think you're free and mobile but it
Doesnt make a difference huddled
On a desk in school

Adult life is not suggested
If you thought the foetus festered
Or that toddlers are sorely tested
You ain't seen nothing yet

Life when lost is simply boring
Quiet enough to hear worms snoring
Save for the sound of termites boring
Gently through your skull

The purpose of this putrid letter
Is to encourage those with better
Sense to never let their
Selves be born at all

January 29, 2005

All filing clerks, watch out

Sometimes you need support in that slow and painful march against common sense. Firm, dedicated fighters who know their way around a potato. Featured on your right, from now on, will be the print version personas of all the people who've dedicated some part of their lives to fighting sense and sensibility, and bloody burning all the rest of those Goddamn Jane Austen books as well, god i cant stand them.