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July 4, 2014 / subramanyam

The Silicon Mind…


          Recently I got a chance to read the book The Silicon Mind.  Written by Manikarnika Lagu, “The Silicon Mind” is a racy sci-fi thriller involving a very sophisticated neural chip implant by a robot on a human brain. This sci-fi thriller not only entertains the readers but also educates them about various aspects of human body.

          As it is the case with most Sci-fi novels , we see a very very intelligent and ambitious scientist “Ray”, this man and his team develop a neural chip that has wonderful features. All they need now is a person (a la guinea pig) on whom they can experiment.  Dr. Aman Kapoor, a reputed doctor meets with a deadly accident one night and his life takes curious twists and turns later on. How Aman ends up becoming Ray’s guinea pig and ends up as the bearer of the chip is something you ought the-silicon-mindread from the book.

          The story begins with Aman becoming a sample in Ray’s laboratory, what changes does this chip bring in Aman’s life? What do those changes do to Aman? How will Aman handle the changes ? How will the chip and the biological mind interact? What sorts of pleasure/ pain will Aman face as a result of all this? Are there people who can help him? Who all would stand by his side? How would Ray respond to all this ? Read the book to get all the details.

          The plot and the eye for detail are the most important things for any sci-fi novel and the author Manikarnika Lagu comes across as person with an authority over the subject she speaks, the way she writes about the human body, the brain and the she expects the technology to develop in the days to come ….. all this would the leave the reader awestruck. The author has indeed researched her subject well. The author was also economical with the characters. You donot even have a single character that does not have a purpose and an impact in the novel. At times we see references about a person but we donot see that person in action at all, that was wonderful. Each of these characters have a unique touch to them and we would like them for it. One would love Ishan’s attitude towards life, Haku’s sensible nature and Sakshi arguments as he/she reads the novel

          Some of the conversations between these characters are really wonderful, the author tries to bring out life lessons on love and relationships as conversations between the main players in the novel. That was done wonderfully well and I was able to relate to the conversations between Manasi and Aman. Again Manasi’s conversations with Aman, with her aunt etc… are all fantastic.

          Coming to the pace of narration, I felt that the story slows down after the initial burst, but then it really picks up later and will make the reader curious on how things would unfold? That makes it a good read. Lack of sensationalism in the climax might have affected the book, in a way that is the uniqueness of the book as well. Speaking anything more about it would reveal too much about the book, but then I felt that making things more spicier in the end would have really helped.

          These are few minor glitches and to me these things will not take any thing away from a very well written sci-fi novel. The book is good and enjoyable read. I would highly recommend the book for any one interested in reading sci-fi stuff. Even if you are not a sci-fi addict, you can still enjoy it by trying this book as something from a new genre.

          The review would not be complete if do not acknowledge the woman authors in India and their contributions. In the last one year I read Jash Sen’s “The Wordkeepers” & “Sky Serpents” ( thrillers with roots in Mythology), Manreet Sodhi Someshwar’s “The Taj Conspiracy” & “The hunt for Kohinoor” (Historical and action based thrillers), then Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s “Sita’s Curse” (Speaks about the needs and wants of a woman) and now “The Silicon Mind”, the fantastic Sci-Fi thriller from Manikarnika Lagu. Look at the wide range of topics, look at the variety. Look at the way women are breaking stereotypes and are venturing into various genres of writing. History is being created in India as our woman writers are making us proud. Surely we are seeing a golden age dawn in the field of English writing in India.

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