To the Sunday school children, she is a shadow in the window, a welcome distraction from the humdrum classes. Her eyes have a hollowed-out look, too, and her red scarf is askew, but she can easily pass as one of their truant classmates. Over psalm recitals and the sound of chalk scraping the blackboard, you can hear the caw-cawing of the crows and, if you listen very closely, her gentle tap-tapping on the misted glass. These taps are soft and hesitant, as though she hasn’t made up her mind about attending class or not.
When the bells finally toll for home, the children rush out. They look for her, searching for a sign in the gravel, in the rustling leaves, in the birds artfully hidden in the swaying branches. Underneath a grey sky, they mournfully share their packed lunches, leaving a few scraps for the stray cats and mongrel dogs that have made the churchyard their home. They talk about the girl they sometimes see at the window and invent stories about her.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made remarkable advancements in recent years, revolutionising various industries and changing the way we live and work. One field where AI’s influence has been particularly pronounced is the realm of art. The convergence of technology and artistic expression has given rise to a new wave of creativity, leading to the emergence of AI art as a significant cultural and artistic movement. In this article, we will explore the evolution of AI art, its history, and the potential it holds in shaping the future of creativity.
The year 2022 marked a pivotal moment for AI art, as it gained mainstream recognition and acceptance as a legitimate art form. Prior to this period, AI-generated art was seen as a niche pursuit confined to the domains of academia and tech laboratories. However, the explosive growth of AI-generated artworks and their widespread acclaim in prestigious art exhibitions [আরো পড়ুন]
Science Fiction has been successful in instigating imaginary futures for humanity. The two most distinctive features include utopia and dystopia. Utopia refers to a perfect society, whereas dystopia refers to a social order without the value of human life in a general sense. It is an invented world in which ominous tendencies of our present social, political, and technological order are projected into a catastrophic society in the future.
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (1952), Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1986), and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) are regarded as some of the finest examples of dystopian science fiction.
It is time to delve into the first two dystopian classics, Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
William [আরো পড়ুন]
Writer – Douglas Adams
Year – 1979
Country- United Kingdom
Genre – Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Comedy
Our life is nothing but a strange series of phenomena. Sometimes it makes sense, and the rest of the time, it doesn’t. Sometimes it is funny, sometimes it is serious, but mostly it is meaningless because in the end, nothing really happens, we are stuck in an infinite loop of birth-life-dual life-death-afterlife-hell-heaven-reincarnation-moksha or nothing at all, and we question about the meaning of life or life itself.
Are you confused? Are you feeling “ What the hell is going on over here ?”
This is the beauty of absurd literature and obviously the world of Douglas Adams’ “ The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Galaxy”, where the protagonist Arthur wakes up in the morning only to discover two things, firstly his house is going to be demolished by a bulldozer [আরো পড়ুন]
“I – can I talk to Prakash ji?”
“Speaking. May I know who’s calling?”
“I, sir – I am one of your readers. A fan. I love your science fiction stories.”
“Thank you! Can you tell me which ones you liked?”
“Yes, sure. I read your latest story just two days ago. That’s why I called you. Prakash ji, that story of yours – Carry On, I totally loved it!”
” Carry On? Thank you very much. May I know your name, please?”
“Sujay Mane. Prakash ji, I need some information from you.”
“Sir, regarding this story. I mean, I like the way you showed time travel in it, sir.”
“So, Prakash ji, you have shown a device in the story. Like a watch, the hero places it on the hand and sets the time. Then he goes to that time.”
“So, sir, how to make this time travel device is not given in that story. Can you tell me that?”
“Look, Sujay, it’s a story. Fiction. Everything is imaginary in it.”
The night is coming to a city wrapped in fear of war. The sirens scream, telling me it is time to hide. I hurriedly closed my shop and placed a small curse on the rune-lock. Thieves are prospering, using these blackouts as their cloak. If someone chooses to break the lock, he shall suffer from a sudden outburst of explosive diarrhea. That will deter the malevolent parties for the time being.
I watched for the wandering eyes and wink at the beggar sitting on the opposite side of this narrow Bazar Road. He keeps an eye on my shop in exchange for an anna or two, and I can sleep at night with relative peace. Despite the ersatz appearance, my shop has become a site of attraction, particularly to the troops from the faraway lands. Not because I sell ginseng at the cheapest rate in the entire Calcutta, not because I sell untraceable opium, but because [আরো পড়ুন]
“I name you Baqir Iftikhar; my son. Baqir because you are my beloved and Iftikar because you fill me with pride,” exulted the new father Intaj Iqtidar Raza, better known as Barq Bhai in the Indian underworld.
His name, Barq, had evolved because he struck like lightning. Like lightning, no one knew where he would strike and he struck with equally devastating effect and swiftness. Yet, Intaj was also a devoted family man and Noor Banu, his wife, closed her eyes for the last time secure in the knowledge that he would give their new-born every luxury the world had to offer.
Diwakar Dighe, Intaj’s right-hand man for over three decades wiped his eyes. “I told you; Baba listen to me. Do not buy Baqir a Lamborghini Aventador for his seventeenth birthday. Our roads are not ready for it. I begged you, Baba, listen to me.”
The writing was on the wall.
Baqir Iftekhar and his Lamborghini Aventador were both “totalled.”
The doctors said as much about their seventeen-year-old patient.
Gautam Bhatia is a well-known figure in the world of science fiction as the editor of award-winning magazine Strange Horizons. While reviewing The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction Volume 2, I came across an amazing space opera story, The List’ by Mr. Bhatia about the homogenization of a human society. Thus, the debut novel of Gautam Bhatia ‘The Wall’ was the obvious choice to feed the hunger of a science fiction reader.
Let us see whether The Wall has lived up to the expectation.
The author takes his own sweet time to tell this saga of revolution in a farfetched land of Sumer. The book comes up with a map (have a close look) which shows a city surrounded by a wall. The Sumerian society is matriarchal in nature and quite liberal when it comes to homosexual relationships but the citizens might face issues with free speech and free thinking. [আরো পড়ুন]
The paper is a study of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles as a modern mythology that negates the old myth of the Phoenix as a figure of survival. It is argued that such a model that assures of continuity even after self-destruction is re-imagined. Bradbury turns the myth around, as a new myth that highlights the death wish of humanity is reversed in creating a human friendly Mars that keeps the fire of the Phoenix burning but with no scope for it jump in and come back. The new Mythology / New Mars imagined by Bradbury is a literary world and the technology that enables is also a literary machine. These ‘Machineries of Joy’ are the agents of survival by dispensing ‘Medicine for Melancholy’.
Key Words: Science Fiction, Modern Mythology, Phoenix myth, Mars, Ray Bradbury
There was a silly damn bird called a phoenix back before [আরো পড়ুন]
Publisher : Hachette India
Author : Lavanya Lakshminarayan
Language : English
Genre : Cyberpunk
Welcome to the future where caste, creed and religion are not important but merit is the sole criteria of life because productivity is power and without power you are doomed. The author has finely developed a world built on the ideology of your contribution to the society or to be specifically a capitalistic society owned by Bell Corp, the one which controls everything and everyone.
The food, clothing, social media, art, recreation, leisure and your choice of birth ( delivery procedure) is under the radar of Big Brother, not the Orwellian Oceania but in the Apex City erstwhile Bangalore.
The world of Apex city has been developed through a series of short stories with reappearance of few characters. The beauty of the book lies in the unified sense of diverse short stories interconnected by the fact that all dwell in the dystopian world owned by Bell Corporation.
Time: 0110 hours
Date: 26th April, 1986
Place: Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine, U.S.S.R.
You cut could the tension with a knife. Every single person present in that room – the scientists in white, their assistants, even the lowly workers in their gear – everyone’s eyes were gleaming – was it greed? A few licked their lips, as if they could physically taste the success, the culmination of their years of labour. Arunabha found this distasteful. He felt put-off by the buzz around him. This place was nothing more than a prison for him, a prison from which there was no escape. His gaze shifted from the blue glare of the computer screen to the glass wall across the room. He could see the people feverishly working there, covered head to toe in protective gear. It was more than five years ago – that he was invited by the Soviet Union to work in this [আরো পড়ুন]
The second edition of The Gollancz Book Of South Asian Science Fiction fills up the loops created by the prequel. It is wider in scope and it dives deep into the abyss of the reader’s imagination. This time it is truly South Asian by including entries from Srilanka as well as Tibet apart from the usual trio of India-Pakistan-Bangladesh, yes the work selection is really impressive.
Manjula Padmanabhan’s Graphic Preface is an eye-catcher, the readers are going to enjoy the postmodern graffiti and I guess it is important to acknowledge the realism of the cover picture as well as the image of the flying South Indian temple in the garb of a rocket, loved the propulsion angle. Do not miss Tarun Saint’s introduction as well as the bibliography at the end of the introductory article.
Let us throw a laser light on some of the delicacies offered by Gollancz.
Well, [আরো পড়ুন]
Ben was sitting alone on a creaky wooden stool at the edge of the river, one hand idly swinging his fishing net into the almost still waters and the other stroking his beloved Labrador, Daphne. The lone eyes wandered far into the misty shadowed horizon, searching for nothing.
This very usual day seemed strangely unusual to Ben in many ways. He was a lone person in his early fifties, living far away from the hustle and bustle of the city in his own secluded cottage house. Otherwise content in his farming and reading books, the only passion he loved to indulge in was gazing out into the distant planets, trying to fathom its finiteness in the infinity. Not that he was an astrophysicist or even a stargazer. But he felt he could feel a signal now and then as if expecting something, though none of his neighbors could fathom what.
‘Bizarre Ben,’ they would call him. He had no friends save his much-adored pet. Together they went out on strolls and occasionally on a fishing spree.
No, I am not going to try and build it up. You are probably reading this story while you lean against the handgrip in a suburban train, waiting for your destination station. Or maybe you are glancing through it as you gulp down your food during the lunch break at the office before you get back to work. Or even, perhaps you need to go out soon on some urgent work, and you are reading up as much as you can in whatever little time you have left.
In short, for you and maybe for most of you, time is in short supply. So you do not have the patience to read anything like a regular novel that slowly builds up the characters, the background and the descriptions.
So let me come straight to the point. This story is about you or someone like you. All that happens in this story could happen with you too. I mean, it is not necessary that it will happen, but it could happen nonetheless.
Let’s [আরো পড়ুন]
“Damn! How could you let this happen?”
“Sorry, sir, it was my fault, but… but, I did rectify it within seconds.”
“That doesn’t change anything, you son-of-a-bitch! You almost screwed up my entire life’s work there! Lal, you there?”
“Shoot this bastard right now. I want to hear his scream.”
There came the sound of a gunshot, and almost simultaneously merging into the fading echoes of the crack, came a dying man’s pathetic scream that faded into a gurgle.
“Good riddance. Now I need to handle this.”
Ashok had just let out a moan of pleasure as he pressed the girl’s head against his crotch when his bliss was rudely interrupted by the powerful transmitter just beside his ear, alerting him to an incoming call from his boss.
Son-of-a-bitch! What a time to call! Shoving aside the girl with one hand, Ashok began pulling up his trousers while [আরো পড়ুন]
The warm touch of a glow-worm bird, almost as big as a pigeon, breaks his sleep. That dream again! It has returned to Bidur after an interval of several days.
Bidur throws a slanting glance at Srimati. She is still in deep sleep, dishevelled and content.
Bidur instantly closes his eyes as if to shut out the revelation of any deep secret. The mind travelled back to the days when he had started to smoke. The cautious way in which he kept his face away and talked with the minimum movement of lips to avoid detection.
Forbidden thoughts wrapped in coloured covers! For the first time in their twenty-two years of conjugal life, he is indulging in guilty fantasies.
In spite of all his efforts, he cannot exercise any self-control. His hand is now unconsciously playing with the steering of his car. Again, he is late for his office today. The vacation, instead of rejuvenating him, has produced exactly the opposite result. He has become rather lax in his duties.