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Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Silicon Mind by Manikarnika Lagu

Blurb (from the jacket):

The Silicon Mind is a racy sci-fi thriller involving a very sophisticated neural chip implant by a robot on a human brain. It revolves around the intertwined lives of Ray, a leading neurosurgeon, sharp and flamboyant proprietor and driving force of Chetna, India's foremost coma clinic and Dr Aman Kapoor, reputed physician and accident victim who falls into a coma. 

Aman becomes Ray's unsuspecting guinea pig- Ray and his American collaborators successfully implant a silicon chip inside Aman's brain-  true to the book's sci-fi genre, a robot does does the operation!
Aman wakes up- rejuvenated and changed forever. As Ray and his team expected, his brain has been enhanced to superlative degrees but his body suffers strange illnesses, a result of conflict between the material chip and corporeal brain.

The story is about how Aman manages to trace his bizarre bodily symptoms and sudden miraculous healing powers to his brain operation at Chetna with help from Manasi, his psychiatrist, and her journalist friend, Ishan. Ray finally buckles to emotional pressure from Manasi and his own daughter, the irrepressible Sakhi and has to undo the wrong he had done by trying to play God.

The author knows her subject well through extensive research and has written with lucidity and candour. The machinations that happen within the medical profession at various levels, the business of scientific research and discovery, Aman's highly individualistic personality, his queer experiences with patients after the implant, the growing relationship between him and Manasi- all make reading interesting.

My take on the book:
'Sci-fi' is one of few favourite genres of mine. However, that doesn't bias me. Being a reviewer, I don't judge a book by it's genre. The story and the aspects dealing with it, are the only things that matter to me. However, the idea of the book was a bit thrilling even before I started reading it, I must confess.

The cover design of the book is somewhat disappointing. Yes, it had it is apt with story to show neuron or grey cell (or whatever it is depicting) with a sense of robotics. That is what the story is about, but it could have been better. Also, experience tells that not many - if any - covers of Sci-Fis are interesting. So I wouldn't blame the author.

I would also love to thank BecomeShakespeare.com people for considering me worthy of reviewing this book.

When I first read the backcover blurb of the book, it came across as a part of the movie Robo, starring Sir Rajnikanth. I don't know why it appeared to me like that. It just did and I shared it to know whether it was just me or someone else did feel the same way. (You can read the back-cover blurb above.)

The story is, as I have told you earlier, about implanting a silicon chip into human brain by a robot. Ray is the desperate scientist who want to test the results of implanting a human with a silicon chip. Aman becomes his guinea pig due to some circumstances of which you have to read the book.

Later the story goes to explain the progressive after-effects of the chips inside the human; how it effects Aman's life; the interaction between the real brain and the syndicate brain; what are the reactions of Ray, who is the sole mastermind behind the very idea and various details.

Revolving around Brain, its functions and various other scientific terms like 'Artificial Intelligence', the story demands a lot of details about them, which for obvious reasons could not be conveyed to lay-readers. The complicate, impeding jargon would just make it worse. Instead, the author had decided and tried to make it understandable to even lay-readers' mind. The mechanics of the brain's functionality was so simply expressed that the facts and descriptions make the book all the more readable.

Few chapters in the book were narrated from the perspective of the neural chip that was implanted. It narrated it's side of the story giving the readers the first-hand account of it's feelings for the new environment, how it is getting adjusted, it's tricks on how to manipulate Aman's mind, etc. It was a brilliant way of narration that kept me hooked and showed me a way that the things could be approached in.

The pace of the story is pretty slow to my liking of a Sci-Fi. Maybe it picks up somewhere beyond the middle part, but then it slows down and the not-so-grand ending really put me off. Maybe that is the credibility the author was expecting the book to hold, but seriously, it did really put me off.

Overall, it a fine read. Though from my favourite genre, being unbiased would only mean that it is a moderate read...



Title: The Silicon Mind

Author: Manikarnika Lagu

ISBN (edition I've read): 9789383952038


Read between: 20-07-2014 to 07-07-2014

Reviewed for: Pooja Iyer

Publishers: BecomeShakespeare.com

Pages: 367

MRP: ₹ 250

The best deal for this book could be found here:  

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