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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Silicon Mind by Manikarnika Lagu ~ A Book Review


 It has been quite a while since I read a sci-fi thriller novel. That is why when I got the opportunity to from Become Shakespeare to review Manikarnika Lagu’s ‘The Silicon Mind’, I could not resist. I set aside all the books that I had with me to read and started with it. I am so glad to say that I was not disappointed.

‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) is a subject that has always fascinated me. And since, this book explores the impact it can have on our lives in the times to come – this book fascinated me as well. The blurb gives you a brief synopsis of the story line and at first you feel like you know what to expect from the book. But, as you read it you know that the author has handled the story deftly and you are in for quite some surprises. I loved the way the story is narrated in the novel. It starts with Ray - Head of India’s leading coma clinic - Chetna and a leading neurosurgeon, working on a secret project of developing a sophisticated neural chip. He is looking for volunteers on whom he can implant the chip to study its behavior. Then we have Dr. Aman Kapoor, a reputed physician who has had an accident and as luck would have it falls into 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 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 the conflict between the material chip and the corporeal brain. The story is about how Aman manages to trace his bizarre bodily symptoms with help from Manasi, his psychiatrist, and her journalist friend, Ishaan.

Overall, the book is quite an exciting read. The author has given insights into how sophisticated our brain and that makes the book a more enjoyable read. There are a few chapters in the book that are written from the perspective of the neural chip where it tells how it is responding to the new environment inside Aman’s brain and how it wants to manipulate things to show his supremacy. In fact, the book was quite a revelation to me on the brain's working. Even a person with little knowledge about brain’s working will enjoy it. All the characters in the book are sketched well, with all the needed details. As you read the book, you realize that the author has done the research on the topic very well – that is why you will find no loose ends to the story. The growing closeness of Aman with his psychiatrist Manasi adds a love angle to the otherwise scientific novel and that makes it all the more interesting!

If you are looking for a quick read in the sci-fi genre, then you should pick up this book for sure. Highly recommended!


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