Twin Paradox and Lost Umbrellas @ BYOB Party in June 2017 (Part 4)


Now for some books with strange elements.

Ratnakar brought in an element of science fiction to the BYOB Party with  Time For the Stars, a book published in 1956 from Robert Heinlein’s Juveniles series, a series with young heroes set in the near future. Heinlein was one of the most important science fiction writers of the time along with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. In this book, Heinlein examines the Twin Paradox, a thought experiment that explains how relativity works. The premise is if one out of a pair of identical twins is accelerated away from Earth and the other stays on Earth, more time passes on Earth and so the twin who remains on earth grows older while the space twin will not have aged that much. Twins are also said to have twin telepathy so they can communicate faster than the speed of light. Although the book may seem outdated today, the premise is strong enough to convince the hard-boiled cynic. Some interesting conversation did come up revolving around twins, communication and physics.

Watch this if you want to see what one of the world’s most foremost science fiction writers had to say about the Apollo 11 space mission.

Satish got a fantasy read. He’s a big fan of China Miéville and loves his YA books the most. Not many people in the room had heard of Miéville, a sensational science fiction writer who has won two Arthur C. Clarke awards and several other prizes as well.  Un Lun Dun or Un-London is a place below London. The story revolves around the adventures of Zanna and Deeba, two children who find a door to another London, one filled with old computers, obsolete technology and an army of umbrellas. Miéville’s linguistic prowess- his puns and nomenclatures- and bizarre characters keep the reader riveted. His illustrations add richness to the book. Satish read out a passage of the part where Deeba climbs up a ladder in a library. He saw her act of climbing in a library as allegorical in a way and this is typical of many of China’s novels. Another book of his that he mentioned was Railsea, an allegory of Moby Dick, where the search is for a white mole, rather than a white whale. Comparisons were made to another popular British author Neil Gaiman. You might like to listen to this fascinating interview of this writer who has also confessed his attachment to garbage and octopuses and trains.


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