BOOK REVIEW: PHOTOBOOTH ( A GRAPHIC NOVEL)

Description

He wanted to change the past, but first he would have to alter the future…

A new deadly drug is about to flood the streets of New York City. The police have no leads on who is producing the drug, or where it is coming from. As far as Praveer Rajani, a reckless Interpol agent, is concerned the only way to prevent countless deaths lies in a handful of mysterious photographs.

Within the photographs, Praveer can see images of places he has never known, and people he has long forgotten. But what are the photographs leading him to? Is Praveer being told that his life is spiraling out of control, and he now has one chance to put things right?

Or are the photographs related to a murder that Praveer is desperate to solve? Perhaps they are showing the love that his brother, Jayendra, let slip away or even the family that his sister, Nisha, wants back?

The mystery will finally be solved in this exciting romantic thriller from Campfire.

Review

“This is a highly recommended comic-book thriller with a well-paced, well-produced, and well-characterised plot that keeps you guessing until the very end.
The artwork by Sachin Nagar is fantastic, and the book is well-made… Campfire is a new to me Indian-based publisher with a terrific selection of original graphic novels and classic adaptations.
If this is representative of their work, anyone looking to expand their graphic book library should look into them.”

Rahul Kumar (Rahul Kumar) (student)

“Campfire’s comics come highly recommended. They accomplish their goals and do it in a way that piques children’s interest in classic literature.”

Author Information

Lewis Helfand was born in Philadelphia on April 27, 1978. Lewis’ first comic book, Wasted Minute, was written with a political science degree and a passion for comic books. It told the storey of a world without crime where superheroes are forced to work regular jobs. Following the success of the first issue, he began collaborating with other artists and issued four further issues over the next few years. Lewis is still a freelance writer and reporter for several national print and internet magazines.

Top Five must read Ray Bradbury books.

To open the pages of a Ray Bradbury novel is to enter an imagination that has travelled far beyond the bounds of our rocky globe, into the most fascinating and perplexing realms of human life.

Bradbury had a productive career as one of America’s most successful novelists, short storey writers, playwrights, and screenwriters, best known for his works Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles. Bradbury, in a strange blend of the futuristic, the spooky, the bizarre, and the nostalgic, could be considered a genre unto himself. Bradbury was a Renaissance writer if there ever was one.

It’s hard to think this isn’t a scenario from one of Bradbury’s books because his writing career began in such a magical way. When he met Mr Electrico at a carnival when he was twelve years old, he was taken around a tent of misfits that would later stalk the pages of his most morbid books. Mr Electrico touched Ray with an electrified sword later that day and whispered to him, “Live forever.”

And Bradbury took Mr. Electro’s vow to heart, writing every day for more than seventy years, establishing a literary legacy that will live on in perpetuity, employing his prodigious storytelling abilities to craft tales that have enthralled millions of readers and inspired a slew of imitators.

He said that he was neither a science fiction, fantasy, or magical realism author, but rather a word magician who was written by his books.

It’s impossible to choose a Top Five list from Bradbury’s seemingly endless works, therefore this will be a list of my favourites and recommended must-reads.

A Ray Bradbury Top Five must-read list must include the following, in no particular order. 

1. The Illustrated Man (1951)

The Illustrated Man — a former carnival worker whose crawling tattoos spun stories of dread and delight — weaves together a series of short stories in this dark and wonderful novel.

Several stories are connected to The Martian Chronicles, and many of them resemble Bradbury’s early futuristic work, such as “The Veldt,” a cautionary storey set in a children’s nursery that conjures up the contents of the imagination. When the children’s parents consider shutting off the nursery, they discover that virtual reality has become all too real, and “Kaleidoscope,” in which an accident rips open a starship and spews its space-suited crew into space, where they meet a variety of ends. This narrative is so amazing that I read it at least twice a year to see how a master works.

Exploring this live canvas with Bradbury as your guide becomes a riveting investigation of the human condition, putting The Illustrated Man among the best Ray Bradbury books.

2. Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

Guy Montag, a fireman in a dystopian society where books are forbidden and most people spend their days in front of television screens, doesn’t put out fires; he causes them. Montag is assigned by the authorities to burn forbidden publications that promote free and complex thought, and he works diligently to complete his task. That is, until he meets Clarisse, a lone late-night pedestrian who reawakens Montag’s awareness of his surroundings. Montag begins to have doubts about his technology-dependent civilization and attempts to save the secret realm of printed knowledge that still exists.

Bradbury was inspired to create this grim essay on a post-literature future by the Red Scare of the 1940s, which saw America seized by anti-communist hysteria. While Fahrenheit 451 may be a parable about McCarthyism and Stalinism, Bradbury’s warnings about the pitfalls of political correctness and technological advancements appear to be becoming increasingly prescient.

This short novel, based on his short tale “The Fireman,” is perhaps most recognised for the Francois Truffaut film starring Oscar Werner and Julie Christie. And if that’s the case, people are missing out on a classic science fiction storey with a chilling Orwellian theme. Read the book and watch the movie. Fahrenheit 451 serves as a admonitory tale.

3.  The Martian Chronicles (1950)

The heat from the rocket burns blazes through an Ohio winter in January 1999, as pioneers depart Earth for Mars. In this superb epic about the colonisation of a new frontier in space, waves of settlement missions land on Mars until the planet’s cities are nearly destroyed. Things take a turn when humankind is on the verge of extinction on Earth, and the survivors seek refuge on the planet they once exploited, now a barren wasteland. 

Mars and the ethereal Martians are fanciful imagination in Bradbury’s hands. Despite the fact that he eschewed the hard scientific truths of regulated science fiction writers and preferred old technology to modern — bicycles over cars, typewriters over computers – he possessed a remarkable foresight into the future. Bradbury utilises the unusual light of an alien world to question humanity’s constant avarice in The Martian Chronicles, which might be interpreted as a mirror of postwar life in the Midwest. He reminds us that technical growth is only worthwhile if it improves our lives.

Rather than sticking to science fiction conventions, each chapter is an experiment in style and atmosphere. It does, however, take place on Mars, but it is the Mars of Edgar Rice Burrows and Barsoom, not the world we know from various landers and orbital photographic surveys. In Bradbury’s universe, Martians exist, and when Earthlings come, all hell breaks loose, albeit in a calm, retrospective, and masterfully portrayed manner

The text alone in The Martian Chronicles is worth reading; from “The Off Season”: “The wind threw the sand ship keening across the empty sea floor, past upturned pillars, past derelict marble and brass docks, past dead white chess cities, past purple slopes, into the distant…”

4. The October Country (1955)

Despite his fame as the author of the book-burning apocalyptic classic Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury was first and foremost a short-story writer. Dark Carnival, a collection of weird and melancholy stories published in 1947, was his first book. He trimmed, altered, and expanded to this collection eight years later to create The October Country, his ultimate tome of the macabre and bizarre.

Such classics as The Small Assassin, Skeleton, and The Wind, among its lovely bits of autumnal sweets, upend the familiar, creating a world where the mundane is exotic and terrifying. Bradbury’s horror stories aren’t surprising or exciting. It’s the terror of realising that something inside you is out to get you, whether it’s an unborn child or a pile of bones. It’s the terror of living in a world where the winds are conspiring to bring you down. But, though Bradbury avoids gore and the stock creatures of spooky literature, I defy you not to feel a shiver running down your spine as you read The October Country on a dark and stormy night.

5. The Golden Apples of the Sun(1953)

Bradbury abandoned frame narratives for his fourth ‘fix-up’ of short stories and simply juxtaposed tales from a variety of genres. The result is a stunning fusion of his familiar, wistful fantasy, such as “The April Witch,” a haunting tale about a teenage dream-traveler yearning to fall in love, and visionary science fiction, such as the title storey, a terrifying yet beautiful description of a spaceship’s flight into the Sun’s atmosphere.

A seemingly uninteresting storey is tucked within amidst these treats. The film “The Pedestrian” is about a man who enjoys getting out of the house and going for a walk. In a nod to Fahrenheit 451, this society is one in which individuals are cooped up in their homes, engrossed in television — and going for a walk results in arrest. Bradbury warns that technology progress can steal people of their humanity and enforce adherence to the current quo by depicting neighbourhoods as graveyards and people as mindless insects.

A fascinating account of a spaceship’s journey into the Sun’s atmosphere in order to sample some of its composition. Scientifically improbable, but a masterwork of heat, terror, and beauty in Bradbury’s hands. It’s also the title storey in a wonderful anthology of 22 pieces, including “The Fog Horn” and “A Sound of Thunder,” which are both classics.

Happy reading guys.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Hollowness: that I understand. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t anything you can do to fix it. The holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps.

-Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train

This is for all the girls who have just experienced a breakup. I just want you to understand that it was not your fault, so stop blaming yourself.

Breakups can be a shambles. Breakups can be excruciating. People also use memes to mask their pain and turn it into a source of amusement. They are aware, however, that it will not be easy. The agony you’re experiencing is indescribable, and no one could possibly comprehend it. You’re stuck in a rut, unsure of what to do next. Is it time to move on or not? Was he going to return or not? Is it better if I call or if he calls? Is he going through the same thing I am right now?

All of these questions have the same answer: ‘It doesn’t matter.’

What matters is how you’re keeping things together. Is it fair to be so harsh on yourself? You weren’t solely to blame. Perhaps you should set aside some time for yourself. What if he doesn’t return? So, what’s the point? You’ve got your friends, family, and, most importantly, you’ve got yourself. “But I just want him,” I know you’re wondering right now. You don’t want him, that’s the truth. YOU DON’T WANT HIM, BELIEVE ME. He abandoned you in this mess. He said he wouldn’t, but he did anyway. He deceived you. It’s time for you to do the same. He walked away without looking back, and it’s time for you to do the same. It’s past time for you to forgive yourself.

This is just like the girl on the train. Rachel, who recently experienced a breakup, is unable to accept the harsh reality. She also believes Tom loves her and that he will return. Everyone assumes she’s just a drunk girl who’s lost her job and has a broken heart.

Is anybody a fan of suspense novels? If you answered yes, you should probably read this at least once. It’s not great, but it’s not horrible either. You won’t be able to figure out who the killer is.

Apart from that, there is a lot of lying in this storey. All is deceiving one another. Many secrets are kept locked in the recesses of their minds. Loved ones are kept in the dark about secrets. However, with all of the lying, I began to doubt the confidence. Who could be trusted by whom? Rachel had faith in Tom. Scott had faith in Rachel. Anna had faith in Tom. Megan had faith in Kamal Abdic. Despite this, they all ended up rejecting each other. Okay, well, Rachel trusted herself in the end.

That’s one of the things I loved about this book: she wanted to see the whole picture and trust her intuition over Tom’s words. This is a tale about three women who were once strong but had become vulnerable as a result of their circumstances. Don’t let it happen to you as well. Have faith in yourself. Fight for your own interests. Because you are the best, girl.

‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

This is the opening line of the book ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens. Set in the time of French Revolution, this historical novel gives an insight of the cause and outcome of the revolution. The revolution, which was expected to be the kickstart of the new era and new hopes, turned out to be a bloody massacre. Dickens has intricately woven his plot to align with the timeline of the real events. 

A fiction which is set in the past is Historical fiction. Such a genre mingles the fact, events as in the recorded history, and fiction, the author’s imagination. As the novel is set in the past, the characters, the places, the language, the conflict should all accord to those of that period. The plot doesn’t completely depart from the records.  All these characteristics are observed in the novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities’.

The novel features two cities London and Paris and which in turn bridges two countries England and France.  The French Revolution which occurs in France also casts its shadow on England.  The novel traces the causes of French Revolution. Though a part of it may be fictional as in the part of St. Marquis Evremonde, the novelist brings out the cruelty of the aristocrats in the embodiment of Evremonde. It brings out the horror of the age and how inhumanely the third estates were treated.  

“The mill which had worked them down, was the mill that grinds young people old; the children had ancient faces and grave voices; and upon them, and upon the grown faces, and ploughed into every furrow of age and coming up afresh, was the sigh, Hunger. It was prevalent everywhere.”

The conduct of the characters is also in congruence to the period. The time period and the cruelty of the age justifies the actions of the Defarges and the other revolutionaries. The conflict in the novel is also a parallel to the period of the revolutions. The novelist foreshadows from the very beginning of the impending terror in the novel. 

“The time was to come, when that wine too would be spilled on the street-stones, and when the stain of it would be red upon many there.”

But the conflict is not only between the aristocrats and revolutionaries but also between the innocent whose lives were claimed by the revolutionaries. This is portrayed through the misfortunes of Darnay and his family. Though they were innocent, they were pulled into the political storm of France. By providing many sides of the history, the author makes us think to which degree the revolution was successful and to which degree it was a failure.

The novel doesn’t just bring out the themes of revolution, class division, poverty but also the themes of love, hatred, self-hatred, mental health and other complex themes. The character which makes the most impact in the reader is Sydney Carton. He doesn’t fail to move the readers to tears and a character with a lot of inner conflicts which is worth analyzing. No other words can give such a powerful ending as these.

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

Thus, by going beyond the expectations of readers and by enchanting them with a descriptive language, Dickens has produced a timeless classic – ‘A Tale of Two Cities’.

Read more about Historical fiction at https://awriterofhistory.com/2015/03/24/7-elements-of-historical-fiction/

Read the novel at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/98/old/2city12p.pdf