The Silicon Mind by Manikarnika Lagu : Book Review
Do you enjoy sci-fi reads? I do cause they are entertaining & have something new to add to your thought process and knowledge bank without much effort. Books really open up the door to another world and that’s why I can not ever say no to any book. Today I have with me one of my recent reads that is a first attempt by an Indian author, “The Silicon Mind” .
Silicon implants are not new in the beauty segment….but what happens when some one gets a brain implant?
Yes! The Silicone Mind is a story involving top notch medical professionals, a neural chip implant done secretly on a coma patient (who happens to be a doctor as well), and its effect on the brain and body! Its story of one research gone terribly wrong and how they tackle the situation emotionally, physically and intellectually.
The story & the writing:
The story begins with Dr. Narayan Murthy (Ray) trying desperately for a volunteer for his research project “The Silicon Mind” where in he would be allowed to implant a neural chip into his/her brain and study how it affects, reacts to real circumstances. When no one volunteers, he chooses to do it at any cost and finds a coma patient (Dr. Aman) for the experiment. Everything goes well and better than expectation until the chip starts overpowering the brain and that’s how the war begins. The war between the real brain and the silicon one and how it affects the lives of those involved.
Even though it sounds very technical, the author has made it very easy to understand for readers without any knowledge of how the brain functions. So even though you may not really understand the neurons interlinking, you do understand them working like an army for one king, the human brain. The author has done quite a lot of research to actually have gone deep into this topic, so kudos for that.
The writing is smooth, the connections clear and language easy to decipher. The focus on the personal lives of each individual gives it an emotional touch. So overall a good read in my opinion.
However I do have few points that I feel should have been handled differently.
- Topics like Artifitial Intelligence are always interesting and the author has taken it to a different level altogether by introducing a robot who performs all the brain surgeries like an expert surgeon and has temperaments like human beings. When the story began, I almost thought “Haku” (the robot) to be one of the characters deciding the fate of the story. With the author concentrating on him developing human emotions at one point it was very obvious for me to think so, but then as the story progressed, I realised he is just a prop to get the readers accustomed to the technologically advanced situation which was a confusing move if you ask me.
- The relationship between psychiatrist Mansi and her Friend Ishaan is so well described and real, where as the budding romance between her and Dr. Aman feels very superficial..almost as if the author did not want to spare them much time and page in the book.
- Sakshi’s spat with her father Ray was a bit too filmy with the *you killed my mum* angle thrown in like that. I mean for a story that deals with technology way ahead of today’s time, it is definitely not what the reader would expect.
- Okay, here comes the last point which I feel is a silly mistake. The first page itself mentions how Ray is desperate for a willing volunteer to test their neural chip on. Excerpts from the book,
A year later, far from achieving any glory, they were a bunch of frustrated and desperate individuals. Reason? No takers for their chip. In spite of advertising on the Net and on the popular TV channels in a large number of countries, no one volunteered. Not even one human being amongst billions, prepared to allow the usage of his brain as a medium for their experiment.
Now, Its really funny, but all through the book the neural chip is dealt like a top secret. Even Ray’s hospital has no idea about it’s existence.
Lastly, I do feel the book is entertaining. The amazing everyday technologies like the talking room “Pam” which understands gestures, orders like a good hostess, the smart cook computer with 2000 dish options (I would definitely love to own one if some one is thoughtful enough to design it. 😛 ), the kids- Sakshi and Sameer, Ray, the genius doctor and the emotional father have well defined characters that drive the story forward smoothly. Aman’s portrayal of an intelligent, sensitive doctor who falls in love with Dr. Mansi does make “The Silicon Mind” worth a read.