Sunday, December 9, 2012

Favorite Books 14

Book Review Henry Rider Haggard Allan Quatermain Alexander Belyaev Hoity Toity
Book: Allan Quatermain
Author: Henry Rider Haggard (British, 1856-1925)


Original Language: English
Year: 1887
Category: Adventure


Summary: The three friends - Allan Quatermain, Sir Henry Curtis, and Captain John Good decided to set on another journey to Kenya in quest for an unseen land. It was being whispered that, there is a place in a remote area beside Kenya where some white people stay. On their quest, they find Quatermain's fellow warrior Mr. Umslopogaas, who is a Julu veteran. Together they made a thoroughly strange and interesting adventure. They had to fight hundreds of Masai warriors on their way. Eventually they reached Ju-Vendis - the unknown reign behind Kenya. Ruled by two amazingly beautiful queens - both falling in love with Sir Henry. A rejected woman can be as ferocious as an injured snake. That's what happened. Let's see how the three comrades and the Julu super-warrior can handle the situation.

Comments: This book is the sequel of Mr. Haggard's other novel "King Solomon's Mines". Actually the protagonist Allan Quatermain appeared in a number of Henry Rider Books, and this is the last of the sequel. In this book,the same people coming from the previous series set on another amazing adventure. To be honest, this is thriller than "King Solomon's Mines". The writer's power of imagination, and story-telling is amazing. It seems he himself was in part of it, and also he makes you feel like that. The author is mesmerized by the thrill and chill of Africa, and at the same time he mesmerizes you same way.

It is interesting that Mr. Haggard being a white chastised his own culture in the book. He clearly stated his viewpoint about today's civilization and what is known as the savage world. Some snippet from the novel - "I say that as the savage is, so is the white man, only the latter is more inventive, and possesses the faculty of combination; save and except also that the savage, as I have known him, is to a large extent free from the greed of money, which eats like a cancer into the heart of the white man. It is a depressing conclusion, but in all essentials the savage and the child of civilization are identical. I dare say that the highly civilized lady reading this will smile at an old fool of a hunter's simplicity when she thinks of her black bead-bedecked sister; and so will the superfine cultured idler scientifically eating a dinner at his club, the cost of which would keep a starving family for a week." Another snippet - "Better is it to slay a man in fair fight than to suck out his heart's blood in buying and selling and usury after your white fashion." Steady contemplation might yield the same conclusion in your mind, too.


Bangla translation is available by Seba Prokashoni.


Book: Hoity Toity (Original Russian Transliteration Хойти Тойти)
Author: Alexander Belyaev (Russian, 1884-1942)


Original Language: Russian
Category: Science Fiction

Summary: A strange elephant has brought charming attention to the circus. He can do maths, he can read like a human being. People think of it as some kind of trickery, but returns home contently. One night the elephant gets out of the circus, and becomes unrest. Eventually the police chase it and it flees towards the jungle. While the police decides to kill it, but suddenly with the advent of Prof. Wagner, the elephant becomes calm. Prof. Wagner calmed it down and brought back to circus.

On way back he tells the amazing story of how he transplanted the dead German scientist Ring's head into the elephant. But one night the elephant was lost. Now the elephant tells him the rest of the story. That night when it saw a leopard in front of it, then out of human instinct, the elephant, i.e., Mr. Ring ran like hell and eventually lost the way and could not return back to Prof. Wagner. He tells many more stories of his survival through pigmies, ivory poachers and many more adventures that he had to face in his life.

Comment: May be this was the first of its kind that talks about the possibility of organ replacement and transplantation. A thoughtful adventurous science fiction by brilliant Mr. Belyaev. This is called the dimension of thinking. While Hoity Toity is the name of the elephant, there is no apparent meaning of the name, or the meaning found so far in the web is not congruent with the story. However, if you know a reasonable meaning, please put a note in the comments.

Link: No ebook available. English paperback is available in Amazon. Bangla translated hard-bind is available in Aziz Supermarket Bookstores in Shahbagh, Dhaka.

Let us buy paper books. Let's enrich our mind and home library.

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