Friday, February 10, 2006

Dark Consume Me

I feel terrible. The weight of responsibility and visions of a troubled road ahead plague my dreams and torment me in my waking moments. The alienation and utter, utter disorientation hasn't left me. I am in a depressive cycle, and, compounded by troubles that arise out of cruel circumstance, I feel wretched.

The O Level release is humbling. As an outsider, seeing the agonies and the stress of waiting, I feel myself succumbing to the ceaseless pressures of their permeating anxiety. Their apprehension fills me and drives me to distraction. Perhaps irrationally, I almost feel inadequate. Guilty. Left out, of joys and sorrows, triumph and defeat. Watching the joy of Joshua and Soon Kai upon discovering they had passed, I felt a desire to join in. But I can claim no similar triumph. When Kevin came in with news of his results, I felt uncomfortable. I didn't know what to say.

The others are easier to take. A's and B's pile and news comes, but I do not get mine, even though, in my unconscious, I may reach out for it. It's like standing on the edge of a precipice, waiting for the fall that never comes, stepping forth into the infinite gaping chasm and finding oneself safely afoot on terra firma, that sense of unfulfilled expectation and unspent adrenaline, the knowledge of reason that somehow never quite subsumes the irrationality of emotion.


I am reading Ringworld by Larry Niven. The book doesn't satisfy. It is an adventure built upon a scientific concept that never quite manages to achieve real-world resonance. It's filled with glaring inconsistencies and irritating dialogue. There is an overemphasis on sex for its own sake. Although it is built upon sound scientific principles Ringworld doesn't fulfill its early promise. It lapses into a repititive set of action sequences interspersed with Dune-like philosophical inquiries and inconsequential plottwists that sound unbelievable. It uses some rather tired motifs in science fiction like the alien girl as representative of divergent humanity and explorer-as-god, although this is forgivable given the period the book was written in. The most interesting thing in the book is, of course, the Ringworld itself. It is a compromise between a Dyson Sphere and a planet and is three million times the surface area of Earth. It is a vast sci-fi playground filled with many possibilities. Pity the book doesn't capitalize on the enormous promise of this construct. In its defense though I must say the aliens are among the most original and unique I have seen. It will be interesting to see how Ringworld ties up the plot and reaches a conclusion. Perhaps my opinion will change in future, but it remains thus while I continue reading this Hugo- and Nebula- award-winning work.

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