A Sci-fi, fit to be made into a hit movie
Indian film field need not feel starved of original and sensational sci-fi thrillers – in a healthy departure from the routinely run-of-the mill and soppy stuff for its stories - if only the producers/directors take time to turn to Indian novel like Collision of Dimensions by MV Ravi Shanker. If none from our tinsel world has yet chanced on this fantabulous novel, well, they have to rue as sad losers.
You’ve everything gripping in this novel – deadly wars between the underworld dons and the honest lot, with constant hot pursuits, plotting and counter-plotting. Denizens – both the malevolent and the benevolent - from other dimensions come in between. Scientists and software pros find full engagement, and you are titillated with romantic interludes - the decent ones. The plot is also taut with kidnaps and killings that give us heebie-jeebies.
You have even the royalty and warriors from medieval Rajasthan coming face to face with the characters of the 21st century. Some of these 17th century characters are reborn in the 20th century out of their unquenchable passion to carry on the task of accomplishing their unfulfilled missions and aspirations.
It is all about the epic-struggle to own the mysterious ‘Force,’ an eerily bright object with enormous powers – which from the astral realms descends into our physical realm once in every four hundred years or so (p 48). It is just like “the "Force" in the Star Wars that is a source of “an omnipresent energy that can be harnessed by those with that ability.” If it is Jedi and the Sith – the good and the evil forces – that operate in the Star Wars, here in the Collision of Dimensions, we do have their counterparts.
Collision of Dimensions is a “Science fiction” in its technical sense. “Science fiction texts,” says Wikipedia, “often mention the concept of dimension, when really referring to parallel universes, alternate universes, or other planes of existence. This usage is derived from the idea that to travel to parallel/alternate universes/planes of existence one must travel in a direction/dimension besides the standard ones. In effect, the other universes/planes are just a small distance away from our own, but the distance is in a fourth (or higher) spatial (or non-spatial) dimension, not the standard ones.”
Collision of Dimensions has liberal and appropriate allusions to phenomena like Out-of-body-Experience (OBE) pioneered by Robert Monroe (p 84), and a consciousness like that of the Cherokee Indians of America to be able to communicate with inanimate objects (p 117).
The theatre of action is spread from Mt Abu to Mumbai to Himalayas and even the USA. The collaborative axis consists chiefly of: Vani, a young unmarried astrophysicist from CRIAPS (Chandrasekhar Research Institute of Advanced Physical Sciences); Mukund, a young unmarried software techie from Dhruv-Tara Software Solutions (DTSS) located in the ‘Mindspace’ area of Mumbai; and Arunav, a young and rich unmarried hotelier endowed with miraculous psychic powers.
We also have Man of Wisdom and Young Lady living at a very high-level dimension engaged in an interesting dialogue regarding the sudden unleashing of the Force down onto the earth.
Then we have the Ghora chief owing allegiance to the Dark Ghora Dimension, ruled by a demon, Ghoratighora. Aided by his tantrics and empowered by an invisible blood-thirsty monster called Imp, the Ghora chief lets loose all shades of thugs on the above axis to grab the Force for which he has been waiting for four hundred years.
On the phenomenon of some people happening to be gifted with incredible psychic powers, we have an explanation in the novel:
“Certain areas in the brain are the key to other dimensions. These areas are usually dormant in 98 percent of people or even more. If only people knew the ways to activate these areas! We would perceive our universe in an entirely different way. Realms which we never knew existed would unfold before us...” (p 184).
The novel affords stimulating collision between the scientific-skeptic and the psychic apart from the inter-dimensional interests and conflicts.
Descriptions in a work of fiction add to the ambience if only they are germane to the plot and the context but are not forced interpolations. The novelist, Ravi Shanker is alive to this. That’s why we don’t find any prolix or unnecessarily ornate descriptions which halt the pace of the story. See, for instance, how pointed and natural is the following description:
Needless to say, when a daedal novel of this range, canvas and dimension of 530 pages is involved, it requires enormous conception, planning, and effort to create it. And the debutant MV Ravi Shanker - a computer hardware and networking professional savvy in astronomy and philosophy – has done it with commendable ease. In short, this wholesome action-packed entertainer is worth to be read and recommended.
“She looked around. People were talking in hushed voices as often happens in expensive hotel environments. The thick carpet absorbed most of the noise that would otherwise be quite loud when a lot of feet move around. A soft music could be heard that came from some hidden speakers. She felt comfortable. The soft gurgle of the waterfall to her immediate left was soothing” (pp 113-114).
Collision of Dimensions
MV Ravi Shanker
Frog Books. 2012
Pp 530. Price Rs345 / US $14