The book “Lucy 3: Lucy And The Rise Of The Parabola” by Anandajit Goswami and Debashis Chakraborty is a highly engaging Science Fiction magnum opus, in which Lucy sets off on a mega adventure.
When dangers on the planet rise, the Earthlings turn to only one girl, who has saved them twice before. Lucy! Aware that she is the only one who can venture into the future and find out the answer to save the world from imminent doom, Lucy goes on a journey which is filled with treacherous twists and sinister entities.
The first and second books in the “Lucy Series” are “Lucy and the Train: Tryst with Sustainability” and “Lucy meets Artificial Intelligence” respectively.
Read an excerpt from the book below.
October 7, 2016
She opened her eyes and listened to the soft humming of the wall-clock. It’s 8.00 AM!!
The first thought on Lucy’s mind after getting up was, ‘Oh, I’m late for school again!’ Then she remembered how anxious her Mom was on yesterday night. After repeatedly checking her pressure and temperature, she finally announced that there is no need for her to go to school next morning.
‘No harm in missing school for an odd day’, she closed the matter, on the face of Lucy’s feeble protests, with an air of finality. Then she gave Lucy a mild nerve-soothing sedative, switched off the lights and closed the door.
‘So, I’m going to skip school on October 7, 2016. An odd day indeed’, thought Lucy.
She also remembered that her mother, Mrs. Jenny Dang, would go for a writer’s workshop quite early in the morning. So, she was all alone at home now.
After having her breakfast, Lucy took a book from her shelf and sat in the terrace, her favorite spot for brainwork. Today she picked up, ‘The Sleeper Awakes’.
‘What am I going to witness, if I go to sleep today and get up 100 years later? Will the AIs come at that time?’
However, she could not read the book for long. Her mind was getting diverted to the events of yesterday. She started contemplating the series of events, witnessed by her during trance.
‘First time when I had my forward-to-future moment in June 2015, it was a day’s dream for me. Now yesterday, the timeline of the dream in future was full six months!! As if I was to stay in the future forever.’ She muttered aloud and delved into a deep thought.
After a few moments, in an absent-minded manner, Lucy looked at a grasshopper and continued, ‘You see, I’ve deciphered a pattern. First time, a balloon-seller, an unknown person, gave me an ice cream soda potion that allowed me to cerebrally travel to the future. It could possibly have been a coincidence, a hallucination resulted by consuming an adulterated drink. But, this time I got into a similar experience after drinking a seemingly harmless fruit juice in Uncle Peter’s house.’
‘And my mother was there. These fellows, Uncle Peter and Aunt Maria are our family friends for the last so many years. Surely they’ll not collude with someone to load me with adulterated drinks. It does not make any sense at all!!’
And yet, Lucy felt, there was some connection between the two events. The balloon seller was there in both her dreams. They met and conversed in a train compartment on both occasions.
A train that moved forward.Time that moved forward and waited for none.
A train visited the same railway stations every day. Local trains stop at every stations. Galloping trains merely passed through the lesser important stations and stopped mostly at junctions.
Lucy suddenly felt her pulse rate getting faster. She was growing in age by the normal speed, but her intellect was far above average. It was a fact that her teachers openly admit.
“Will she experience the third dream galloping in her life? Perhaps she may need to wait for another year? Or, it will happen sooner this time?”
Lucy weighed the options very seriously. The first dream gave her a wonderful first-hand view of a possible post-apocalyptic earth, a topic that she had learnt through the extensive discussions with her father. But at the end of the dream, the reality had snatched her father away.
She consoled herself over the past year, thinking with all the logic she could master, that the event was a mere accident, a coincidence. Pathetic, deplorable, unnecessary, but, yes, at the end of it, an accident.
Yesterday changed everything. “Life will never be the same again.”
Lucy closed her eyes and thought about the dream. “So vivid, when you recall the social set-up in future.So clear, when you think about the negotiations. And so unnerving, when you remember about the letter written by Faith, a friend her avatar had in the future.”
The letter Faith wrote openly admitted that her father was murdered by AIs. Frankly, it was so real and at the same time, it makes no sense. Will these streams of events of future really influenced her past?
Lucy sighed. This time the second dream had really taken comfort away from her life. “If in your family friend’s residence, in your mother’s presence, someone can inject a dream potion in you, where is safety for her?” She felt vulnerable as a growing girl to a woman.
She went inside to her room and came back with her planner diary. On the first page, after ‘Do not talk to strangers’, she wrote in capital letters, ‘DO NOT EAT ANY POTION OR JUICE OUTSIDE HOME. IT IS A STRICT NO NO.’
But what about the AIs? Are they around?
Lucy stared at the grasshopper and asked, ‘Are you real? Or, you are merely fitted with deductive logic and sensors?’
The grasshopper ignored Lucy and flew away.
Lucy sighed again and this time toyed with the idea of sharing the disturbing details of the dreams with her mother. But after running a long series of arguments and counter-arguments in her mind, she finally decided against it.
‘Either she is going to laugh at me, or worse, she’ll take me straight to the psychiatrists. Either way, I’m done for.’ She thought.
And then it dawned on her. Despite the stress she has suffered from the two past dreams and the cautionary steps she had adopted, she actually looked forward to the next experience. Her unwillingness to share anything with her mother was also influenced by that secret desire.
‘I’m a strange girl, I suppose’, Lucy resigned to the waves of her heart, ‘The question is, when will the next opportunity present itself on my doorstep? How Quickly?’
October 8, 2016
Peter Jacob suddenly got up from the breakfast table with a start. He had forgotten something.
His wife Maria noticed his facial expression change, and enquired, ‘What’s bothering you, dear’?
Peter let out a cryptic reply, ‘I think I’ve left something important in the office. The long meeting yesterday simply drained my energy. Let me run for it.’ – With this he left the table, picked up his backpack and jogged towards the garage.
Mrs. Maria Jacob noticed his exit for a few seconds. Not finishing the breakfast – it was really uncharacteristic of her husband. But then being in charge of a major human genome project was not a usual job either. And the last two days had also been pretty unusual for him, with a very secretive experiment nearing completion.
The roar of the car engine was not audible any more, implying Peter was no longer in the near vicinity. Mrs. Jacob shrugged off her thoughts and went back to the crossword puzzle page in her hand. But not before making a brief phone call.
Peter had always been a generally cautious driver, but today he drove at a very high speed, as if someone was chasing him.
As soon as the car reached the Building, he almost ran to his office room in a hurried manner. He did not even realize that on the way the guards and quite a few colleagues wished him good morning. His mind was completely engrossed into something else.
Entering the office, he glanced all around.
But the thing he was looking for was not on the table!! His heart missed a few beats.
The search immediately commenced. His rushing, hurried fingers and hands started looking out for a notebook. But he was not getting it in spite of incessant efforts. A persistent frustration was creeping up in his mind, forcing him to mutter absent-mindedly, ‘Where did I keep something like this which is so important?’
Suddenly the door opened and Chang entered. He stopped mid-way when he noticed Jacob in the most agitated state.
‘Are you okay?’, he asked anxiously.
‘Of course, not’, snapped Jacob. ‘I cannot find and get the note that was hand-written initially, before preparing the computer report’.
Alan Chang was relieved, ‘Oh.. Then that note is not really that important. You have the final output with you already’.
Jacob stopped his search momentarily and explained, ‘No Chang, it’s the other way round. I’ve not included all my observations in the presentation, because I was not sure how some of the Supreme Council members are going to react to them. And today I intend to complete the note. It is important for the third experiment.’
‘Oops’, Chang immediately joined him for searching the notepad. But even their joint search was fruitless.
After standing unsurely for a few seconds, Chang suddenly dragged Jacob’s backpack and started checking the contents.
‘Hey, what are you searching?’, asked Peter Jacob in an astonished tone.
‘Testing a theory’, Chang responded, and within a few seconds, retrieved the notebook from within the laptop cover. ‘You see, even if you are dog-tired, you are unlikely to leave this on your table. So, I deduced that you must have carried this home, and kept inside the laptop cover for convenience. But, I factored in your fatigue. You have not opened the laptop yesterday, right?’
Excerpted with permission from Lucy 3: Lucy And The Rise Of The Parabola, Anandajit Goswami & Debashis Chakraborty, Locksley Hall Publishing. Read more about the book and buy it here.
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