A good friend of mine has recently started a book club and since I was more than supportive of such a venture, I got roped into it naturally. The first book that we are supposed to read is Air by Geoff Ryman. Since I did not have the book, I opted to go buy a paperback instead of downloading an online PDF version of it. I am quite particular when it comes to these intellectual property things.
Air is the story of a town’s fashion expert Chung Mae, a smart but illiterate peasant woman in a small village in the fictional country of Karzistan (loosely based on the country of Kazakhstan), and her suddenly leading role in reaction to dramatic, worldwide experiments with a new information technology called Air. Air is information exchange, not unlike the Internet, that occurs in everyone’s brain and is intended to connect the world. After a test of Air is imposed on Mae’s unprepared mountain town, everyone and everything changes, especially Mae who was deeper into Air than any other person. Afterwards, Mae struggles to prepare her people for what is to come while learning all about the world outside her home.
Anyway, hunting down the book was a small adventure on its own. I was in KLCC last weekend and decided to drop by my favourite book-store in the country – Kinokuniya. Unfortunately, they were out of Air. No worries right? Yesterday, I went to Mid-Valley and visited both Borders and MPH. Neither one had any Air in stock. The information counter staff at MPH was happy enough to check out their other branches for me but told me that none of their branches nationwide had any Air in stock.
I remarked that the book must be a good one, seeing that it was sold out nationwide. So, I sent my friend an SMS saying that it was really difficult trying to get hold of the book. I hope that the next reading assignment would be a book that is easily available. Anyway, I went to The Curve today and found two copies of the book rotting on the shelf at Borders. Their paper had all turned brown by now. Finally, I could breath easy now that I had found Air.
The timing could not have been better either. I had just finished Inversions by Ian M. Banks yesterday. So, I was just about to start Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds. Instead, I will start reading Air and hoping that it would not bore me to end. I think that a book club is probably a good way of exploring different authors. I have this habit of sticking to the authors whom I am already familiar with.
I hope that I will learn something new from this book.