About New New York
New New York is a work of science fiction work set 3000 years in the future. It may be viewed as a work of predictive fiction, provided we expand our minds to include our imagination and exceed the outer limits of what we know.
The starring New New Yorkers engage in exciting adventures as they explore social and philosophical and seek to understand the worlds and inhabitants of their universe. They endure mundane problems, as they seek to conquer time and space, to ponder the nature and potential “humanity” of artificial intelligence and become acquainted forms of life, which we describe today as “alien.”
The protagonists Aleesh and Liera, or Ira for short, were conceptually born in Irina’s earlier novel, The Pokhraj. These personages contributed their natures to the plot of Aleesh, which evolved, chapter by chapter, as consequences of their decisions, actions and interactions. The beginning and the end of this tale were settled before it began, but everything in the middle came about as a cooperative endeavor between the writer and the characters who came upon the scene.
New New York is rich in visual and conceptual imagery and touched by satire. It describes Earth and humankind in the year 5000 A.D. and speculates about other beings who live in different dimensions in different environments, who differ in their appearances, who hold different values and whose customs diverge from those of humans.
Yet New New York shows that, ultimately, the more different and the stranger things become, the more fundamentally the same they remain and the less unusual they seem.
You can buy New New York on Amazon.com.
Reviews and Commentaries
In Gajjar’s (The Gita, 2007, etc.) sci-fi novel, set thousands of years in the future, political turmoil and religious extremism threaten the happiness, and existence, of everyone on Earth.
Liera (nicknamed “Ira”) is the Chief of the Bureau of Education, one of the government departments that upholds the “One Spirit! One World! One Word!” doctrine that unites Mother Earth’s inhabitants. The doctrine took hold thousands of years earlier, after the Descent of the Revealer Varish!, an otherworldly being who sought to bring an end to the “Divisiveness and Faithlessness” that caused trouble and anguish on the planet. Several millennia later, humans have reverted to their old ways and two impassioned groups (Nedlogs and New Agers) clash over the doctrine’s true meaning. Ira has a brief “dalliance” with one of his secretaries but refuses to breed with her; apparently, there’s little room for romance in this world. Bella, his spurned lover, files spurious but serious allegations against him in an attempt to sabotage his life. A pair of wizards help save Ira’s reputation and send him on an intergalactic mission to prove that life exists on other planets and find out how this information impacts the Revealer Varish!’s doctrine. However, despite the extraterrestrial kidnapping, sex and spiritual enlightenment that follows, there isn’t much drama in this sci-fi tale. It may be difficult for readers to believe that things might not work out OK in a story with so many well-meaning characters. Even the Democratic Oligarch Theocracy, a global government with its own futuristic Guantanamo Bay, apologizes when it makes a mistake. However, as in most great science fiction, there’s a strong and valuable message here warning of the perils of extremism, willful ignorance and the “inability to separate our beliefs from the way we govern ourselves.” That’s a message worth reading.
A fine sci-fi debut that offers a glimpse of humankind’s future and a sprawling view of our physical and spiritual universe.
Excerpts from New New York
FROM CHAPTER 1
Tobor’s feelings were hurt. Beyond that IT was worried. In his most recent holographic message, Ira [officially Liera ], his Arya, stated that he would be back at 19:00 hours and it was already 19:00 hours plus three segments. Tobor probed himself to figure out why Ira failed to message regarding the delay. Such lack of attentiveness was out of character.
Meanwhile Ira was rushing home on his hoverboard, drained. They’re losing it, he thought. The whole screwing lot is losing it. He had walked out on a meeting with the Planetary Secretaries for Education and Wisdom when he discovered that even Labella failed to appreciate the significance of the problems they faced. Inferno! It now looked like Ira -Chief of Education and Wisdom- would have to revamp his Bureau yet again. This was always a pain in the neck. It also looked like his budding dalliance with Bella would come to a screeching halt even before it had an opportunity to bloom.
Liera couldn’t care less about whether or not Tobor had reheated his bathwater or arranged to freshen his dinner. As he reached his destination, the red quadrant, level l9 on 2nd Avenue and 18th Street East, New New York, in the Second Rim, he signaled for admittance without a second thought.
“Hail,” Ira said nodding to Tobor as he rushed to the hall bathroom because he felt an urgent need to relieve himself.
“Hail,” Tobor replied, hanging on to the slippers Liera had neglected to exchange for his shoes.
On his way out Tobor accosted him.
“Here are your slippers, Arya,” Tobor ventured because Ira totally ignored IT and was marching through the home with outside footwear.
Liera was flabbergasted. Tobor had just broken the cardinal rule of superrobo behavior: never address your Arya unless heshe first addresses you. Ira didn’t know how to respond. He had never heard of something like this happening and couldn’t foresee where it would lead. It made no sense at all. None whatsoever. In a daze he took the slippers and headed for his bath. He found the temperature perfect and as he soaked, he decided to message Tobor’s manufacturer, Whizwiz Dynamics, and if need be, kick some serious posterior until he got satisfactory explanations.
As Ira was not one to postpone a decided upon course of action, he promptly linked the message and in a wink he found himself facing an elegantly attired female Whizwizzer.
“Hail,” Ira said.
“Ahem” the Whizwizzer responded, immediately unlinking.
“ Inferno!” Ira shouted to no one in particular. “Those screwing ding dongs don’t have any manners!” He was about to reconnect when he noticed that his bath was draining and he was visibly quite naked. Abashed, he quickly dressed and headed into his study. Then he messaged again and found himself facing the same female who had appeared earlier. This time her response was far more cordial.
“Hail,” she said, “How can we assist you?”
“I need to communicate with someone in Behavior Management immediately,” Ira answered.
“I am Dynima at your service,” the female stated. “I am in charge of the after hours shift. Behavior Management is the only department that works after 19:00 hours. Please gave me the name, model and serial number of your superrobo and state the date of ITs last program check.”
FROM CHAPTER 11
When Ira first saw Tobor at the foot of his bed quietly waiting for acknowledgement, he could barely prevent himself from embracing IT. He stared, expecting an explanation, but then remembered the protocol on MotherEarth. The whole incident that had led him to complain to Whizwiz Dynamics flashed through his mind as he greeted his companion. “Hail, Tobor,” he said. “You are a sight for sore eyes.”
“Hail, Arya,” Tobor responded. “Tobor missed you so, but knew you would be well. Tobor did not expect that you would have sore eyes.”
“I do not,” Liera replied. “A sight for sore eyes is an expression. It means I am very happy to see you. You look fine. I… I don’t know what to say. Indeed, I have been surprisingly well, but now… I am overjoyed. At first, I worried about you, and then I stopped but it is jolly good to have you back. You will stay, isn’t it? You have not been alone, have you? Have you meet the leaders of the people of Aniri? What manner of people are they? What does this world look like beyond my quarters? Have you been treated properly? Were you probed? How did you know I was well? What do the people of this world want with us?”
“Arya has submitted a plethora of questions. Shall Tobor answer them in sequence now or shall Tobor provide food or drink or a bath first?”
“No, thank you. My quarters are well appointed and well equipped with every possible facility. I can care for myself at the push of button. Wait, on second thought, I have not been able to organize a babá au rum and I have had a yearning for the flavor of that particular sweet. Can you arrange for that?”
“Tobor can arrange for a babá by inputting the recipe into the dispenser,” IT replied.
A few minutes later, after Ira finished the babá, he sat on the large contoured sofa in his sitting area facing Tobor. “Will Tobor respond in sequence?” IT asked “to the nine questions Arya posed.”
“Whatever,” Liera said impatiently. “Yes that will be fine,” he added noting or sensing a slight droop in Tobor’s carriage.
“Yes, Tobor will remain by Its Arya’s side,” Tobor began. “Tobor has not been alone,” IT continued. “Tobor has met the people of Aniri and their leaders. Anirians are a strange but benevolent people. This world beyond your quarters much resembles what is within your quarters. Tobor has been treated properly. Tobor was not probed. The people of Aniri advised Tobor that ITs Arya was well. They have not advised Tobor what they want with Tobor’s Arya or Tobor ITself.”
“Thank you, Tobor,” Ira said. “Now I would like you to expand.”
“Shall you question or shall Tobor recite?” IT inquired.
“You recite and I shall interrupt if I have any questions.”
“Very well, Arya,” Tobor acknowledged, but “May Tobor remark first?”
“Certainly,” Liera replied. “You may speak of whatever you wish. I believe that here on Aniri, we should dispense with the formalities to which we adhered on MotherEarth, Ira added. “Here we are alone and friendless.”
“Tobor thanks Arya, and points out that Tobor’s programming and circumstances determine Tobor’s behavior, not formalities. Circumstances have occasionally prompted Tobor to override ITs programming. Tobor appreciates ITs Arya’s indulgence and affection and deeply reciprocates the affection.”
“Now that we have settled the matter of your conduct,” Ira said, “Tell me all about Aniri. I am all ears. That means I am eager to hear your report.”
“Aniri,” Tobor began, is bereft of solar light and solar warmth. However, three moons bathe it in a soft light and underground heat maintains a temperature that is pleasant at all times. The terrain is barren and flat; its ground is of a violet hue. Its lakes are filled with shining green, sweet water. The air is not unlike the air on MotherEarth. There is no vegetation on the ground, but the people cultivate many delectable plants in baskets filled with water and nutrients. Neither four-legged creatures nor insects move about and no birds fly in the skies. But Tobor has seen many beautiful fish swimming in the lakes.
The people of this world call themselves Knowers.
FROM CHAPTER 18
Robotic examinations resumed a day later. A new batch of interrogatorrobos bombarded the prisoners, asking question after question without giving them time to reply coherently. The interrogations took place in rooms that had no air-conditioning, causing the voyagers to perspire profusely. They were questioned alone, in pairs and as a unit. It became increasingly clear that Triple I officials were processing everything they said in order to make it easy to refute their assertions. After the single lecture given by the M.I., they had no further contact with humans. Thus, they had no opportunity to persuade anyone to listen to reason.
Umpha had a particularly difficult time. “This was not your first journey, was it?” the interrogatorrobo asked on one occasion.
“No,” she replied. “However…”
“Confine your answers to the questions. Do not amplify,” the interrogatorrobo said. Why did you not report your findings about Akipog the first time?”
“How did you try?”
“I tried to get the media to report our discovery.”
“Did you speak to any authority?”
“You did not report this to a single authority?”
“And did the media publish your findings?”
“Is there any official record of your alleged findings from your first voyage?”
“Why did you decide to return to Akipog?”
“Because Liera asked me to accompany him on his voyage.”
“Where is Liera?”
“He was abducted.”
“Can you prove that allegation?”
“It is not an allegation; it is a fact.”
“Non responsive. I repeat. Can you prove that allegation?”
“I can provide details.”
“Answer the question. Can you prove that the Chief of the Bureau of Education and Wisdom was abducted?”
“What constitutes proof?”
“Do not answer questions with questions. Your response is recorded as a negative.”
After two hours, Harumpha decided to stop attempting to answer the distorted questions and sat in silence. Undaunted, the interrogatorrobo called for assistance and within moments the familiar figure of the Master Interrogator confronted her. “How dare you refuse to cooperate? Do you not understand the potential consequences of such behavior?”
“I have every desire to cooperate,” Umpha replied. “As a matter of fact I would like to offer conclusive proof of the existence of Akipog. Unfortunately none of the questions asked of me have given me the opportunity to bring this proof to your attention.”
“Indeed?” The M.I. asked, making a sickeningly sweet grimace, undoubtedly intended to be a smile.
“Yes,” Umpha replied. “I believe that even here at the Center due process would require you to accept my offer of proof.”
“Of course, of course,” the M.I. agreed, “though I cannot fathom what you would deem to be conclusive proof. But let it not be said that I am not broad minded. I am all ears. Tell me all about your proof.”
“As you may have noticed, I am bearing a child.”
“Actually I did not notice. Why would I notice? Why would I care?”
“It mistakenly occurred to me that as a human female you might have some interest in the fact that I am breeding.”
“Oh.” The Master Interrogator’s face drooped. “Well, well. Your waist is a bit thick. You barely protrude. I personally have no intention of being bred like a cow. Nor do I see how the fact that you have chosen to breed provides conclusive proof of the existence of Akipog.”
“And you are willing to undergo an amniocentesis to extract your child’s DNA?”
“I am,” Umpha said.
“Very well. I will file a report to this effect and advise you of our decision. However, you are still expected to follow procedure. The next time I am summoned, you will be castigated. You may resume questioning,” the M.I. nodded to the interrogatorrobo. “I am sure you will not have any further trouble.”
Back in their bungalow, Harumpha related her experiences to her fellow detainees. “I do not know what to make of this,” she said. “I am not keen on having a needle stuck into my womb to remove fluid for testing, but it is the only way I can think of to prove our point.”
“I have been considering this ever since it came up,” Tolipus acknowledged. “My fear is that you may not succeed in proving any point at all.”
“How can the amniocentesis not prove our point?” Umpha asked. “My child is Akipogan.”
“That is true, but Akipogans are of human ancestry. Their DNA most probably will be the same as ours,” the pilot explained.
“Even so,” Raph volunteered, it will not match any DNA on record on MotherEarth. For the last century, every child born has had its DNA on file. This baby’s ancestry is unique.”
“Do you sincerely think that Triple I will not find a way to argue against that?” Olip asked. “They will accuse Harumpha of harboring the DNA of some long dead person and using it to inseminate herself.”
“Once my baby is born, they will see that it is different from the humans that inhabit MotherEarth. Surely they will acknowledge that. Or am I indulging myself in wishful thinking?”
“I have been trying to figure out what the worst case scenario for us could be,” Raph said, after a short silence, since no one answered Umpha’s question.
“It depends.” Olip shrugged his shoulders.
“On what?” Raph asked.
“We can be open in our discussions, but it is best that certain things remain unspoken.”