C. Youtube Channels
D. Other websites
E. Blogs for MBA students
F. Various interests
G. Short Stories
H. Wikipedia articles
(Each link is a separate answer)
I. Have a question?
- : The mother of all “ask” multi-reddits. Any question you have, shoot it to this 7 mn + community.
- : For questions pertaining to science. No bullshit tolerated. Answers generally contain authentic and credible sources
- : How can Superman fly at speed > c? Feel a disturbance in the force? Wanna become Batman? What about some Wizarding world’s natural rules? A host of intriguing questions and equally incredible answers.
- : For academical pursuits
- : For when you need stuff to get repaired. Or broken completely.
- : To take a look back in time
- : When you are too lazy.
- : For the socially awkward
- : Ever been confounded by something that you know but can’t remember the name? May be a movie you saw when young? Or that song they played at the pub yesterday?
- : Click a photograph. And the community will let you know what it is
II. Wanna learn something?
- : A simple, layman explanation of even the most intriguing questions.
- : A compendium of things/facts people stumble across on a daily basis.
- : Stuff they don’t teach you in school or college
- : Stuff they don’t teach you in school or college. Part 2
- : Sort of like TIL but with a purpose. Stuff that you should know to lead a better life.
- : Learn how to do simple stuff
- : Learn how to build simple stuff
- : Probably an underrated sub. People actually take classes here. Sort of like Reddit Coursera.
- : Wanna learn something? Ask. And someone will come along and teach you the same.
III. Some really good, intense or offbeat stuff here:
- : A collection of some of the best, in-depth conversations on Reddit.
- : If Reddit existed way back, what kind of posts would the front page have.
- : The pseudo-counterpart to . Discussions on upcoming technologies and the evolution and future of mankind.
- : Something to stimulate and excite your neurons. Things to ponder on.
- : Started off by some users when they saw that the quality of posts on reddit was declining. Almost all upvoted submissions are of wonderful quality.
: The flagship community of reddit. Celebrities and unusual people come and field questions from the community. People like Obama, Bill Gates, Buzz Aldrin, Neil DeGrasse Tyson etc have done one.
- Here’s the Google Calendar they use to track and notify users of upcoming AMAs:
- : Space for people to share stuff that is “mind-blowing” in a sentence of two.
- : for Marijuana lovers.
- : Who doesn’t need a dose of some good news in these times of distress. Witness people doing wonderful stuff, businessmen giving back to society, people reaching out to each other etc. A must-read for when you are feeling down.
IV. Need some fun?
- : People doing stupid shit
- : People thinking stupid shit while showering.
- : A place to speculate about stuff from books, movies, TV shows, anime etc. The reasoning and logical construction of some is brilliant.
- : A collection of news that look like they belong to but are actually true.
- : The parodied version of . If you had a kid like Calvin, and he asked you a question, how would you tackle it.
V. Can’t sleep at night?
- The umbrella sub.
- People posting original, long, detailed stories. Posted as “true” accounts and treated as the same.
- The sci-fi version of .
- : The shorter version of . Stories in less than 275 words.
- : All things creepy – pics, stories, videos.
- : A sub dedicated to the culture.
- : Stories about stuff that you can’t explain. Things that appear out of nowhere, or where they shouldn’t be. Assuming out world is a matrix simulation, these phenomena are called glitches.
- : True accounts of people experiencing something terrifying – stalkers, strange noises etc.
- : self-explanatory
VI. Missed out on the news?
- : For all news except US
- : For all news (primarily US-centric)
VII. For gamers
- : The umbrella sub.
- A list of all gaming-related subreddits:
VIII. For audiophiles
I would recommend only two:
- : The mother reddit for all things music. Fridays are for in-depth discussions, Saturdays for fresh music.
- : For music recommendations.
If you really want to get in-depth, a really comprehensive list of genre and interest based sub-reddits has been compiled bycan be found here: .
IX. For comic lovers
- : For all web + print comics. Comics usually are strips posted by users or the artists themselves.
- : Only for print. Interesting scenes, tid-bits, piece of history from the 2 major publication houses.
- : For all things manga.
- : Only for webcomics.
X. For the librocubicularists
- : The umbrella reddit. A wonderful sub with book-discussions, AMAs by popular authors, recommendations etc.
- A list of related sub-reddits here:
For specific books and/or series.
- : A Song of Ice and Fire
XI. For the lovers of the visual medium
- : For all stuff movies – trailers, discussions, articles, fan arts
- : For all stuff TV.
- The top bar of the sub-reddit also lists specific sub-reddits for specific TV series sorted by genre.
- Feed curated using content from 26 movie related subreddits. Worth bookmarking
For specific movies and TV series
XII. For geeks
- : 5mn+ subscribers. A brilliant sub for all things tech.
- : Not a very social place
- : For the fantasy genre
- : duh!
- : A sub-reddit discovery sub-reddit. People post about obscure subs that exist and might be of use to others.
XIII. For the shutterbugs
- : The umbrella sub.
- : People share personal clicks and others give feedback for appreciation and improvement.
- Similar to ITAP.
- : For people to sell and buy photos.
A list of related subreddits:
XIV. For budding writers
- : Discusses everything related to writing – techniques, advice, news etc. Has a weekly critique thread where people post their snippets for a good critique.
- : For people wanting to get into Fantasy writing. Focuses on developing the ability to conceptualize, create and develop fantasy worlds and back-stories before writing the actual thing
- : For budding screenwriters
- : A self-help club where people push themselves and others to get thinking done and start writing.
A list of all writing-related sub-reddits is compiled by the folks atand is on their sidebar.
– For anyone who loves comics, video games, anime, and manga (mostly).
- The people over at /r/respectthreads do exhaustive compilations (with proof) of the powers and feats of characters from different mediums. And I am serious when I say exhaustive.
- So, if you are new to comics (say) and want to how powerful or impressive a character is, head over there.
- E.g. , ,
- – A daily summary of the top posts on Reddit.
- – For the academically inclined, a collection of actual scientific papers, not pop-culture science.
- – Catch up on history by reading what happened today, 100 years ago.
- – Things they don’t teach you in school (or anywhere for that matter). Impress people by learning utterly useless stuff.
- – A group of learning enthusiasts who like to create and attend informal courses (the inspiration for my blog ).
– A never-ending playlist for when you are high.
- The sub-reddit player:
- – Interesting videos for when you are eating. Not too short, not too long.
- – Learn while you watch.
- – Watch the masters of various arts at work.
- – Need I say more?
- – Like above, but for cartoons.
XIX. Related to Reddit
- – Do you ever feel left out on some hot or trending topic? Too afraid to ask people in case you come off as stupid? Worry not; get updated on anything you have been missing out on.
- – A sort of meta sub to discover obscure subreddits on interesting, weird, and seemingly insignificant topics.
- – Similar to WTSE, SROTD nominates one official sub-reddit each day. Kind of similar to the Quoran of the Day blog here on Quora.
- – All the high-school type drama that goes on on Reddit, in one place. They have popcorn too.
XX. Light reads
- – What is your dog thinking? Akin to the /r/showerthoughts sub (which has recently become full of inane and duplicate “thoughts”), but from a fresh perspective.
- – For parents with highly inquisitive kids.
- – To all bros on Quora. And all animals too.
- – Watch fascinating gifs of chemical reactions without risking burning down the lab.
- – Every photographer’s deepest desire is to click the perfectly-timed picture. Here, you can view everyone’s lucky stroke.
C. Youtube Channels
Here’s a list of 86 channels you should subscribe to, sorted according to interests.
- Serious learning (including official college courses and other MOOCs)
- Science and mathematics
- Real news
- Varied interests (Channels that create content spread over multiple topics)
- Niche interests (Arts, Finance, Philosophy, Travel, Food, Magic, Farming)
- Fun while learning (Videos that are informative as well as fun to watch)
A. Serious learning
A.1. College courses
– The official channel of Yale offers full length lectures on various topics, by some of the world’s leading and most-respected experts.
The lectures are beautifully arranged and sorted as classes.
To start, you can check out the series on Financial markets by– a 2013 Nobel prize winner in Economics for his work on “empirical analysis of asset prices”.
– Similar to Yale Courses, here’s the official channel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
– A collection of full video lectures and some interesting shorts by Gresham College, uploaded so that everyone can learn for free.
A.2. Other official courses
– The official channel of the first true online educator, , that started off as simple videos for his niece.
A.3. Everything else
– A collection of biographies of some of the most famous people from all spheres of life.
– A collection of full-length documentaries.
– showcasing content that is actually relevant, analyzing the same, and featuring some of the most well-known thinkers of our time – Bill Nye, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Stephen Fry.
B. Science and Mathematics
– Focusing more on the practical application of science rather than the theoretical, Applied Science does some really quirky videos like building an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) or the electron microscope image of a vinyl LP.
– Explaining some basic concepts as well as some of the most FAQs related to science with the help of hand drawn animation, in videos of less than 4-5 mins. Perfect for the less patient ones.
They also provide some definitive Quora-type answers. For example, this video that proves that running in the rain is better than walking if you can find a shelter before the rain stops. Else, both are the same.
– Keeping you abreast of what is happening in Science, SciShow does a good job of combining news, theories, and random facts.
– Don’t go by the name; it is a perfectly SFW channel. It is named so because it tries to unravel some of the mysteries and secrets of science.
– Similar to Minute Physics in almost all respects. The only difference being that their horizon is broader and includes biology, philosophy, neurology and other fields.
– Part of the same family as MinutePhysics, MinuteEarth does a similar style of videos, but this time focusing on everything related to nature – biology, ecology, genetics etc.
– A collection of random, fun videos about mostly Physics and Astronomy.
– talks about everything science.
– A play on the word, Veritaserum (or the Truth Serum) from the Harry Potter series, Veritasium tries to bring the truth and dispel myths about science in the public.
For example, the infamous myth that no person can stay in a perfectfor more than 45 minutes, was disproved, when the creator Derek Muller stayed in one himself for more than an hour.
Videos about numbers – it’s that simple.
– The best Chemistry channel out there, bringing to you the chemical reactions behind some of the daily phenomenon you encounter, be it your morning coffee, or your dog sniffing another’s butt.
The 4 biggest nature channels on TV offer some interesting content for nature lovers.
– “This place” is a veiled reference to the fact that we have only one planet. The channel tried to bring to notice some of the biggest issues with nature – viz-a-viz ecological preservation, and ties it to some of the basic theories of psychology and game theory.
– Stay updated on the latest events in Space exploration. And also on what is going behind the curtains with this playlist, updated weekly to offer a glimpse of life at NASA.
– Offering videos from the Space section of one of the most popular Science magazines.
(Recommended: The ** playlist.)
– ‘s Youtube channel. Get a glimpse of life in space, especially from their videos featuring astronaut, .
With an aim to cover every major event in recent human history – from the Industrial Revolution, to the numerous wars fought, the channel is a perfect one-lecture crash course for each topic.
– A brilliant channel where the host, Indiana Neidell, aka Indy, aims to cover the entire World War 1 in real-time, with a lag of 100 years.
It is a very ambitious project that will take 4 years to complete (2014-18).
‘The Great War’ shows you the history of the First World War in the four years from 1914 to 1918, exactly 100 years ago. Our host Indy takes you back week by week and shows you what was going on in the past. Learn more about the Allies and the Central Powers, emperors, Winston Churchill, Wilhelm II, soldiers, battles and of the life aside the battlefield. Subscribe to our channel to watch a new video every Monday & Thursday!
Using a combination of an impressive narrative voice, actual pictures and footage from the war, maps, sketches, and an apt setting for discussing a 100-year old war, Indy manages to present one of the biggest events in human history in a lucid and engaging manner.
(I highly recommend saving the official playlist that is updated regularly.
– The official channel of the .
– The official channel of the
– While the premise of the channel (women slowly taking off their clothes as the video tutorial progresses) is sexist and promotes the objectification of women (and is inspired from ), the content however is really good, especially for beginners.
– For the ones who would love to get started with everything computers (Linux, basics of networking including DNS, TCP/IP, VoIP, basic Windows troubleshooting etc)
– Working for a Canadian software/hardware store as a product reviewer, Linus Sebastian soon started his own channel, which now has over 1.8 million subscribers.
He reviews most of the incoming tech products, from gaming consoles, to unmanned drones.
Also, check out his story on.
– is a website that creates new words; especially tailored to oddly-specific human emotions and experiences. Now they convert the same into beautiful videos.
Just for starters,
n. a kind of melancholic trance in which you become completely absorbed in vivid sensory details—raindrops skittering down a window, tall trees leaning in the wind, clouds of cream swirling in your coffee—briefly soaking in the experience of being alive, an act that is done purely for its own sake.
– Some of the most important and influential poems of all time, narrated by creator Tom O’Bedlam.
-Ever wondered where a particular word originated? Not anymore.
H. Real news
– The official channel of the , the channel features stories from journalists around the world. Stories that need to be heard.
Start with their featured stories collection.
– News that actually matters, but is not TRP-worthy enough for channels
VICE specializes in exploring uncomfortable truths and going to places we don’t belong. Herein you will find people talking frankly about their hatred and love for various things, general heresy, the only culture, travel and news documentaries you’ll want to watch, tons of exclusive new stuff, and probably not a lot of cats.
I. Across varied topics
– The TED Ed channel focuses on disseminating knowledge across a wide variety of interest fields (superheroes, climate change, decoding the human mind, governments and politics, language, mathematics, writing etc.).
(Check out their*)
– TED Talks are great. But there are a lot of underappreciated ones, that take place during those independently organized events (called TEDx) that go unnoticed.
That is until now. The TEDx Talks channel brings you all such talks from all over the world.
– Already featured on the blog twice ( and ), CrashCourse is a channel run by the Green brothers – John and Hank. is the reknowned author of multiple best-sellers including Looking for Alaska and The fault in our stars.
It is the single best resource on Youtube for learning anything from World History, to US Politics, from Ecology to Astronomy.
Start here with this fantastic series by, aka The Bad Astronomer.
This isn’t exactly a course, but more like a meta course, where you get an erratic Professor who rambles on about dark matter and energy one day and insists on debating the age old question of “are we alone” the next.
The best part about‘s videos is that they are beautifully animated. Using both Adobe Illustrator and After Effects, they come up with some stunning visuals which obviously takes a lot of time and effort, one of the primary reasons they only upload 1 or 2 videos per month.
Start right here with the first (of two) videos on the.
– A what-if (XKCD) style collection of videos that seek to answer some of the most common hypothetical questions asked by people.
– Educational videos spanning politics, British history, economics and geography.
– An auto-generated Youtube channel featuring educational content from all the educational channels.
– Why does stuff happen the way it does? Know through this series of animated shorts.
J. Niche Interests
(British Film Institute) – The official Youtube channel of , who maintain the world’s largest film archive.
– Sort of like the ELI5 version of the most common questions people have wrt Finance. eHow Finance does short videos trying to explain the myriad, basic concepts of stock markets, trading, insurance, personal finance etc.
J.3. Philosophy, spirituality, metaphysics
– The official channel of the foundation of the same name by Mr Dawkings. They have videos, interview clips, debates etc of Dawkins and a bunch of his contemporaries on the subject of God, the Universe, human consciousness and so forth.
– Animated videos to help facilitate discussions regarding phislosophy, theism vs atheism, and the science of morality.
– Focusing on the spiritual side of the human world.
The Travel Film Archive is a collection of travelogues and educational and industrial films — many of them in color – that show the world the way it was between 1900 and 1970. Our holdings include archives of the renowned travel filmmakers Burton Holmes, Andre de la Varre, and James A. FitzPatrick, as well as footage shot by many other intinerant cameramen.
J.5. Culinary Arts
– From and , the channel features 100s of recipes to help you get started on cooking.
– Learn a few basic magic tricks to amaze your friends
– Learn some of the most basic life skills.
– Farming is a profession slowly losing its charm. But if you aspire to have one, and have no idea where to start, this channel is for you.
K. Fun while learning
– Uploading 4-6 videos every day, WM is one of the best channels on YT if you simply want to relax and also learn something at the same time.
They have a top 10 list on almost every topic – but majorly focusing on movies, music, TV shows, books, and comics.
– Same as WM, but with 25 items per list, and a little Buzzfeed styled content.
– Vi Hart is a scribbling, fast-talking, restless piece of soul. Her videos are fast-paced, quirky, and at the same time informative. Don’t believe me? Check her making hexaflexagons.
– Official channel of , the channel is perfect for a laid back evening.
– 140 videos, covering a wide variety of topics, uncovering some of the obscure aspects of science, religion, tradition, nature etc. Learn something new everyday for the next 4 months.
– Know the logic that will help you make better informed decisions.
– Learn stuff by doing.
3 channels to help you satisfy your daily need of information trivia.
D. Other websites
- Literature and reading
- : Collecting letters, postcards, and all things not found in books by some of the most influential people in the world.
- : Providing free and open access to countless books, websites, songs, movies, and almost everything digital.
- : Thousands of free e-books.
- : The best review/recommendation blog for your daily reading needs.
- : A collection of all oddities in literature and art.
- Helping you understand the plot, the conventions, the themes, the motifs, and character motivations from books.
- MOOCs: Helping you learn from the comfort of your room
- : A new language
- : Playing chess
- : Playing the guitar
- : Geography
- : Great talks on various subjects
- : Tips and tricks for everyday life
- : Tips and tricks for the techies
- : Make it yourself
: Hundreds of free documentaries
- Multiple StackExchange forums (depending on interest)
- The complete list can be found here:
- Multiple subreddits (again, depending on interest)
- : Debunking myths. One at a time.
- : Breaking down the conventions used in all forms of art.
- : Exploring the unknowns of the world.
- : Lists, lists, and more lists.
- : The alternative ‘front page of the internet’ – curating the most interesting things from the web.
- : Music reviews
- : Helping you become the perfect “man”.
- Blogs for MBA aspirants (in the domains of Finance, Marketing, Economics, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship)
E. Blogs for MBA students
- : Prof Jayant Verma is a Professor of Finance (mainly Financial markets) at IIMA. He is one of the most impressive teachers I have ever met. He was one of the first members of SEBI and is on the board of multiple big companies including Infosys and Axis Bank. His blog, which has been up since 2005, is a brilliant resource on understanding the nuances of the financial markets.
- : Dealbook is the news aggregator section of NYTimes to keep you updated on the current state of affairs of the Fin industry.
- : Everything you need to know about every aspect of the Financial world – from big investment banks to boutique firms, from Private Equity to Hedge Funds and AM/WM firms.
- : The holy mecca for preparation of i-Banking interviews, the IB Blog offers everything from bootcamps and interview prep courses (paid) to free resources like basic interview questions, overview of the industry etc.
- : Similar to #2 above, but with more functionality to read the best articles of the month/week/day etc.
- : Another news aggregator that will make sure you do not have any time left in your day (courtesy it’s exhaustive coverage of current affairs)
- : Your companion on the entrepreneurial journey. The site will keep you updated with the start-up world, help you work on various aspects of your professional self, and also provide the much needed pep-talk when you are feeling down/exhausted/defeated.
- : The chronicles of Fred Wilson ( a Venture Capitalist for the past 30 years) with some incredible credentials to his name (including investments in Twitter, Tumble, Zynga, Foursuare etc). AVC is probably the most widely-read VC blog in the world.
- : MoM is a fun blog. They capture everything from brand wars on twitter, to collection of some of the best and most important marketing campaigns. The blog is a very easy read and will help you broaden your horizon when it comes to thinking of how you can ante up your marketing/advertising game.
- : Duct Tape Marketing focuses on small businesses and startups. They take into account that small businesses do not have the funds that large corporations do. So their marketing tactics need to be tailored to their financial capacity.
- : aimClear wants to be the single resource when it comes to your personal as well as company brand by using every possible tool in the marketer’s kitty – from social media to SEO, from conclaves to data management using basic tools like Excel.
- : Bufferapp is an exhaustive resource to help you manage, grow, and track your social media persona.
- : A collection of 3 secondary blogs – focusing on sales, marketing, and your agency. This trio will help you streamline your sales activity, boost your pre-sales capabilities, help you traverse the maze of sales-killer questions like, “This is too costly”, and also help you manage your time and productivity in a better manner.
- : The Dealbook of marketing, ML is the one-stop solution for your marketing trends news requirement.
- : Ryan Gum is a growth hacker who helps create marketing plans for startups and small businesses starting from creating your initial pitch, attracting your first customer, and an exhaustive list of .
- : The SumAll blog is like the child of Buzzfeed and Medium (and not in a negative sense). They post content which is useful and is also written in a fun manner. The articles are often crisp and under a 5-min read.
- : The uthors of the best-selling economics-infused-with-pop-culture book have more to say and share than the 2 books. The blog is usually a collection of podcasts that aim to explore the “hidden side of economics” and highlight outliers, which although rare, are extremely critical.
- : On the same line as Freakonomics, the blog by Daren Acemoglu is a follow-up on his book of the same name and explores similar obscure events that shaped the rise and fall of nations and civilizations.
- : The companion blog for the graphic novel of the same name by Michael Goodwin, Economixcomix explains the basic tenets of Economics in a simple way, along with illustrations to make understanding easier.
- : The perennial pessimist, the one who finds faults in everything, the dad who bores his kid during dinner with his constant rants and criticisms, John Cochrane provides an unabashed, and hard-hitting critique that exposes the not-so-sunny side of the world economy.
- : The Curios Cat blogs is for us. The laymen. The dabblers. It focuses heaving on personal finance, economics, financial literacy, tax planning, credit management et al; stuff that affects the majority of the populace on a regular basis.
- : The NYT economics companion to its financial section, Dealbook, The Upshot is all you need to read to be perfectly updated of what is happening, why it is happening, what would be the consequences, and what could have been done better.
- : A collection of self-posts and the hottest posts from other economics blogs.
- : TMI focuses on the money and capital markets and provides wonderful commentary on financial crises, international economics, foreign reserve dynamics, monetary and fiscal policies, labor markets etc.
- : Guy is one of the most well known figures in Silicon Valley, and among the first “tech evangelist”.
- : As the name suggests, this is a blog for managers, bosses, and professionals and aims to cover all aspects of workplace management including effective communication, employee engagement, conflict management, incorporating cultural diversity and differences, various facets of leadership, boosting creativity, and so on.
- : Seth is a funny guy. The funniest of all in this list. Although he calls his blog a marketing blog, it’s more generic in nature and oft has funny quips and clever observations interspersed with longform articles.
- : Everyone knows the book by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. The blog aims to continue the story and encourage and empower women to face challenges, voice their opinions, and grow themselves in the workplace.
- : S&S aims at helping business transition from the traditional workplace model to the current, more information driven, globally-diverse-yet-connected workplace.
- : Don’t go by the sexist-sounding name, HMP is sort of a companion to LeanIn and strives to help women claim their rightful place in the corporate world.
- : In a globally inter-connected world, understanding, accepting, and imbibing cultural diversity is an important trait for organizations to sustain themselves and grow.
- : Having Bill Nye, TheScienceGuy, on board is a big achievement for Big Think which aims to be an idea hub, an “Youtube for ideas” as its founders put it.
- : Bob, a Professor of Management Science at Stanford, writes on everything including, but not limited to, workplace culture, book reviews, team management, employee management etc.
- : HBR is the most popular published management magazine that covers almost everything relevant to an MBA degree. If there has to be a starting point for an MBA student/aspirant, this is it.
F. Various interests
Detailed posts to help you with the resources and recommendations to start learning new things. All posts first appeared on
- Getting Started
- Informal Courses
G. Short Stories
Below is the list of 72 wonderful short stories that can be found online for free. (Click on the title to go to the story page.)
So can you take a couple of days off from your busy schedule?
#1:– (4.5 stars)
Probably the most convoluted and complex of all time travel stories, All you zombies is a masterpiece that has been lauded for its originality and the sheer mind boggling complexity of its plot.
The best work of the best sci-fi writer that ever lived.
The last question was asked for the first time, half in jest, on May 21, 2061, at a time when humanity first stepped into the light. The question came about as a result of a five dollar bet over highballs
Asimov takes one simple, fundamental question and weaves a story around it – as story spanning billions of years, the vastness of the universe and the hyperspace. The narrative is captivating, enchanting and fast paced. There is a continued sense of awe throughout as the story nears completion. And then, in a single closing statement, Asimov pulls offs a stunner.
*Since “The last question” is rated 5 stars, no other story will be.
2055. Time machines. Safaris to the past – humans going back millions of years to hunt exotic animals including dinosaurs. Every moment is carefully planned to avoid making even the slightest change to the future. Or is it?
We are not alone. But we might never know that. And there’s a reason why.
The story of a utopia. Of mankind’s most lusted after ambitions come true. And mankind’s most dreaded horrors too. A painter, a father, a doctor, triplets, a woman with a strange job, drupelets and the Happy Hooligan.
Vonnegut’s dark “paradise” leaves much to be desired and pondered and answered.
The space ships were miracles of power and precision; the men who manned them, rich in endurance and courage. Every detail had been checked and double checked; every detail except—
THE NOTHING EQUATION.
An observation bubble at the edge of our galaxy. One man to oversee it surrounded by vast legions of nothingness. The first commits suicide, the second goes insane. Now there is a third.
What begins off as another post-apocalyptic world story, where a sentient, all-powerful machine has annihilated humanity, gradually builds up to be a terrifying, what-if tale. 5 survivors of the end of humanity must endure against an immensely powerful and vengeful machine. And there’s no way out. There is just the 5 of them and an eternity of pain and torture.
A coin with a paradoxical statement on both sides: THE STATEMENT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS COIN IS FALSE.
A Professor of Philosophy.
A strange discovery.
A hidden message.
The story of a time far ahead in the future where everything works perfectly. Human intervention is no longer needed to maintain or fix things. But everything’s changing now.
That light will be flashing with more and more frequency in the months to come. But not just to signal trouble in space. If I were a superstitious man, I’d think that the age of the perfect machine is about to be superseded by the age of the perfect failure—mechanical failures that can’t be explained on any level.
I really believe, childishly, that the mechanics and motions of the galaxy may turn themselves upside down just to snap man out of his apathy and give him some work to do.”
A wonderful story of a utopia. Of a happy family. Of a time when the human civilization has advanced so much that everything you want is done by machines at the slightest thought. A story that explores the question of “How far can you go mechanizing things before you are redundant?”
Lamas at a monastery have taken up an ambitious project – to list down all the 9 billion names of God. And they believe that this is what humanity was made to do. And once the 9 billionth name is listed, our purpose would be fulfilled.
But what happens after that? If we have no more use for God, what happens to us? Will everything end? Or is it just the religious fantasy of a bunch of devout fanatics?
A mechanized house. A pre-planned schedule. Machines running around frantically, executing every job. But where are the masters?
Bradbury’s story is more than what it seems – a bleak commentary on the horrors of nuclear wars and their aftermath.
AD MAIOREM DEI GLORIAM – For the greater glory of God
A scientific voyage to the remnants of a supernova discover one lonely planet encircling the white dwarf. They stumble upon the carefully and intentionally preserved remains of a civilization – advanced, intelligent and in full bloom of its youth – wiped away by the same sun that gave them life.
The team makes some calculations to estimate the date of the supernova explosion (it would have been visible on earth) and come across a startling revelation.
THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else.
A few years into the future, everyone is equal. Now there are only two ways to achieve that – either uplift and empower everyone to the same level, or drag down everyone else to a lowest common ground. It’s not surprising what the human race chose.
Tim and Diane (and their team) have successfully built the first quantum computer – a device with infinite processing power and storage capacity. Diane programs a simulation of the Big Bang and creates a model of our universe to study. As she approaches the current day, she makes a startling discovery.
Is love something entirely of the flesh, something created by an ironic God merely to propagate His race? Or can there be love without emotion, love without passion—love between two cold intellects?
A doctor in the 20th century, has finally solved the age-old problem of immortality. Our hero volunteers to be the first to undergo the procedure. However, immortality comes at a price – emotions. Every emotion, starting from love to hate, fear to rage, joy to sorrow, slowly deserts you, until you are nothing more than an empty shell, a walking automaton, devoid of the joy and beauty in everything.
Is the price worth paying?
What will you do when the only option is to kill someone? (No, this is not a case study on morality) But truly, the only option is to kill. There is no margin for error, no probability, however infinitesimal, that there could be an alternate recourse.
A normal family with a normal backyard. An unexpected visitor. Is it a bird? Is it a moth? Is it a fairy?
In a retelling of one of the most loved fairy tales of all times, Neil Gaiman provides a starkly different viewpoint on the events that transpire and the conditions that lead to them.
A short story, short enough to be reproduced here in its entirety.
older than sin, and his beard could grow no whiter. He wanted to die.
The dwarfish natives of the Arctic caverns did not speak his language, but conversed in their own, twittering tongue, conducted incomprehensible rituals, when they were not actually working in the factories.
Once every year they forced him, sobbing and protesting, into Endless Night. During the journey he would stand near every child in the world, leave one of the dwarves’ invisible gifts by its bedside. The children slept, frozen into time.
He envied Prometheus and Loki, Sisyphus and Judas. His punishment was harsher.
Life and Philosophy
An old couple. A sickly child in the hospital.. 3 calls from a wrong number.
The story of a poor, wretched family, working in the iron mines, told through the eyes of the 2nd son, Lorry Raja is sure to stir up a lot of emotions in the reader. The plot is simple, the characters simpler still. And yet, the feeling it evokes isn’t some thing that can be explained easily.
“Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.” ― Kurt Vonnegut
A simple couple. A simple life. A wife that yearns for a more exciting life. A party invitation. A borrowed necklace. A wonderful night. A life changed forever. “The necklace” is one of the best stories of love, support, yearnings, strength and regrets. The ending leaves one with an entangle of emotions, most significant of which is a sense of unfairness.
Told from the first person perspective of Violet, Silver Water is a tale of her elder, mentally unstable sister Rose. The story weaves through a, though lightly comic at times, gritty and realistic narrative of having to deal with and adjusting with a family member suffering from acute Schizophrenia.
The first person narrative of a woman who wishes her fiancée was a dinosaur and then weaves a fictional world around it – a world of dinosaur operas and weddings. A tale that will leave you chuckling, pondering and going back to re-read the story.
You were on your way home when you died. It was a card accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless.
So begins a tale that spans religion, belief, life, death, afterlife, and reincarnation. Taking a leaf out of Asimov’s book, The Egg builds up to a wonderful climax. And delivers.
In this story, Tolstoy addresses 3 fundamental questions, which since then have been passed down as life lessons and parables.
There’s nothing wrong with dying—it just hasn’t ever had the proper sales pitch!
You can sell everything if only you know how to. Even death. A brilliant satire on the current media industry and the wave of consumerism that has engulfed the world.
A writer. A festering wound. A re-living of regrets, of opportunities passed up, of chances not taken. The slow approach of death, like the night, creeping and inevitable interspersed with a melange of memories, good and bad.
A man and a dog hiking through the snow covered trails of the Yukon in Canada on a day that they shouldn’t be. It is “too cold to be travelling along” but the man persists. To defeat the cold, he would need to start a fire. A fire that would be the difference between life and death.
We have all seen the box office hit starring Brad Pitt in the titular role but there is an eerily, haunting quality to Fitzgerald’s writing that makes the experience even more wonderful. The story of a man who starts off as a old man when born and slowly ages backward, turning into a middle aged man, a teenager, a kid, an infant and finally an embryo is fascinating. It is a concept that has always had people wonder and Scott does a great deal of justice to it.
A woman, dying of pneumonia pegs her life to the last leaves on an ivy vine. Bereft of all hope, she plans to take her final breath as the last leaf falls. But will it? Will she?
A story about hope. About struggles and finding the strength inside. A story of finding something to live for. We have been told numerous times that appearances can be deceptive. Nothing reinforces the notion more than this masterpiece by O’ Henry.
The scene opens with a condemned man being hanged on the bridge. Like everyone else on a death sentence, his whole life flashes in front of him. His only wish is to somehow escape the hanging, fall into the river and swim away to safety and his family. That is when the rope snaps.
The story of a man with an unusual occupation – a hunger artist. Someone who fasts for days on end to amuse the world and its spectators. The story is a clever satire on the world where the talented yet trivialized people spend their entire lives in search for a fragment of glory, a single word of appreciation, a small part of the acknowledgment they truly deserve.
A city that is the perfect description of a middle-age utopia with its beautiful people, its skilled artists, its bright festivals, its everlasting intellectual orgy of joy. A terrible secret revealed. A compromise that had to be struck. A price that had to be paid.
30 orange trees planet by 30 kids of a class all dead. Soon followed by the snakes. And the herbs. And the fishes. Death creeps nearer each day. But everything is not as dreaded as you think. There is still hope somewhere out there. Or is it?
A husband and wife move to a mansion temporarily, something that is grand but suspiciously cheap. The wife believes she is sick and has an eerie feeling about their new home. The husband, however, doesn’t. And then there’s the room and it’s yellow, shabby wallpaper. There is something definitely wrong with it.
A couple waiting for a train on a railway station have some beer and a rather intriguing conversation which leaves the reader puzzled and pondering.
“I don’t know what’s worse: to not know what you are and be happy, or to become what you’ve always wanted to be, and feel alone.”
Rarely does a book stir up so many emotions in the reader. Flowers for Algernon is one such. The story is about simple and kind man, Charlie Gordon, with a below average IQ of 65, who undergoes an experimental procedure to triple his intelligence. Told in a narrative, progress report style (Charlie was required to compile a daily diary to monitor his progress), the prose develops in tandem with Charlie’s intelligence – starting off as the scribbling of a kid, laced with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, and evolving into the publication-worthy musings over Plato’s allegory of the cave.
Flowers for Algernon is a commentary on human condition, on our schadenfreud-ian tendencies, on the treatment meted out to the mentally challenged, and one man’s journey of finding something he never had, and then living through the horror of losing it all over again.
If you are the conqueror, the master, the dictator, are you really in control? Or are you just a face, just a puppet being manipulated by millions of invisible strings? The strings of the will of the people you oppress?
There is something simple and yet enthralling about Hemingway’s words. There’s a beauty in those plain sentences. You don’t need to exert any efforts. You don’t need to read the story. The story reads you. It hooks itself to you and then starts to devour you, but in a pleasant way. And, in a short time, you are completely engulfed. You are now the story.
A bullet to the brain is surely one of the quickest ways to die. Or is it? To the shot, does the last few milliseconds feel like an eternity?
A somber gathering of gentlemen soon turns into a passionate discussion about the morality of the death sentence. The ones who advocated it said it was more merciful than life imprisonment – cleaner and quicker. The ones against brought God into the midst of things and stated that the State does not have the right to take someone’s life when it itself cannot create life.
A young banker agrees with the latter and boldly claims that he would take life imprisonment over death. The host, a rich and pompous banker, bets 2 million in exchange for the young guy living in solitary confinement for 15 years.
This was on Nov 14, 1870. Today is Nov 14, 1885.
Dreams, as we all know, are very queer things: some parts are presented with appalling vividness, with details worked up with the elaborate finish of jewellery, while others one gallops through, as it were, without noticing them at all, as, for instance, through space and time.
Yes they are. In a dream, you can live an eternity but wake up none the older for it. In a dream, you can achieve everything you have ever wanted, every aspired for, ever lusted after, but wake up none the richer for it.
Our hero had had such a dream. And he was ridiculed for it. Mocked. Derided. Pronounced senile. Yes, you can call him a madman. But aren’t we all?
It’s astounding, the power of words. How they can sway us, infuriate us, flame our desires, preserve our hopes.
This short story by the master is a perfect testament of the power of words in the hands of the wordsmith. A story that was part of the school curriculum, at least in India, and one I revisited after years.
In a few thousand words, it encompasses a love story, a tale of sorrow, and a satire on human condition. In a few thousand words, it stirs up emotions of love, joy, sorrow, pain and contempt. In a few thousand words, it is as much the cold winds of the winter, as it is the warmth of the sun on a spring afternoon.
Happiness is relative. And a lot more simpler than it is made out to be.
“Because everyone must keep a box of things they don’t understand and can’t throw away”
A story that is as simple as the daily ramblings of a teenager, and yet brooding and sinister at the same time. One about the fleeting passage of time, and yet the inevitable existence and decay of things.
One of the most wonderful feelings in the world is catching up with an old friend. We might not have a time machine (yet), but an evening of smoky conversations and reminiscence with old pals is good enough. There’s anticipation, carefree laughter, a hint of nostalgic fondness, and just the tiniest sliver of jealousy. Especially if the other friend has a life worth being envious of.
Life’s a curious case. In the end, does money matter? Or influence? Can one final act of kindness undo (at least in part) a life brimming with sin, theft, lies, and debauchery? What is the source of happiness? Of contentment?
In this fast-paced story about a millionaire fraudster evading the law in a quiet, shabby town of Mexico, Graham Greene hopes to find the answer. At least to some of the questions.
A village. 300 people. A charged morning. A lottery. A winner. A twist.
From Mr. Bond, comes another story set in the backdrop of the hills and valleys of Shimla. The story of a boarding school and its brave headmaster. A story that brings out all of your primal fears. A story with the basic elements of horror – the dark of the night, the eeriness of the howling winds, a strange sighting and a twist ending.
In a fast-paced story that slowly reveals, in the true sense of an actual horror movie, its various twists and turns and its arsenal of fear, Kafka manages to scare the reader and at the same time fill them with a certain amount of sympathy for the devil and bewilderment at the actual happenings in the story.
A traveler is invited to be the witness to a sentencing – a seemingly, outdated custom that tortures the guilty for hours before killing them. He must pass a judgement on it. What would it be?
“A fine evening,” he said. “They are all evenings fine here in Jamaica.”
In this brilliantly crafted tale of a bet between an old man and a young one, things suddenly take a turn for the grim. The pacing of the story is fantastic and keeps you hooked till the end. And the ending – another twist in the devil’s tale.
From the master of mystery, comes a tale worthy of his praise. The first person confession of a madman who murdered an old man and then describes it to the reader in vivid detail to prove his sanity. The story is eerie – you have the constant feeling of being watched because of the ‘unreliable narrative’ and the fact that the lunatic addresses the audience directly.
A normal family. Mother, father, kids, grandmother. A routine family vacation. A little detour to find something exciting. An accident and a deadly encounter.
A group of people discussing the supernatural. An outsider with a real narrative. Three extraordinary things about the story.
A man with a nervous condition visits an old lady on the behest of his sister to calm his nerves. While waiting for her, he engages in conversation with her niece and tale goes grim.
A celebrated hunter and a published author is thrown overboard a ship on a dark night. With every ounce of energy in his body, he manages to swim to safety and arrives on an island, uninhabited by humans except for a game hunter and his looming man-servant.
Discussion over dinner soon converges to the one common topic – hunting. And how, for someone who has hunted all his life, most game is boring and no longer a thrill. That is when the hunter reveals a chilling truth – the discovery of an entirely new game that promises to break the monotony of the ‘cunning hunter vs the dumb prey’ routine.
A story that leaves you perplexed and befuddled. One where you are not sure what the story really was about?
Over the years, many people have attempted many interpretations of Oates’ masterpiece, but every alternative eventually leaves out something. This could be a story told from a delusional victim’s standpoint about the advances of her predator. Or it could be an allegorical tale about the corruption of young people by satanic cults. Or it could be on the broader theme of giving in to sins.
I don’t know. Let me, if you do.
Made into a motion picture starring Ben Stiller, The secret life of Walter Mitty is a comical narrative of a man who’s blurred the lines between reality day-dreaming. Weaving through multiple episodes of real life and fantasy, it is a wonderfully paced story that will leave you chuckling at the end.
A train journey. 2 strangers. And a packet of cookies.
A barber wakes up one day and finds a nose in his roll. Another gentleman wakes up and finds his nose gone.
However absurd, or improbable, this may seem, it does happen. (Or does it?). Gogol again displays a knack for weaving stories out of the pure bizarre and sprinkle it with his signature flavor of comedy.
What is love? Is it rational? Can it be defined scientifically or diagnosed medically? Why do people fall in love? Why, sometimes, do they fall for someone who is their exact opposite? What is it about love that leaves even the strongest of people completely hapless?
Is it fine to love someone who is already with another person? Is it fine to profess your love to them knowing well that it could disrupt their perfectly peaceful existence?
All these and a multitude of other questions are answered in this beautifully crafted tale by the master himself.
I saw a girl standing on it, completely submerged in the pool of autumn twilight.She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together. The way the profile of her face and body refracted in the soupy twilight made me feel a little drunk.
A story that is not as much about love as it is about losing it. The story of a
man who flunks college and is sent to Europe to master his trade, is advised against socializing much and falling in love, but who inadvertently manages to do just the opposite. A classic love story of romance, of the first jitters of love, of moving away, of writing letters. A wonderful love piece with a few splotches of some grime here and there.
A weird tale of love and loss. With just a pinch of folklore and fantasy. While you are jumping from one narrative to another, you feel like being shaken intensely without being allowed the time to understand what exactly is going on. But once the dust settles, you can see the whole picture.
A blind man on a train journey meets a female companion. During their 3 hour conversation, he doesn’t let her know that he lacks sight. And then her station arrives and she leaves. (Oh the simplicity of it!)
In the near future water falls from the sky whenever someone lies (either a mist or a torrential flood depending on the intensity of the lie). This makes life difficult for Matt as he maneuvers the marriage question with his lover and how best to “come out” to his traditional Chinese parents.
The story of Matt and Gus, a same-sex couple who truly love each other, but do not know it yet is one that upholds the roots of traditional story-telling. There is no embellishments, no forced sub-plots. Everything leads to the next thing in a way that is simple, yet beautiful. The premise of the story is new and straightforward, but the narrative, due to the way it is seamlessly weaved together, lingers with you like the misty air on a December evening.
The perfect companion piece to the previous story by John Chu. It’s a story of two girls – Natalie and Kendra. Friends on the surface. Lovers and probable soulmates deep beneath.
Throughout the narrative, you can pick up subtle hints that Nat is in love with Kendra, but somehow, every opportunity where she could express it eludes her. The story ends abruptly, as if a teenage girl one day, simply forgot to take out her diary and pen her memoirs. It leaves you with a certain sense of absence, and yet you can feel that it’s the ending you really wanted.
What do you do when you chance upon your 100% perfect girl? What do you say? Haruki Murakami comes up with the perfect story for such a rare happenstance.
Faces are treacherous things. Behind the serene expressions that people carry lie complex machinations that no human technology or intuition can completely comprehend.
And so is love. Love drives us to do great things. It goads us to reach out, extend our arms, and push ourselves to achieve the impossible. But it also pushes us over the cliff once in a while – over the boundaries of sanity, of happiness, of self-preservation.
A perfectly happy couple. An expecting mother. A confession. A leg of lamb. And an intricately covered up murder.
I. Wikipedia Articles
(Total 301 articles spread over 12 categories:
Music, Lists, Horror/Creepy/Mysterious, Funny/Humorous, Religion and Mythology, Language and Semantics, Law, Interesting, Mathematics, Paradoxes, puzzles and thought experiments, Badass people, The universe)
- (an articles linking to possibly thousands of other articles. Basically a goldmine)
Religion and Mythology
Language and semantics
Paradoxes, puzzles and thought experiments