As Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows rolls out of stores officially on July 21, 2007, I thought that it was inevitable that a copy will leak out in the week before that. After all, more than 20 million copies are shipped to some 60 countries, making it extremely likely that someone gets tempted and breaks the seal.
In late June, a "hacker" called Gabriel claimed that he had hacked into Bloomsbury, and gotten hold of the manuscript. But the spoilers he gave out were so far fetched that nobody believed him.
Around July 13, I came across a livejournal post which had photos of the book. The Table of Contents, the first page of the first chapter and the epilogue were posted. The photos looked exceedingly real, and the contents very believable. The TOC was very convincing, but the epilogue read like an amateur fanfic. I was initially skeptical, but when the whole book was photographed and uploaded, I was convinced that this was the real deal.
That was until I saw the second TOC.
Yes, another scan with the table of contents surfaced online. And it looked ... real. As real as the first one. With completely different chapters. The photoshop experts in the PortKey and SA forums analyzed this one( as they had analyzed the earlier one) and found no traces of photoshopping.
It is important to note that both these photographs were of legit looking books. If fake, the creator would have to actually print out the fake contents on the correct size paper, bind it into a book of appropriate thickness, cover it with a high-res color printout of the cover-jacket on glossy paper. The faker is no amateur. The artwork, page numbers, page layout style, font etc exactly match the actual books.
Today(July 16), it got worse: A video surfaced. Two guys, apparently working for Borders bookstore, go into a vault inside some store. There he takes a copy of the book, very authentic looking, and opens the page where they show the copyright etc. The contents of the page and the ISBN number all match with known information. Behind him are the boxes in which these books are shipped, together with a "DONOT OPEN TILL JULY 21" sticker. Then the person tells the major plot-points of the book. And .... these points have nothing to do with the two leaked versions of the book. The setting of this video is very believable. There is no doubt that they are in an actual bookstore surrounded by actual boxes of harry potter. So these guys at least had access to the book, if nothing else.
The word going around in the forums is ... all of them are fakes. Extremely good fakes , so good that its unlikely that some fan created them for fun. Is it too far fetched to think that the publishers of the book leaked these fakes to confuse those who are trying to spoil the show? Creating realistic-looking fakes would be very easy for the publishers.
So which one, if any, of the leaks is true? Is this the biggest and most elaborate hoax ever done in the history of publishing? Or is it just a big conspiracy theory with no basis?
There is this recurring trend I've seen in blogland, of writing detailed accounts of random inconsequential events which happened to the author on a particular day. Not wanting to break this hallowed and sacred tradition, I am posting this blog post detailing the wonderful and utterly pointless things which took place on February 25, 2007.
7:30 - 9:00 AM I woke up and did all the things which everybody does when they wake up ... atleast the civilized ones anyway.
9:00-10:30 AM I had planned to attend the A/V quiz conducted as part of the "Under the Peepal Tree". I had made plans with Jayendra and Abesh, two chaps from office, to join me for the quiz. Unfortunately God/Fate/Church of God the Utterly Indifferent didn't want this wonderful union to happen. Both Jayendra and Abesh couldn't attend the quiz for various reasons. Having no enthu to attend the quiz alone, I ditched it and went off.
10:42-11:40 AM Having nothing in particular to do, I started wandering around the KSCA stadium( where the quiz was being held ). Seeing that Visweswariah museum looked empty, I decided to pay it a visit, even though I had visited it a few days ago. That place never ceases to amaze me! The basement gallery is probably the most underrated part of the museum, you need a keen eye to figure out the beautiful mechanical and probabilistic concepts hidden in the maze of pipes and tubes there.
11:45-12:15 PM With time on hand, how could I possibly miss going to Cubbon Park? Did all the usual things: ate cotton candy, drank soft-drinks, sat on that big rock wondering about life and the universe.
12:30-1:00 PM Went over to Blossoms. Found an old and battered copy of The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. I would like to mention that I have an extremely garrulous friend who is a big KV fan and keeps extolling the virtues of KV's creations. I decided to check out what the hoopla was all about. Stay tuned for my post regarding what I thought of the novel.
1:00-1:50 PM Ate lunch at some arbit place. Vegetable Noodles. Not too bad, but expensive. Lousy service.
2:00-3:00 PM Went back to KSCA to attend the Corporate quiz. The quiz was supposed to start at 2:00 PM but as usual it started only at 3:00. So we had an hour to spend with nothing much to do. Met Ravi Subramanian and Sumeet Shetty, the quizzing Gods of SAP. Ravi as usual had bought some arbit movies and a book called "Unforgettable TV Moments". Unfortunately that book contained neither the Janet Jackson incident nor Street Hawk, so we were slightly disappointed.
3:00-5:00 PM The prelims of the Corporate quiz "Fine Answers" started. I was attending solo( my team name was "Third Rate Corporate" ). It was my kind of quiz: not many sports questions, a few bangalore questions and a question on Dogbert. I did very well by my standards, getting 13.5. The cut-off unfortunately was 16. I stayed for a few rounds of the finals, noting that the questions were similar to last time's: arbit but entertaining.
5:15-5:40 PM On a sudden impulse, decided to visit Styx. Thought I'll practice head-banging in preparation of the Maiden concert. I was extremely disappointed to say the least. The kind of music they played was serious CRAP. The songs had less of metal in them than a chunk of wood. No wonder that majority of the people there were couples. Disgusted, I finished my stuff in some 20 minutes and was out. I'm getting a shirt printed out saying "STYX SUX" and will wear that on various occasions to warn people.
5:40-6:30 PM Went home on an auto. Was too bored to board a BMTC bus, 'coz at that time, finding a decently empty bus is akin to finding nirvana in a strip club.
6:30-7:30 PM Since my mum wasn't in town, I took upon the mighty task of preparing rice. My earlier attempts at this have had a few failures, so I was relieved to see that the rice was edible. Yeah! I can cook!
That was an (exciting) day in the day of the Incipient Megalomaniac. Who said only bungee-jumpers and F-22 pilots had interesting days?
In this post, I am going to make fun of that wonderful human emotion called Love. I know that my post will cause a lot of anger and turmoil, eventually triggering World War III and causing the extinction of humankind, but being the insensitive jerk that I am, I'll post it anyway.
Love was invented in 392 BC by a poor Roman farmer called Cupidicus Moronus. The fact that he was named Cupidicus Moronus has no relevance to this story. In fact, the story would remain the same if his name was Brad Pitt or Loganathan Venkateshulu Kuppuswamy Iyyer. Actually, lets call him Loganathan Venkateshulu Kuppuswamy Iyyer, to make him more appealing to our Indian readers. Especially Tam Brams. Especially that one Tam Bram who is sure to read this nonsense post and laugh.
Before 392 BC, life was simple for a male human being. His interaction with the female members of the species was limited to two phrases: 'I'm hungry' and 'I'm horny'. This simple and straightforward strategy had worked well for centuries, helped by the occasional use of the club to convince reluctant women. Unfortunately, by 392 BC, the effectiveness of this strategy was rapidly declining. After centuries of subservience, women were increasingly reluctant to serve men any longer. Modern historians attribute this change in behavior to the rise in postmodernistic existential right-winged trends in the early-late roman feminist philosophy. I believe that women just got tired of being clubbed on the head.
In February 392 BC, women openly rebelled. Which essentially meant that they stopped cooking, and started shopping. That was a very serious problem for the men of those days, who barely could eat their own food, let alone cook it. Several men of course, scorned at the idea that men couldn't cook. If a woman could do it, they said, so can we. Needless to say, these men were totally, horribly wrong.
Anyway, after a few dozen men had died in domestic disasters, the men of the world finally decided that women were indespensible and a truce with them was the only possible way out of this mess. Women, unsurprisingly, were not so keen to patch up with men. After all, they had suffered under the hands of men, and were quite enjoying the freedom they now had.
(A few of my more astute readers would be asking see how all this has anything to do with Loganathan Venkateshulu Kuppuswamy Iyyer inventing Love. Bear with me here.)
Desperate times call for desperate measures, the men decided. The men formed a delegation and approached Alexander The Great,( yes, the same chap who had conquered 2.8% of Earth yet called himself "Ruler of the World" ) for a solution of this problem. Unfortunately being gay, he was the most unsuitable man to woo women. Not that he didn't try of course, but women were just not his thing.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse for men ... it got worse. When Barcelona beat Spain in the Italian Serie A, what began as a friendly headbutting contest soon turned into a bloody global war. Then that unfortunate mixup at the hunting club left thousands of men dead.
The end result of all this was that when Loganathan Venkateshulu Kuppuswamy Iyyer woke up on that cold morning of February 13, 392 BC, he was, literally, the last man on earth.
You have undoubtedly clicked on this link by mistake. To preserve your sanity and general well-being, LEAVE THIS SITE AT ONCE! If you are still reading this, you either don't understand English very well, or you are so past the boundaries of sanity that any further insanification is of no concern.