Pineapple Water for the Fair Lady
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Pineapple Water for the Fair Lady (Russian: «Ананасная вода для прекрасной дамы») is a short story collection by Viktor Pelevin, published in 2010 in Russia. The work is composed of two unequal parts: Gods and Mechanisms is the largest part and Mechanisms and Gods the smallest. The first part consists of two stories: Operation "Burning Bush" and The Anti-Aircraft Codes of Al Efesbi. The second part includes three stories: The Shadow Contemplator, Thuggee and Hotel of good incarnations.
Operation "Burning Bush"
The protagonist of the novel, Semion Levitan, likes to imitate the voice of the famous World War II era radio host Yuri Levitan in Russia. He became an English teacher in Moscow during the period following perestroika. These two occurrences lead him to be involved in a secret operation of the security forces. He had to reproduce the voice of God from a distance in the brain of President George W. Bush, who was considered very religious. To this end, Semion takes an accelerated theological training course in a secret base, using texts with religious content and using narcotics to experience mystical experiences. In addition, he is implanted with a tooth equipped with the appropriate technology.
During the secret operation it appears that the Americans are conducting similar operations with the leaders of the USSR and then Russia, with the difference that the broadcasts reproduce the voice of the devil in the brains of the Russian leaders and not that of God. But with the same goal of influencing their geopolitical decisions.
The story is interspersed with Pelevine's sarcastic humour. It is written in the first person, that of the hero Semion. Unlike his previous stories, the mystical experiences take place in a Western monotheistic setting rather than an Eastern one. The idea of the novel is based on the religious beliefs of George W. Bush, who put forward expressions such as: "God speaks through me" (in 2004) and again: "God told me to attack Al Qaeda and I did it. With the help of God who is on our side we will be victorious".
The Anti-Aircraft Codes of Al Efesbi
The first part of this second story describes the reason why Americans are suffering from failure in the war in Afghanistan. It is the constant leaking of WikiLeaks information that leads to inhumane warfare and the American decision to use artificial intelligence drones. This should reduce collateral damage.
These American devices are extremely effective until the appearance of Russian agent Skotenkov, whose nickname is Al-Efesbi (presumably because of his Ephesian origin or the Russian FSB acronym). Insulted by both the Americans and the Russians, Skotenkov (aka Al-Efesbi) organizes an effective and original means of defense against drones. He writes slogans on the desert floor, arranged so that the drone, reading them, gets damaged and falls to the ground.
The story describes in great detail how the artificial intelligence of machines works and attempts to confront it with the living intelligence of humans.
The second part of the story, "The Soviet Requiem" (an allusion to Jorge Luis Borges' account of the German Requiem), consists of a monologue by Skotenkov, who finds himself in a CIA prison where he is convicted. The penalty for this is a constant look at the dynamics of the euro and the dollar (USD/EUR) against the ruble.
The Shadow Contemplator
The story describes the attempt of Oleg, a Russian guide in India, to learn from his own shadow during a long meditation. The hero barely survives, and the story does not answer whether what he saw was an illusion or a real experience. The story is pierced with irony, both in relation to European attempts to penetrate Indian culture and in relation to India itself.
The story pretends to be a short novel, generates a lover of the Illuminati, Freemasons and other secret societies with a lot of secret symbols and signs. Pelevin quite wittily showed the activity of a homegrown "villain" philosopher, who never really thought about what kind of service his favorite goddess needs.
The protagonist Boris continues his search for members of the Thuggee sect, secret worshippers of the Indian goddess Kali, who offer human sacrifices to her. Boris wants to join this sect, but in the end becomes a victim himself.
Hotel of good incarnations
The final story of the collection tells of the pre-existence of the soul of a girl to whom an angel offers to incarnate as the daughter of an oligarch. After a brief encounter with the circumstances and clarification by the angel, she flatly refuses to incarnate as such and loses her identity at the source of life. It is in this story that the jar of pineapple water, which gave its name to the collection and is a quote from Vladimir Mayakovsky, occurs.
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