Flash! Future: Indian Spec Fic / Samit Basu

HAPPY FLASH! FUTURE, and happy NaNoWriMo Day 1, to those of you playing along this year. ♥ -Last week I invited you to join me in a rich walk through the growing worlds of speculative fiction–especially sci-fi/fantasy– in India (read that post here). We listened to conversations and read stories by Mimi Mondal, Gautam Bhatia, Salik Shah and others. But there’s a huge name in speculative fiction that we saved especially for today: Samit Basu.

Samit Basu is widely credited as having helped launch the current wave of speculative fiction writing in India (as a distinct genre), starting from the 2003 publication of his Gameworld trilogy, continuing in the UK/US publication out of India of Turbulence in 2012, up through the 2020 Simon & Schuster India’s publication of the “anti-dystopian” Chosen Spirits. He’s also known for his 2019 film House Arrest, which finished the year in the top five most-viewed Indian movies for Netflix. 

How did it all begin? 

Samit Basu: The desire was to take every myth… every classic book that had influenced me, and out of those to build something new…. and to add something that was missing from the books I’d read…. Growing up there were lots of books, like Lord of the Rings, like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld–which was a huge influence on my first books–but for me, the understanding of genre was not there. I did not see how these stories were different in a significant way from something like Enid Blyton’s books, because the Famous Five eating tongue sandwiches in Cornwall was as alien to me as Bilbo Baggins’ wandering out of the Shire.

It’s that “what if.” It’s the gap between what you’re consuming and what you would have built yourself, that leads to your starting to build it yourself. [Samit Basu, interview Sept 2020 with Bound, below]

We welcome you to join us for this fascinating, informative, funny, and inspiring interview with Samit Basu, the writer who launched a genre.

Samit Basu (and on Twitter)

Episode description: “From comics to superheroes to dystopia: find out how he popularized speculative fiction in India. On this episode of Books and Beyond with Bound Season 2, we talk to Samit Basu, one of the foremost speculative fiction writers in India. After writing everything from fantasy to science fiction, he has recently published a bestselling dystopian novel Chosen Spirits. Michelle loves that Chosen Spirits is set only ten years into the future. Tara finds out why he calls it an “anti-dystopian” novel. Samit gives us great insights into his writing process, especially how he creates fantastical words and characters from his reality. We chat about the writing community then vs. now, and what the future of speculative fiction in India could be. What is his next project? Will he stick to the speculative fiction genre? Can we expect to see his bestselling books adapted on the screen? Samit answers these and more questions in this episode. Do not miss the rapid fire section in the end!
‘Books and Beyond with Bound’ is the podcast where Tara Khandelwal and Michelle D’costa of Bound talk to some of the best writers in India and find out what makes them tick. Samit Basu is the author, most recently, of Chosen Spirits, a near-future anti-dystopian novel. He’s also known for the Gameworld trilogy of fantasy novels, the Turbulence series of superhero novels, and the Adventures of Stoob series of children’s books. He’s written bestsellers, won awards, and been published in multiple countries and languages.”
[If you prefer, listen to this episode on Spotify.]

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