Back in , I had the pleasure of interviewing Samit Basu for SFSignal , and his books have been in the back of my mind ever since. People in India are waking up with superpowers. It seems that everyone on a particular London-Delhi flight ended up with the special powers of their dreams. One person could fly, another became an amazing inventor, another was able to control the weather, another could create multiple copies of themself, etc. Beautiful and graceful, everyone likes Uzma, and she was my favorite character.

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Shelves: give-up , supernatural I tried. I really did. Stopped at the second chapter on the first try. I give up. This whole plot I tried. There were a lot of things happening, true, but it was very insipid and bland for want of better words. It was dry. So I gave up. Films such as the rebooted The Amazing Spider-Man due any time now as I type , Iron Man the third instalment now being filmed and The Dark Knight also the third incarnation of the Nolanverse Batman due this summer are all current.

The Avengers is one of the biggest grossing movies of all time. TV series such as Heroes and Alphas have raised the awareness although admittedly, in the case of Heroes, crashed and burned in the end. In text, George At the moment superheroes are hip and smart.

It is, unabashedly, a new style modern superhero novel with a distinctive twist. It is also current, smart, energetic and a sparkling read. On a plane journey from London to Delhi, Aman Sen and his fellow passengers of them experience something strange and the result is that everyone who disembarks in Delhi has superhuman abilities.

Each one is different. Others on the plane have similar strange powers: we have hopeful Bollywood actress Uzma who seems to charm everyone she meets, Vir who can fly at supersonic speeds without mechanical means, Tia who can be in more than one place at once.

The key plot point is this: when being given such gifts, what do you do? Do you aim for helping the masses, organise world peace, stop wars, make life better, or do you concentrate on getting what you want, at the expense of others? Some of the solutions and their consequences are realistic, intelligent and thought through effectively.

And when one of the newly enhanced humans decides that the way forward for global domination is to rule by fear rather than reason, then Aman and many of the other characters here are divided in their actions. Do they support him in his aims for the greater good, or denounce him as a misguided despot? There are some lovely set pieces as the team discover and increase their new powers.

A showdown between two brothers from an Indian gangster family who were on the plane and the rest of the team is brilliant in its pace and execution. The ultimate showdown at the end of the book in London is as exciting as you would hope for, and not entirely what you expect. This is good in itself. But what is most impressive is that the book takes common traditional superheroes themes and then writes about them from a very different perspective.

Whilst some of the ideas are not new see the list of other similarly themed work at the beginning of this review , as most of the action takes place not in the traditional locale of the US, but in Asia, in India, there is a different outlook to the superhero mythology that is quite refreshing and not something you would normally read in, say, a Marvel comic book.

Turbulence involves topics as diverse as Bollywood, cricket, media networks, celebrity hype and Hindu god-worship. The characters are of varying social backgrounds, and each has enough variety to be both diverse and engaging. Most of all, the frenetic pace is great and the dialogue fizzes with whip-sharp quips and comments. This was a welcome and very pleasant surprise. Once started, I found it difficult to put down.


Turbulence by Samit Basu

From the Reviews: "Turbulence is that customer-friendly thing -- a racy read. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. Dozens of different, personally-tuned superpowers -- though varieties of shape-shifting including the ability to grow to monstrous proportions , great strength, and the ability to withstand an incredible amount are fairly widespread among them, The novel does not begin with the transition, but rather opens a while after that fateful flight, with the super-powered humans already putting their new abilities to use. But some suspicious things have happened -- all the foreigners on board, for example, seem to have disappeared. And at least one empowered person, Jai, already has big, big plans, collecting and culling the super-powered and rapidly taking steps to consolidate power so that world domination will be in his grasp. Given how many figures are near-indestructible and near all-powerful the plans for the big take-over Jai and friends or the big take-down Aman et al.





Samit Basu




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