Superhumans and Standard Gods

What do two recent popular novels say about our vision of the transcendental?

01 March 2011
Samit Basu,Turbulence, Hachette India,337 PAGES, Rs 250
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Samit Basu,Turbulence, Hachette India,337 PAGES, Rs 250
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SAMIT BASU’STurbulence is that customer-friendly thing—a racy read. Several hundred passengers on a flight from London to Delhi are suddenly endowed with superpowers—they miraculously become what they’ve always wanted to be. Basu leaves out the backstory—not just the previous lives of these once-ordinary people, but also their transformation into airborne gods. He cuts straight to the action.

When the novel opens, some weeks after that magic flight, superhero and gravity-defying Vir Singh is soaring above a Pakistani nuclear research centre, seconds away from striking it. Just then, he gets an anonymous call from a man who tries to restrain him.

“You want to…make the world a safer place for one and all? Well, going down there and re-enacting King Kong isn’t going to achieve that…it’s not possible. Not in this world, not even with your powers,” says the mysterious caller. A little later he asks Vir, “Who’s the greatest Indian leader ever?” Gandhi, says Vir. “Ask yourself this. If Gandhi had your powers, would he be flying around above a Pakistani nuclear site, wiping his foggy glasses and trying to start World War III, or would he be doing something slightly more productive?”

Anjum Hasan Anjum Hasan is the Books Editor at The Caravan.

Keywords: Samit Basu superhero science fiction Turbulence Ashok Banker Krishna mutant superhuman Slayer of Kamsa
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