Will Blaft Peter Out? Will Blaft Pan Out?

We read the first Tamil Pulp Fiction for novelty. The second time around we’d have liked either a feast of reason or a flow of soul.

01 October 2010
The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction – Volume 2
The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction – Volume 2

ALL PUBLISHING HOUSES eventually grow up and face the real world. (Some, indeed, start out sere and yellow.) The longer the youthful enthusiasm lasts, the more interesting the books are going to be. There is always, these days, something called ‘the bottom line’ whose thrall is ineluctable. It grows larger, until it consumes the vision; its basilisk eye, its threat of chill penury, represses the publishers’ noble page, freezes the genial current of their souls. Then they no longer do what they want, but what they think readers want. Then the marketing boys and girls take over, and bye-bye happiness.

Blaft began with a bang two years ago, with an Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction. It was well received, as it deserved to be. For my sins, a quote from my review in the Deccan Herald is among those that proclaim the second volume: “As we draw near the end of 2008, I see this anthology as possibly the most significant contribution to Indian writing this year.”

There are wasted words there, but I hold by it. It is in the hope that not all those words are wasted that I track Blaft’s journey. Two years later, Tamil Pulp Fiction II is on the stands, and it’s a good time to take stock.

Vijay Krishna has written several books including Bihar is in the Eye of the Beholder, Language as an Ethic and Gemini.

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