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Samit Basu

01 Sep 2014 09:37 #37966 by brantley
Samit Basu was created by brantley
A Superhero Series from India

You all know about The X Men, the Marvel Comics superhero series that has been going strong since it was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby 1963, and seems to have gotten a new lease on big screen life this year with Days of Future Past.
Maybe you also know about Wild Cards, a shared world variation on the Lee-Kirby idea of mutant superheroes launched in 1987 by science fiction writer George R.R. Martin – before he hit the big time with Game of Thrones in print and on TV – and has gone through four publishers and attracted writers as notable as Walter Jon Willliams, Lewis Shiner and Pat Cadigan, But have you heard about Samit Basu, whose second superhero novel, Resistance, is just out?
Basu’s debut in the genre, Turbulence (2012) is close in concept to Wild Cards, but unlike Martin’s series it’s a one-man show. Basu (1979-), a native of Calcutta, brings a multicultural perspective to his fiction, but also a seriousness of purpose. His superheroes and superheroines – some are actually villains or become villains – derive their powers from dreams they had on a flight from London to Delhi: they are whatever each most wishes to be. But wish-dreams cover a lot of territory, and not just the traditional flight or super-strength.
Aman Sen, a geek who becomes the informal leader of one group, can tap directly into the Internet and all forms of electronic communication and commerce. Rogue Air Force Commander Jai Mathur, by contrast, is out for personal power – first in the cause of his country against Pakistan but later for its own sake. In the inevitable showdown, Sen’s allies include Uzma Abidi, an aspiring Bollywood actress who has the seeming gift of luck; Tia, a Bengali housewife who can create duplicates of herself; and Sundar Narayan, a scientist who can come up with fabulous inventions, but only in his sleep. Defecting from Jai is Var Singh, an Indian Air Force pilot who can fly and is practically invulnerable, and whom we first meet hovering over a Pakistani nuclear weapons installation, preparing to go on the attack:
<<A young man of great presence, of power and dignity, which is >>.
Only he’s interrupted by a cell phone call from somebody warning him that it’s a suicide mission even for him; that it isn’t actually sanctioned by the Air Force; and that far from assuring India’s triumph it would trigger World War III. Vir’s distracted enough to be spotted by the enemy, barely escaping Pakistani jets and missiles and…
With his fate still uncertain, cut to Bollywood, where Uzma encounters (besides movie people) Buddhist monks moonlighting as DJs. There are plenty of comic touches like that, but when she is drawn into Aman’s orbit things start to get serious. Besides trying to recruit Vir and others, and put together a league of superheroes, he believes he can bring peace and justice to the world by electronically robbing from the rich (whether corporate plutocrats or drug lords) and giving to the poor. Only the results aren’t what he expects:
<<Aman’s victims have not taken their financial losses as a sign to begin leading simpler, purer lives; they have simply resolved to make more money, quickly and brutally. Crime rates have shot up all across the world. Untold thousands of people have been robbed and killed, some over negligible sums.>>
Meanwhile, there’s another supervillain out there who can whip up deadly flash mobs, and Aman still has to deal with Jai, who sends Indian gangsters (some themselves superpowered) against his new base. His forces barely fend off their siege, and the end game unfolds in London, where Aman dons a powered suit of armor left him by Sundar – only it isn’t enough, and runs down after a while. Even Vir can’t take Jai on single-handed; but in a novel twist, it is Uzma who saves the day with a power she hadn’t known she had.
Yet the world is still a mess as they all ponder what to do next, and a new crop of superheroes is springing up – nobody knows who or what has been behind the transformative dreams. All that is addressed in Resistance, and besides his Wiikipedia entry, Basu has his own site: samitbasu.com/

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01 Sep 2014 20:38 #37971 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Samit Basu
I read Turbulence last year, and it was a pretty good story. I'll check out his second novel... thanks for the heads up. He's defintely a genre writer and quite accomplished.

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03 Sep 2014 15:08 #37987 by brantley
Replied by brantley on topic Samit Basu
Superheroine Uzma is back. But the novel begins with a riff on Japanese monster movies and anime -- a supervillain has attacked Tokyo again, this time with a giant lobster, and the defense is in the hands of a team using giant mecha outfits. I'd ordered a copy from Amazon, but then I found it at Barnes & Noble (earlier than had been originally scheduled). Maybe other people here can find it at B&N.

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03 Sep 2014 22:44 #38003 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Samit Basu
Kindle version has been available since July for $USD 6.59.

brantley wrote: Superheroine Uzma is back. But the novel begins with a riff on Japanese monster movies and anime -- a supervillain has attacked Tokyo again, this time with a giant lobster, and the defense is in the hands of a team using giant mecha outfits. I'd ordered a copy from Amazon, but then I found it at Barnes & Noble (earlier than had been originally scheduled). Maybe other people here can find it at B&N.

--Brantley

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04 Sep 2014 02:18 #38010 by TwiceOnThursdays
Replied by TwiceOnThursdays on topic Samit Basu
This is in my queue to read.

I read the first book, and it was quite fun. Part of the fun was that it wasn't UK or US centric, but it's still enjoyable in it's own right.

Not sure if I'll get to the new book for a bit though, I'll try to remember to come back here and say what I thought of it.

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06 Sep 2014 14:44 - 06 Sep 2014 14:46 #38051 by brantley
Replied by brantley on topic Samit Basu
There's a 2012 interview of Samit Basu online:



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Last edit: 06 Sep 2014 14:46 by brantley.

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07 Sep 2014 00:38 - 07 Sep 2014 00:39 #38052 by brantley
Replied by brantley on topic Samit Basu
Just finished the book. A lot of fun, with global pop culture references. But also a serious undertone; there's a character called N (Nigel), who is the spokesman for a multinational corporation, Utopic, that has plans for a cruel new world order. He sounds very much like Ostrog in H.G. Wells' When the Sleeper Wakes.

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Last edit: 07 Sep 2014 00:39 by brantley.

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