Geek Book Review: Turbulence by Samit Basu

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If you are a fan of the superhero genre in any form, then Samit Basu’s Turbulence should be the next must-read story on your list.  Basu delivers an inventive new take on the classic superhero story while still managing to stay true to what made the genre a success for so many years.  At times, he deals with deep ethical dilemmas surrounding those granted with superpowers; while still managing to bring a levity and wittiness to the story that will keep you laughing.  Here is a brief synopsis directly from the publisher’s website…

 

 Aman Sen is smart, young, ambitious and going nowhere. He thinks this is because he doesn’t have the right connections—but then he gets off a plane from London to Delhi and discovers that he has turned into a communications demigod. Indeed, everyone on Aman’s flight now has extraordinary abilities corresponding to their innermost desires.
Vir, an Indian Air Force pilot, can now fly.
Uzma, a British- Pakistani aspiring Bollywood actress, now possesses infinite charisma.
And then there’s Jai, an indestructible one-man army with a good old-fashioned goal — to rule the world!
Aman wants to ensure that their new powers aren’t wasted on costumed crime-fighting, celebrity endorsements, or reality television. He wants to heal the planet but with each step he takes, he finds helping some means harming others. Will it all end, as 80 years of superhero fiction suggest, in a meaningless, explosive slugfest?

 

Where as we here in the United States are used to our superheroes patrolling places like New York City or a fictional equivalent such as Gotham, Basu sets his story in his native India, and makes the reader feel just as comfortable reading about Mumbai as he would if it were Metropolis.  The book also deals with the classic origin story in a very interesting way.  Basu details why individual characters are granted the specific power they have gained and when exactly all these seemingly random people were granted their abilities, but never bothers to explain WHY or HOW these powers manifested.  They just did…and now those random people must deal with the repercussions of having abilities that they didn’t even know they desired.  Basu excels in the area of dreaming up the powers his characters are granted.  Today it is almost too easy to use a carbon copy of this Marvel hero or that DC villain.  However, Basu dreams up some very original powers for his characters while also creating some with the traditional abilities that readers are used to finding in this genre.

 

Superhero fiction is usually restricted to comic books, television, or blockbuster films, yet Samit Basu manages to deliver a novel so well written that those images this genre is so dependent upon are immediately conjured in your mind as you read the brilliant action sequences.  Turbulence carves out a place for the superhero in novel form and sets a rather high bar for anyone else wishing test their hand in this medium.  A sequel entitled, Resistance, is set for release in July of 2014 and I will definitely be awaiting its arrival…as you will be as well after finishing this modern version of a classic story.

 

Turbulence was courtesy of Titan Books.

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