South Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy New Wave

A range of tastes and concerns can be seen in the South Asian SFF, which has recently experienced a small renaissance. This overview aims to present some of the established and upcoming voices in the new wave of SFF in the subcontinent since the 1990s.

In the best of these futuristic novels, as we shall see, there is a keen awareness of the major shifts that are taking place in the postcolonial world, and a poignant take on the uneven development and dystopia of modern technology. critical description. Inevitably, such current visions of decolonization often deal with the consequences of colonial domination in a different way than Anglo-American science fiction, focusing on breaking free from the shadow of modernity in colonial guise.

Wandana Singh is a physicist and SFF writer who grew up in Delhi, India, but now teaches and researches in the US. Beyond the social consequences of unequal development, her speculative fiction features a deft mix of topics related to science and the environment (most recently, climate change).her first series The Woman Who Thinks She’s a Planet and Other Stories (2009) includes a speculative manifesto that sets the parameters for her own SFF mix with references to pre-modern cultural narratives and epics as well as cutting-edge scientific research. Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories (2018) brings together stories that further redefine genre boundaries, preserving a sense of wonder while emphasizing the importance of discovery and intellectual breakthrough in story form, which Singh’s work shares with. For example, “Indra’s Web” synthesis The ancient wisdom and. The protagonist Mahua tries to decipher the secret language of the forest, “myconet”, while she designs Suryanet, an energy network that enables displaced refugees from flooded Bangladeshi villages to transform a slum called Ashapur into A viable living space near the future. Since then, incisive stories from climate fiction models like “Widdam” and “Reunion” have been featured in the best anthology of the year, and Singh was recently selected as a Climate Imagination Fellow at Arizona State University.

Pune based writer Anil Menon Started writing hard sci-fi and cyberpunk-style stories in various international magazines while working as a software engineer in the US.He recently donned the editor’s hat Bombay Literary Magazine. his YA novel nine billion foot beast published in 2009, while his speculative fiction half of what i said Introduced in 2015.During this time, Anil Menon and Vandana Singh co-edited Breaking the Bow: Speculative Fiction Inspired by the Ramayana In 2012, a groundbreaking series focused on creative re-inscriptions of Indian epics, launched the writing careers of SFF writers such as Indrapramit Das. Menon’s hard sci-fi “Paley Watch” has been added to the 2021 Locus Recommended Reading List. In this story about the discovery of a mysterious artifact, Menon draws an extended analogy between scientific speculation and literary narrative.

manjula padmanaban Has been a pioneer in the Indian sci-fi world and is a well-known graphic artist and playwright.her sci-fi harvest Winner of the Onassis Drama Award in 1997. The show’s innovative premise is to harvest organs from third-world “donors” for first-world recipients.her dystopian novel escape (2008) and Lost Maiden Island (2015) depicts the perilous situation of Meiji, a young girl who lives in a future society based on cloning, where girls become extremely rare, and her eventual escape to an island ruled by women with her own hierarchy of power. The asymmetric relations of power and gender relations depicted here make this projected trilogy a fascinating meditation on identity and difference.

located in the US SB Divia is an engineer by training and writes speculative fiction grounded in contemporary scientific research.her elegant novella runincluded in her collection Contingency plans for the apocalypse and other possible scenarios, was nominated for Nebula in 2016.Recently, her novel Hood (2021) depicts the tensions arising from the emergence of augmented humans and sentient robots, extending a debate on the ethical issues behind the development of artificial intelligence drawn from EM Forster’s Machine Stops (1909). Years) has been raging since, and here is the gig economy in context.

Derry residents Summit Basu Since 2004, it has been published in a variety of genres including fantasy, science fiction and graphic novels.More recently, his dystopian novels spirit of choice Launched in India in 2020, now in the US the city inside, a Tordotcom publication. In this post-cyberpunk-inspired narrative featuring Indian moorings, the role of social media influencer examines trends 10 years later in Delhi through the experiences of Bijoyini ‘Joey’ Roy. Basu referred to events like the protest movement in Shaheen Bagh (2019-20) by the Muslim minority in Delhi as events that exist only in memory, as evidence of the recent rapid disappearance of radical intervention in the public sphere​​​ .

Usman T. Malik is a trained rheumatologist and author of mystery novels from Pakistan. His award-winning work spans horror, fantasy and science fiction, while he often draws on Middle Eastern fantasy and fictional traditions.Malik’s collection of short stories Doors at Midnight: A Fable from Pakistan (2021) recently won the Crawford Award, including “Resurrection Point.” This powerful first-person story depicts the fragility of minority Christian communities through the ability to bring the dead back to life by a narrator, a young boy whose father taught him to use resurrection points (who unfortunately fell into sectarian violence).

Binasha is a media professional and writer from Karachi, Pakistan. She has written five novels and two collections of short stories.Feminist Dystopian Fiction before she goes to sleep (2018) depicts a Middle Eastern country whose women have been largely devastated by the virus. As a result, women are forced to give birth by the authorities. A rebel group called Panah serves elite clients, and women lull men to sleep through their presence, an emotional compensation that comes at a price.As Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid’s Tale, this novel set against the background of the Indo-Pakistani nuclear war can retain its particularity and singularity. A sequel is coming.

Harris Durrany is an American mystery novelist with a Pakistani-Dominican background. Harris’s debut, ego technologyA fusion of Latin and Islamic elements, it won the 2015 No-Drift Novella Award. Drawing on his dual heritage, he made numerous references to ciguapas (shape-shifting creatures of Dominican legend) and elves (magical creatures of Middle Eastern legend), and carefully described the origins of these creatures, as in his story ‘Champollion feet’. This story of genocide (an attempt to exterminate a species) and erasing the history of the “other” re-addresses some of the themes in Octavia Butler’s work in innovative and original ways.

King Kong Chandra Sekra is a writer and editor from Colombo, Sri Lanka. To date, he has published more than fifty stories in various magazines.his maiden Holy of Mingmen To be published by Tordotcom Publishing in 2023. Kong bears the historical trauma of Sri Lanka’s civil war in his story “The Maker of the Memorial.” In this story, an augmented human is tasked with building monuments to those who died on the battlefield. This anti-war tale debunks the idea of ​​raising columns for heroic martyrs, perhaps a nod to Wilfred Irwin’s World War I poem “Dulce et Decorum Est.” The irony of such images of battlefield glory is underscored by a reference to a history ministry tasked with rewriting the past at the whims of those in power.

Dhaka based Saad Hussein Writes fantasy and speculative fiction based on satire and dark humor. His first book, an anti-war satire, Escape Baghdad! Published in 2015, fantasy followed Djinn City 2017 and Hybrid Sci-Fi/Fantasy Gurkhas and Lord of Tuesdays in 2019. Cyber ​​Magefollow-up Djinn Cityappeared in 2021, and Kundo wakes up Released with Tordotcom earlier this month. His story, “Bring Your Own Spoon,” follows an unemployed elf in a future Bangladesh who unites a poor cause on the fringes and who helps him build a community kitchen with a quintessential subcontinent flavor. The future society depicted here is not without danger, as benevolent nanomen protect the wealthy living in bubbles from various diseases in the water and air. The tragicomic tone of the story is hallmark of Hussein’s style, as he strides across the osmotic boundaries between genres with aplomb.


As we’ve seen, South Asian science fiction and fantasy are as relished for the different flavors and metaphors they offer, as are the various cuisines offered in different corners of the subcontinent. On another level, we can see serious ethical engagement with pressing socio-political and ecological issues in the best recent writing, even as these differentiated collectives negotiate postcolonial histories and civilizations in this geographic and cultural space The challenge of memory to renew for a just and inclusive future.

Tarun K. Saint, independent scholar and author, was born in Kenya and has lived in India since 1972. His research interests include divisional literature and science fiction.he is the author Witness Division: Memory, History, Fiction, according to his doctoral dissertation.he edited Scarred Memories: Community Violence and Writingr and co-editing (with Ravikant) translation partition. He also co-edited Review: Partition of India 70 years later, with Rakhshanda Jalil and Debjani Sengupta.he edited The Golantz Book of South Asian Science Fiction. Bilingual (Indo-Italian) Science Fiction Anthology . Avatar: Indian Science Fiction Co-edited with Francesco Verso Published January 2020.

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