Book Reviews, reading

Science Fiction in India

I joined a readers group on Facebook last year. It’s a very active group that has a vast number of well-read and articulate readers. A recent post on this group lamenting the lack of good science fiction in India inspired this post today. Allow me to present the science fiction books I have read that have come out of India:

  1. Satyajit Ray’s Professor Shonku series
  2. Anil Menon’s The Beast with Nine Billion Feet
  3. Samit Basu’s Turbulence
  4. Vandana Singh’s books

There are a few literary journals too that publish SF with an Indian or Asian influence.

  1. Indian SF

Sadly this site has gone defunct but the quality of stories published was quite high and the archives are worth browsing through.

This is an international science fiction and fantasy magazine that often features stories with an Asian influence.

Papercuts by Desi Writers’ Lounge is not focused primarily on science fiction/fantasy

Published by the renowned Kitaab Publishers, and featuring a story by (ahem!) yours truly!

Science fiction and fantasy is picking up in India in a big way. Here are a couple of links I found interesting:

The unbelievable meteoric rise of Indian SFF

3 Indian works of Science Fiction

Have you read Indian science fiction? Please do recommend some of your favourite stories/books in that genre! �0

reading

Marie Kondo and the 30-Book Challenge

The internet has been abuzz with Marie Kondo and her Tidying up, and especially the part most relevant to writers and book lovers all over the world has them in a tizzy.

Her philosophy of ‘spark joy’, i.e. pick up an item (in our case we will consider a book) and if it doesn’t spark joy, then dispose of it.

The suggestion to throw away books that we will cherish forever even if they don’t tantalize us in the moment is what caused the controversy. Twitter, the blogosphere and a number of thinkpieces have erupted on it, essentially outraged at the seemingly sensible advice.

She clarified later that you don’t really need to toss your books, you can also donate the ones you don’t want to keep anymore.

Over on Writers Digest, Robert Lee Brewer has issued the “30-book challenge” in response to Marie Kondo’s tidying up advice.

I already declutter as much as possible and have, several times a month, stood facing my bookshelf with a critical eye, trying but failing to home in on titles I don’t mind disposing. I don’t ever throw away my books – I don’t know any reader who would do that – but I donate them to the library near my house who always accept the bounty gratefully.

Even if I tried to keep only 30 books and give away the rest, I don’t know how I would go about it.

Here’s just a tiny snippet of the books that sit on my shelf:

Harry Potter – 7 books

Artemis Fowl – 7

Agatha Christie – 14

Georgette Heyer – 12

Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series – 9 books

Alexander McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street Series – 9 books

Alexander McCall Smith’s Corduroy Mansions Series – 3 books

Jasper Fforde – 3 books

As you can see, that totals to way more than 30 (64 if you’re counting), and this is apart from the all standalone books I’ve acquired, and the nonfiction titles I cherish like Houdini’s biography, Eat Pray Love, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, and even Capote for that matter. This also doesn’t take into account the 100-odd books lying on my Kindle, some read, some (ahem!) unread.

So, 30 books? Make that 300 and I’d still be wringing my hands about how many you’re making me throw away. Make it 3000 and then maybe I could consider the matter.

What’s your take on Marie Kondo’s “30 books” advice?

Uncategorized

2018 Year in Review

Happy New Year everyone! I generally write a “Year in Review” post for my blog earlier than this but I got late this time due to vacation hangover.

You can read my past year-end reviews here:

2018

2017

2016

2015

Here are some of my stats from the year for you to gorge on:

  1. 175 submissions (including F/NF/poetry)
  2. 12 acceptances (6 NF, 5 F, 1 poem) (7.4% acceptance rate)
  3. Total Earnings: $443
  4. Further Income Expected: $165 (promised but will pay on publication)
  5. 17 personal rejections from higher-tier literary journals*
  6. 70k words written
  7. 10 short stories completed, 2 drafted
  8. 2 essays written

*Some might feel this is an odd thing to brag about but anyone who’s been submitting long enough knows how nice it feels to get a rejection that’s clearly NOT a stock form letter.

Some of my major successes:

  1. My story in Kitaab’s Best Asian Speculative Fiction
  2. 2nd place in On The Premises themed story contest
  3. My essay in The Writer magazine
  4. My humor piece in The Offing

I usually beat myself up for my stats but I’ve learned to put it in perspective. For now it’s the best I can do with a full-time job and kids. At some point I really have to pull up my socks and do something about the novels in my virtual drawer, because long fiction is where it’s at. All the same I immensely enjoy writing and publishing short fiction and essays.

In any case I hope to focus on my novels in 2019.

What are your plans and hopes for the New Year? Please share so I know I’m not alone in forging crazy plans!