I had first heard about ‘The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction’ from Arjun Raj Gaind’s webinar conducted by The Himalayan Writing Retreat. So, when it was on sale via ‘Broke Bibliophiles’ Facebook Account’, I grabbed it although I’ve read very little science fiction. The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction Volume 2 has been edited by Tarun K. Saint with a graphic preface and afterword by Manjula Padmanabhan. I had read her ‘Harvest’ way back in the late 90s. I also follow her Facebook page.
At around 4 am today, I set out to read at least one short story from this anthology. I skimmed through it and found Arjun’s story – ‘The Ministry of Relevance’. The title reminded me of Harry Potter. I started reading it at an hour when there are fewer distractions. Just like Sharnaya Manivannan’s work, Arjun’s story had a lot of new words that I have jotted down in my notebook for later reference.
I also noted down some phrases that appealed to me. Here are a few of them:
‘gentle glimmer of his laughter’, ‘cataclysm of emotion’, ‘the city’s sinister new heart’, ‘so utterly black that even light seems to bend around it’, ‘most perfidious of social evils’, ‘like a striking krait’, ‘borderline dissident tendencies’, ‘panoply of lights’, ‘shabby but nondescript’, and so many others.
What I liked about the story so much is that the narrator spends every moment thinking about his wife and child. That’s what keeps him going during some rather tortuous experiences he undergoes. The story gives becoming irrelevant a whole new meaning.
P.S. I edited this post with Elementor. The book cover follows.