Indian Science Fiction has come a long way. The genre has been a part of Indian literature for the past 175 years, but recently it has witnessed an explosion of experimental writings. It has transformed from a sub-genre dominated by pulp writers, amateur scientists, and philosophers to include a more divergent and vibrant community of writers. There are some commonalities in this genre around the World, like the integral role played by science and technology, the fascination for an alternative reality, and an aspirational depiction of the future. Yet, each country and region brings its own flavor and tonality which are rather unique. So is the case for Indian Science Fiction.
The Antonym brought together a wonderful panel of India Science Fiction writers and critics to discuss the uniqueness of Indian Science Fiction. We had Subodh Jawadekar, the renowned Science and Science Fiction writer in Marathi. He has authored 16 books and earned more than 15 prestigious awards. We had Dipen Bhattacharya, who writes in Bengali. His work features the social dynamics of imagined future societies interwoven with scientific principles. Our third panelist was T.G. Shenoy, a Science Fiction columnist and critic, the writer of India’s longest-running weekly SF column in India, New Worlds Weekly for Factor Daily as well as the SpecFix column for Bangalore Mirror.
Together they discussed what falls under the broad category of Indian Science Fiction, and how with time the genre has evolved. What role the Science Fiction magazines played in India in gluing together the Science Fiction community. The distinction between Indian Science Fiction literature written in regional Indian languages and those written in English. The role English translation played in popularizing Science Fiction written in regional languages. And how Indian Science Fiction is perceived globally.