Colloquium: Why We Should Read Science Fiction from India/South Asia

2021 Feb 05, Friday

About the Lecture

The talk will seek to show the significance of the subgenres of Indian and South Asian Science Fiction, especially in today’s context, when SF is beginning to seem like a ‘new realism’. I will briefly trace the genesis of this form, looking back to origins in the 19th century, and also mention some important landmarks in SF written in different Indian languages. The primary focus will, however, be on the recent wave of SF written since the 1990s, which I argue constitutes a new way of reckoning with the challenges of emergent techno-dystopias for the subcontinent and offers possibilities of critique of the directions taken by our post-colonial societies. This especially has come to the fore in the 21st century with the appearance of several anthologies bringing together stories and speculative poetry articulating the possibility of alternative futures. 


About the Speaker

Tarun K. Saint, an independent scholar, and writer is the author of Witnessing Partition: emory, History, Fiction (2010, 2nd. ed. 2020). He edited Bruised Memories: Communal Violence and the Writer (2002) and co-edited (with Ravikant) Translating Partition (2001). He also co-edited Looking Back: India’s Partition, 70 Years On in 2017 with Rakhshanda Jalil and Debjani Sengupta. Recently, he edited The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction (2019). The bilingual (Indian-Italian) SF anthology Avatar: Indian Science Fiction, co-eds. Francesco Verso and Tarun Saint, appeared in January 2020.