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From being the preserve of a handful of American and British authors in the late-20th century, science fiction (SF) today is a global phenomenon. From Afrofuturism to the popular Chinese Science Fiction of Cixxin Liu, Hao Jingfeng and others, writers, editors, and readers around the world are turning to genre to make sense of our world and our futures. The global character of contemporary SF is matched by the profusion of sub-genres that have come to inhabit it: climate fiction (or “cli-fi”) and “hopepunk” are just two of the many approaches to science fiction that respond to our present-day conditions.
Where and how does English-language Indian SF fit into this world? A look at some of recent works suggests that climate change, political extremism, the legacies of colonialism, and the overwhelming role of technology are some of the themes that have exercised the imagination of Indian SF writers. Do these themes run together to create something that is identifiably Indian SF? Should there be? And how are Indian SF writers and readers engaging with contemporary global SF? These are some of the questions that this panel will discuss. A Q&A with the audience will follow.
Gautam Bhatia is the author of the science fiction duology, The Wall and The Horizon. Both novels were long-listed for the annual Locus Magazine Awards, and Bhatia was twice long-listed for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer, awarded at the annual World Convention of Science Fiction (WorldCon). He is also a World Fantasy-award nominated editor with the Strange Horizons Science Fiction magazine. His Science Fiction reviews and criticism have frequently appeared in The Hindustan Times, The Caravan, and other such publications.
Lavanya Lakshminarayan is the author of The Ten Percent Thief (Solaris, 2023), which was first published in India as Analog/ Virtual. She’s a Locus Award finalist, and is the winner of the Times of India AutHer Award and the Valley of Words Award. Her short fiction has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, including The Best of World SF: Volume 2 and Someone In Time: Tales of Time Crossed Romance. Her work has also been translated into French, Italian, Spanish and German. Lavanya is occasionally a game designer. She’s built worlds for Zynga Inc.’s FarmVille and Mafia Wars, tinkered with augmented reality experiences, and custom built battle robots in her living room, among many other game projects. She lives in India, and is currently working on her next novel.
TG Shenoy is a reader, science fiction and fiction enthusiast and a columnist whose writings have appeared in several publications including Locus Magazine. He is the writer of India’s longest-running weekly SF column, New Worlds Weekly for FactorDaily and the SpecFix column Bangalore Mirror. He is currently the Creative Director at Publicis Business/Leo Burnett.
Shrabonti Bagchi is the senior editor with Mint Lounge and has been a writer and editor with mainstream media publications for over 15 years. Shrabonti started out at The Times of India’s online venture, going on to work with print publications such as Business Standard and The Telegraph, where she wrote on business, personalities, lifestyle and social trends, design, culture and what was then the nascent startup environment. These were her focus areas in her next two jobs as well – at the DNA newspaper and with The Times of India’s Bangalore edition, where she worked in a senior editorial position. After five years at The Times of India, Shrabonti joined FactorDaily.com, a digital news website with a focus on technology, where she covered the intersection between technology and society/culture in India.