Seems like this is a season of disappointments. This is the third book in row which made me reconsider reading Indian Fiction. Where are the authors getting their ideas from? or possibly Why am I plagued with such confused authors?
hermaphrodite... First 100 or so pages of the novel are rather intriguing. With Earth seeing her first Alien spaceship, which eventually attacks with nano-bots. The Five miraculously being SAFE and confused at seeing the whole world in some sort of trance. And then a god appearing to all FIVE.
From here, the narrative simply goes wild. Ashok Banker was trying to create a sci-fi novel which features the science of gods and religion with the help of a end-of-the-world plot. What he manages, instead is to create a narrative that is science heavy, complicated in its unfolding and literally offensive at times. He wanted to create five different characters, each with a distinct personality trait. He manages to create those five personalities, alright... but at the cost of offending readers by some of the language used. For example, in my opinion, an american lesbian could be described and portrayed without peppering her "every" sentence with a swear word. An environment which results in causing erotic effects on people could definitely be described without going into details of actual physical reactions a hermaphrodite is experiencing....I mean I dont wanna know if his p**is is engorged and his ni***es getting hard... I really dont want to know... especially in middle of a religios sci-fi novel.
There are LOADS of unnecessary details in the damn novel. And I'm not even trying to talk about the way he has butchered my mother tongue in the narrative... Let's take the example of Ganesha explaining the whole concept of City of Cities to the Five...it sounds like someone explaining Quantum Physics to a five year old. I'm not against people trying to blend latest scieentific developments into fiction, but does that actually have to be boring and mind boggling?? Can't one make it simple to understand and easier to grasp? Comon man...Stephen Hawking wrote "Universe in a nutshell" in a language a school-going kid would understand... if he can explain hardcore science so simplistically, why can't fiction be more user friendly?
At the start of the novel, author says that he's expecting that people might not like his story and that the novel is supposedly starting of a series. Since, author himself has agrees that not most of the people will appreciate his work...I think I would have to agree to his opinion of himself....I do NOT like his work.
Don't read if you are interested in a sci-fi. Don't read it if you are looking for a religion based novel. Don't read it if you are a fan of authors like H.G.Wells who brought incredible tales like 20000 leagues under the sea or even if you prefer fact based sci novels by Robin Cook or Michael Crichton. Don't pick it up if you want to read something simple and fun.
The only reason you could possibly contemplate reading this is if you are tired of your simple, no complication life. If you want to rewire your brain and if you want to read something incredibly "OUT there"