I first met bestselling and critically acclaimed author Samit Basu during Bookaroo 2010. Participating in his session was an educational experience for a new author like me. Of course the 'education' came wrapped up in oodles of fun. Warm, unassuming, and inclusive, he welcomed ideas from his young (with a smattering of oldies) audience to come up with ideas for a wild and wacky new fantasy. So we had a whale of a time figuring out what a gang of rogue penguins, who were afraid of icy water BTW, would do in Antarctica. Fight flambouyant pirates, save the universe from sinking into a black hole, and outwit a martial arts ace fashionista woman warrior with a taste for chocolates and... we played and tossed about the most outlandish ideas and... voila! Did we see the core of a new story here? As everyone brainstormed, they agreed on one thing for sure. A hint of romance in our story? Yuck!
Samit Basu is a multi-faceted writer with a distinctive voice. Novels, short stories, comics and screenplays, he’s done it all with aplomb. He has created complex sometimes ominous, sometimes whimsical worlds featuring scantily clad centauresses, flying carpets, pink trolls, belly dancers and homicidal rabbits, all working toward or against destroyng a flawed, magical world and defeating the gods at their own game. His latest book, Turbulence, is more mainstream; with imaginative takeoffs from our real world. Aman Sen’s ragtag gang of rogue superheroes can together “stop global warming, turn the Sahara into a rice bowl, find alternatives to oil, stop the damned recession. The kind of things superheroes would do in comics, except the Rural Infrastructure Development League comics wouldn’t really sell well.”Writing fascinating and imaginative entertainers isn't easy at all. It requires meticulous attention to serious craft.
Samit doesn’t believe writers are only 'agents of entertainment' . It's certainly not true that deep writing can’t be popular and accessible. "Most of the books that really stay with readers are both complex and popular", Samit says. "I don’t go around calling my own books deep, but they’re certainly not shallow, and they’re all fairly complicated, but they sell just fine. I don’t think anyone writes or reads for pure entertainment. I’m actually very serious about the writing. But I like writing about people and situations that are fairly eccentric, so it sort of flows from there. I think humour only works when it’s organic, when it flows from the characters or from the situations these characters are in. "
My interview with Samit Basu is published in Reading Hour