Science fiction and everything it holds brings us so many possibilities. When books or movies in the past mentioned an invention that wasn’t present at the time but would be around in the future, it is called an accurate prediction. But is it mere coincidence? Or a mere Nostradamus-like prediction? Or is it that the inventors took inspiration from these mentions and brought it to fruition? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was that last option because art IS inspiring. Yashesh Rathod’s Steven Johnson and the Mission series is one such that made me wonder: will this all be available to us in the future?
There are many science fiction stories that talk about how humanity is at its end and how one man (yes, more often than not, it’s a man) has to save it by going on an interplanetary or intergalactic quest of sorts. I haven’t yet read a book in which the futuristic setting of a science fiction novel is treated as normal, as we would treat a story set in current times. That’s probably because I’m not usually that big on science fiction, although things are slowly changing in the best way possible. One of the reasons behind this shift is a short novella called Steven Johnson and the Mission 1 by Yashesh Rathod.
Richa Gupta’s Slices of Life is a collection of short stories that span different genres and explore various facets of the human personality and psyche in a manner that makes you think and speculate and introspect about where we as humans come from, and where we are going. There are stories in there that can be classified as futuristic fiction, there are those that are domestic fiction, those that are contemporary fiction, those that talk about women empowerment, about familial relationships, friendships, romances, and daily life, and a whole lot more that you will probably be surprised to find in there.
There were three things about A.K. Asif’s Hell! No Saints in Paradise that attracted my attention. First, the cover. Dark and broody, there was no question that the book was going to be a roller-coaster that explored the possibilities of the existence of Heaven and Hell. Second, the title. With a title such as Hell! No Saints in Paradise, a paradox in itself, it is hard to rein in one’s curiosity. And lastly, the blurb, one that expanded on what the cover led me to believe.