Popular Indian Science Fiction Novels
- April 21, 2021
By Mehar Dhillon
The science fiction genre is evidence of the infinite potential of the human imagination. The unique human ability to weave ideas and stories around things that we have never seen, touched or smelled is reflected in this genre. It is a genre of speculative fiction, containing imagined elements absent from our world, and often encompasses stories that revolve around otherworldly elements such as space and time travel, galactic exploration, extraterrestrial life forms, parallel universes, technological and scientific developments and their subsequent consequences. Thus, science fiction, or sci-fi as it is popularly called, is rightfully cited as the literature of ideas.
While the genre has still not been explored thoroughly in India, we still have many sci-fi gems to offer. Here are some of the most popular Indian science fiction books.
Sultana’s Dream by Begum Rokeya
Sultana’s Dream is about a woman that is transported into Ladyland, where being a woman is to be privileged and free and to be a man is to shut in and shackled. It is a piece of parallel universe science fiction literature, written by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain in 1905. The story follows the protagonist as she wakes up in Ladyland and is slowly introduced to its lore and laws. This story was revolutionary for its time and reveals the logical fallacies in the arguments supporting the way of the patriarchy in a witty and humorous manner. It peels back the patriarchy’s veneer of disliking anything ‘frivolous’, that only barely hides its actual disdain for everything ‘feminine’. Rokeya explores the condition of Indian womanhood by juxtaposing it with the liberated life the women of Ladyland live. Sultana’s Dream may justly be considered regressive by today’s standards of feminism, however, it is important we acknowledge that it was conceived during a time when feminism was in its beginning stages and women weren’t given even a fraction of the rights as they are today.