Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!
Today we’re joined by Samit Basu, a writer of books, films and comics. His first novel, The Simoqin Prophecies, published by Penguin India in 2003, was the first book in the bestselling Gameworld Trilogy and marked the beginning of Indian English fantasy writing. Samit’s other novels includes the superhero novel, Turbulence, which won Wired’s Goldenbot Award in 2012. Its sequel, Resistance, is available July 8th from Titan Books. Read an excerpt from the novel here on Tor.com, and follow Samit on Twitter @samitbasu.
Join us to benefit from Samit’s very sound advice regarding monkeys!
Please relate one fact about yourself that has never appeared anywhere else in print or on the Internet.
When roaming urban monkeys invade my house in Delhi, I retreat to my bedroom, lock myself in and ask the Internet for help. The Internet is usually not helpful, but this is a better option than attempting any sort of interaction with the monkeys, who are not only complete sociopaths but freakishly strong. A friend who tried to sweet-talk one recently got badly mauled by a small and really cute specimen. So avoid monkeys. But goats are all right. A friend who head-butted a goat and then spent hours with its teeth locked on his head, well, he was just asking for it.
If you could be incarnated as any historical figure, who would you like to be?
Haroun-al-Rashid, the fifth Abbasid Caliph. For the stories, and the science, and the general badassness, and definitely for the endless literary references, but mostly for the harem.
Bad news: You’re about to be marooned alone on a desert island—name the five things you would bring along.
I’m assuming that the following things are not allowed:
1) The whole Internet and incredible items of technology that will make me forget I’m marooned at all
2) People are not things. This is something writers often forget, and so a list of incredibly gorgeous people who would eventually accept that we were marooned together and there were very few things to do with our time… also not on.
3) Infinite amounts of anything I needed for survival.
4) Magic/superpower-y/SF things
That being the case, I don’t know what I would bring along. It doesn’t really matter, because I wouldn’t survive long.
If you could name a planet after anyone (other than yourself), who would you choose and why?
Bill Murray is the correct answer to this, I know, but I would choose Terry Pratchett. Because he made such a lovely planet all by himself, and wrote so many fantastic stories in it.
The Gentlemen from the silent Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode. Damn, those are some good monsters. This is assuming Skeletor from He-Man doesn’t count as a monster, because apart from his skull the rest of him is so buff and he was the real hero of that show anyway.
Would you rather discover the fountain of youth or proof of life on Mars?
The fountain of youth, of course. What would I do with Martians? I don’t KNOW that the Martians are going to make me immortal, but I do know that if there is life on Mars, with the fountain of youth I can be sure I’m going to be around to see it.
Choose your preferred fictional vacation spot: Narnia or Middle-earth (or some other fictional realm)…
I’ll give you a top 5.
- New New York
- The Enterprise
- Fhloston Paradise
- The Dreaming
What was your gateway to SF/Fantasy, as a child or young adult?
Lord of the Rings, age 11. In India our bookstores are not divided by genre, so I just picked it up in a store because it looked so interesting, along with some PG Wodehouse books I think. Nothing prepared me for LOTR. I was lost to the world, and changed forever. I forget how many times I reread those books, and how deeply I felt everything in that story.
List three things you’d like our readers to know about you and your work.
1. I’ve been writing novels for a decade and Resistance is my sixth book.
2. Turbulence was my US/UK debut, though earlier books have been published in Germany and Sweden.
3. I also write comics, and have been heading towards a Bollywood screenwriting career as well.
Which language, real or fictional, would you like the ability to speak fluently? Who would you talk to?
Japanese. They’re the world leaders in weird and cool and I want to know what those comics and films and books are really saying. Resistance is mostly set in future/imaginary New York and Tokyo. I’ve been to the former (in the present/real), and while I’m really looking forward to visiting Tokyo as well it would be great if I could understand what was going on around me.