“They’d known the end times were coming, but hadn’t known they’d be multiple choice.”
We’re excited to share the cover for Samit Basu’s The City Inside, a near-future epic that pulls no punches as it comes for your anxieties about society, government, the environment, and our world at large—yet never loses sight of the hopeful potential of the future. The City Inside arrives June 7, 2022 from Tordotcom Publishing.
Joey is a Reality Controller in near future Delhi. Her job is to supervise the multimedia multi-reality livestreams of Indi, one of South Asia’s fastest rising online celebrities—who also happens to be her college ex. Joey’s job gives her considerable culture-power, but she’s too caught up in day-to-day crisis-handling to see this, or to figure out what she wants from her life.
Rudra is a recluse estranged from his wealthy and powerful family, fled to an impoverished immigrant neighborhood where he loses himself in video games and his neighbors’ lives. When his father’s death pulls him back into his family’s orbit, an impulsive job offer from Joey becomes his only escape from the life he never wanted.
But no good deed goes unpunished. As Joey and Rudra become enmeshed in multiple conspiracies, their lives start to spin out of control, complicated by dysfunctional relationships, corporate loyalty, and the never-ending pressures of surveillance capitalism. When a bigger picture begins to unfold around them, they must each decide how to do the right thing in a shadowy world where simply maintaining the status quo feels like an accomplishment. Ultimately, resistance will not—cannot—take the same shape for these two very different people.
Samit Basu is an Indian novelist. He’s published several novels in a range of speculative genres, all critically acclaimed and bestselling in India, beginning with The Simoqin Prophecies (2003). His latest novel, The City Inside, is set in an anti-dystopian near-future Delhi and was shortlisted (as Chosen Spirits) for the JCB Prize, India’s biggest lit award. He also works as a director-screenwriter, a comics writer, and columnist. He lives in Delhi, Mumbai, and on the internet.