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(Turbulence #1)

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,167 ratings  ·  156 reviews
When Aman Sen gets off a plane from London to Delhi he discovers that he, and everyone on his flight, now has extraordinary abilities corresponding to their innermost desires. Aman wants to heal the planet but with each step he takes, he finds helping some means harming others. Will it all end, as 80 years of super-hero fiction suggest, in a meaningless, explosive slugfest ...more
Paperback, 358 pages
Published October 15th 2010 by Hachette (first published October 13th 2010)
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Average rating 3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,167 ratings  ·  156 reviews

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K.J. Charles
Jul 13, 2017 added it
Shelves: sci-fi
Absurdly and gleefully enjoyable superhero comedy thriller. This might be the greatest beach book of all time. The Indian setting gives the author opportunity for a ton of sharp observations and satirical heft as well as making this distinct from the same-old US of A superhero roster; there's loads of good female characters; laugh out loud funny writing as well as huge action scenes. I am sick to the back teeth of superhero movies but wow I wish they'd do this.

Just wildly fun, which is a lot ha
Rachel Brown
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, india
Whether or not you will like this playful novel about Indian superheroes depends largely on how much you like its distinctive voice. Here’s the opening paragraphs:


In 1984, Group Captain Balwant Singh of the Indian Air Force’s Western Air Command had dangled his then three-year-old son Vir off the edge of the uppermost tier of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, nearly giving his gentle and hirsute wife, Santosh Kaur, a heart attack in the process. With the mixture of casual confidence and lunacy that is
Arun Divakar
Sep 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
Of late I seem to be rather adept at finding and reading lacklustre books. Here is another one with a terribly disjointed storyline and droll attempts at humor.

A review is beyond me for I cannot think up of anything to compensate the time spent trying to read this. I tried an incremental approach : 25 pages at first, a hesitant 50 pages and finally a last ditch 100 pages and nothing changed. That was it !
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: indian-writing
Let me begin by saying I have very mixed feelings about this book.

First, the positives. There are quite a few of them. My favorite part is how Basu's writing cleverly inverts tropes and stereotypes, turning them upside down. The language itself is evocative, without trying too hard, and features sly turns of phrases, witty references and jokes, and a very authentic, mature Indian voice that isn't insecure of its identity. The characters are mostly well written, choosing what they choose for comp
Jul 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: supernatural, give-up
I tried. I really did. Thrice. Stopped at the second chapter on the first try. Couldn't go past the 25% mark on my third try. I give up.

The story is about a bunch of people getting superpowers based on their heart's deepest desires, all because they happened to be on a certain British Airways flight. There's a villian trying to kill 'em all (of course there is!) and an undecided character who might be a friend or a foe (I stopped reading before this was revealed, perhaps).

This whole plot sounde
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
At the moment superheroes are hip and smart. Films such as the rebooted The Amazing Spider-Man (due any time now as I type), Iron Man (the third instalment now being filmed) and The Dark Knight (also the third incarnation of the Nolanverse Batman due this summer) are all current. The Avengers is one of the biggest grossing movies of all time. TV series such as Heroes and Alphas have raised the awareness (although admittedly, in the case of Heroes, crashed and burned in the end.) In text, George ...more
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Review originally posted by me on Amazon UK)

Turbulence is a book about super-humans. Now I'm the kind of person who likes his super-humans confined to comic books and movies, so from the idea of a superhero novel is foreign to me, as such reviewing one is equally foreign so I'll start from the beginning.

As with many books I find that the front cover provides me with no information about what I am about to read. It does however contain a quote "'ll demand a sequel" (Ben Aaronovitch). I hav
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: indian-authors
An unlikely combination of engaging humour and a juvenile story.

Mr Basu's writing is witty and humorous, and very refreshing to read. It is really unique - irreverent, sharp, and demonstrates an understanding of the melting pot that is contemporary India. I really enjoyed the first few chapters. Really did. Till the story kicked in.

Think of Wodehouse, for instance. The story in any of his novels is incidental. A mere pretext, a place holder for his writing. It is his writing that one really enjo
May 05, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india
Will it all end, as eighty years of superhero fiction suggest, in a meaningless, explosive slugfest?

Yes. Yes it will.

I like the idea of this book; a non-US-centric take on the superhero myth, challenging the way the world is set up to work, etc. And for the first couple of chapters, I hold out hope that it'll be a fun mashup of, say, Heroes and The Satanic Verses. In the end, though, despite a few hints at interesting ideas, I find myself bored with it by the halfway mark. The characters are fla
El (book.monkey)
Although it was pretty good it didn't keep me engaged, I would often stop after half a chapter then start again. I still wanted to finish it I just personally didn't find much excitement is this book. ...more
Oct 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
Should've been a graphic novel ...more
Ashwini Nocaste
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Superman exists and he's not American - a starry eyed indian's juvenilistic fantasy come true. It may be a fast paced read, but going through it became a trudge through a swampy marsh with uninspired dialogues, insincere fighting sequences and which progressed around a very cliched theme of the anti-protagonist eager to rule the world by collecting super-powered individuals. But to give the story, perhaps a fresh twist, a spanner in the banner is thrown in, which alters the plot towards the end, ...more
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
As someone who never reads sci-fi or speculative fiction (and only a dash of fantasy) and only knows Basu from his nonfiction writing, I had no expectations going into this book (and have nothing in particular to compare it to). And I liked it very much indeed. I underline the interesting parts of my books, and this one is now littered with marks, both for big questions - "Do we believe in heroes because they exist, or do they exist because we believe?" or "What would it be like to actually get ...more
Kevin Fanning
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
SO FUN. What if this ends up being my favorite book this year and the year is already so young. Best not to dwell on it.

What if there really were super heroes? And what if...they weren't white?????? Could the world even deal?

Does a great job of (openly) borrowing ideas from the world of comic books and the subverting/altering them in really interesting ways. About halfway through the book was miles from where I had expected it would go, which is exactly what you want.

The book focuses mainly o
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prose-supers
A fun and unusual take on the superhero genre: Superman exists and he's Indian. Or, in fact, many supermen: passengers on a BA flight from London to Mumbai all get granted the power that allows them their deepest wish. (Mild spoiler note: we never actually get into the how or why of this seemingly random occurence, but then I think this is a good thing. The obsessive need to do the 'origin story' as a compulsory intro in superhero fiction often gets in the way of allowing us to get to know the c ...more
Manikanta Avinash
May 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: i-own-a-copy
I liked The Game World Trilogy a lot and had high expectations on Samit-Basu. But this is a big disappointment as it looks very very ordinary. The imagination looks like a little child's who watched too many super-hero movies. I think after you watch too many super-hero movies and read so many comics, anything you try in that area will eventually look like an existing super-hero.
Even the plot was very hazy and the ending felt as if he didnt know what to do and just finished it someway. It all
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Remember Heroes? Move it to India and the UK, add some philosophical discussions, and you have turbulence. I enjoyed how the superpowered realized their powers weren't any good for improving the world(view spoiler). They were only good for either taking over the world or fighting super villains. Exactly.

I don't think I got a great sense of location, but I did learn some new things about India.
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was really awesome. It's everything I wanted from a novel about superheroes. Whenever people try to give more depth to the superhero genre, they try two things: first, make it really realistic and have the characters immediately realize that super heroics just doesn't work in the real world, they get severely injured, sad, and basically give up, a la Kick-Ass; and second they make it ridiculously dark and gritty with lots of "mature" content like rape and murder, a la The Boys.

This nov
Danie Ware
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
'Superman exists, and he is not an American'.

Okay, this book had me in stitches. It's not often something makes me laugh out loud - let alone on commuter trains - but from its opening scene, this had me absolutely hooked. This is a tale that weaves almost flawlessly from tongue-in-cheek funny, to emotionally poignant, all the way to savagely political, with a rare and sharp insight into the politics and culture of the Indian world. Plus there's a lot of quiet geeky in-jokes, and more than a nod
Matt Fimbulwinter
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Yet another realistic deconstruction of superheroes. Which is one of my favourite sub-genres. Here, Samit Basu's hook is "what if a handful of people got super powers, and most of them were from India?"

It's one of the better examples of its sub-genre. The powers are pretty standard, and the exploration of the impact, socially and physically, of the powers is well-handled. One character (Tia) has the superpower that will now be my answer to all "what power would you have?" questions.

I felt a cou
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant story of a bound of normal people who land in Delhi with super powers.

Mr Basu is a brilliant writer, with an excellent sense of humour and there are references galore here to all aspects of pop culture and comics.


Update: re-read July 2014, just before reading the sequel. Still awesome, still great.
Soumyabrata Sarkar
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing

This is my 1st Samit Basu Reading!

Brilliantly clever, Laced with bombastic comedy, in every page, and a real strong plot with a pinch of twists along the fast-paced story, this is my first "superhero novel" in literature! And Boy! I am glad to get into this vortex of awesome read!! Would like to recommend this to everyone! A Byapock Thing! :D :v

Waiting for the sequel!
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The ending was a little flat. But otherwise... one of the best superhero novels I've ever read.

Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5. Awesome book! Very entertaining. Turns all tropes on their heads. I especially loved Tia! Hope there is a sequel.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is this about?: The X-Men in India. For real. A plane of passengers are all given superpowers on their trip to India. Later, when they land, a few discover that people are after them.

What else is this about?: These characters are finding out who they are, and who they can be in this new world of theirs, and yes, they read a whole heap of comic books along the way.

Turbulence is such a ride, oh my god. Fun characters and funnier dialogue, I laughed every time I opened this book.

X-Men In India
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
I am a big fan of this author's game world series and I picked this up with great expectation. This is was different genre - that was comic high fantasy with Indian mythology as the base - this is more a super hero fantasy set in contemporary India. So obviously the scope for crazy inventiveness was going to be much lesser.

The idea as such is good - because at least in books super heroes is not a genre I have not see so much of though they are there a lot in comics and series like X-Men and Her
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

This is the first Samit Basu book I read and I like the humour and the pop culture references. I felt like the second half meandered a little too much, though, and a lot of fthe characters just exist without any depth/point.

Cons under the spoiler tag:
(view spoiler)
Douglas Berry
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: comic-book fans
This was recommended to me by a bookseller I know, so I took him up on it. So happy I did. The plot concerns the passengers on an Air India flight from London to Mumbai. After landing, all the people who were on that flight begin developing superpowers based on their dreams. An overworked wife gains the power to create endless duplicates, a tech geek who bemoans the sad state of wifi in India can access the entire internet mentally, and so on. But not everyone is a good person, and not everyone ...more
Abhratej Sahoo
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
The book is reminiscent of Salman Rushdie's Midnight Children in its tone, an attempt at an updated Midnight's Children if you will. What I liked about Samit Basu when I read the Gameworld Trilogy is his habit of taking fantasy or sci-fi tropes and turning them on their head. This book is no different. At many instances, the events in the book are predictable because the use of these tropes, but the motivation or internal monologue of the characters is where the flip comes. This trick is intersp ...more
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I bought this in a popular bookstore in California. I found it by chance, the bright yellow book cover catching my eye. (different than this book cover.) It quickly became my favorite book. I practically swallowed it whole, finishing it in a 24 hour time span. I have re-read this book 4 times and even wrote an essay on it. For fun. This book is enticing and no matter how hard I try I can't seem to get the sequel. I even went back to that same California book store a year later ...more
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Samit Basu is an Indian novelist, film director and screenwriter.

Samit's most recent novel, Chosen Spirits, an anti-dystopian novel set in Delhi in the late 2020s, was published by Simon and Schuster India in 2020, was critically acclaimed and a bestseller in multiple categories in India.

In books, Samit is best known for his fantasy and science fiction work. His first novel, The Simoqin Prophecie

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“I just don't see why having these powers makes it necessary for all of us to become politicians, warriors, social workers, whatever. We would have tried it before if we really wanted to do it. None of us chose to spend our lives helping people before we got our powers - why should we do it now? Because comics say we should?” 5 likes
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