Monday, 15 October 2012

Turbulence by Samit Basu


On paper, Turbulence by Samit Basu, seems to be directly aimed at me as its target market. Superheroes? I'm there. Ordinary people acquiring super powers? Again up my alley. Similar to the NBC series Heroes? Go on then.

A group of people are on a flight from London to New Delhi - they all have strange dreams, fantasies of who they could be, and when they wake up they have acquired a power which correlates to their fantasy, so Vir the pilot can fly, Uzma the wannabee actress is irresistible to those around her, Aman the computer geek can mentally hack into any computer, the journalist gets premonitions about newsworthy events and so on...

The trouble arises with the structure, we meet our heroes shortly after powers have been acquired and to my mind the huge opportunity of an origin story is missed the chance to build up the scene of all these people before the flight and boarding it, dreaming and disembarking. A chance to build wonder, and mystique. It all seems a bit disjointed somehow.

Additionally the powers they possess are either bog standard (human flight) or a bit naff in terms of their capacity for dramatic impact (mental internet, the power of allurement) And the guy who can control the temperature with his stomach, what's that all about? Useless!

By far the greatest and for me fatal flaw of this piece is the dialogue. It's dialogue heavy, and the dialogue is extremely poor and weak, cringe inducing even. "Hey! we're like the X Men!"
When the writing switches to prose or private thoughts it isn't so bad, but it isn't long before you're hit in the face with yet more cliched conversation of the most contrived, artificial kind. A masterclass in how not to write a cheesy, one star action film that flops at the box office.

I gave this book up at around the 100 page mark, persuaded myself to give it a second go, and quit for the second and final time at around page 140, which is why there's no number present on my count towards 100.

 I just found the excessive, and dire, dialogue too much to bear. This is why Turbulence doesn't have a number by its name as it's classed as "Failure To Finish"

Of the 10 Amazon reviews present for this novel, 9 give it 5 stars something that genuinely baffles me, as it is so marred by its flaw as to not even succeed as a genre piece of fluff.

Can't really mark it out of 10 seeing as I failed to finish.

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