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on 12 November 2013
In the past I have certainly enjoyed the story-writing of such comicbook stalwarts are Mike Carey and B H Fingerman (not to mention Neil Gaiman!) and can see that someone able to produce, say, an entertaining graphic novel certainly can have the ability to do the same in the non-graphic form. However, and recognising that I may be doing Samit Basu a disservice, I would imagine that this might have worked better in comicbook form than it did as a novel.

It started out well but, towards the end, I felt that the author was more interested in setting things up for a sequel than with providing a satisfying conclusion. Don't get me wrong, this was certainly an OK read and I enjoyed some of the insights into the tropes and mores of Indian society. But, overall, it seemed to me to be more of a series of episodes rather than a well-balanced whole.

I was certainly swayed by the hype but, as has happened once or twice recently, I don't anticipate investing my time in continuing with the series when I have so much else to read that I think would better reward the time spent. YMMV.
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on 31 March 2013
Greatly enjoyed that book: good plot and good characters.
I liked The Game World Trilogy and was looking forward to read a new book from Samit Basu.
I have not been disappointed the least! A sequel to this book called "Resistance" should come soon, I can't wait for it.
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on 6 October 2014
Really enjoyed this book , just started the second one . I hope there is a third book
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on 30 December 2012
Enjoyed the new twist on the superhero storyline and look forward to the sequal. . . . . . .
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on 15 October 2012
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 powers familiar in most superhero tales (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.

I just found the excessive, and dire, dialogue too much to bear.

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 it's flaw as to not even succeed as a genre piece of fluff.
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on 5 August 2012
Buy this book!
I love superhero films, and the origins of superpowers.
I'm not a comic book guy though, I love regular novels/ books. I'm a Lit guy.
And this is a fantastic book.
Great story, great development.
For every concept it touches upon in opens up 5 more questions.
Really looks at how people would actually react to gaining superpowers.
Love the characters, love the plot, love the writing, love the book!
Buy it and enjoy.

Ps India is definately the perfect setting for superheroes, can't wait for more!
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on 3 February 2013
Nothing original and not that well written. Read Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny much better a sf classic and on a similar vein
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on 27 September 2016
Turbulence by Samit Basu review

Just finished reading the novel I purchased when I met Samit at the Morley Literature Festival for the Sci-fi andSuperheroes event. I was expecting a 'Heroes' meets 'DC/Marvel comics' vibe and I wasn't far wrong. Aman Sen is aboard a plane when he discovers he has developed internet superpowers and he is not the only one. When he comes up against Jai a one-man army superpowered villan who wants to rule the world, he bands together with fellow Indian supers including Tia (who can duplicate herself), Uzma (an aspiring Bollywood actress who's power is that everyone who meets her loves her) and Vir who can fly. Aman wants to save the world and Jai wants to destroy it but during the battles of power between the supers who are on each side, some must lose their lives and no ordinary human is safe from an unknown super who can control them with devastating consequences.

With a good dose of comic history, Bollywood, cricket and 21st century India, this novel gives an interesting post-modern slant to the question 'What would you do if you were given the power to do anything you wanted?'
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on 8 September 2012
Turbulence is a story about a handful of individuals from different walks of life unknowingly ending up with superpowers after a flight from London to Delhi. It is a story about these very individuals discovering their new identities and coming to terms with their powers and deciding on how to eventually use them. It is a classic tale of Good Vs Evil with emotions and self discovery thrown in as extra measure to give the characters a more human feel which in turn adds to the charm of the book.

It is quite evident that the author Samit Basu is up-to-date with his knowledge about superheroes and the pop culture references are in abundance throughout the book. He is not short on humor either with a number of instances where I did literally laugh-out-loud. Unfortunately, the biggest flaw lies with the powers that are allotted to the characters. Throughout the book I could not help but relate certain aspects to comic books, or TV series like Heroes, or films like X-Men, Avengers, Superman, etc. For example, there is a "suit" that is somewhat on the lines of Iron Man. Moreover, it even folds-up into a briefcase which to me shouted Iron Man 2, the film. There is a character who can bulk himself up and become a tiger faced beast which seemed pretty much like the Hulk without the obvious turmoil that the Hulk/Dr. Banner go through. Even the main villain, Jai, has shades of Magneto, not in terms of power, but in terms of their thought process. So while I tried to enjoy the book, I could not but help draw up these similarities, and there were quite a few, and I am not even a comic book fan.

Having said that, the book does have interesting characters, especially the ones that are regional to India. The Shinde Brothers provide an episode that would fair interestingly well should the book be ever made into a movie. Some of the other powers, which I shall not mention so you can enjoy the book, are unique and bring about the fun element. There are also enough twists and turns to keep the detective in you guessing.

Turbulence takes a little while to set itself up. While it took me a couple of weeks to get through the first 100 pages, I finished the next 250 in one day. It is also the start of a series and it is understandable that the basis has to be formed, so when the sequel Resistance comes out next year, it will hopefully not have to go back into the "origins" aspect.

Being an Indian I liked the local touch the story gives to the characters and while it goes around the globe culminating in London, it stays true to the region where it is primarily set.

Turbulence makes for an interesting read and it might not be genre defining, but is a positive addition to the superhero genre that we are being bombarded with from all directions.

Since I am unable to give a 3.5 Star review, I have settled with a 4 star review.
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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 "...you'll demand a sequel" (Ben Aaronovitch). I haven't the faintest idea who that man is, but I share the sentiment. I hereby demand a sequel. So if the cover puts you off, ignore it, you're missing something good.

So onto the book. This book has an interesting take on superheroes. In a set-up some may find familiar from the TV show 'heroes' seemingly random people gain seemingly random powers and proceed to do things with them. However, UNLIKE the heroes, this book handles the subject well. The characters are likable. Their reactions to things are believable. Their powers make sense.

We learn early on that these powers come from whatever the person wanted. Specifically, what they dreamed about. It was interesting to discover what the characters powers really were, what they wanted and why. More importantly, it had me thinking what power I would have wanted in the same situation. What would I have done...

The book handles 2 things exceptionally well as far as I am concerned.
1. Powers + origins
2. Reactions

Powers:
One initial concern I had before reading this book, which is the same before I see anything that deals with a 'new' superhero setting was how the powers are handled. Will I just read 400+ pages of generic [insert DC/Marvel hero here] rip-off? The answer to this is no. BE WARNED, in the beginning we are introduced to Vir aka superman. This may seem like a cop-out but it leads me to origins. Vir is a fighter pilot. Vir's FATHER was a fighter pilot. Vir wanted to be the best. BUT he is also for some reason claustrophobic. His desire to be able to do his job without being cooped up in a fighter cockpit makes sense (at least that's how I read, it, feel free to correct me). This is the case with all the powers I'm seen but I refuse to state more and ruin it. Good origins make for sensible (and in some cases seemingly useless) powers.

Reactions:
Ignoring individual character reactions to their own powers and various plot points, which were very good, this is about something bigger. We have a superhero team, do we tell the world? The book contains a phrase something along the lines of 'Superman is real, and he isn't American'. How can you convince the world your hero-group works for everyone when all but one member is Indian? How can you prevent wars being waged when countries start blaming India for unexplained disasters? The book handles questions like these, except it asks them better and gives brilliant answers.

Basically, I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone with an interest in action/super powers but also to anyone else. This book asks important questions and answers them and I think there is at least something in it that will keep most people reading.

(Full disclosure: I received this free from the publisher to review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and are not altered by this. In this case I would quite happily have paid for it!)
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