Book Review: Turbulence by Samit Basu

Review by: Prof. Jenn


Turbulence is a superhero novel, but unlike any other superhero novel out there. For one thing, it takes place mainly in Mumbai (and sometimes in London). None of our characters are American. For another thing, the myriad superpowers that our gaggle of characters finds themselves with are so unusual, so real, and often mysterious as the characters themselves wake up one day and have to figure out what it is they actually have “come down with”, and then decide what to do about it.

The main story surrounds two newly-superpowered people: Aman and Uzma. They are two of many that were on a particular flight to London, that ended up giving superpowers to everyone on the plane. In this book, we don’t ever know where the powers came from, but there is an upcoming sequel–maybe the origins of the powers will be explained there. Anyway, Uzma doesn’t know what her power is (she doesn’t discover it till the very end), but Aman’s power is the ability to go online. Like, without a computer. Not only that, he can bypass any security codes, etc. well you get the idea. Other superpowered people we meet include the super-strong, able-to-fly Vir, the indestructible bad guy Jai, Tia who can multiply herself indefinitely, among others. Our conflict arises when Jai and his peeps decide that taking over the world is a good idea, and our “good guys” disagree. Though the discussions between the super-folk about what is the right thing to do with the powers is pretty compelling, making us wonder whether the good guys and bad guys are really that different.

Bottom Line: Turbulence is highly recommended. Bring on the sequel, Mr. Basu!