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An epic fantasy

books Updated: Oct 08, 2009 19:20 IST
Girija Duggal
Girija Duggal
Hindustan Times
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Title: Gods of War
Author: Ashok K. Banker
Publisher: Penguin India
Price: Rs 299

A Mumbai chawl kid, a lesbian from New York, a Muslim trader from Birmingham, a Japanese hermaphrodite and his rakish twin, multiple quantum realities, Ganesha, his iPod-loving rat and impending apocalypse - this is just the tip of what this hugely imaginative, gripping work has to offer. The debate over science and religion, good and evil, and war and peace form the actual as well as the philosophical crux of this work.

There are a few glitches, though - many awkward similes pepper the text, especially in the early parts (The overall effect was mesmerizing like a gigantic earring suspended in space from the invisible ear of an unseen inscrutable alien god). In all portions devoted to the rough 'n' tough American, the author trips over himself trying to get her foul, slang-ridden language right.

Still, this book stands several parallel universes apart from a lot of amateurish stuff one gets to see in the name of sci-fi. It's not in the league of Arthur Clarke or Satyajit Ray, mind you, but it's an impressive attempt, one that makes you eagerly look forward to the next part in this five-book series.