By Samit Basu
Published July 2014
Review © 2014 by Stephen Roof
Genre: Science Fiction, Pulp, Fantasy, Superhero
Resistance is the second novel in a series by a new author, Samit Basu who has managed to bring fresh ideas into a novel about super powers. This novel comes across like a superhero movie with strong roots in graphic novels and comic books but it also contains inventive writing with plenty of wit. The main premise is that thousands of people around the world have developed extraordinary powers corresponding to their strongest inner desires. These “supers” are transforming the world in all kinds of ways. Of course, while many people use their powers in positive ways, there are always plenty who use their powers to take advantage of others. Organizations form to try to maintain order or reign in abuses of superpowers but there is no clear defined line between those using powers for good or bad. Even organizations with the best of intentions may accidentally cause severely negative side effects. And the big elephant in the room is the question of whether these organizations should be working for the benefit of the “normal” people or the “supers”. When large numbers of “supers” start disappearing and multiple psychics known to be reliable all predict that the end of the world is coming in exactly 3 weeks, it’s time to start worrying about the future.
Resistance contains a large cast of characters and the narrative bounces between four main characters. Norio is a Japanese tycoon who does not have superpowers but does have an incredible mecha team at his disposal. Uzma is the leader of the Unit which many consider to be the world’s greatest team of “supers”. With so many requests for help, one of Uzma’s toughest jobs is deciding the priorities for her team. Aman is a super who has managed to disappear to a remote isolated lair for mysterious purposes. He has amazing abilities to control the flow of information on a global scale. Lastly, Jai is one of the most powerful “supers” with amazing abilities to reap death and destruction on a large scale. He is a member of the Unit who is tired of being kept on such a short leash just because he occasionally wipes out large number of bystanders along with the enemies.
The best aspects of this novel are the fast pace, clever humor, heavily blurred lines between good and evil, and the frequent surprises. The writing hooked me early on with lots of action and humor with almost every chapter ending with a new plot twist. The superpowers on display in this novel span a tremendous range from the ridiculous to the overwhelmingly vast. In my view, this is the only major weakness; there is no limit to the superpowers to the point that some “supers” have god-like powers.
Resistance is actually the second novel in a serious. It may be preferable to start with the first novel titled, Turbulence but Resistance stands very well on its own. While this novel certainly won’t be viewed as highbrow literature, it provides an excellent pulp experience and is a prime candidate to be made into a movie. Resistance is a highly recommended for anyone who enjoys stories about super powers and anyone looking for a fun pulp novel.