Love and Longlisting in Delhi

Also I skipped an issue but you didn't notice because time has lost all meaning

So. A nice thing happened: Chosen Spirits got longlisted for the JCB Prize. Here’s the announcement video:

I’m delighted and most grateful: The JCBP is India’s biggest lit award, and I’m lucky to have published in a year when the jury clearly looked well beyond traditional Indian litfic lines - and authors - to make their longlist.

Some not-so-nice things

A number of the authors/film people I speak to more or less regularly have begun to notice a big slowdown across creative media - some of it logistical because shoots haven’t started up yet, some of it because there’s a great deal of backlog from early this year, both in publishing and in commissioning, and so wait times between submission and publication are going to get longer, and rejection/postponement rates are going to rise. It hasn’t really hit writing for film/TV yet, largely because older budgets haven’t been completely drained, but that could change any day. It’s all quite random, and the development projects that have been commissioned over the last six months are only going to add to the bottleneck in production.

Considering the bigger picture, with the economy (esp in India) completely tanking, and the pandemic (esp in India) getting worse/showing no signs of conveniently disappearing, it’s not the biggest of problems. But, as I’ve been saying regularly to people who’ve been forced to quit/lost their jobs and are considering doing that long-postponed Big Creative Thing, please figure out your money scene first, or at least alongside. This is not a great time to take that big swing, because the queues are only getting longer.

The Great Escape

I’ve been creaking slowly into work, and that has meant deliberately sliding away from the internet, which is a good sign but bad for regular newsletter issues (speaking of good newsletters, Meenakshi’s was highlighted by global Substack when they announced that Substack was going paid in India). The louder and more all-encompassing propaganda-news and the reactions to it get on social media, the greater the temptation to disconnect from it altogether: I probably won’t end up doing that, but increasingly I find myself getting news from newsletters and links from people I trust, and only going to socmed to actively waste time.

Right now it feels like the idea for the next book is around the corner (it might arrive tomorrow, or two years from now, but it’s almost there, much like a film option) so there have been several days when I’ve gone to Twitter etc and just noped out. And I’m actively looking forward to more such days. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had a proper vacation in about three years, but sometimes just hitting the block button feels like a mini-break

I’ve been reading:

Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire

Becky Chambers’ A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Ruin (sequel to the brilliant Children of Time)

and strongly recommend you do the same. I am procrastinating from serious work on my own next book by ‘researching’ a 60-book-strong TBR. I’ve read several already, so have decreased the number to 63.

and finally finished The Expanse, which is great, and either I missed a lot of conversation about it, or it hasn’t been talked about enough.

More things to read

The new Top Gun movie isn’t even out yet and machines are beating human fighter pilots in dogfights. Speaking of Top Guns, Does Tom Cruise ban costars from sprinting alongside him on screen?

The New Yorker has mixed feelings about Lovecraft Country but I loved the first episode so much I am definitely signed up for the season.

Florida is using genetically engineered mosquitos to bring down the mosquito population and this is all going to end in the kind of nightmare only Bong Joon-ho could do justice .

Aliens also prefer serials to release-it-all for sustaining buzz which is why they are scheduling their mysterious radio broadcasts.

Do you feel like you’re running out of juice? Microsoft ran its servers on nothing but hydrogen for a bit

If dinosaurs were a part of the Expendables franchise, this one would be the star.

Favourite devils in film and TV

The Fifth Pig and other propaganda foldups

A rocket scientist may have found the algorithm for love. Spoiler alert: no.

Lions are less likely to attack cows if you paint eyes on their butts. The cow butts that is, not the lion butts.

Finland has tried UBI for two years and concluded it works. look forward to whatever scam version of this they run here a few years later.

Here are some ducks I enjoyed

Here are some ducks I did not enjoy

I mean, really. Duck of Dystopia already exists, we do not need to see more in the wild.

Back in a bit

To support this newsletter, do buy a book! My new novel, Chosen Spirits (now JCB Prize longlisted, hah, is available in hardback and internationally in several ebook stores. (I’m going to be removing it from international bookstores in a bit because Reasons, so if you’re outside India, do get it ASAP)

Buy a book!

If you haven’t yet, do sign up to this newsletter to receive new instalments in your inbox, along with occasional email-only exclusives.

Meanwhile, do join me on TwitterFB or Instagram, or drop in at my website.

Authors, filmmakers, comics folk: if you have something new coming out, ideally buyable/viewable, drop me a line and a link and I’ll try and give you a boost. I’ll be back, and meanwhile enjoy this man walking around Shibuya like a videogame character

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