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Tuesday, Dec 07, 2021
Outlook.com
review

Cyberabad Days

McDonald is a story-teller, not an expert on India; nor is he particularly bothered about getting his details correct

Cyberabad Days
Cyberabad Days
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

It’s a magical idea: a collection of cyber-punk stories set in India, in the year 2047. Thus artificial intelligence and robotic warfare collide deliciously with an ancient history, religion, overpopulation, chaos, heat and dust. They also collide, in the process, with auto-rickshaws, slums, hijras, politicians, arranged marriages and every other cliche of Indian life.

This is an India that has disintegrated into a dozen conflicting nations, including Bharat, Avadh and the United States of Bengal, and armies of battle robots are facing off in the fields outside Varanasi. Distorted demographics mean that now only the richest men can get brides, and a complex shaadi industry has evolved to meet their needs. Bharat’s quantum-crypto industry has overtaken California’s, and Avadh’s TV industry entertains the planet with its soap operas, generated by artificial intelligence beings called “aeais”. But the biggest industry in this parched land is the water industry, controlled by two bloodily feuding family-owned corporations. (Sounds familiar?)

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