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    Krishna Trilok on a dystopian India and a bit of magic for his debut fantasy novel

    Chennai boy Krishna Trilok seems to have found rich pickings in an imagined dystopian future  – like many other contemporary fantasy writers including  George RR Martin and Robert Jordan. But the book is unique, the debutant author assures, “I noticed most Indian fantasy writing (Amish and Ashok Banker) was either influenced by European culture or rooted in Indian mythology. I decided to create a world totally Indian in style and philosophies, but which has nothing to do with Indian gods and such,” he says.

    Game of chess
    Trilok’s book Sharikrida is set in a futuristic version of the subcontinent with an empowered female protagonist. The 23-year-old intrigues us with the story outline. “Modern civilisation has deteriorated and what’s left of India are six kingdoms — with the kingdoms playing a desperate, brutal game of chess,” he says. Sharikrida is also the first novel to be released by Chennai publishers Zuna, led by founder-director Sandhya Sridhar.

    History lessons and magic
    Trilok, whose maternal uncle is the acclaimed Mani Ratnam, took five years to complete his book. “I did a lot of research on old Sanskrit (ancient Indian magic, and the history of Indian societies — Kashmiri-Punjabi, Rajasthani, Kannada),” he says. The Loyola college alumnus believes  there is a market for fantasy fiction in Chennai and India. “People are always asking why we don’t have more of good, organic  fantasy stories — India’s  answers to Game of Thrones and Hunger Games, so-to-speak.” Trilok admires the work of both Martin and Suzanne Collins, but credits CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia for first piquing his interest in the genre. Would his filmmaker uncle be interested in making a movie of Sharikrida, we ask. “We’ll have to wait and see!” he says, with a laugh. Sharikrida is available on amazon.in for Rs 345 (e-book Rs 60).

    — Shibi Kumaramangalam

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