BOOK REVIEW OF ‘ASCENDANCE’ BY SADHNA SHANKER

Book Title: Ascendance

Author: Sadhna Shanker

Total Number of Pages: 327

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Publication Date: 20 April 2018

Format: Paperback

Language: English

Genre: Science Fiction

BLURB

The location is a planet in outer space inhabited by antagonistic species.
The night Seeni died, the fault line reappeared. The existing equilibrium between men and women, the antagonistic species that inhabit Elone began to crumble. If a clash happens, how long would it last? What would remain? Who? How many? Were they heading for a time like the last days on Earth?
As each side regroups along the Fence, Maya, a woman’s consciousness from twenty-third century Earth, reveals the past intertwined existence of men and women. Would knowledge of their shared past change the course for the future?
Delving into ideas of divergence, immortality and consequent new social constructs, Ascendance is set in a world that represents a possible and not a dystopian future.

REVIEWED BY SOHINEE DEY

I am not much of a science fiction reader. It could be the reason that there aren’t enough science fiction books written by Indian authors compared to Romance or it could be because thinking of a time in the future where things would change so much doesn’t hold much interest to me. Frankly, science fiction and fantasy contradicts with the reality for me. But then, we never know where science would lead us in the future.

Ascendance by Sadhna Shanker Book Review


Read My Previous Review of Sumana Roy’s Missing


I won’t say that this book was my first experience with science fiction, but the ones that I read previously, let’s just say I rolled my eyes quite a lot. What drew me to ‘Ascendance’ was the blurb and the whole cloning concept to create another human being which is a possibility in the future. So, there’s some connection with reality and it’s not all flying saucers and aliens. Also, I like to experience new genres and that was another reason why I pushed myself to pick up this book.

Ascendance, written by Sadhna Shanker and published by Rupa Publications is a dystopian science fiction set in the 23rd Century, portraying a time with imperfect societies and where people exhibit deep social control, when life can be operated with a tag and when people would be free of the current social ethos.

The story is mostly set in a planet named Elone in the outer space inhabited by antagonistic species. There’s a boundary called Fence which separates these inhabitants from the other world. A person called Simi is found missing when the others couldn’t track her and she is later found to be dead. Her death causes a fault line to appear which indicates the lose of balance between the men and women in Elone. Iwe, the scientists and the other inhabitants try to find a way to recover from the damage for they fear if a clash happens, what would happen to the people.

Then there’s a connection with Earth where Maya, a woman’s consciousness from 23rd century Earth holds the knowledge of the shared past of the men and women who once lived on Earth.

The book is not gender biased as it might seem at first glance, it shows a possibility in the future when none of the genders, male or female would be required to couple or reproduce for babies. Cloning is a possibility in the future.

Ascendance also deals with immortality on a scientific level and not in a spiritual way. There are ideas of divergence and new social constructs.

The characters have special abilities and names that would particularly suit in the future. The language is easy to understand. The narration is in third person and has science, information and technology written all over it. Even though the cover is simple, I really liked it. It has a aesthetic appeal to it. The writing style of the author is really impressive. She has created this whole new world with different species and has combined fiction with science to create this dystopian world.

The storyline is absolutely original, something which I have never read before. It’s crisp and fresh and so unlike the ones that I have read previously.

FINAL THOUGHTS

As I have already said that I am not really a big fan of science fiction. This particular genre is not my cup of tea and I am afraid that I’ll always be hesitant to try out this genre. But for readers who do like Science Fiction and I know that there are many out there, they would really like this book.

POESY IN CHRYSALIS RATING : ⭐⭐⭐.5 / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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