Criticspace: Welcome to Criticspace Journals, Sambit. Tell us something about yourself.
Sambit: Thank you Criticspace for providing me this wonderful opportunity to get in touch with my readers. I love writing science fictions. My writing interests are in ancient aliens, mythology and space travel. I started writing from a young age. I am also a painter and won many prizes in painting competitions since childhood. Very few know that I am also interested in photography.
I have done my graduation in Electronics Engineering and completed my Post Graduate in Business Management from Symbiosis, Pune, India. I am an IT software professional currently residing in Hyderabad, India.
Criticspace: How did you come up with the idea of writing a book and becoming an author?
Sambit: It was way back in my childhood when I wrote my first mystery story in my diary. I shared it with my friends and relatives and was highly appreciated. My first science fiction story was published in a festival souvenir by my uncle Mr. A.K Hazra when I was in school. My happiness and excitement knew no bounds. I continued to write whenever I got time from my personal and professional commitments. My mother Mrs. Alaka is a well know poetess in the native Indian language Odia. She is well known and reputed for her literary work in the state of Odisha and amongst Odia language speaking people. She has been an inspiration for me to get into the writing career. I have received motivation and constant mentoring from my father Mr. Santanu, my uncle Mr. Chinmoy and my sister Mrs Sunya. Being a new writer, my wife Ishita helped me in the proof reading and editing, stood beside me and believed in my work. The bed time mythology stories shared by my Grandma Bishnupriya and my parents inspired me to write on mythological science fiction genre.
Criticspace: I feel each story in the book is capable of being told as a standalone? Why and how did you decide to club them in a single book?
Sambit: The book has a main story (It’s more of a Novella) “The Last War” which is a science fiction war thriller in a mythological context. The rest of the stories are short science fiction stories dealing with different concepts such as spirituality, psychological impact on an individual due to advanced medical science, infinite energy and resurrection of a dying star. I wrote these stories at different periods of my life. You are right when you say that each story can be published separately as a standalone book. The reason to publish them together was to give my readers a variety of genres to explore with. Another reason in doing so was to provide my readers with a fresh reading experience.
Criticspace:The first story is Mythological fiction and rest Science- Fiction peppered with fantasy. Kindly throw some light on this amalgamation.
Sambit: Fundamentally, mine is a science fiction book dealing with different genres within science fiction. The main story “The Last War” is in fact a “mythological science fiction” that deals with our ancient past from a different perspective altogether. It suggests possibilities of us humans being constantly guided by the Sky Gods and being advanced spiritually and scientifically. At the end, I leave the question open to my readers to rethink about the cost involved in a war. Even the Gods take the decision on wars after pondering a lot over it. My story “The Holy Temple of Eula” has a deep spiritual message that makes the reader realize that the true answers lie within, irrespective of how far we travel in the universe. “Blink” raises the hope of every individual to think beyond the situational crisis that life offers at times. Be it in the midst of a space travel. There are other short science fiction stories like the “Genesis” and “Resurrection”, which makes the readers to explore different possibilities and question “What if”. I experimented on the amalgamation of various genres within science fiction realm to provide the readers with a lot of variety.
Criticspace: The sci-fi stories are certificate of your vivid imagination, the “what if” approach. What things do you do to amplify and get clarity of your thoughts so as to weave a fabulous story?
Sambit: In the science fiction realm, ideas come across when one wonders “what if”, and is ready to explore the unexplored. In the 1980’s Star Trek series, remote communication device was portrayed were the crew could communicate from a planet with their crew back in the space ship using handheld devices. And today we have every person carrying a mobile phone. A day will come when we will accept the fact that we were truly advanced both spiritually and scientifically in our ancient past as depicted in my story “The Last War”. A day will come when organ transplantation would be easily done across different species of animals as the theme in my story “Blink”. That’s the power of science fiction. Coming to writing, once you have an idea or a concept, most writers create an outline of the plot and then go about writing the main story in detail. They incorporate changes to the story line as the story unfolds. And then the writers explore different outcomes and make changes or fine tunings during editing and proof reading. I have followed similar approach to my writings that yielded me good results.
Criticspace: Tell us something about your reading habits?
Sambit: Off late, I have been reading a lot on Hindu Mythologies such as the Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata and the ancient Indian history. I have also enjoyed reading the Greek mythology “The Illiad”, and was mesmerized by the story of “Helen of Troy”. Ancient spiritual and war stories excite me. I tend to read more of nonfictions than fictions. This complements with my mythological science fiction writing that needs some research work. In reading fictions, I am a bit choosy and selective.
Criticspace: Who is your favourite author and which book is your favourite from his/her work?
Sambit: As I mentioned earlier, I read more of non-fictions compared to fictions. Paulo Coehlo (The Alchemist is my all-time favorite), Rhonda Byrne (The Secret), Dr. Brian Weiss (his series of books on past life regression therapies), Devdutt Pattanaik (on mythology) are some of my favorites. I also loved the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell.
Criticspace: Do you prefer any genre over others for reading and/or writing?
Sambit: I love to read a variety of genres in fictions. In reading non-fictions my preference is mostly mythology and spirituality. When it comes to writing, though I have experimented with different genres, I enjoyed a lot while writing on mythological and spiritual science fiction.
Criticspace: Which is your favorite classic? When can we expect your next work and which genre are you going to explore next?
Sambit: I grew up reading classics from Mark Twain, Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens and Shakespeare. I think I will put Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle as my favorite. Of all my science fiction genres I enjoyed writing on the mythological and spiritual genres. So stay tuned for more on this.
Criticspace: Please give any parting thoughts or piece of advice for our readers and/or amateurs writers.
Sambit: The message I want to put across to the readers and aspiring authors is to read a lot of books early in their lives and then explore more in the specific area of their interest. Avoid procrastinating. Keep writing, keep persevering and you never realize when you are ready to publish your book.