In the past times as well as in the present, there have been few writers who have tried exploring more than one genre in their work. Mostly authors tend to focus on one genre and write in the light of that.  Sambit Daspatnaik’s “The Last War and other stories” is an interesting mixture of stories written in different genres and styles. The very fact that the author has tried his hand at different forms demonstrates his openness and risk taking ability to explore different styles and genres. If one story explores mythology, the other two appear to be under the category of science fiction and the fourth one comes across as a simple but beautiful tale of fiction. Every story has the power to hold the reader to the end, thus sustaining his/her attention to the stories keeping him/her strongly in their grip. This is one salient fact about his work that puts “The Last War and other stories” in the outstanding category.

“The Last War” is about the descendants of the Kauravas and the Pandavas facing an invasion by the Gandharvas. The story takes the readers back to earlier time due to its references of the Mahabharata.

“Genesis” is a sci-fi story which is completely different from “The Last War’”. It is here that the reader gets to understand the artistic potential of Daspatnaik as a writer. The exploration of sources of power in the future comprises the subject of this story.

“The Holy Temple of Eula” is about the exploration of an alien planet. This story, again has the touches of sci-fi literature but the subject and the plotline makes the reader recall William Golding’s “Lord of the flies” and also Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of The Ancient Mariner”.

“Blink” on the other hand is a different story about how everything happens for a reason and the fact that accepting things the way they are is important. Yet again, this story also has the sci-fi touch due to the mention of aliens.

“Resurrection” is another piece of the author’s writing where he attempts to explore a subject that is beyond anyone’s imagination. The subject centers around the extinction of the sun. Thinking of life without the sun is an impossible thing as the sun has always been there since the beginning of anything one could recall. The importance of the sun cannot be denied and how much the absence of the sun can affect is beyond understanding.

Daspatnaik attempts to explore subjects in “The Last War” that actually have not been seen so far. They are abstract and trigger the imagination of the reader to a remarkable extent. Whether it is the battlefield and describing the complexities and the mindsets of the people present in the field or aliens or Sun’s extinction. These are not the subjects which an average human mind can really think of. This is the beauty of the author’s creativity. Every story is unique in its own ways and neither can there be a comparison among them nor with any others.Even though mythology and Sci-fi remain the dominating aspects of the stories, the stories also have the element of suspense, mystery and at times become thought-provoking. This fact enhances the applicability of the work and does not let it remain restricted to any particular group of readers. 

The subjects of the stories may be complex but the language of the book is friendly to the understanding of the reader and the well-knit plotlines add to the charm and attraction to the stories. That makes the stories understandable for all readers irrespective of their age or background. Although the number of stories in the collection is not many, but even through this minor number, the author has shown significant potential of being able to write much more powerful work and explore new dimensions as a writer. 

Mythology and fantasy is one genre that is becoming popular among authors as it opens new ideas for experimentation. Other authors like Nihar Sharma in his “The Dark Lord”, Vivek Kumar in his “Arthala” and Saurabh Thakur in his “Aham” have explored mythological writing at length and have created interesting plotlines also. Daspatnaik’s “The Last War” also achieves the same heights and becomes the next marvel in mythological writing.

Science-fiction has always been a genre of exploration. From the very onset of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to any post world war writer like George Orwel in his “Animal Farm” or “Nineteen eighty four” Sci-Fi always continues to be explored. Contemporary authors like Tridib Ghosh in his “S.O.U.L” has also explored the genre in his short stories. With equal efficiency, Daspatnaik has also done it in his “Genesis” and “The Holy Temple of Eula”. 


Author Name:  Sambit Daspatnaik
Book Title:  The Last War: & Other Stories
Publisher:  Evincepub Publishing (25 January 2020)
Review By:  Akhila at Criticspace

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