British Science Fiction Award winner 2004, Hugo Award nominee 2005, Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee 2005.
August 15, 2047 – Happy hundredth birthday, India
One and a half billion people, twelve semi-independent nations, nine million gods. Mother India is all the things she has always been – beautiful and terrible, staggeringly poor and fantastically rich, unimaginably ancient and a leader of the technological revolution. Always changing, always the same.
On the eve of her hundredth birthday, ten people are doing ten very different things. In the next few weeks, they will be swept together to decide the fate of the nation.
As the gangster Shiv lets the holy river Ganges sweep away a bad night's work, Mr Nandha prepares for another day as a Krishna Cop and his wife wonders how to pass the time. Shaheen Badoor Khan has no trouble occupying himself: the Prime Minister's advisor has to deal with the failure of the monsoon, a potential war with Awadh, and the rabble-rouser N. K. Jivanjee.
Tomorrow, a stand-up comic will run a power company, a set designer will become a star, a young journalist will get the story of her life, and a scientist will land on an asteroid.
No one knows what will happen to Thomas Lull. Except Aj. Aj, the waif, the mind-reader the prophet – the one who may hold the key to it all.
Ian McDonald (born 1960) is a British science fiction novelist, living in Belfast. His themes include nanotechnology, postcyberpunk settings, and the impact of rapid social and technological change on non-Western societies.
Photo: Ian McDonald at Worldcon 2005 in Glasgow, 2005. Picture taken by Szymon Sokół. Source: Wikimedia Commons.