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Chosen Spirits

Nominated | Book Awards 2021 | Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)

Chosen Spirits

Author: Samit Basu
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Award Category: Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)
About the Book: 

She’d decided, that night, that she wouldn’t leave. That she would stay in India, in Delhi, and belong as hard as she could.

Joey is a Reality Controller, in charge of the livestream of a charismatic and problematic celebrity in smog-choked, water-short, ever-transforming Delhi - a city on the brink of revolution, under the shadow of multiple realities and catastrophes - at the end of the 2020s.

When Joey impulsively rescues a childhood friend, Rudra, from his new-elite family and the comfortable, horrific life they have chosen for him, she sets into motion a chain of events — a company takeover, a sex scandal, a series of betrayals — that disintegrates not just their public and private selves, but the invisible walls that divide the city around them.

To find the lives they need, Joey and Rudra must reckon with people and forces beyond their understanding, in a world where trust is impossible, popularity is conformity, and every wall has eyes.

About the Author: 

Samit Basu is the author of the Gameworld trilogy of fantasy novels, the Turbulence series of superhero novels, and The Adventures of Stoob series of children’s books. He’s written bestsellers, won awards, and been published in multiple countries and languages. Basu is also the co-writer/director of a Netflix film, a comic writer and columnist.


Joey clears her throat, and turns to her parents again, noting with some relief that they’ve occupied the sofa and turned on TV news. Relief not because of the news, which is never good, but because she hates hearing about how difficult it is for her parents to find good jobs.

Today's news crisis is the discovery of an automated ship in the Indian Ocean swarming with East African climate change refugees, clinging on to the deckless craft like ants in the rain, preferring to risk incredible dangers crossing to unknown lands instead of being slaughtered by European vigilante pirate crews. Her brother’s clearly messed up the family TV content filters, it’s pretty obvious why he would want content filters off on the biggest screen in the house, but her parents shouldn't be seeing this much death. Fortunately, there are no dead babies today, but before Joey manages to turn the screen off the damage is done: already images from a concentration camp in Assam and a lynching near Kolkata have burned themselves into their brains. She's grown up with pictures like this, sometimes the faces in the news have been people she’s met, but her parents have to be sheltered with filters: she and Rono must protect them from the psy-op epidemic of confusion and rage that still threatens to engulf the whole country, hoping all the while that the Residents' Association's guards keep the street outside their balcony free of blood.

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