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Authors: Samit Basu

Resistance

BOOK: Resistance
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CONTENTS

Cover

Praise for
Turbulence

Title Page

Copyright

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Acknowledgements

About the Author

Also Available from Titan Books

PRAISE FOR
TURBULENCE

“A thoughtful exploration of the blurry difference between heroes and villains. Ethical questions are deftly scrutinised in a depth that a comic book or film would struggle to match.”
The Sun

“Basu knows his stuff… he conjures up a vast array of imaginative powers [and] unflinchingly depicts the costly consequences.”
SFX Magazine

“…inventive and very clever. But most of all, it is fun. If you have ever picked up a comic book and enjoyed it, then this is a must-buy.”
Starburst Magazine

“It is, unabashedly, a new style modern superhero novel with a distinctive twist. It is also current, smart, energetic and a sparkling read. Most of all, the frenetic pace is great and the dialogue fizzes with whip-sharp quips and comments. It’s funny, it’s intelligently witty, it’s great. Loved, loved, LOVED it.” SFF World

“An excellent book, a thoughtful read that throws out questions without any easy answers, that opens up the superhero genre to deeper analysis, and yet is also an incredibly enjoyable superhero story itself.” Fantasy Faction

“As unpretentious as it is entertaining, as compelling as it is thought-provoking, it establishes once and for all that the novel is as much a home for the superhero tale as film, tv and comics… it’s not just an astute and captivating read, but an important one too.” Too Busy Thinking About My Comics

“This is one of those rare superhero stories that is not overshadowed by the powers but is told in the humanity that pulls the superhuman together.” Geek Native

“An entertaining, well-written read. In the genre’s history it will be seen as an important work, a reflection of the subcontinent’s growing self-confidence.” World SF

“The action is fast and full of iconic fight scenes… The humour and cultural references are fun and spot on…” Geek Syndicate

“An entertaining fast-paced story that manages to cover some complex issues and the attention to detail for the various locations is superb… Samit Basu has some serious talent for telling a story.” SF Crowsnest

“Brilliantly written, fun and fast paced action that leaves you wanting more. One word of warning though, you may ignore your loved ones completely until you’ve finished it.” The Tattooed Book

“The best fantasy writer you’ve never heard of… looks set to redefine the superhero genre for the twenty-first century.” Reader Dad

“…his comic timing is quite excellent… Basu has definitely got his own flair for the extraordinary.” Pissed Off Geek

“You can see the novel as a film from the word go and I’ve never read a book like that before. I’d love this to be made into a film for my imaginings to become reality.” BookGeek

“A consistently entertaining book with a thoroughly modern voice and an indefatigable spring in its step.” Superhero Novels

 

 

 

Also available from Titan Books
TURBULENCE
BY SAMIT BASU

RESISTANCE
SAMIT BASU

TITAN
BOOKS

RESISTANCE

Print edition ISBN: 9781781162491

E-book ISBN: 9781781161203

Published by Titan Books

A division of Titan Publishing Group Ltd

144 Southwark Street, London SE1 0UP

First edition: July 2014

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

Names, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead (except for satirical purposes), is entirely coincidental.

Samit Basu asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

© 2014 by Samit Basu.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.

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CHAPTER
ONE

A giant lobster rises slowly out of Tokyo Bay. It is an old-school kaiju, three hundred feet long, and stands upright, its hind limbs still under water, in defiance of biology, physics and all codes of lobster etiquette.

It totters slightly, taking in the scenery, and waves its massive claws in the general direction of Tokyo. It screams, an angry, unearthly sound that scatters a passing flock of seagulls. It turns, creaking, to left and right, looks at Chiba, and at Kanagawa, but then does what every kaiju must.

The giant lobster strides towards Tokyo.

* * *

Norio is sparring with a trainer robot in his 124th-floor penthouse on the island of Odaiba, when the call comes. He performs the standby mode kata, and the robot powers down, humming softly. He waves an arm and a holographic talkscreen appears, floating in front of him as he paces around the dojo. It’s Azusa.

“Monster,” she says.

“Type?”

“Lobster.”

“Navy?”

“Waiting.”

“Air Force?”

“Two jets. Four missiles.”

“Impact?”

“None. Should I send out the signal?”

“Do it.”

Norio disconnects, issues a command, and a giant screen on a nearby wall flickers to life. He mutes the excited chatter of the news anchor with a gesture, and stares at the kaiju onscreen as it lumbers towards Odaiba. At its current pace, it will take at least twenty minutes before it starts the usual property damage. More than enough time.

The Kaiju King’s creations usually surface in time to feature on the primetime evening news, but this one is clearly in a hurry, and wants to catch sunset over the Tokyo skyline as it tears up the city.

At least the giant lobster looks suitably monstrous – the last one, three weeks ago, had been a seriously oversized seaweed chips packet with arms. But this one could have had its own Toho franchise. It could have held Godzilla to at least a few draws. The lobster’s maroon exoskeleton shows no signs of missile damage apart from a few burnt spots. Before the Kaiju King’s powers transformed it into its current behemoth form, it had been an ise-ebi, a spiny lobster. Norio looks it up, and is annoyed to find that normal spiny lobsters don’t have claws – the Kaiju King has added those, and his research process is clearly flawed. Clawed or not, Norio has met this lobster’s kind before, in expensive restaurants. Usually as sashimi, though he is quite fond of eating ise-ebi roasted alive. An option that is possibly available today.

Norio fights the memory, but fails. Dinner with his father and brother at some ridiculously exclusive restaurant in Asakusa. September 2012. They’d talked about lobster that night as well – an American lobster, a normal-sized one, had been found in Tokyo Bay, and his father had been very annoyed. Norio remembered how spectacularly bored he’d felt. He’d wanted to talk about superheroes.

The tattoo on Norio’s wrist throbs, and he shakes his head, clearing eight-year-old cobwebs. He looks ruefully at the tattoo. It’s a goryo, a vengeful aristocratic spirit. It had been the right choice for him, no question, but he wished he could have picked a creature that didn’t rhyme with his name.

He strides to the wall, presses the secret panel, and after it slides open, pushes a button. Another section of the wall clicks, and the secret elevator opens. Norio walks in.

* * *

In Tokyo’s Akihabara Electric Town district, a woman in her mid-twenties shuffles out of a second-hand electronics store. She’s short and slightly unkempt; her akiba-kei T-shirt has seen better days. She snakes through crowded lanes overflowing with comics and electronic stores, ignoring the hypnotic strobing neon signs everywhere around her. She pauses for a second outside a costume cafe to exchange scornful glances with the French-maid-costumed servers and their spellbound otaku customers. Hoverpad operators offer her free rides; she ignores them.

Her tattoo, a wolf made of lightning, glows again, red and urgent, and she picks up the pace. She dodges into a mangakissa and runs up a narrow flight of stairs to a floor full of private cubicles. She runs down a corridor full of purikura photo booths, sliding past groups of giggling cosplaying teenagers mirror dancing with holographic anime versions of themselves. At the end of the corridor is a closed cubicle, its door streaked with stains, an “Out of Order” notice stuck to it with frayed tape. She taps the door and it slides open to reveal a shining metal elevator. She looks up at the camera, draws a sign in mid-air. A robotic voice asks her to identify herself.

“Raiju online,” she says, and the door slides shut.

* * *

In Shibuya, a sushi chef, hat askew, runs down Spain Slope, causing much merriment among a group of German students ambling by a trendy bistro. They film him on their phones as he rushes into his restaurant, barks orders at his trembling assistants, scolds an American couple for pouring too much soya sauce on their salmon rolls, and rushes into the toilet.

Once in, he leans against a toilet cubicle and looks at his arm, where a tattoo of a nightmare-devouring baku glows green. The cubicle wall spins around, pitching him into a dark room behind it, and the words “Baku online” can be heard before the wall closes with a loud click.

* * *

And in a love hotel in the Kabukicho red light district, a stunningly beautiful man in a ballerina outfit apologises to his wailing client. He watches the scruffy businessman stomp out of his boudoir, pops a pill, and hums a popular soap opera theme as he pulls up his stockings, covering a glittering purple tattoo of a horned oni.

* * *

In the preparation chamber, a gigantic hall in an abandoned Hisatomi toy factory on the southern edge of Odaiba, Norio stands in his harness as robotic arms swing around him, attaching his battle-suit components to his body. Azusa’s harness is opposite his, and he watches with the usual mixture of amusement and furtive desire as her slender body disappears like a reversed egg-hatching video, as the round, genderless components snap into place, leaving them both looking like action figures. He’d have preferred an American-style body armour, more sleek and muscly, less rounded, chunky and asexual. But he hadn’t had a say in the equipment design.

Norio’s augmented-reality visor slides down, and through the video feed he watches the giant crustacean’s progress towards Odaiba. Why did they always come to Odaiba? Why not take a right turn and head for the amusement park across the bay? The beast floats steadily towards the man-made island, its entirely wrong body causing only the smallest of ripples in the bay. Most of the mammal and reptile kaiju make a huge mess, wading, splashing, falling down, sending massive waves in every direction. This incredibly ugly Tokyocidal behemoth is one of the most graceful Norio has seen.

Far above the lobster, TV and livestream crews hover, shouting excitedly, each claiming exclusive footage – they used to come in lower, but some of the kaiju had flame breath or hidden wings, and helicopters are expensive. The lobster finds them as annoying as Norio does; it screams at them, and snaps its claws upwards in a futile attempt to pluck them out of the sky.

About five minutes to combat.

Lights go on in quick succession above three tunnel openings on the eastern wall of the preparation chamber. The rest of the team is here. Battle-suited, Norio and Azusa leave their harnesses and head towards the delivery pod. Behind them, come the other three mecha-pilots, all armoured in transit, all moving slightly unsteadily: the maglev transportation gondolas from central Tokyo to Odaiba have been built for speed and efficiency, not comfort. But the five do make an impressive spectacle as they walk towards the battle; in the anime based on their adventures, they usually show this walk in slow motion. Each battle-suit is both white and the mecha-pilot’s specific colour and has their chosen demon emblazoned on its chest. The multi-coloured AR visors obscure their faces: by mutual pact, they have chosen not to know one another’s real-life identities. They’d decided this would make it easier if any team member were captured, or killed. So far neither has happened.

BOOK: Resistance
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