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The City Inside

Author: Samit Basu

The City Inside

The City Inside


About This Book

The City Inside, a near-future epic by the internationally celebrated Samit Basu, pulls no punches as it comes for your anxieties about society, government, the environment, and...

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The City Inside, a near-future epic by the internationally celebrated Samit Basu, pulls no punches as it comes for your anxieties about society, government, the environment, and our world at large—yet never loses sight of the hopeful potential of the future.

“They'd known the end times were coming but hadn’t known they’d be multiple choice.”

Joey is a Reality Controller in near future Delhi. Her job is to supervise the multimedia multi-reality livestreams of Indi, one of South Asia’s fastest rising online celebrities—who also happens to be her college ex. Joey’s job gives her considerable culture-power, but she’s too caught up in day-to-day crisis-handling to see this, or to figure out what she wants from her life.

Rudra is a recluse estranged from his wealthy and powerful family who fled to an impoverished immigrant neighborhood where he loses himself in video games and his neighbors’ lives. When his father’s death pulls him back into his family’s orbit, an impulsive job offer from Joey becomes his only escape from the life he never wanted.

But no good deed goes unpunished. As Joey and Rudra become enmeshed in multiple conspiracies, their lives start to spin out of control, complicated by dysfunctional relationships, corporate loyalty, and the never-ending pressures of surveillance capitalism. When a bigger picture begins to unfold around them, they must each decide how to do the right thing in a shadowy world where simply maintaining the status quo feels like an accomplishment. Ultimately, resistance will not—cannot—take the same shape for these two very different people.

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In The News

Praise for The City Inside:

The City Inside is one of the most horrifyingly plausible near futures I have ever read. It's also funny, relatable, supremely clever, and deeply political. Highly recommended.”—Kate Elliott, New York Times bestselling author

“An extraordinary, immersive read about a horribly plausible near future of grotesque wealth disparity, climate change, abusive yet useless government, invasive technology, and people carefully ignoring it all by plugging themselves into electronic entertainment. To say it hits home is an understatement. . . . Brilliantly written, structurally inventive, completely immersive.”—KJ Charles, author of The Magpie Lord

“It infuriates me, then, that a novel as passionate, as angry and as smart as [The City Inside] has not been published outside of India. We need more books like this... books that rail, through the prism of science fiction, against populism, racism and oppression, books that confirm that the problems we face are global, not local.” - Locus

“Basu’s characters might not be having a good time “in the f***ing middle of it”, but he is certainly having tremendous fun working within the outer limits of what our warped near-future could look like… his portrayal of the relationships between characters is masterfully sensitive to detail.” – India Today

We need science fiction like this. Our world is more interconnected than it has ever been. What happens in India today can easily happen in Europe and North America tomorrow. Indeed, some of it already is.” - Salon Futura

[The City Inside] by Samit Basu should be on everyone's radar... Neo-cyberpunk in the vein of Lauren Beukes's Moxyland and Tade Thompson's Rosewater, with an emphasis on influencer culture, online surveillance, and the constant churn of apocalyptic news.” - Critic Abigail Nussbaum

“He does not set himself to write a dystopia because dystopias need distance, which is no longer possible in a world where we are already in the midst of the horrors.” - Strange Horizons

Uncannily prophetic.”—The Hindu

About the Creators

The City Inside

The City Inside