M C Raj
Partridge India, Penguin Books India, 2014
ISBN 978-1-4828-1704-1 (ebook)
ISBN 978-1-4828-1705-8 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-4828-1706-5 (hard cover)
433 Pages, Fiction
Back with a new novel Planet B2, M C Raj tickles his fans imagination with a story that merges science fiction, fantasy, and political satire. This time the prolific and imaginative author leads us to outer space, to a world that beats everything we have down here on earth. Dangling the rewards of living on his utopian planet – such as constant bliss, full body orgasm, and flowing communication by positive waves-, he also points out the reasons why most of us earthlings will never get there.
The plot is quite simple. U.S. scientists discover a planet with evidence of life, and the ruthless American president sets out to visit and ultimately conquer it. After three failed missions, he realizes that the planet and its inhabitant life forms are not willing to cooperate with him. He decides that the only way to deal with the issues of his own power-hungry ambitions, failures, and the planet’s resistance is to destroy the newly discovered cosmic world, even if it results in a universal war.
M C Raj’s magic, of course, goes way beyond the plot. Planet B2 is a fusion of all the global issues the author is interested in, including the power and humility of indigenous peoples regarding nature; global political alliances; the supremacy of strong, educated women; the impact of general greed on the future of our natural environment; eastern and native philosophy and worldview, and so forth.
Even though the author depicts a fictitious America with details that do not accurately represent the U.S. today, the final impression adds up to the aggressive, domineering image The United States carries all over the world, and which only landlocked Americans are not aware of.
M C Raj’s magical storytelling resembles that of indigenous elders: somewhat loose, repetitive, simplified, and very human, just like the native stories of oral tradition. Elements of folk tales, tall tales, and bonfire stories merge with philosophy, utopia, fantasy, and myths. His unique imagery underlines a crystal clear message represented by recurring themes: “Stop messing with my world”. He is a harsh, rather radical critic.
I wish the author stayed in the genre of fantasy. Mixing his dystopic vision with real life settings and people (such as the Frankfurt airport, real countries and their representatives, the CIA, etc.) decreased the mysticism of the story and the effectiveness of the ultimate message for me, but I can see how the same strategy would enhance the reading enjoyment of an audience with more political aptitude.
I pride myself to be a global citizen, but M C Raj raised the bar: the next step is to become a cosmic citizen. The good news is that, by the author’s inspiration and call for action, I might be able to change my ways and have the opportunity one day to land on Planet B2, where the accumulated positive energy will allow me to live in constant bliss.
I say it’s worth a try!
For The Harrington Review
March 24, 2014