Revisit Books

Sujatha’s sweep of knowledge

Vignana Sirukathaigal  

I was under the impression that it was Sujatha, who set the trend in sci-fi stories. However, when I read the elaborate preface he had written to his collection, Vignana Sirukathaigal, I was amazed by the way he had tracked the origin from Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein to his recent (but many of his stories were dated back to the 1960s, 70s and 80s) short stories and along the way analysed the way the genre had been handled by popular authors such as Kalki ( and Solaimalai Ilavarasi), Pudumaippithan (Kadavulum Kandasami Pillaiyum and Brahmarakshas, Kayitraravu) and Vindan. Sujatha also refers to some new gen poems which deal with sci-fi and shows how a story should be shaped by smartly integrating the present with the future.

This sturdy volume carries 50 sci-fi short stories of Sujatha published in various Tamil magazines. Apart from his unique style of writing, the stories are laced with humour. Sujatha’s use of Tamil is completely different from the way it is used by other story tellers.

Stories with a twist

While the entire collection is eminently readable, the stories revolving round Dr. Raghavanandam, an eccentric scientist, and his incredible inventions stand out; Raghaveniyam 277, 1000 varudangal uyirodu iruppadhu eppadi, Computare oru kadhai sollu, Water car Vivakaram and Sultan Nee Engirukkirai are hilarious. The magic of a short story lies in its end. All the stories in the collection have a twist in the tail. Vanaththil oru mounaththaragai, Jillu, Sooriyan and Thunai are stories that give the reader an emotional jolt. However, his theory that advancement in science will put an end to human values cannot be accepted.

The stories benefit from Sujatha’s knowledge of history, Tamil literature and culture apart from his expertise in computer. In order to enjoy the stories, one should be familiar with not only computer jargon but rocket science terminology, Hubbles Law, Andromeda Galaxy in astronomy, western pop, Tyagaraja, American authors such as Ambrose Bierce and Theodore Sturgeon, Indian puranic characters including Yayati and Nachiketan and concepts of biological science.


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Printable version | Sep 10, 2021 9:05:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/a-look-at-sujathas-sci-fi-stories/article19223461.ece

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