The City Inside

Hardcover, 256 pages

English language

Published June 6, 2022 by Tordotcom.


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5 stars (2 reviews)

“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, now living in an impoverished immigrant neighborhood. 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 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 …

1 edition

If this is optimism, I'm not ready for pessemism.

5 stars

In an afterword the author describes the setting as a best case near-future (paraphrasing). I think that means the present is pretty bad.

Anyway, if you're up for contemporary fascism and ubiquitous surveillance, the book is worth reading just for a kind of "uncanny-valley" flavour of India, which is almost like our own contemporary mess, but not quite.

I found myself re-reading the last chapter or so to make sure I understood the ending. Compared to some of the more dramatic plot threads, the ending is a bit subtle.

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5 stars