Darklands by Arnav Das Sharma: a dark tale of climatic disaster

Climatic disaster, human greed, and anarchy in perfect combination.

Apocalypse- an event involving destruction or damage on a catastrophic scale.

With every event that happens on the level of a catastrophe, it leads to changes. Changes that define the new world. Like the world could never be the same after the world wars, the climate apocalypse is much more dangerous and huge on the scale because it affects not just a few nations but the whole earth that we call our home. Such apocalypse is often treated in mass media as a distant future with no possibility of it arriving anytime soon. But if we look closer, the wheel of destruction has already started spinning. When covid locked down the world, there was news of pollution indexes going south. That explains the anthropogenic disaster that we are all producing. Darklands talks about that possible reality.

Post climate apocalypse is where the novel is set. This newly established human settlement brings true human nature out in the open. The settlement is divided into two parts: The Old City and The Millennium city. The old city obviously belongs to the lower strata of the society which is decorated with destruction and grief. No water, air, or food for them to survive. Millennium city on the other hand is prosperous. It dazzles with skyscrapers, French windows, clean streets and clean water flows without hindrance, plus there’s a sheet over the city to protect the city from the outside pollution. There are workers being “manufactured” and these “humans” are treated as second-class citizens. This book revolves around one of the major themes that we see now in nascent stages.

I’m talking about income inequality.

The rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Mix that with a climate tragedy and what we have is this. The Millennium city sleeps in riches while the Old city sharpens its weapons to smuggle water. Water scarcity is a reality now and I cannot take this book as something unachievable or fictional because like I said, we are already on the path of destruction. A debut novel by journalist Arnav Das Sharma knits the whole tragedy with the threads of a love story. Human selfishness is on proper display here. The animalistic tendencies that civilized humans tend to hide play a major role in this book. What happens when the only thing that remains is the question- HOW TO SURVIVE?

That’s where we prioritize.

When we have to choose between ourselves and others, everyone would choose themselves. From the gangs of the old city to the cartel of the new city, there’s a combined effort by these humans to turn the tides of survival on their side. If you have ever seen the movie Platform or Blade runner: scorch trials, then you’d have a fair idea of what we are getting into. Dystopia is an imagined society where there is great suffering and it's often set on post-apocalyptic lines. But to me, dystopia is one of the possible realities waiting for us in the future if we don’t correct our actions right now. Climate change is here and no matter how much we deny it, it just won’t be insignificant. Climate change is here and those who deny it deny the possibility of correcting themselves.


IN CONVERSATION WITH AUTHOR- JOURNALIST ARNAV DAS SHARMA



ABOUT THE BOOK

The timeless tale of love retold India is reeling from an environmental catastrophe, water has replaced oil as the most valuable commodity and our cities have become nightmarish places infested with gangs, secretive corporations, and powerful religious figures. An advanced form of the technology enables the manufacture of humans in laboratories. In this ever-frightening world, Haksh, born in a lab, does what he shouldn’t have: he falls in love with a human. Darklands—a radical reworking of Emily Brontë’s classic, Wuthering Heights—is a coming-of-age novel about violence, revenge, transgression, boundaries, and, above all, love: both all-consuming and redemptive. Dark and bleak, it heralds Arnav Das Sharma as a major new voice in Indian YA fiction.


Darklands by Arnav Das Sharma is published by Penguin India and to buy your copy click here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Arnav Das Sharma is an author and journalist. In a career spanning over a decade, his writings have appeared in publications such as The Caravan, Wire, Hindustan Times, Fortune Magazine, Outlook, Scroll.in, The Indian Express, and many more. His debut novel, Darklands (Published by Penguin Random House India), came out in February 2021 and has become an instant bestseller. He is at the moment working on his second book, a work of narrative non-fiction, to be published by Penguin in 2022.





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