The Book Buzz: ‘Illusions of Control’ – Stories of Beings with a Hero Complex; Mahesh Rajan’s Maiden Novel
Mahesh Ratnam’s debut novel has many elements spread across various genres, making it an exciting read.
‘Illusions of Control’ is an anthology collection of seven stories, each with a complex protagonist taking the lead. These stories elements of fantasy and science fiction and are set in different realities, be it dystopian, futuristic, or time-altering. But despite these settings being so far from reality, it is the humaneness of the characters that pull the readers’ interest in. Be it a journalist looking to save the publication they work for, or a mother doing best for the child, or even the son that has to take on a mission to save his clan; these stories capture the essence of what it is to be humans indeed. The author has made sure not to paint the heroes as beings who could do no wrong. They too are portrayed as flawed, like everyone else.
The worlds created by the author have been wonderfully described, practically taking the reader away to a new world. The author made sure to add details through the story, thus ensuring that the worlds he created do not take over the central plot. The dystopian reality created in one of the stories is too realistic that one wonders, “Is that where we are all headed to?”
A common theme in all the stories is how humans try to take control of their fates and try changing them. It is a fact that wherever we go, humans tend to leave a trail of destruction, and this has been wonderfully depicted in the book. In the end, we are left with questions like, is it better to let go of control, or do we grasp on to it as much as we can? When an opportunity presents itself, isn’t it the most human thing to get hold of the reins rather than let things run amok?
Mahesh Rajan has woven the narratives so well and has made sure to end each story with an exciting twist. The pace of each story is steady. With each nail-biting journey the protagonists of these stories take, the author successfully keeps his readers on the edge of their seats.
Besides control, the book also has elements of class disparity, pollution, and the powers the authority has on us. Though the stories are set in imaginary worlds, the reader tends to question how much of the fiction is a reflection of the reality we are in.
It is hard to pinpoint a genre when you try to describe ‘Illusions of Control.’ It has elements of thrillers, mystery, science fiction, etc. And when a book has too many genres in one place, there is a chance that it may lose the plot. But it is testimony to the author’s brilliance that we do not come across such an instance in this book.
The short stories are well-written and concise. The author does not waste any time in places and keeps the story moving. The storylines are woven in a way that they deviate from the conventional narrative. It is nearly impossible to predict what the protagonist would do, and each decision brings about a volley of twists and turns.
The various elements in the book are ideal if the author’s goal was to widen the reach of his book amongst readers with different interests.
This book can be highly recommended to anyone who loves short stories or to readers interested in speculative fiction. With such a brilliant debut, Mahesh RatnamRajan has established himself as an author whose works are eagerly waited for.
‘Illusions of Control’ is priced at Rs.349 and available in Paperback and E-book formats
across major E-Commerce channels and platforms.
For further updates on Mahesh and his book, visit:https://linktr.ee/maheshratnamr