Aman Sen is smart, young, ambitious and going nowhere. He thinks this is because he doesn't have the right connections--but then he gets off a plane from London to Delhi and discovers that he has turned into a communications demigod. Indeed, everyone on Aman's flight now has extraordinary abilities corresponding to their innermost desires.
Vir, a pilot, can now fly.
Uzma, an aspiring Bollywood actress, now possesses infinite charisma.
And then there's Jai, an indestructible one-man army with a good old-fashioned goal -- to rule the world!
Aman wants to ensure that their new powers aren't wasted on costumed crime-fighting, celebrity endorsements, or reality television. He wants to heal the planet but with each step he takes, he finds helping some means harming others. Will it all end, as 80 years of superhero fiction suggest, in a meaningless, explosive slugfest?
Turbulence features the 21st-century Indian subcontinent in all its insane glory--F-16s, Bollywood, radical religious parties, nuclear plants, cricket, terrorists, luxury resorts, crazy TV shows -- but it is essentially about two very human questions. How would you feel if you actually got what you wanted? And what would you do if you could really change the world?
This superhero origin myth with a Bollywood vibe probably looked great in outline, but the overly meta effort provides only a flashy pop-culture backdrop against which very little happens. As passengers slept on a plane from London to India, their dreams were transformed into sometimes fantastically impractical powers. Uzma, an aspiring actress, has the ability to make everyone love her; unfulfilled Tia can now create multiple copies of herself and experience a world of options; Aman can surf and manipulate the Web in his head. With the exception of Vir, an Indian Air Force pilot who is now basically Superman, they are unprepared to battle the passengers who decide to use their powers to achieve world domination. Debut author Basu, likewise undecided, lobs in a fight sequence when the story sags too much, but the narrative meanders as the characters spin their wheels, argue, research superhero stories, hack Web sites, create costumes, and fall in love. Snappy and clever but unfocused and lazy, this may inadvertently be the first hipster superhero story.