The City Inside by Samit Basu

“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 surveillance capitalism. When a bigger picture begins to unfold, they must each decide how to do the right thing in a world where simply maintaining the status quo feels like an accomplishment. Ultimately, resistance will not—cannot—take the same shape for these two very different people. 


I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.


DNF @ 17%

I think I need to give up on near-future SFF. This isn’t the first book I’ve read in the genre but something about these books just makes me roll my eyes when I read. The City Inside in particular is a difficult read due to the stream-of-consciousness narrative. Events don’t so much as happen as they are just dumped on you by our MC Joey, who I found myself increasingly annoyed at. The ‘look at how good of a leftist I am I can recognize propaganda and that social media algorithms are bad unlike everyone else in this society’ monologue is just not interesting. Complaining about a (granted stupid) company policy receiving *so many hot takes* when that’s your job?? was the last straw. A shame, especially when the cover art is so pretty. Overall, I rate a 2/5.

r/Fantasy 2022-23 Bingo Squares:

  • Published in 2022
  • Standalone
  • BIPOC Author

Publication Date: 7 June 2022
Publisher: Tordotcom
Format: eBook, ARC
Pages: 256
Word Count: ~77,000
ISBN: 1250827485 
Buy It Here: Amazon | Google Books | Barnes and Nobles | Goodreads

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