Kolpo, a 13-year-old reader, asked for new science fiction at a stall in the Amar Ekhushey Book Fair. He told Dhaka Tribune that he was waiting for his copy of the new science fiction book by Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal.
“I love his stories,” said Kolpo. “I forget that what I am reading is in fact not real.”
Sanjida Hossain is a lecturer at Brac University. She, too, came to buy her copy of Zafar Iqbal’s new science fiction at the book fair.
Titled “Tratina”, the book has seen the highest number of sales in the book fair until now. According to its publisher, Somoy Prokashon, it has already sold 30,000 copies.
“Within the first 10 days, more than 5,000 copies of ‘Tratina’ were sold,” said Mahmud Piyash, a salesman at Somoy Prokashon.
However, Piyash added that they have had to approach visitors to let them know about publications from other, new science fiction writers.
Somoy Prokashon published two more science fiction thrillers this year at the book fair- “Turash” by Biswajit Das and “Beyond the Man-Made Universe” by Tasruzzaman Babu.
Another publication house, Anannya, has published five sci-fi thrillers this year. One of them is Tanvir Rana Mustafiz’s sci-fi collection “Science Fiction Shomogro”, featuring stories about galaxies, aliens and exotic animals.
A salesman of Anannya said that keeping up with visitors’ demands, they have also published translations of different works of science fictions.
Oitijjhyo, another leading publication house, has published a sci-fi translation of “Norby: The Mixed-Up Robot”, the first in the series of 11 books by Janet and Isaac Asimov and translated by Khandaker Istiaque Mahmud.
Samiul Alam, a sci-fi lover from Narayanganj, opined that most of the local science fiction books are teen thrillers rather than actual science fiction.
“The sci-fi novels that I have been going through in the Ekushey book fair are mostly teen thrillers,” said Samiul. “That is why I prefer to go for translations. But Seba Prokashoni is the best place for me. I am going to hit its stall right after I am done visiting others.”