By Mitali Chakravarty

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Starting this week, Kitaab will bring to you excerpts from Kitaab’s The Best Asian Short Stories 2018 and Best Speculative Fiction anthologies.

Click on the links given at the end of the excerpt and help us sustain our efforts to bring literature from across Asia to you. Read on!

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TBASS

Prologue

If you are to fall asleep while being physically transported, you will start experiencing something out of this world. To be specific, if you happen to be moving at an extraordinary pace while in deep sleep, your consciousness will not be able to catch up, and you can be separated from your physical being. You will, then, be in two different places at the same time.

When that happens, you will cease to breathe. Your brain will start to wander, and conjure up a third place to make sense of it all. This is when you wake up at The Place.

The Place is a manifestation of consciousness; being ever-evolving, it can have unlimited variations. Its eventual form is perceived differently, based on each individual’s experiences and hopes for the future. Whatever the case, if you get too attached or fail to leave The Place quickly enough, you get stuck there.

Forever.

Hailey

Hailey was staring at an oil painting. She neither understood the intense mess of the strokes, nor the utterly mismatched colours used. There was a mishmash of painting techniques and a total disregard of the colour wheel. All the disorder made her nauseous, almost seasick. Blinking hard, Hailey stepped back from the chaos and took in a deep breath.

The Best Asian Short Stories (TBASS) series will showcase arresting contemporary short fiction from Asia. The inaugural edition of The Best Asian Short Stories (TBASS) is due for publishing in 2017.

The Best Asian inaugural edition will choose the best twenty or so short stories from the submissions.

The Best Asian aims to showcase stories offering fresh insights into the experience of being Asian. We seek fiction that transcends borders and social and political divisions, while drawing us into the lives of people and the places where they come from. Send us stories that ask questions and probe ambiguities; stories of uneasy choices, introspection, thought and insights, of moments of epiphany or catharsis. Enthral us with tales of the magical, the profound, the absurd and the chilling. Send us stories that tug at the heartstrings, or leave us raw and shaken. We want writing that will move us, and continue to resonate after the last page is read. We value genuine, sincere writing.

The Best Asian is looking for symphonies of style and heartfelt emotions.