You are here: Home / RAW / RAW Lectures #02: Anil Menon on 'Undermining the Tyrant’s Protocols: Speculative Fiction and Freedom'

RAW Lectures #02: Anil Menon on 'Undermining the Tyrant’s Protocols: Speculative Fiction and Freedom'

by Sumandro Chattapadhyay last modified Feb 09, 2016 08:43 AM
Anil Menon will give a talk on 'Undermining the Tyrant’s Protocols: Speculative Fiction and Freedom' at the Centre for Internet and Society's office in Bangalore on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at 6 pm. Please join us for tea and coffee before the lecture at 5.30 pm.

Event details


Jan 13, 2016
from 06:00 PM to 08:00 PM


The Centre for Internet and Society, No. 194, 2nd 'C' Cross, Domlur, 2nd Stage, Bangalore 560071 (opposite Domlur Club and very near to TERI complex)

Contact Name

Add event to calendar


Update: The video recording of the lecture can be accessed here.


The RAW Lectures series was initiated by the Researchers at Work (RAW) programme to take stock, reflect, and chart courses into the studies of Internet in/from India. The lectures address the experiences and practices of Internet in India as plural and intertwined with longer-duration processes. The lectures also critically respond to the questions around the methods of studying Internet in/from India, and the opportunities and challenges of studying Indian society on/through the Internet.

It gives us great pleasure to announce that Anil Menon will present the second lecture of the series on Wednesday, January 13, 2016, at 6 pm.


RAW Lectures #02 - Anil Menon - Poster


Undermining the Tyrant’s Protocols: Speculative Fiction and Freedom

Story-telling, like the internet, depends on the existence of fixed protocols between the sender and the receiver. However, by manipulating ambiguity and contexts, speculative fiction constantly creates new and ever-changing protocols of reading. This makes it hard to define what exactly speculative fiction is. Spec-fic may be described as a catch-all term to describe genres such as magic-realism, fabulist fiction, slipstream, science-fiction, fantasy and various fusions thereof. In my talk, I will outline the history of spec-fic on the subcontinent, and show how it was used by authors such as Kylas Chundar Dutt to undermine imperialist narratives. In the last decade, the internet, which may be conceived as a speculative network, has emerged as another such tool. Internet access in India is growing at an extraordinary rate, but less well-known is the fact that Indian spec-fic is also undergoing a rather remarkable renaissance. I will show that these two threads of development are related, mutually reinforcing, and point to an interesting metaphor of speculative sovereignity, perhaps unique to India, and that serves to undermine any would-be tyrant’s protocols.


Anil Menon

Anil Menon’s research work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Intl J. of Neural Networks, Neural Proc. Letters, IEEE Trans On Evolutionary Computation, Foundations of Genetic Algorithms, British J. of the History of Science, and Small Business Economics. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies including Interzone, Interfictions, Strange Horizons, Jaggery Lit Review, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. His stories have been translated into German, French, Chinese, Romanian and Hebrew. His debut novel The Beast With Nine Billion Feet (Zubaan Books, 2010) was short-listed for the 2010 Vodafone-Crossword award and the Carl Brandon Society's 2011 Parallax Award. Along with Vandana Singh, he co-edited Breaking the Bow (Zubaan Books 2012), an international anthology of speculative fiction inspired by the Ramayana epic. His most recent work is the novel Half Of What I Say (Bloomsbury, 2015).