As Comet Hyakutake passes Earth in March 1996, four friends experience an array of puzzling events: the dead reappear and the living disappear. Daryl Qilin Yam’s Lovelier, Lonelier begins in Kyoto, where the paths of Isaac Neo, Tori Yamamoto, Jing Aw and Mateo Calvo Morales first intersect, and where the trajectory of their lives change after one weekend together. Divided into three parts to weave through different perspectives, years and cities including Kyoto, Madrid and Singapore, Yam presents a story of once-in-a-lifetime encounters, not just with the brightest and closest comet to approach Earth in 200 years, but also with people.

Apocalypse narratives from the West tend to relate to the end of the whole world, rather than just a region or a country. Aliens, climate change, zombies, nuclear wars—the scale of these narratives is global. When Indian voices do come to these themes, they more often than not come across as very rooted in Indian geography and history. Therefore, Indian comedian Kanan Gill’s Acts of God will surprise those who hold Indian sci-fi as relevant to Indian history or its postcolonial context alone, for Gill’s debut novel comes with a sensibility with potential appeal to global readers of science fiction.

Hospital by acclaimed Chinese science-fiction writer Han Song is a kafkaesque trip through a fictional hospital turned nation-state that explores the Buddhist philosophy on suffering, the nature of the doctor-patient relationship, and the mental state of patients who suffer from chronic conditions.