Rishabh Dubey, known by his pen-name ‘Kridious’, is a young author, poet and musician hailing from the city of Lucknow, India. Dubey is credited with writing and publishing six books so far in diverse genres of Science Fiction, Poetry, Fantasy, Anthology and Literary Fiction. He published his first book, The Mangoman, at the age of 18.
A natural tech aficionado, Dubey pursued Computer Sciences as a profession whilst exploring Science Fiction as his passion. He is currently residing in the city of Mumbai, India and working on sequels to his published books.
Rishabh also began an initiative, called ‘The Voices of Silence’, to give a platform to young aspiring authors of India to showcase their work without any hindrances.
TBE: Can you share something about your book ‘Krikos: The Vertical Horizon’ that isn’t in the blurb? What’s the significance of the title?
Rishabh Dubey: Krikos literally translates to a ‘Ring’. The analogy of a tyre-tube comes in handy in understanding this. Imagine walking inside such a tube. The horizon for you would be rising upwards. In an endless ocean of water inside that tube, you won’t see a ship rising above the horizon, but you’d find it approaching downwards from above the horizon. This is the ‘Vertical Horizon’.
Krikos represents a space-station in the book that is larger than a star, with the aforementioned vertical horizon. To an outside observer, it looks like a massive ring engulfing the entirety of a solar system.
Metaphorically, Krikos is symbolic of how as a being we go around in a cycle of evolution whereby things that we learn in the past, we tend to unlearn and rather relearn in the future. Human actions are cyclical, regardless of the overall growth and evolution of the species.
The book explores the idea of such re-exploration around 2000 years in the future. There is a coherence in the future with our present and the past. That coherence is oblivious to the collective learning of our species.
TBE: What brought about the idea for ‘Krikos: The Vertical Horizon’ and why did you want to write it?
Rishabh Dubey: One Word – Chaos. The religions, cultures, civilizations and societies persisting in the world are centuries, or even millennia old. But, have we reached a point of balance?
We are exploring constantly, learning incessantly, still we turn to the teachings of the old to understand our present and the future. We fight wars over such teachings and preachings rather than addressing what we know today. Chaos is definitely a ladder… and we are constantly climbing towards an endless crescendo of Chaos.
I wanted to write about a future that we cannot possibly predict. I didn’t want to actually predict it, but portray where we are heading towards. The saints and prophets of the old wouldn’t have predicted that we’d arrive at where we are today. We are worse off than we were before, with capabilities to eradicate civilizations and species.
So ironical that we rate the ‘most powerful nations’ with the metric of their stockpile of nuclear warheads, rather than their ability to create wonders for humankind.
Similarly, if we keep heading towards darkness as we are, the future would hold infinite advancement yet a constraint in the form of conflict. I wanted to write a series on such a conflict in the future. Not from the aspect of mere entertainment that we’d derive by reading about such a distant future that we can’t reach or foresee, but to also introspect our present.
TBE: How was your publishing experience with Leadstart?
Rishabh Dubey: It was a seamless and an organized process. I had little to no involvement but still a considerable say in the entire process. Overall, well managed.
A special shoutout to Ananya, Bhavika and Abhishek from Leadstart who have spent so much time and effort in shaping the book into what it is and also into what it will further be for the readers.
Also, I am highly indebted to everyone at Leadstart. Sincerest apologies for missing out on so many names. Kudos to the entire team.
TBE: You excel at creating a tone that bounces between science fiction and adventure. How do you strike that balance as a writer?
Rishabh Dubey: It is difficult to write fiction based on science. Extrapolating parameters of science into the domain of fantasy is not a simple task. ‘The Time Machine’ by H.G. Wells is a great example. It showed travelling to the past and was regarded as one of the biggest science-fiction works to have been ever written.
Over the years, research stipulated that travelling to the past isn’t scientifically possible. Thus, few aspects of the book started being regarded as pure fantasy. The book is still a Magnum Opus by Wells but many Science Fiction researchers now consider it a hybrid of science-fiction and fantasy.
I know a lot of what I write might be subject of rebuttal in times to come. But, while writing it, I have to be true it. If I don’t believe in what I write, then who would? About striking the balance, any theory is incomplete without a story.
Storytelling has found prominence in the research as well as corporate fields today. The technical aspects of a story have to go hand-in-hand with the adventure. The adventure here donates the intrigue that the story creates amidst the minds of the readers. Readers are often intrigued by what they do not want to happen in a story. Sometimes the opposite is true. The obvious has to be negated to arrive at adventure. The element of surprise has to be leveraged at every turn of the story so that the reader is moved to keep turning the page.
TBE: In a lot of ways, ‘Krikos: The Vertical Horizon’ challenges us to think about what we don’t know or see in the world around us. What frontiers in science do you think hold the most promise for opening our eyes to something important that was there all along?
Rishabh Dubey: Science finds its roots in nature. It has its genesis in observation. Even the theory of ‘genesis’ was formulated through mere observation. Therefore, Scientists were earlier termed as ‘Natural Philosophers’; till William Whewell coined the term ‘Scientist’ in 1833.
So, we must ask ourselves- Have we observed it all? Do we know it all? Well, what we can achieve with what we know would be wonders. But, what we might achieve with what we do not know might be magical.
There are many things that we fail to observe at every turn. Some maestros and geniuses do address them. Like the ones at NASA who observed the self-healing mechanism of human skin and replicated it for rockets and spaceships. Ideas and solutions sometimes come from the strangest of areas. The most efficient machine we know of is our human body. I believe Anatomical Research and Genetic Engineering are domains that would shape our future; not just safeguarding our own well-being, but defining technologies that’d be perceived Godly.
I have explored a similar subject in one of my research studies entitled ‘A Route to a better Tomorrow: The Power of Science Fiction’. It is available on the NISCAIR-CSIR for free. ‘What don’t we know?’, ‘What can we know?’ and ‘What we know but fail to acknowledge?’ are few of the interrogatives I would love to explore further in both the realms of fiction and science.
TBE: How would you define the conflict type in Krikos? Is it Man vs. Himself, or Man vs. Supernatural?
Rishabh Dubey: The capabilities of Humans portrayed in Krikos might be regarded as supernatural by the world of today. There is scientific justification to it. But they are definitely superhuman when it comes to our preconceived notions of human ability. The conflict is a hybrid of various things. With the narrative regarding extraterrestrials and their contrast with human beings, and branched-off galactic civilizations of humans themselves, it can be very well called Man vs. Himself.
TBE: If you could dream up another Earth, a unique paradise just for you, what would it look like?
Rishabh Dubey: My paradise is one which is not just for me… but for all. It is where our urge to explore isn’t channeled by conflict. Empathy prevails in that world. A world where there is an equal place for all. Devoid of conflicts, wars, protests, competition, the pursuit of identity, etcetera; that world would be anything but interesting. That’s exactly what I want. At the end of the day, exploration would bring the ‘interesting’ element to the table. If we have no so-called ‘necessities’ and still a ‘need to explore and invent’, in the form of the purpose of our existence, it’d be a perfect world.
TBE: I’m curious what’s your answer to the Fermi Paradox? Do you think we’ll make first contact in our lifetimes?
Rishabh Dubey: I hope we do make contact. Otherwise, my attempts to learn the phrase ‘We meet in peace’ in the countless languages of the world would go to waste. Also, it’d be cool to have extraterrestrial readers for my books. Imagine landing on Goodreads to find a review by an Andromedian “Shows us in great light. Recommend it to all of my species.” Haha. Jokes aside, I believe we are intelligent organisms, aren’t we? Have we been to Mars? Technically, no. We send drones and satellites throughout our solar system and still haven’t explored even 5% of it. How long do you think it’d take us to become inter-galactic or even intra-galactic species? I think it’d take centuries.
The Universe began at the same time for all and so did the cycle of evolution, maybe a little lag or lead here in there for certain galaxies and systems. If we consider that an extraterrestrial life-form exists that is way more intelligent than us, so much so that it can travel to us undetected from far-off corners of space while we struggle to send billionaires beyond sub-orbital, we are just rebuking the ‘intelligence’ that we claim to have.
Most probably there are life-forms, intelligent and otherwise, in different corners of the Universe. They are at a similar stage of evolution and civilization as we are, with a little less or a little more technological advancement. Perhaps they are yet to reach their own moons. Perhaps they have colonized their entire solar systems. We don’t know. But the possibility that they are just as aware of our existence as we are of theirs is very high. We should keep faith. It is more like an unsolved mystery than a paradox.
I hope we get the answer to this mystery in our lifetimes. A funny food for thought- what if we end up being the violent visitors that we have portrayed in our science fiction stories and movies? Considering our lust for conquests, we might very well become so.
TBE: Any thoughts on the NASA’s Artemis Project and human plans to colonize the moon?
Rishabh Dubey: There is only disadvantage in colonizing the Moon. We can have research settlements there but colonizing would only be a waste. It takes way more resources to plan a settlement on the Moon than to find a sustainable solution to habitat on Earth.
Nevertheless, the Artemis project is great. It showcases the coherence between technological advancement, civility and inclusivity. Settling on the moon can possibly be a test exercise, kind of a stepping stone to settling on Mars. Yes! Settling on Mars has immense benefits. But it’d all take time. Fingers crossed.
TBE: What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
Rishabh Dubey: I hope the readers are left seeking more after this book. Not just from the story, but from their own journeys, internal and external self, from life and the Universe itself.
TBE: According to you what is important in shaping the world today or in the future?
Rishabh Dubey: Two things are essential. Accepting and addressing our shortcomings is the first. As a society, a culture, a religion, a nation or as a species, we must know and address our mistakes of the past. Our strive to be perceived as the best only causes destruction.
The second most important thing is to shift focus to constructive attributes of existence. A stronger weapon only serves as a medium of destruction. The more the money you possess is also not constructive; what actually is constructive is the more you can provide to and for the world.
Our attitude needs a lateral shift. We have to stop being competitive and pushing others around us down to rise up. We need to rise up together. That way we’d break the barriers of the sky, the space and the Universe, and rise beyond any known limitation of thought or kind.
TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Rishabh Dubey: So, the story of Krikos has two major religions- Celestials- who are the evolutionist right-wing majority, and the Stillites- who are anti-war left-wing minority. The two religions are branches from the same belief system. This belief system is backed by a whole new mythology partially covered in Krikos.
The next volume, Erekos: The Origin, covers this Mythology- that is the story of the Goddess Galacta, her two mighty sons- Kronos the destroyer and Krydon the creator, and the war that’s fought between the armies of Kronos and Krydon. Krydon was also accompanied by the 12 Great Knights of Pallium (the planetary system where the war took place). As per this belief system, this war led to the creation of the Universe as it is.
The Celestials naturally sided with the mythology of Krydon, who safeguarded the Universe. Eventually, an anti-war branch came out and called themselves protectors of Universal Stillness- Stillites. Naturally, they sided with the story of Kronos. These humans fight a war in the faint remembrance of this mythology. This war would engulf galaxies in the future. Krikos has touched upon it and the war would continue in Erekos: The Origin, with an ongoing narration of its contrast against the mythology. Erekos would be a shorter book, but it’d be on as big a scale as Krikos, if not bigger.