Book Review – How To Kill Everyone On The Planet by Rajesh Talwar

Playwriting has always been one genre in literary writing that reached its zenith in the early times when there were no other modes of entertainment and ever since the other forms emerged, it somewhere took a backseat. Yet, there are talented authors who still try their hands and add their flavour to the world of drama. After experimenting with different writing techniques and producing books that are distinctive and unique in comparison to each other, Rajesh Talwar experiments with a new form of writing in“How To Kill Everyone On The Planet: Ukraine And Other Recipes For A Nuclear Matricide – A Play.”With this literary form, the author experiments by creating a fusion of fiction and realistic elements that impact the lives of human beings to the extent of their very existence. This fusion serves as the raw material to keep the readers involved and interested in knowing the insights the author has to share.

“How To Kill Everyone On The Planet” begins on a note that is neither obvious nor expected by the readers. The concepts of aliens and species from other galaxies may for once, sound like they are science fictional, but the literary touches that the author gives through their lively dialogues and witty banters are enough to keep the readers entertained. At the same time, their imaginations go wild by the constructions of characters done by the author where they try to project the depictions by the author in their live forms in addition to the defining features that the author gives in the description. At the same time, the readers become spectators who experience what Bertolt Brecht called “the alienation effect”. The placing of the narrative in heaven and the witty answers that God gives define Him in realistic terms which is far from the ideal but in a sense that is easy for the readers to believe.

Although Rajesh Talwar’s drama is inspired by the events of the present day, the author takes the liberty to turn them into a fictional form and show how things would be happening in a parallel universe. The responses from the parallel universe and how the creations in the other universe see human beings become another point of perspective for the readers and they see human beings from the same eyes. In that sense, while the readers remain interested and engrossed in reading the text throughout, they also want to know what would happen next and how the events would unfold. From his observations and insights, the author tries to talk about what are the raw materials and ingredients with which human beings can destruct themselves. However, in order to make reality not hit hard, he uses humour and comic moments in “How To Kill Everyone On The Planet”and even though the readers laugh along, they get the clear message of what they are doing and what lies ahead for them. The further interest element is added by the drama form that the author uses with words that are illustrative and give a pictorial representation through the image constructions done by the characters.

The presence of power figures from different corners of the globe and how political reactions are triggered by events like wars which result from mob madness and vice versa. The author successfully keeps the text at bay from political involvement and keeps it restricted to his view of human lives getting impacted by their activities. Therefore, reading “How To Kill Everyone On The Planet” would be like an eye-opener for the readers. They will be able to understand the implications of wars on the present as well as future generations.

Rajesh Talwar’s play will be enjoyed by all those readers who enjoy reading drama and who want to develop an insight into the disastrous effects wars have on human lives on personal, emotional, social, economic, and psychological fronts. It is also recommended to readers of all age groups who have an interest in the present day activities at the world level, connecting them with events that have happened in the past and understanding the universe that exists beyond the realms of human sight. The play would also be of interest to young readers due to the science fictional elements and events which equally trigger the imagination.

It would also be interesting to see the play performance of “How To Kill Everyone On The Planet” too. The presentation of the author Rajesh Talwar will take the readers into different realms through effective stage directions and powerful character portrayals. At the same time, the powerful dialogues, and timings of action through the swift developing 14 scenes would also keep the readers attentive and in grip of the action. All readers are recommended to try reading and experience the reading of a modern-day drama with elements of the present day.

About The Author: Rajesh Talwar has written twenty-nine books, which include novels, children’s books, plays, self-help books and non-fiction books covering issues in social justice, culture and law

His novels include Simran, on aesthetics, and Inglistan, on cultural contrasts. An Afghan Winter and The Sentimental Terrorist explore the theme of terrorism. How to Kill a Billionaire reveals the workings of the Indian justice system. From the Lips of the Goddess – Mata Vaishno Devi is on the sacred feminine.

Rajesh’s plays cover diverse contemporary themes and historical retellings. They include Inside Gayland, The Bride Who Would Not Burn, Conquest at Noon, The Killings in November, Kaash Kashmir, Aurangzeb: The Darkness in His Heart, Gandhi, Ambedkar and the Four-Legged Scorpion, High Fidelity Transmission and A Nuclear Matricide.

His non-fiction works include The Judiciary on Trial, Courting Injustice: The Nirbhaya Case and Its Aftermath, The Third Sex and Human Rights, The Vanishing of Subhash Bose, The Killing of Aarushi and the Murder of Justice. Self-help books include How to Choose Your Lawyer and Win Your Case, Making Your Own Will, The Divorce Handbook and Indian Laws of E-business.

His books for children include The Three Greens, The Bearded Prince, The Sleepless Beauty, Fabulous Four Battle Zoozoo, the Wizard and Playwrights- A One-Act Play for Children on Human Rights.

He has contributed to The Economic Times, The Guardian, The Pioneer, The Times of India NIE, Manushi, The Sunday Mail and the New Indian Express. He is a sought-after speaker at Literary Festivals.

Rajesh works as Deputy Legal Adviser to the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan.

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