Patiala based Saroor Sarao pens a gripping sci-fi thriller set in a post post-apocalyptic world

He was eight years old when he penned his first story. Today, at 22,Saroor Sarao is out with his second book, a gripping sci-fi thriller titled World Heist. His father was the late journalist Surinder Pal Sarao, and his mother, Gurjeet Kaur is a journalist in Patiala.    Currently pursuing BA from Multani Mal Modi College in Patiala, Saroor has been writing professionally since 2014.

Saroor opens up about his latest book, influences and writing projects. 

World Heist is set 500 years into the future where civilization has been rebuilt in the wake of a nuclear war. This land has led to the rise of four nations that control the majority of the world. In this post-post-apocalyptic world, the awful world-ending calamity has already happened, the world has moved on and society has been rebuilt. The only glitch: after the catastrophe, walls were raised between countries and all contact was ceased for 500 years. The story begins with the walls coming down, and cultures developed in isolation for 500 years now find themselves interacting with one another for the first time. It’s a world unlike our own and yet, similar enough to draw parallels to real-world events. For instance, the country of the protagonist is facing a mass influx of immigrants. The leaders are torn as to whether their nation is even ready for people from another country and what it means to accept them. Everyone is scared and looking to one another for answers. It’s not a problem that is easily resolved, not when you’ve got 500 years’ worth of personal biases to deal with.

“I published my first novel in 2016 when I was fifteen years old. World Heist started out as a rewrite of my first book, Bounty Hunters. I knew the first draft would not be good. It took several rewrites to learn the identity of this book and its characters. I kept adding more and more ideas, and soon, the story took on a life of its own, and around 12 drafts (four of which were from the ground rewrites) later, I was ready with ‘World Heist’,” Saroor talks about his speculative fiction which has been divided into five arcs, and touches upon the issues of immigration, citizenship, climate change, current political scenario. 

While the first book was more of a globetrotting adventure for middle-schoolers, this one emerged from his love for heist stories. “I’ve always been enamoured by the idea of a diverse ensemble of outcasts coming together for a common goal. And since sci-fi has always been my forte, I decided to blend the two together,” adds Saroor who, through believes in experiencing life from a variety of perspectives. “It helps one become a more empathetic and better-rounded person in the long run,” he feels. The book has been published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) on Amazon. It is now available as an ebook in India and paperback in some regions.