Science and fiction are two different fields of study, as we generally know, unless you want to take science fiction into account. But, what if it’s not science fiction at all? What if science and fiction are blended together to form a romantic story inside a story? Supernova: Ksatria, Puteri, dan Bintang Jatuh by Dee is the answer. Previously known as a singer/songwriter, Dee released this debut novel of hers in 2001 under her own independent publishing company. It has and continues to gain critical acclaim as well as popular response among readers. It’s heavily strewn with theories of psychology and physics and philosophy, and is guaranteed to force the reader to view this world from a different angle.
Ruben and Dhimas, a homosexual couple first met when taking their undergraduate program in the United States, finally decide to work on the masterpiece they’ve planned on and promised to do ten years earlier. Their intention is to fuse science with literature, a bunch of grand theories with a wave of romanticism, in order to produce a work of fiction interwoven with nonfiction facts. So they choose to pluck the characters of Ksatria and Puteri from a comic book, and make up their own story featuring those two lovebirds. Ksatria, a successful young man with a dull, monotonous life, meets Puteri in what seems to be a predestined encounter. They fall in love each other almost in an instant, succumbing to their lust and love regardless of her having already been committed in a marriage. Things appear to run so well in their secret affair, until their desire to be freely together feels more urgent than ever and their hush-hush feelings overwhelm both with no restraint. Puteri has to decide whether she is going to leave her husband for the one she loves, or stay in the marriage she never feels passionate in. And in the middle of it all comes Diva, a catwalk model/highly paid prostitute whose attitude towards the world is so bitter and cynical that the reader may find her too much self-righteous for a woman of her profession. It is her, the Bintang Jatuh, who saves Ksatria from his tragic fall. But she cannot stay and return his love, for it’s been her nature to go and shoot away.
There are several characters in this first book of Supernova series, in and out of the “story”. But there’s only one that captured my sole, vehement attention, and that’s Diva, the Bintang Jatuh or the Falling Star. To me, she’s like standing head and shoulders above everyone else, not for her divinity-wanna-be portrayal, but for her significance in stirring the course of events of the “inside story”. She’s described as cynical and sarcastic, bitter towards anything and everything, like nothing is right to her in this pathetic world. As a matter of fact, her self-righteousness made me feel cynical in return towards her. To her, selling her body is like selling any other commodity in the market, like selling our labor, time, our soul. The way she thinks made me see her as an ungrateful person, for instance: condemning her beautiful, straight, long hair when so many women out there would die for it. She is indeed a do-gooder, trying to “change the world”, but what she does is too small to compare with the bigness and complexity of the universe. Really, I’m being so cynical towards her now. What’s worse, she is created, by the authors (Ruben and Dhimas), to become an Avatar, a Cyber Avatar, who has a divinity of a monk. Dee, as the writer of this whole narrative, perhaps only wants to show to the reader, through this Diva character, that in being a human, it’s all about your thoughts and good deeds, not the label you have on your forehead. I cannot say anything to this but that I have mixed feelings.
Supernova: Ksatria, Puteri, dan Bintang Jatuh is an interdisciplinary novel not all readers would get. The writer seems to want to prove something to them, and it’s probably for this very reason she makes up a narrative in which order and chaos become its main focus and goes to such great lengths elaborating and mixing so many scientific theories into one. Her intention is, I believe, to present a fictional romance that brilliantly emerges from those theories. However, the result is, the way I see it, only an “ordinary” rectangular love story which is so simple and easy to read that you don’t have to bother dwelling on those fruits of science experts’ thoughts. Fortunately, the narrative is shrewdly constructed, subplot being layered upon subplot, proving yet another thing that there are indeed no boundaries in time and space. The whole plot is also dense, without so much as little ramblings about anything. It’s very complex, however, and has no predictable direction as to where the story will actually lead. It is amazing, technically speaking, but I don’t have a consistent opinion when it comes to the language being used. I don’t know why but I felt it’s like a “translation language”, awkward and unnatural. And when it comes to male dialogues, I felt it was a woman talking instead of a man. What’s worse, I found some misplaced diction and less than correct use of marks, especially those in repeated words. In other words, linguistically (if I may say so), it’s quite a mess.
On the whole, Supernova: Ksatria, Puteri, dan Bintang Jatuh is actually a pretty great book, though not as fantastic as I might have thought before. The basic idea is stunning, but the execution, especially that of the “inside story” used to embody all those theories, is not what the reader could hope for. The question is, why bother elaborating such grand scientific theories if you only want to tell something simple?