Dissertation on the Novels of Kassem Kassem

Generic Cues and Generic Features in Arabic Science Fiction: The Novels of Kassem Kassem

By: Boutz, Gary Monroe

Abstract: Is Arabic science fiction similar to the kind of science fiction with which a reader of English-language science fiction, a watcher of English-language science fiction films, or viewer of English-language science fiction television programs is familiar, or is Arabic science fiction something else entirely? This dissertation constructs a model of the science fiction genre as it has evolved in the English language using prototype theory and the three structural dimensions of genre proposed by John Frow in Genre (2005): formal organization, thematic content, and rhetorical structure. Formal organization includes the use of deixis and pulpstyle features; thematic content addresses the iconography of science fiction, including the icons of the spaceship, the alien, the transformed human, and the robot; and rhetorical structure includes the four features of alternativity, plausibility, extrapolation, and a relationship to science. Five Arabic-language novels that identify themselves as science fiction are chosen for examination based on paratextual criteria: al-riHla (1991), la`anat al-ghuyuum (1993), Hadatha an ra’รก (1995), lamasat al-Daw’ (2001), and jasad Haarr (2004). The model of the science fiction genre is used to examine these five novels, written by Kassem Kassem, a Lebanese author. It is determined that each of the five novels exhibits features of prototypical science fiction. The implications of the presence of these features for science fiction studies and avenues for further research are discussed.

Thanks to Hal Hall for the info.

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