Islam and Science Fiction is doing a series of interviews with Muslim Science Fiction authors and also authors who have written about Islamic themes in Science Fiction. Thus included in this list are not just Muslim authors but Islamicate authors as well. Here is the list of authors that we have currently interviewed or who will be interviewed soon.
List of Interviewees (Orderd by last name)
Ada Barbaro (Italy)
Ada Barbaro earned her Phd in Geopolitic and Culture of the Mediterranean Area from the Italian Institute of Human Studies – Naples in 2011. She worked as fellow researcher in Arabic Language and Literature at the Institute of Oriental Studies (ISO) at University of Rome “La Sapienza”. Lecturer in Translation from Arabic into Italian at UNINT (University of International Studies) in Rome, she specializes in modern and contemporary Arabic literature. She published translations from Arabic into Italian of both novels and short stories and she wrote essays on contemporary Arabic fiction. She devoted herself to the study of the most recent literary genres written in Arabic with a special attention to the science fiction production. She published her book La fantascienza nella letteratura araba (Science Fiction in Arabic Literature) in 2013 (Carocci, Roma).
Amal Al-Mohtar (Canada)
Amal El-Mohtar is an Arab Canadian autor, poet and fiction writer. Her poetry has won the Rhysling award, and her fiction has appeared in Cabinet des Fées and Shimmer. While her primary focus is on the fantasy genre, she has also published in the Apex Magazine’s special issue on Muslims and Arabs in Science Fiction. She is currently pursuing PhD in English at the Cornwall campus of the University of Exeter. She also co-edits Goblin Fruit, an online quarterly devoted to poetry of the fantastic with the Jessica Paige Wick.
Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa (Kuwait)
Dr. Al-Mutawa is the creator of The 99 comic book series which has been hailed as a global phenomenon. The 99 series had 99 super heroes each of whose name and powers are inspired by the 99 names of God. These heroes embody the virtues of Islamic cultures and the series’ popularity has grown exponentially ever since its launch. The 99 is going to expand into television and possibly movies soon. Dr. Naif was named in the list of top 500 most influential Muslims in the world. Al-Mutawa has a PhD in Clinical Psychology,a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology, a Masters in Organizational Psychology and an MBA from Columbia University.
Steven Barnes (USA)
Steven Barnes is a Hugo Award nominated accomplished author who has written a number of science fiction novels. His novelette The Locusts was written with Larry Niven and was nominated for the Hugo award. His Insha’Allah series which consists of the Novel’s The Lion’s Blood and Zulu Heart depicts an alternative North America colonized by Muslims from Africa. He has written episode of Stargate SG1, The Outerlimits and Andromeda. He has also written novelizations of Star Trek and Star Wars.
Moustafa Chamli (Canada)
Moustafa “مصطفى شملي” Chamli’s team from Studios/Lunes is working on a fascinating game inspired from Islamic Escathology. The game puts you in the seat of Azrail who is the Angel of Death and who has to perform one last task – the of the Universe but something something goes wrong.
Yahiya Emerick (USA)
Yahiya Emerick is an educator and author. He has written a number of youth chapter-style adventure novels: Ahmad Deen and the Curse of the Aztec Warrior, Finders Keepers and Other Stories, The Seafaring Beggar and Other Tales, Ahmad Deen and the Jinn at Shaolin, Layla Deen and the Case of the Ramadan Rogue, Isabella: A Girl of Muslim Spain.
Hal W. Hall (USA)
Hal W. Hall is one of the foremost Bibliographer and Librarians in the domain of Science Fiction literature with almost 50 years of experience in the area. He has written extensively on the subject and has a large number of compilations under his belt. He has indexed close to 200,000 resources on Science Fiction which is staggering feat in itself especially in the pre-internet days.
Najiyah Diana Helwani (USA / Syria)
Najiyah Diana Helwani is an American and is currently based in Syrian. She is the author of Sophia’s Journal: Time Warp 1857 – a time travel coming of age novel set in Kansas right before the Civil War. She has published a number of articles and pieces of poetry. Najiyah currently teaches English and writing in Damascus, Syria. When in the US she conducts workshops on Islam and the history of United States’ relations with the Middle East.
Yakoub Islam (Britain)
Yakoub Islam in a British Muslim writer who also runs the Tasneem Project and Steampunk Islam project. He also created the Muslim Aracrchist Charter. He is working on the first Muslim Steampunk novel which is set in the 11-12th centuries. Yakoub defines the project as follows: ”Muslim Steampunk combines the aesthetics of the 12th century Middle East and Mediterranean and pre-modern Islamic science, with an imagined steam technology developed from the Greek Hero engine.” His notes and background research on the novel is available on his website. In addition to the subject being interesting in itself, the web archive also serves a fascinating look into the process of writing a novel. He also blogs at Steampunk Shariah.
Achmed Adolf Wolfgang Khammas (Germany/Syria)
Achmed Adolf Wolfgang Khammas has written on the subject of the lack of Science Fiction in Arabic Literature and has written Science Fiction stories himself. Achmed was born in Berlin in 1952 to a German mother and Iraqi father and grew up in Damascus. Currently he is also active in the field of sustainable energy.
Ken Kalfus (USA)
Ken Kalfus is an American author an journalist who has won numerous prestigious awards and also been nominated for many others. He was also the Guggenheim Fellow in 2009. He has written for Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, and The New York Times. A film adaptation of his short story Pu-239 has been aired on HBO.
Irving Karchmar (USA)
Irving Karchmar is an American Muslim convert and is also a darvish of the Nimatullahi Sufi. He is also the author of Master of the Jinn: A Sufi Novel. The novel revolves around the discovery of a ring by archaeologists which may be the ring of Soloman from which he commanded the loyalty of Jinns. Unable to solve the mystery through Science the archaeologists seek the help of a sufi master and they set off on a fantastic journey in the Sahara to solve the mysteries of the ring. The novel has garnered widespread acclaim and has been translated into at least 8 languages.
Ahmed A. Khan (Canada)
Ahmed A. Khan is a Canadian Muslim Science Fiction author originally hailing from India. He has published more than 40 short stories, published in Interzone, HP Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror etc and he has a number of anthologies including the first anthology on Islam and Science Fiction.
Usman Malik (USA/Pakistan)
Usman T. Malik is a personal friend who is also an award-winning speculative fiction author. He is also from Lahore, Pakistan. He is the first Muslim and Pakistani to win the Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction and was the finalist for the Nebula Award twice in a row. His work has been published in The Apex Book of World SF, Nightmare, Strange Horizons, Black Static and in many anthologies.
Noura Al-Nouman (UAE)
Noura Al Noman is an Emirati writer from Sharjah. She studied English literature at the UAE University and got Masters in Translation in 2004 from the American University in Sharjah. Previous to her current foray into Science Fiction she has written children’s books in the past. Ajwan is her first science fiction novel and will be launched on the second day of the Sharjah International Book Fair November 8th, 2012. It is being published by Nahdet Misr, the Egyptian Publishers who have translated The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Spiderwick Chronicles. Ajwan is about a 19-year-old girl on a journey of empowerment, who comes from a “water planet” and has the ability to breathe both air and water. When her infant son gets kidnapped she has to find a way to save him while maintaining a sense of balance between peace and violence.
Naji Abdullaah Perry / Lonnie Perry (USA)
Naji Abdullaah Perry (Lonnie Perry) is a comic book artist. He has written a number of paperback books for Islamic comic books and has also done animation for the comic books. He is working on a number of titles: HAQQ, Jinn Hunters, Rainbowman, and many others. Rainbowman can be seen on Arabicteacher.com. When Naji is not working on his comic book and art business, he is teaching and playing golf, and practicing Aikido martial arts.
Larissa Sansour (Palestine/USA)
Larissa Sansour is a Palestinian artist. She was raised in Palestine but had to move when the events in the Middle East forced her to move first to Europe and then for higher studies in the US where she received MA in Art from NYU. Her work is interdisciplinary in nature and covers multiple mediums and is usually informed by current political themes. Her work spans utilities video art, photography, documentary, graphic arts, the book form and the internet. Her work has been featured in a number of galleries, museums, film festivals and art publications worldwide. Many of her works are informed by science fiction themes. Her project Nation Estate gained world wide attention which presents a dystopic vision of the Palestinian state which exists in the form of a single skyscraper and is surrounded by a concrete wall and houses the entire Palestinian population. Each Palestinian city has its own floor and intercity trips which were previously marred by checkpoints are now made by elevator.
Pamela Taylor (USA)
Pamela Taylor is a Muslim American poet and a writer. She has published a number of Science short stories in various collections like A Mosque Amongst the Stars, Citizen Culture Magazine etc. She has worked as a journalist, and has published fiction, poetry, reviews, and op-ed pieces in the Muslim and mainstream presses. She has also edited and contributed to a number of genres. She is also part of the Islamic Writers Alliance.
Craig Thompson (USA)
Craig Thompson is a well known comic book and graphic novels artist. His 600-page autobiographical graphic novel Blankets has won numerous prestigious awards including the 2004 Eisner Award, for Best Graphic Album-New and Best Writer/Artist, Harvey Awards, for Best Artist, Best Cartoonist, and Best Graphic Album of Original Work and two Ignatz Awards, for Outstanding Graphic Novel or Collection and Outstanding Artist. His latest work is the 672-page graphic novel which is inspired from Islamic calligraphy and Middle Eastern fairly tale narratives. Additionally his cover design for the Menomena album Friend and Foe received a Grammy nomination for Best Recording Package in 2007.
Razwan Ul-Haq (UK)
Razwan Ul-Haq is a British Muslim artist with a wide range of artistic styles. His work can be described as The experiential Islamic Art … is a post-modern reflection, that draws from the well that fed the traditional calligraphic foundations of Islamic Art. Razwan uses a number of Science Fiction motifs in his work.
G. Willow Wilson (USA)
Wilson is a writer and scholar, a convert to Islam whose commentary often addresses Islamic and interfaith issues. An avid supporter of new and alternative media, Wilson has written for political and culture blogs from across a wide spectrum of views. Her official website is at the following link: http://www.gwillowwilson.com
Valeria Vitale (Italy/UK)
Valeria Vitale who is the co-editor of the new anthology Fae Visions along with Djibril Al-Ayad. Vitale is from Southern Italian based in London doing PhD on 3D visualization of cultural heritage and an an avid reader of fiction. In her own words, “The idea of this anthology comes partly from our longing for the sea, and partly from our being disappointed by the amount of stories about the Mediterranean area just reflecting tourists’ or foreigners’ stereotypes.”
List of Future Interviewees
- Dawud Kringle (US)
- Yusuf Nurruddin (US)