Islam and Science Fiction website would like to welcome a new contributor to the website, Rebecca Hankins. She is an Associate Professor as well as a librarian at the Texas A&M University. She has written an extensive article on the subject of Muslims and Islam in Science Fiction. Her interested include African Diaspora, Women Studies, Muslims and Islam in Science fiction, fantasy, and comics, Middle Eastern/Islamic Studies. She would be a valuable addition to the website. Welcome to the website Sister Rebecca!
This article will provide a literary review of some scholarly writings on Islamic science fiction and fantasy and an analysis of two novels that incorporate Muslims and Islam in their science fiction storyline, one from Brian Aldiss’s HARM (2007) and Ali Mazrui’s The Trial of Christopher Okigbo (1971). Although over 30 years separate the publications of Aldiss and Mazrui, the similarities in some of the themes of both books are uncanny and offer some interesting observations on Islam as imagined in the science fiction genre, past and present, minor and major.
Published in the journal Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction Issue 105: Fall 2009.
The complete article can be downloaded here.
Ahmed A. Khan, a Canadian Science Fiction writer and who was also the co-editor of the Anthology A Mosque Amongst the Stars with me has an article on what constitutes Islamic Science Fiction. Here is his definition of Islamic Science Fiction.
Islamic SF would be any speculative story that is positively informed by Islamic beliefs and practices. Below is a partial list of what we could consider as Islamic SF:
1. Any speculative story that strives to state the existence of the One God as described above.
2. Any speculative story that exhorts universal virtues and/or denigrates universal vices.
3. Any speculative story that deals in a positive way with any aspect of Islamic practices, like hijab, fasting, etc.
4. Any speculative story that features a Muslim as one of its main characters and the actions of this Muslim in the story reflect Islamic values.
5. Any speculative story which takes on one or more elements from the Qur’an or the teachings of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), in a positive way.
The complete article can be read at the following URL:
The creator of the “X-Men” series and “All Star Batman and Robin,” Jim Lee was recently in Egypt celebrating his wedding anniversary with his wife. Lee also hinted that he might be working on the acclaimed Muslim comic “The 99″ in the future.
Achmed Khammas has written a fascinating article The Almost Complete Lack of the Element of “Futureness” which discusses why there is an almost lack of interest and even awareness about Science Fiction in the Arab world. One of the reaons why there is an almost lack of futureness in Arab Fiction is because “they prefer to hark back to a glorious past, which, in hindsight, appears brighter and shinier than any imaginable future in these desolate economies, under these rigid regimes and under the increasing pressure of globalisation. This behaviour is understandable, since these things are constantly present in everyday life for most Arab people. And for many, the daily reality proves that the war is a long way from being over.” While one may or may not agree with Achmed Khammas’ analysis but it is definitely worth a read. His analysis can be summarized by the following quote from Dr. Omar Abdelaziz. A scientific novel which is connected with phantasy cannot fall on fertile ground in an environment of preprepared answers and rejection of a culture of knowledge. The complete article can be read at the following URL:
Anthony Burgess’ 1985 was intended as a tribute to George Orwell’s 1985. The two major themes of the novel are the rise of trade unions and the influence of Islam and Muslims as a sinister force in Britain mainly because of a large scale immigration of Muslims from the Middle East. There is a conspiracy afloat for the Muslim takeover of Britain.
Here is the book description from Amazon.
As William the Conqueror’s men attempt to stamp out the flames of rebellion, a prophecy is uttered. A bedraggled woman in a ruined chapel speaks of civilizations in conflict, armed by the engines of God…
And that prophecy proves to be true as the fearsome war between Christianity and Islam leaves its mark across the land. In Spain, a rogue priest dreams of the final defeat of Islam, for he has found a rent in the tapestry of time, a point where agents from the future used diabolical weapons of destruction to change history. Centuries later, in 1492, as men of vision weary of the strife and are drawn to the unknown West, one such explorer seeks the funding for his voyage- while a mysterious Weaver plots to unravel the strands of time and stop him.
Thanks to Ahmed N. for the pointer.
A Mosque Amongst The Stars, an anthology that I was co-editing with Ahmed A. Khan has been released. More information on the book can be found on the book webpage here. The table of contents is available here and contributing author bios can be read at this webpage. Currently the book can be ordered via e-mail by sending an e-mail to Ahmed A. Khan at: firstname.lastname@example.org