The Golem and the Jinni

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The Golem and the Jinni is the Debut novel by Helene Wecker. combines themes from the Islamic and Jewish literature in the setting of late 19th century America.  In a way the Golem who is from Danzing Germany and the Jinni who is from Syria are immigrants to the new world. Here is what the New York Times has to say about the novel.

History, magic and religion braid together in old New York’s tenements while the lives of the widowed golem and the freed jinni unfold. Both are sleepless; both quickly find lodging and employment and receive names from the humans who accept their true natures — the golem is known as Chava, or “life”; the jinni is Ahmad. These relatively small moments open up into a languorous meditation-by-example on the nature of humanity, desire, conscience and free will.

Thanks to M.M for the pointers.

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

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Unravel Me is a Young Adult novel, part of the Shatter Me series, by the American author Tahereh Mafi which can be described as set in X-manish Dystopia where food and water are scarce. There is an organization set to reestablish order in the world but has other motives as well. Tahereh Mafi is a California-based Young Adult fiction author. Here is an interesting quote from Teenink:

“I only know now that the scientists are wrong. The world is flat. I know because I was tossed right off the edge and I’ve been trying to hold on for 17 years. I’ve been trying to climb back up for 17 years but it’s nearly impossible to beat gravity when no one is willing to give you a hand.”

Official Website:  Tahereh Writes

Evangelizing to the aliens

While it strictly does not fall under Islam and Sci-fi but Eric Wilkerson recently did an art piece for the September 2013 issue of “Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show” showing a priest evangelizing to an alien. Since Islam is also an evangelizing religion this art piece seemed relevant and perhaps it can also spark a conversation in the Islamic blogsophere. (h/t IO9)SojournEW

Video of Geeks of Color Assemble NYCC Panel Video

As promised here is the video of our Geeks of Color Assemble panel at the New York Comic Con (NYCC). I have been meaning to post these for a while but my mind has been fixated on the recent tragic event. The news of this video was also the last thing about the Islam and Science Fiction project that I told my father about. Islam and Science Fiction will be hopefully back to its regular posting schedule now. Thanks to all the friends and fans of the project for their kind words in this hour. Without further ado here is the video of our panel.

Death of my father

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All good things must come to an end. With a heavy heart I have announce that my father passed away last week. The death of a loved one, especially one’s father can  be a world shattering event. That has certainly been the case for me. I would like to thank family, friends and even strangers for reaching out and remembering me in this time of need. Islam and Science Fiction will resume its regular series of posts from tomorrow onwards.

A Personal Note: Sickness in Family

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Dear Readers, This post is a departure from our usual posts. I seldom post about personal stuff but now there is a sickness in the family. My father is in the hospital and his condition is not improving. Please remember him in your prayers and your thoughts. I wont be able to do the Pakistani Science Series next week as I had promised but there will be other updates but less frequently though. Your prayers and wishes are greatly appreciated.

Geeks of Color Assemble Panel at NYCC

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(Image Source: PC Magazine)

The Minorities in Fandom Panel at the New York Comic Con was a huge success. We had a house full and in fact the number of audience members that were allowed in the room because of capacity issues capped out ten minutes before the panel evan began. The other panelists were award-winning writer N.K. Jemisin, critic Jeffrey L. Wilson, Emmanuel Ortiz of Nerd Caliber, Science Fiction writer and Musician Muse en Lystrala, cosplayers, cosplayer Ger Tysk, cosplayer Jay Justice and our wonderful moderator Diana Pho who runs the Beyond Victoriana multicultural steampunk website. The panelists as well as the audience represented a diverse group of people and also a good demonstration of how people of different backgrounds can stand in solidarity with one another.

The issues that came up during the discussion ranged from representation of minorities in Science Fiction and Fantasy to people of color looking out for one another instead of just their own groups. Representations of minorities in these genres has certainly improved but we still have a long way to go and this improvement should not lull us into a false sense of security. There was also the recognition that minorities need to reach out to one another instead of restricting themselves to dialoging with the dominant group. There will always be people who will not be accepting but that should not deter a person from doing what they are doing.

The event was covered by the PC Magazine as well as the well known Science Fiction and Fantasy Publisher Tor on their website. Like the other panelists and the attendees I also wished that the time allocated to the panel should have been longer. Last and certainly not the least a huge thank and applause to Diana Pho of Beyond Victoriana – Multicultural Steampunk.


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Eid Mubarak from Islam and Sci-Fi

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Image Source: News Tribe

Belated Eid Greetings from Islam and Science Fiction. While the eid was a few days ago in my defense I was not able to post to get back to emails until now because of emergency in the family. Here are a few updates about the Islam and Sci-Fi project: Our panel at NYCC was hugely successful. In the next three months expect to see three week long series of posts on the following three exciting topics: Pakistani Science Fiction, Malaysian Science Fiction and Science Fiction by African American Muslims. Again. Mubarak!!!!

 

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Image Source: Pakistan33

An Urdu Brain Transplant Story from the 1930s

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I have been searching for the oldest example of a Science Fiction story in Urdu and recently I came across a novel from the 1930s. Munshi Nadim Sehbai Ferozpuri wrote a detective novel in the 1930s called Naqli Rais (Fraud Aristocrat) with Sci-Fi elements. The premise of the story is that a surgeon transplants the brain of mad woman into the skull of a beautiful healthy woman and that of the beautiful woman into that of the deranged woman. The story is mainly about a detective trying to figure out why the behavior of the woman has changed. For now at least it would be safe to assume that this may be the oldest example of a sci-fi novel or story in Urdu until we found examples of older stories that is.

Islam and Sci Fi in NYC and the New York ComicCon

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I will be in next weekend and the whole weekend after that. If anyone wants to meet  up drop me a line. Next Saturday i.e., October 12, 2013 I will be part of a panel at the New York ComicCon. If you are around then be sure to stop by and say hi. Here is detailed information about the panel!

Geeks of Color Assemble! : Minorities in Fandom

Date: Saturday, October 12
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Location: 1A17

Speakers: Diana Pho, Ger Tysk, Jay Justice, Jeffrey L. Wilson, Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad, Muse En Lystrala, Emmanuel Ortiz, N.K. Jemisin

Description:
From Community’s Abed and Troy to Miles Morales as Spiderman to Rinko Kikuchi and Idris Elba starring in Pacific Rim, this is obvious: people of color are impacting geek media. What challenges, however, do minorities still face? Discuss being a geek of color in comics, cosplay, videos games, steampunk and more. Speakers: Hugo & Nebula Award-nominated writer N.K. Jemisin, Jeffrey L. Wilson, Emmanuel Ortiz, Muse en Lystrala, Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad, Ger Tysk, and Jay Justice. Moderated by Diana Pho (a.k.a. Ay-leen the Peacemaker) of Tor Books and Tor.com.