Zakariya Al-Qazwini’s Awaj bin Anfaq (Proto-Science Fiction?)

(An illustration from one of Al-Qizwini’s books)

In his review of Arabic Science Fiction Ackhmed Khammas mentions that al-Qizwini wrote a story Awaj bin Anfaq which has proto Science Fiction elements e.g., i.e., a man who came to earth from a distant planet. Abu Yahya Zakariya’ ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini ‎(1203–1283) was a Persian or Arab scientist who is most famous for two books: ‘Aja’ib al-makhluqat wa-ghara’ib al-mawjudat عجائب المخلوقات وغرائب الموجودات (“Marvels of Creatures and the Strange Things Existing”) which was supposed to be a compendium of interesting and marvelous things and a geographical dictionary, Athar al-bilad wa-akhbar al-‘ibad آثار البلاد وأخبار العباد (“Monument of Places and History of God’s Bondsmen”). These books include a lot of speculation regarding distant place, these technically are neither fiction nor non-fiction but have many elements of what we now call speculative fiction but that we would overstretching the definition a little bit.

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