Friday Finds: Two Contributors to Iraq + 100 Reflect on Science Fiction in Arabic Literature

I can paint a vivid picture of sights, smells, and sounds of a market place in Baghdad, but ask me to imagine it with time travel, aliens, a post apocalypse and I’d not be able to get past that first four lines. In his Futuhat al-Makiyya, written around 1238, he describes his travels to “vast cities (outside earth), possessing technologies far superior than ours.”
Read the whole piece at the   Tor/Forge Blog. This dearth of genre fiction is surprising given the history of the region. It was a good kind of strange. Hassan Blasim and Ra Page, by two contributors, appeared this week on the Tor/Forge blog ahead of the book’s US release next week:
Contributor “Anoud,” who contributed the short story “Kahramana,” said, in part:
When asked to contribute to the anthology I struggled. More:
A review of Iraq + 100   on   In These Times   by ArabLit’s founding editor
‘Iraq + 100’ Contributor Anoud on Writing Anger, Violence, and   Comedy
Iraq + 100 Writers Anoud and Diyaa al-Jubeili, Writing ‘About the Fires Burning You Up from   Within’
Also:
Anoud refers to Ahmed Saadawi’s   Frankenstein in Baghdad,   which won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction and will (finally) be forthcoming in translation by Jonathan Wright in January 2018, timed with the 200th anniversary of the publication of   the original   Frankenstein. Advertisements

Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLinkedInRedditGoogleTumblrPinterestPocketLike this:Like Loading…‹ Poet Ramy al-Asheq: ‘In the Sea’s Playground’Categories: Iraq I’d never imagined Iraq that way and it was as if the other writers just opened up a new portal into Iraq for me, and it was kind of exciting. I find my story “Kahramana” as more futuristic than full on Sci-Fi, if that makes sense. I felt strange when I read some of the other writers’ contributions like “Kuszib,” “Nujefa” or “Baghdad Syndrome”. It was just too much headspace and I didn’t know where to start. I also found elements of proto-speculative fiction in the works of the Sufi scholar Ibn Arabi from Murcia (today’s Spain). One Thousand and One Nights, the quintessential fantasy collection, was first compiled and published in the Middle East. From the comments by Ibrahim Al-Marashi, author of “Najufa”:
As a historian, I was intrigued by Hassan’s lament in the introduction that there is not a strong science fiction and fantasy literary tradition in the modern Middle East. Normally I look at things I’ve lived or seen and dissect them. Some reflections on the   Iraq + 100   anthology, ed.