The Islamic Science Fiction Then and Now

Centuries before invisible men, time travel, flying machines and journeys to other planets and before the Western Imagination, there was the Abbasid caliphs that established the city of Baghdad and with that came The Islamic Golden age.  Almost 1300 years ago, The scientific endeavours of Islamic empire was stuffed with the scientific curiosities that continue to flourish for another 500 years …

In the recent history one can also see the  resurgent of science fiction writing in the Moslem world from Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad (2013) reimagines Frankenstein in modern-day Iraq. In this retelling, the monster is created from body parts of different people who have died because of ethnic and religious violence – and eventually goes on a rampage of its own. In the process, the novel becomes an exploration of the senselessness of war and the deaths of innocent bystanders.

In the United Arab Emirates, Noura Al Noman’s young adult novel Ajwan (2012) follows the journey of a young, amphibious alien as she fights to recapture her kidnapped son; the book is being made into a TV series, and touches on themes including refugees and political indoctrination. In Saudi Arabia, Ibraheem Abbas and Yasser Bahjatt’s debut science-fiction novel HWJN (2013) explores gender relations, religious bigotry and ignorance, and offers a naturalistic explanation for the existence of jinns who reside in a parallel dimension.

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