There’s been a lot on Twitter recently about #MuslimShelfSpace and one genre I’ve not seen mentioned much is that of Sci-Fi, so I present to you a list of Sci-Fi stories featuring Muslim characters to add to your to-read list.
ISTANBUL: QUEEN OF CITIES. Here histories, empires, and continents meet and cross. It is the mid-twenty first century and Turkey is a proud and powerful member of a European Union that runs from the Atlantic to Mt. Ararat.
In the sleepy Istanbul district of Eskiköy stands the former whirling dervish house of Adem Dede. Six characters’ lives revolve around it.
Over the space of five days of an Istanbul heat wave, these lives weave a story of corporate wheeling and dealing, Islamic mysticism, political and economic intrigues, ancient Ottoman mysteries, a terrifying new terrorist threat, and a nanotechnology with the potential to transform every human on the planet.
In medieval Baghdad, a penniless man is brought before the most powerful man in the world, the caliph himself, to tell his story. It begins with a walk in the bazaar, but soon grows into a tale unlike any other told in the caliph’s empire. It’s a story that includes not just buried treasure and a band of thieves, but also men haunted by their past and others trapped by their future; it includes not just a beloved wife and a veiled seductress, but also long journeys taken by caravan and even longer ones taken with a single step. Above all, it’s a story about recognizing the will of Allah and accepting it, no matter what form it takes.
In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients—dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups—from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif—the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the state’s electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover’s new fiancé is the “Hand of God,” as they call the head of state security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground.
When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen.
In a decadent world of cheap pleasures and easy death, Marid Audrian has kept his independence the hard way. Still, like everything else in the Budayeen, he’s available…for a price.
For a new kind of killer roams the streets of the Arab ghetto, a madman whose bootlegged personality cartridges range from a sinister James Bond to a sadistic disemboweler named Khan. And Marid Audrian has been made an offer he can’t refuse.
The 200-year-old “godfather” of the Budayeen’s underworld has enlisted Marid as his instrument of vengeance. But first Marid must undergo the most sophisticated of surgical implants before he dares to confront a killer who carries the power of every psychopath since the beginning of time.
Four centuries after humanity has colonized the galaxy, information freight companies are used as an alternative to electronic communication. On one of her frequent trips into deep space, Katmer Al-Shei, owner of one of the smaller information companies, is accused of smuggling artificial intelligence. When Al-Shei tries to clear her name, she uncovers conspiracy after conspiracy, all set against the backdrop of a looming war.
Written for the discerning science fiction reader, the book races from the creation to apocalypse and from the ordinary to utter insanity, while the fire smoldering between the words may indeed set preconceptions alight. He who doesn’t lose himself doesn’t understand or he who understands loses himself. Translated seamlessly by English writer and translator Feyza Howell.
HWJN is the #1 selling Arabic book in Saudi, it is a mix between fantasy, SciFi and romance. While most people get excited about legends of spirits and genies (Jinn) and pass it on as the listen to it with awe and horror (after adding their own spices to it); here comes Hawjan. The young Jinni who is in his early nineties to redefine our understanding of the Jinn world that resembles ours in so many ways, still it is a parallel dimension to ours. He shares his tale so that we can live it through a “human” perspective regardless of the differences between our two worlds.
How would the world look like if major historical events in the Islamic world played out differently? How would technology develop?
#Yaqteenya is an alternate history novel that explores those questions from an Middle Eastern point of view, in a setting that is part SciFi and part fantasy.
Yaqteenya is facing its first civil war, To save it from it self, Al-Baz needs to break its #1 law and leave Yaqteenay to find answers about the truth that the rulers of the land.
Have you read any of these? What did you think? Are there any books I missed out that you think should be included? Let me know!