Hosam A. Ibraham Elzembely and Emad El-Din Aysha’s Arab and Muslim Science Fiction: Critical Essays


  • Carlos Tkacz


In the preface to Arab and Muslim Science Fiction: Critical Essays, edited by Hosam A. Ibrahim Elzembely and Emad El-Din Aysha, the former writes, “This is a book dedicated to filling in the gap once and for all in the production and dissemination of knowledge about Arabic and Muslim science fiction” (1). What is most important is the perspective from which the volume operates. As Ibrahim Elzembely observes, much of the scholarship on Arabic and Muslim sf, prior to the publication of this book, has been done “from the singular perspective of a foreign expert” (1)—that is to say, the work already done in this space has mostly been done by those “not intimately acquainted with [Arab] cultural perspective and values or the exact nature of the problems they all face” (1). As such, this volume operates as a corrective to what the editors see as glaring omission in the study of global literature; as Lyn Qualey observes a few pages later in the introduction, “Most of the critical and academic attention given to science fiction has been to the literature produced in North America and Europe” (4). Against the claim that there is “there is no such thing as Arabic science fiction at all” (4), the editors and writers included in Arab and Muslim Science Fiction add to the conversation “the rich landscape of science fiction in other languages” by exploring not just that fiction itself but also “the ways in which it fuses with other literary and cultural traditions” (4).