?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Black Gate 4

A New Anthology

You might not have noticed, but we don't see a whole lot of Moslem protagonists in science fiction and fantasy.

A recent collection assembled by Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad and Ahmed A. Khan sought to address that very problem with twelve stories, including a reprint of a Dabir and Asim story from yours truly.

Too often our science fiction and fantasy is informed only by western outlooks, and it's about time somebody made a collection like this available. I have my fingers crossed that it's the first of many -- the editors, though, need readers, so I hope you'll try it out!

Here's the Kindle link:

http://www.amazon.com/A-Mosque-Among-the-Stars/dp/B0027P87LU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1240829292&sr=8-1


Comments

That looks absolutely amazing, but I'm not a Kindler. Is there any chance of release in a dead tree format, do you know?
Hi, Ari. And thanks for your interest in the anthology. I am one of its editors. Just let me have your email address and I will email you info about how you can obtain a dead tree copy of the book. My own email is khan dot ahmeda at gmail dot com.
E-mail sent. And thanks. :-)
Thanks for mentioning "A Mosque Among the Stars", Howard. I am sending you a private message with a response to your PM.
I wish that sf editors would get less politically correct so that we could have more Muslim antagonists, actually. The real future for the next century or two is very likely to see many wars between Western Civilization and Islam, but we're not generally allowed to talk about that in fiction -- remember just how Mark Steyn and MacLean's got into trouble?
Well, at least one of the stories in the book (and the longest one) by Tom Ligon has a Muslim antagonist. And the story has received some great reviews. Check out my blog for links to the reviews.

So I guess there is much more freedom of expression in fiction than you suppose. Mark Steyn and MacLean's got into trouble (and rightly so) for being covertly (and overtly) racist and hate-mongerers.
Mark Steyn and MacLean's got into trouble (and rightly so) ...

It is never "right" to subject someone to prosecution at law for expressing an opinion.

... for being covertly (and overtly) racist and hate-mongerers.

???!!!

Are you aware of the actual circumstances of the MacLean's case? Your statement implies ignorance on your part ... for one thing, the issue had nothing to do with any race.

Hint: it involved a favorable book review of a book the person who brought the charge disagreed with. A work of science fiction, to boot!
I was alluding to Mark Steyn and MacLean's trouble due to their support and reproduction of the Danish cartoons. And I stick by my earlier remark in this respect. If there is another issue with them, then it looks like getting into trouble is becoming habitual to them.

Now let us go back to your earlier post:

1) You talk about Muslim antagonists. I can point out several novels that have Muslim antagonists. Now here is a challenge for you. Show me one story or novel, written originally in English, that depicts a Muslim protagonist.

2) You also talk about future war between the Western civilization and Islam. First, a civilization is a state of society and society is composed of individuals. With the number of Muslims living in the West, Islam is one of the several components of the Western civilization. As such your sweeping generalization makes no sense. If you had mentioned war between the West and, say, Iraq, or war between the West and the Taliban, it would make more semantic sense.
I was alluding to Mark Steyn and MacLean's trouble due to their support and reproduction of the Danish cartoons. And I stick by my earlier remark in this respect. If there is another issue with them, then it looks like getting into trouble is becoming habitual to them.

It looks like standing on their rights as free human beings is "habitual to them." It was ultimately the Canadian Human Rights Commissions, not they, who "got into trouble" as a result of the illegitimate attempt to suppress their rights, because this alerted freedom-loving Canadians to the danger posed by the Commissions.

No people have the "right" to not be offended by criticism, or even mockery, of any ideology they hold, be it religious or secular. Thankfully, in America the First Amendment protects us from those who would try to get people "into trouble" for speaking freely.

Now here is a challenge for you. Show me one story or novel, written originally in English, that depicts a Muslim protagonist.

Sarah Zietel, Fool's War. And this in a future history in which the "clash of civilizations" happened long ago, and the Muslims decisively lost, were nearly wiped out, and became a persecuted people forced into diaspora by the conquest of the Middle East.

2) You also talk about future war between the Western civilization and Islam. First, a civilization is a state of society and society is composed of individuals. With the number of Muslims living in the West, Islam is one of the several components of the Western civilization. As such your sweeping generalization makes no sense. If you had mentioned war between the West and, say, Iraq, or war between the West and the Taliban, it would make more semantic sense.

There have been many inter-civilizational wars in the past, there will be many in the future. The series of jihads by which Islam originally brought the Mideast and many regions around under its domination were among the purest examples of inter-civilizational wars in history. Your pathetic attempt to play with definitions doesn't alter the realities involved.

I would argue that any SF story that portrays a member of any given real-world religious or ethnic group as a villain is on firm ground.

But any SF story that portrays an entire real-world religious or ethnic group as the villains--whether explicitly, or by omitting any members of said culture except the villain--espouses an agenda, consciously or not, that editors are well within their rights to reject.
But any SF story that portrays an entire real-world religious or ethnic group as the villains--whether explicitly, or by omitting any members of said culture except the villain--espouses an agenda, consciously or not, that editors are well within their rights to reject.

As should be obvious, my belief that modern Islam represents a mostly destructive and negative force in the world does not imply that all Muslims are evil. However, a "religion" is simply an "ideology about God," and like ideologies in general, can be primarily destructive in its influence -- as were fascism, Communism, and 4th-century Christianity.
As should be obvious, my belief that modern Islam represents a mostly destructive and negative force in the world does not imply that all Muslims are evil.

I have no idea, and made no comment, about any personal beliefs on your part. I'm talking about how religious or ethnic groups are portrayed in fiction.

However, a "religion" is simply an "ideology about God," and like ideologies in general, can be primarily destructive in its influence -- as were fascism, Communism, and 4th-century Christianity.

Perhaps, but again, I'm not talking about the ideology. I'm talking about the population. If a short story presents all Muslims--or all Jews, or all Christians, or all Wiccans, or all white people, or all black people--as evil, without any nod toward the notion that the villains don't represent the entirety of said group, it's not "political correctness" to object to said portrayal.
Islamic ideology is based upon the Qur'an and the teachings of Muhammad. Using those sources show me how Islam represents a mostly destructive and negative force in the world.
I am not familiar in detail with the Qu'ran, and hence cannot demonstrate this "using those sources." I am however aware of some of its contents, and know that it enjoins holy war to the point of conversion, subjugation or death against all non-Muslims, the murder of dissenters, and the treatment of women as second-class humans. It's quite true that I could find plenty of this in the Old Testament as well -- the difference is that modern Christianity and Judaism have long since progressed beyond applying those parts of the Bible literally, while modern Islam has not.
I do not intend to turn this blog into a forum for discussion of any particular takes on the merits or faults of ANY religion. If you wish to discuss this elsewhere, feel free, but THIS blog is about writing, fantasy, and most especially Black Gate and sword-and-sorcery. Other subjects are germane only as they tangentially relate to the above. At this point we have lost that relation and I want to drop this line of discussion here.

Howard
Hi there,

I'm the SF/F/H reviews editor for Publishers Weekly and would love to know whether ZC is planning to put out a paper edition of this book. Do you have contact info for a publicist there? The zcbooks.ca site seems to be down.

Best of luck with this title; it sounds terrific!

Cheers,
Rose Fox
Hi Rose.

The anthology already has a paper edition. The ZC Books website is undergoing some server problems but they can be contacted by email: zc dot press at gmail dot com. However, if you are looking for a review copy, email me your address and I will mail you the book. My email is khan dot ahmeda at gmail dot com.

Ps. I have friended you.
Too often our science fiction and fantasy is informed only by western outlooks, and it's about time somebody made a collection like this available.

Too true! And congrats on the sale :)

(Anonymous)

Let me second Peadar's comment in congratulating you on the sale; it is certainly good to see D&A getting more well-deserved exposure. --Jason T
I wonder if that's a good thing or a bad thing for my next book, whose worldbuilding is heavily influenced by early Islamic culture.