A Mosque Among The Stars: Islam and Science Fiction

255 Pages · 2008 · 3.49 MB · English

  • A Mosque Among The Stars: Islam and Science Fiction














    These are works of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events,

    places, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely


    Cover art © Lee Kuruganti

    A ZC Books Presentation


    Copyright © 2008 by ZC Books

    ISBN 978-0-9783057-1-0

    First Edition November 2008

    Printed in Canada

    All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in

    any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case

    of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For

    information and permissions, please contact the publisher

    ([email protected]).



    Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmed

    A Brief Note on the Contents

    Ahmed A. Khan

    A Walk Through the Garden

    Lucius Shepard


    Donna McMahon

    Organic Geometry

    Andrew Ferguson


    Ahmed A. Khan

    Cultural Clashes in Cadiz

    Jetse De Vries

    Servant of Iblis

    Howard Jones

    The Weight of Space and Metal

    Camille Alexa

    Miss Lonelygene’s Secret

    C. June Wolf


    Pamela Kenza Taylor

    A Straight Path Through the Stars

    Kevin James Miller


    G.W. Thomas

    For a Little Price

    Tom Ligon


    Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad

    The current anthology has its roots in the Islam and Science Fiction

    website.1 When one of us, Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad, first started the

    website a couple of years ago he had not anticipated that the overwhelming

    positive response that the website would get. The scope of the website was

    to explore and document the range of depictions of Islam and Muslims in

    the Science Fiction literature. The idea of Anthology was conceived by one

    of us, Ahmed A. Khan who is a Canadian Science Fiction author. We both

    immediately recognized the need and usefulness of this Endeavour. It is an

    opportunity to present Islam and Muslims in a different light. Islam is an

    often-misunderstood religion. The media often presents a somewhat

    caricatured picture of Muslims which cannot be further from the truth. At

    the same time there are people who do use Islam for their own deranged

    purposes. However the overwhelming majority of Muslims throughout the

    world are peace loving people and are as diverse as any other group of


    Science Fiction has sometimes been described as a quintessentially

    American genre of fiction. Although biased, the view however conveys

    some sense of how Science Fiction is perceived by many through out the

    world. From a historical point of view Science Fiction was the product of

    the times – a confluence of the industrial revolution and the socio-economic

    upheavals of the 19th century. While it was almost always focused on the

    future, Science Fiction was exploring the present through the lens of the

    future. These themes are especially relevant to the Muslim world as it makes

    it transition to modernity.

    Most Islamic cultures and languages traditionally associated with Islam

    have a rich history of fantasy epics – One Thousand and One Nights in

    Arabic, Shahnama in Farsi, and Dastan-Amir-Hamza in Urdu especially

    come to mind. However Science Fiction as a popular genre of fiction is not

    yet a phenomenon in the Muslim world despite the fact that the fans of

    Science Fiction amongst the younger generation of Muslims may be as

    widespread in the Muslim world as anywhere in the West. Indigenously

    produced Science Fiction, although not a rarity, is still less common.

    Western Muslims and non-Muslims who are interested in Islamic themes,

    have emerged as a distinct demographic in recent years. Consequently the

    number of Muslims depicted in Science Fiction has greatly increased in the

    last years and thus the need for the current anthology.

    1 http://islamscifi.com Outside the world of fiction, the Muslim world offers an interesting

    glimpse of the transformative power of science and technology. Thus Dubai

    looks like a city straight out of a classic science fiction story. Even the

    conservative interpretations of Islamic law are relatively open-minded

    towards many opportunities offered by bio-technology and genetic

    engineering. The current volume, which is also the first anthology on the

    topic of Islam and Science Fiction explores a whole range of topics related

    to Islam, paints Muslims in a different light and puts them in contexts which

    many people in the do not usually associated with Muslims. It is thus the

    hope of the editors that the current volume would be an important

    contribution to the expanding sub-genre of exploring Islamic or Muslim

    related themes in Science Fiction.

    August 1, 2008

    2 A Brief Note on the Contents

    Ahmed A. Khan

    When the final assembling of the anthology came about, the editors divided

    some tasks among ourselves. Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad would write

    the introduction, putting the stories into perspective and I would take care of

    the author bios and brief notes preceding each story.

    This happens to be the third anthology I have edited in the last two

    years (the other two being “Fall and Rise” and “SF Waxes Philosophical”)

    but this anthology differs from the other two in several respects. First, this is

    the first anthology where I am partnering with another editor. Second, this is

    the first anthology where we are paying the writers an honorarium in

    addition to providing contributor’s copy. Third, size-wise, this is the biggest

    anthology of the three. Fourth, content-wise, this has more original content

    (as opposed to reprints) ratio than the other two anthologies.

    The first two stories are the only ones that are out and out reprints. The

    next four stories, starting with “Organic Geometry” and ending with

    “Servent of Iblis” are reprints with revisions new to this anthology. All the

    rest of the stories are appearing in print for the first time here.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the writers for the

    excellent stories and to Lee Kuruganti for the exciting cover art.

    I have received moral support and encouragement from several of my

    writer friends – even those who are not included in this anthology – and I

    would like to thank them all: Ted Kosmatka, Paul Carlson, Berry, Marian

    Powell, to name a few.

    I would also like to thank the readers for buying this book and would

    love to receive feedback.

    Ahmed A. Khan


    Email: [email protected]


    Lucius Shepard

    What can one say about Lucius Shepard that has not already been said? He

    is one of the most original writers of modern SF and has been writing since

    1981. His works have graced almost all the leading SF magazines and

    many non-genre magazines as well. He has won the John W. Campbell,

    Nebula, Hugo and the Rhysling awards. His stories are stylish and thought-

    provoking, and none more so than the present story.

    When the idea for this anthology started taking form in the minds of the

    editors, the first story I thought of was this one (originally published in Sci-

    Fiction, August 2003) and Lucius graciously let me have it. So here it is – a

    very strong start to the anthology.

    Paradise awaits.

    It begins at the foot of a mountain, a slice of which has been carved away by

    bombardment to expose a field of yellow flowers beneath—it looks as if the

    entire base is hollow, an immense cave utilized for this pretty purpose.

    Unreal. Like a puddle of yellow blood spilled from the side of a wounded

    rock, spread out over a patch of dead ground. To Wilson, who hails from

    Colorado, where the mountains have snow on their slopes, this mountain is

    just a big ugly hill. He's not sure, either, that he would classify the field of

    flowers as the gateway to Paradise. There seems to be a division of opinion

    as to what the field is. The bomb they used to open up the cave was

    something new. Nobody is clear about what happened. According to

    Wilson's buddy, Baxter Tisdale, a corporal who's friends with some of the

    tech specialists, the brainiacs are talking about paradigm shifts, changes on

    the quantum level. When Wilson asked what the fuck was all that, Baxter

    told him to do some IQ, he wasn't going to attempt an explanation that

    Wilson, his intellect unamplified, couldn't possibly comprehend. Wilson was

    tempted to do as Baxter said. He likes IQ, likes the rush of getting suddenly

    smart, the way the world fits around him differently. But he doesn't want to

    be too smart to do his job. In the morning they'll walk through the field of

    flowers and into the shadowy places beyond. Chances are he'll do IQ at

    some point before the mission, but right now he doesn't want to be thinking

    about that walk too deeply.

    Wilson is sitting cross-legged atop a boulder on the outskirts of a

    mountain village in northern Iraq, gazing west over a barren valley, a

    position directly across from the field of flowers. He's shirtless, wearing

    desert-camo fatigue pants and a helmet, the optics of its faceplate magnified,

    4 so it seems he's looking at the flowers from a distance of fifty feet and not,

    as is truly the case, more than a mile. Wilson loves his helmet forever and

    happily ever after. It looks dangerous-robot slick with the tiger stripes he

    painted on the sides. It has a TV mounted above the visor so he can watch

    his favorite shows. It feeds him, dopes him, keeps him cool, plays his tunes,

    tells him when to fire, where to hide. An hour before, it reminded him to

    record messages for family and friends. He sent love to his parents, talked

    dirty to his girlfriend, Laura Witherspoon, and to his best friend back in

    Greeley, he said, "Yo, Mackie! I am the magic! My boots store energy—I

    can jump twenty-five feet straight fucking up, dude! Tomorrow we're gonna

    kick some brutal ass! Talk to ya later!" Now he's in a more reflective mood.

    The thought of invading Paradise is fresh, but he's not too sure, you know.

    Intel is promoting the idea that the flowers are a terrorist hydroponics

    experiment. That sounds bullshit to Wilson. There's little doubt the ragheads

    believe it's Paradise. If the village wasn't cordoned off, the entire population

    would go running into the darkness under the mountain, even though the

    ones that did so before the Americans arrived never reappeared.

    Here and there among the flowers lie chunks of rock, some big as troop

    carriers. Wilson tells his helmet to go tight on one of the blossoms next to

    the big rock. It's long and fluted like a lily, its interior petals convulsed like

    those of a rose. He's never seen a flower resembling it. Not that he's an

    expert. The weird thing is, there are no bugs. He scans from blossom to

    blossom. Nary an ant, an aphid, or a bee. Maybe Intel isn't bullshitting,

    maybe the ragheads have developed a strain of flowers that don't need bugs

    to fertilize them. Maybe they're like a cool new drug source. Better than

    opium poppies. Wilson indulges a brief fantasy. He's back in Greeley, at a

    party, in a room with Mackie and a couple of girls, and they're about to twist

    one up when he produces a baggie filled with dried yellow petals and says,

    "Magic time." A few minutes later he and Laura Witherspoon are screwing

    on the ceiling, the walls have turned to greenish blue music, the carpet is the

    surface of a shaggy planet far below. He wishes for things he can't have.

    That Laura was with him, that he never re-upped. Most of all he wishes that

    he never volunteered for Special Ops. Depressed, he instructs his helmet to

    feed him a trippy level of downs via ocular mist. A minute drools off the lip

    of time. His head feels full of syrup, a warm sludge of thought. He's got

    Chinese eyes, he's nodding like the yellow flowers in the breeze … They're

    so close it looks as if he could reach out and snap off a blossom, lift it to his

    lips and drink secret nectar from the Garden of Allah.

    · · · · ·

    2018 hours


    Please note: To fully download this free PDF,EBook files you need know All free.
    Found by internet command,site not saved pdf file
You May Also Like

Related PPT Template in the same category.