Arabic Sci-Fi

Nov 10 2012

Some people have asked about Arabic science fiction, so I’m starting a list of titles here. Please feel free to tell me of others…

  • The Time Travels of the Man Who Sold Pickles and Sweets ( رحلات الطرشجي الحلوجي) by Egyptian Khairy Shalaby, translated to English by Michael Cooperson
  • Utopia
  • The Girl Who Fell to Earth
  • Throne of the Crescent Moon
  • This one is banned, and honestly I’m not sure I’d really want to read it, but it’s worth knowing about…حوجن
  • Here’s a historical one…A True Story: Parallel English and Greek by Lucien de Samosate, the Syrian, who was born in the 2nd century when eastern Turkey was part of Syria, and whose tale A True Story concerned a voyage to the Moon: he was therefore one of the early proto-SF authors.
  • Here are a couple “supernatural” story collections… The Square Moon: Supernatural Tales (Arabic Translation Award and The Seventh Heaven: Supernatural Tales
  • There’s also the story “Jullanar” in 1001 Nights (which tells a mermaid tale).
  • Future Files series by Egyptian Nabil Farouk – I would recommend his book “Tamima” to young adult readers
  • إكسير الحياة / The Elixir of Life by Moroccan Mohammed Aziz El-Habbani
  • الطوفان الأزرق / The Blue Deluge and other books by Moroccan Ahmed Abd El-Salam El-Baqqali – He writes for young adults, and his writing has been compared to Jules Verne and Ralph Ellison.
  • مجرد حلم / Just a Dream by Moroccan Abd El-Rahim Buhayr – treats social and political issues
  • السيد من حقل السبانخ / The Guy from the Spinach Field – futuristic novel about state politics, freedom, and illusions of freedom
  • اجوان and sequel ماندان by Noura Noman – see this discussion and interview
  • also see this discussion and this interview with Ana Barbaro

  art: ‘Warrior’ by Matt Leines










And on the topic of science fiction, see Ed Finn’s post on science fiction in popular culture and higher education here.

For a combination of Arabic culture and Sci Fi fandom, see the work of Sophia Al-Maria, who coined the term ‘Gulf Futurism’. I have a brief review of her book, The Girl Who Fell to Earth.

2 responses so far

  1. Hi Melanie,

    Here is a list (below) of authors I’m working on (PhD in Arabic SF at Durham University, UK). I started out with Achmed Khammas’ 2006 Essay “The Almost Complete Lack of the Element of Futureness” available here

    I have most of them, but not all – some of them are pretty much impossible to get hold of! Though I think the Bibliotheca in Alexandria has a couple of the more elusive ones.

    Best Regards,

    Al-Hababi, Mohammad Aziz al-Habābī. Al-Iksīr Al-Ḥīāt. Casablanca: ʻUyūn al-maqālāt, 1988 or Cairo: Dār Al-Hilal, 1974

    Al-Ḥakim, Towfīq. Lū ᶜrif Ash-shabāb. Cairo: Dār Maṣr Lil-Ṭabāᶜa, no date.

    Al-Ibrahim, Taiba Ahmed. Al-Insān Al-Mutaᶜdad. 1992.

    Al-Sibāᶜi,Yūsuf. Leesto Waḥdak. Cairo: Dār Maṣr Lil-Ṭabāᶜa, 1970.

    Al-Quwayrī, Yūsuf. Min mofkirat Rajul lam yūlad. Benghazi: Dār Al-Rūwād, 1997.

    Al-ᶜshrī, Moḥammed. Khiyāl Sākhin. Beirut: Arab Scientific Publishers, 2008.

    Al-ᶜshrī, Moḥammed. Tufāḥat Al-Ṣaḥrāᵓ. Beirut: Arab Scientific Publishers, 2007.

    Al-ᶜshrī, Moḥammed. Ghādat Al-Asāṭīr. Beirut: Arab Scientific Publishers, 2009.

    Fārūq, Nabil. Milāf Al-Mustaqbal series

    Faqih, Ashraf Iḥsān. Nayīf wa ᶜshrūn ḥīāt. Beirut and London: Dār Al-Ḥarf Al-ᶜrabī, 2006.

    Faqih, Ashraf Iḥsān. Ṣāᵓd Al-Ashbāḥ. Riyadh: 1997.

    Faqih, Ashraf Iḥsān. Ḥanīnan Ila Al-Nijūm. Riyadh: 2000.

    Idrīs, Yūsuf. Al-Jins al-Thālath. Cairo: Nahḍet Miṣr, 1971 .

    ᶜnāyat, Rājī. Al-Ashbaḥ al-Mushāghiba. 1995.

    Mūsa, Ṣabrī. As-Sayīd min al-hoql al-asfānkh.

    Kamāl, Zohir. Ṣayīd Ath-Thelj. Beirut: Arab Scientific Publishers, 2006.

    Khafājī, Omayma. Jarīma Al-ᶜālam. 1994

    Mᶜāṭi, Ṣalāḥ. ᶜyūn Ainshtein: Quṣuṣ min al-Khiyāl Al-ᶜlmī. Cairo: General Egyptian Book Organisation, 2006.

    Mᶜāṭi, Ṣalāḥ. Al-Kawkab al-Jinna. Cairo: Dār Al-Fārūq, 2008.

    Maḥmūd, Muṣṭafa. Al-ᶜnkabūt. Fifth Edition. Cairo: Dār Al-Mᶜārif, 1989.

    Maḥmūd, Muṣṭafa. Rajul taḥt al-Ṣifr. Cairo: Dār Akhbār Al-Youm, 2008.

    Manṣūr, Anīs. Illathina Habaṭū min Al-Samāᵓ. (1989) Twelfth Edition. Cairo: Dār Al-Shūrūq, 2010.

    ᶜmrān, Ṭālib. Jazīrat Al-Mūt (Quṣuṣ min al-khiyāl al-ᶜlmī). Damascus: Arab Writers’ Union, 2007.

    ᶜmrān, Ṭālib. Al-Azmān Al-Moẓlama. Second edition. Damascus: Dār Al-Fikr, 2006.

    ᶜmrān, Ṭālib. Faḍāᵓ Wāsᶜ ka Al-Hilm. Damascus: Dār Al-Fikr, 1997.

    ᶜmrān, Ṭālib. Leesat fī al-qamr fuqarāᵓ. Damascus; Dār Al-Fikr, 1997.

    ᶜmrān, Ṭālib. Rajul min Al-Qārat Al-Mafqūda. Damascus: Dār Al-Fikr, 2002.

    Raᵓif, Aḥmed. Al-Buᶜd Al-Khāmis.

    Sherīf, Nihad. Raqm 4 Yā mrkum.

    Sherīf, Nihad. Qāhr Al-Zaman.

    Sherīf, Nihad. Sukān al-ᶜālam al-thānī.

    Towfīq, Aḥmed Khāled. Utopia. Doha: Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, 2010.

    Qāssem, Qāssem. Lᶜnat al-Ghraiyūm.

    Waṣfī, Rᵓaūf . Ash-Shabāḥ fī al-Faḍāᶜ. Cairo:

    Waṣfī, Rᵓaūf . Kabitān al-Faḍāᶜ fī Rihlat Ghāmida. Cairo: Dār Al-Mᶜārif, 2006.


  2. Thanks Barbara, It’s great being in touch with you!

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