Palestine +100 – stories from a century after the Nakba (red. Basma Ghalayini) [2019]

Palestinian sci-fi! Good sci-fi should capture essential human dilemmas and shed light on philosophical issues. The stories here are mired in the conflict; the dreams can not reach beyond Apartheid walls, ethnic issues and surveillance states. It probably speaks more to the level and depth of Israeli oppression of Palestinians than the authors’ lack of imagination. Certain parts of certain texts show promise but few of the ideas can carry a story all the way. An interesting mix of styles, but all in all, unfortunately, still very immature and for a niched audience, to which I count myself.

Palestinian refugees are, in this sense, like nomads travelling across a landscape of memory. They carry their village in their hearts, like an internal compass where ‘north’ is always Palestine. They pass this compass down to their children, who sketch in the details on an ever-fading map…

 

It is perhaps for this reason that the genre of science fiction has never been particularly popular among Palestinian authors; it is a luxury, to which Palestinians haven’t felt they can afford o escape. The cruel present (and the traumatic past) have too firm a grip on Palestinian writers’ imaginations for fanciful ventures into possible futures.

Majd Kayyal, N:

It’s a bitch, that thing they call an upbringing. Were only aware of the very end of its tail but its smooth slippery body stretches under our clothes and its head bites our children with poisonous memories, with images we spent a var and a lifetime trying to bury.

 

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