[CORK] Islam and Sci-Fi

Jeff Bone jbone@deepfile.com
Mon, 24 Mar 2003 16:30:52 -0600

Anybody else read _When Gravity Fails_ by George Alec Effinger and its 
sequels?  Near-future somewhat-dystopian sorta-cyberpunk, set in a 
tech-infused slum (think Casbah) in a Muslim city / country.  
Interesting stuff.  Paints a fascinating picture of a (future, 
speculative, "liberal") Muslim culture that might be very different 
from the rabid neolithic suicide-bomber image that's so common.

Don't get me wrong, I think Islam is a memetic disease.  All religions 
are, IMHO, memetic diseases.  But, like different strains of biological 
parasites, different strains of the same religion (as well as different 
religions) have varying degrees of pathogenesis.

Another bit:  if you weren't paying attention closely, the reportage of 
events in Iraq could easily sound like a mixed-up retelling of "Dune."  
Shaddam = Saddam, fedaykin = fedayeen, etc.  I had lunch w/ Frank 
Herbert a few years before he died, we talked about how his Fremen 
culture was largely based on a mishmash of Bedouin and other Middle 
Eastern cultures.  He said he wouldn't be surprised if that 
marginalized subculture persisted for thousands of years, wherever we