[CORK] Islam and Sci-Fi

Justin Mason jm@jmason.org
Mon, 24 Mar 2003 16:09:06 -0800

Jeff Bone said:

> 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.

Bruce Sterling had a good one in _Mirrorshades_ too, about a near-future
Muslim US.

> 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 
> colonized.

Totally!  That was observed a few times after 9/11, too.

Isn't there some mix-and-matching involved, though?  ie.  I seem to recall
hearing that the language is based on Hebrew rather than Arabic (or maybe
that's just the phrase "kwisatz haderach", dunno).