‘Spicing Up Sci-Fi’ at London’s MFest, a Festival of Muslim Cultures and Ideas

On Saturday, April 28, “Spicing Up Sci-Fi: The Dunes Strike Back” will bring science-fiction writers, artists, editors, and critics together to discuss “hybrid perspectives on sci fi”:

The Saturday, April 28 event will start at 2 pm. Tickets are £5, although the next person to support ArabLit on Patreon — at any amount from $1 — can have two free tickets.

It will be held at the British Library on Euston Road, chaired by journalist and commentator, Faisal Al Yafai.

The panel features:

• “Nafeez Ahmed, a best-selling British investigative reporter, international security analyst and author of Zero Point, a political science-fiction thriller featuring mass riots, blackouts, financial meltdown and a new oil war in Iraq to keep the world economy afloat.

• “Soren Lind, scriptwriter and co-director, will present a UK debut of the plot for In Vitro, a forthcoming CGI post-apocalyptic dystopia set in Bethlehem, co-directed with Palestinian filmmaker and artist Larissa Sansour.

• “Beaming up to join the panel from the United Arab Emirates is Noura Al- Noman, acclaimed author of the Ajwan space saga – a Young Adult book series causing a sensation in the Arabic speaking world.

•” Panel luminaries also include Naomi Foyle, author of The Gaia Chronicles, an eco-science fantasy quartet set in a post-fossil fuel Mesopotamia.

The conversation begins around the classic Frank Herbert novel Dune, which, organizers note, is:

Loaded with Islamic etymology, Dune contains an abundance of concepts derived from Arabic references such as the Butlerian Jihad (a human struggle against computers, thinking machines and conscious robots); Bene Gesserit (an ancient school of mental and physical training established primarily for female students after the Buterian Jihad destroyed the so called ‘thinking machines’ and robots; Sayyadina (women of the ‘Freman’ religious hierarchy); Jubba Cloak (a protective garment that can reflect or absorb radiant heat worn by the people of Arrakis (a futuristic desert planet); Ruh-Spirit (a ‘Freman’ belief that individuals are rooted in and capable of sensing the metaphysical world); and Mahdi (the one who will lead the ‘Freman’ to paradise).

Al-Noman, both an author and publisher, recently secured the rights to bring out Dune in Arabic.