This spotlight on Palestinian SFF was originally published in our SFF newsletter, Swords and Spaceships. Sign up for it here to get SFF news, reviews, deals, and more!
As I often do when terrible things are happening in the world and I’ve made all the phone calls I can and I still feel helpless, I turn to SFF as one way we can all at least connect together. So let’s talk about SFF by Palestinian authors. There isn’t a lot in (or translated to) English, but it’s still very worth reading.
The speculative fiction magazine Strange Horizons published a Palestinian Special issue on March 29, 2021. There are short stories and poetry to check out there.
Palestine+100: Stories from the Century After the Nakba Edited by Basma Ghalayini
An anthology of short SFF fiction by 12 Palestinian authors who have been asked to imagine what 2048 will look like. Stories were translated to English by Raph Cormack, Mohamed Ghalaieny, Andrew Leber, Thoraya El-Rayyes, Yasmine Seale and Jonathan Wright. (IIRC this anthology was inspired by Iraq+100, which is also excellent.)
Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands by Sonia Nimr, Translated by Marcia Lynx Qualey
Half historical novel, half fable, this is the story of a young Palestinian woman who travels the world (sometimes while disguising herself as a boy) solving mysteries and having adventures. She may never find a home for herself, but she builds a family. (The translator writes for Book Riot.)
Reworlding Ramallah Edited by Callum Copley
This anthology of short fiction came out of a series of science fiction workshops run by Callum Copley. (This book does ship internationally.)
The Book of Disappearance by Ibtisam Azem, Translated by Sinan Antoon
This deeply unsettling novel imagines a world in which all of the Palestinians disappear all at once, leaving their Israeli neighbors confused and frightened. A traumatized Jewish journalist investigates and finds the journal of his vanished neighbor, Alaa, in which he converses with his dead grandmother.
While obviously not a book, Palestinian direction Larissa Sansour has filmed a trilogy of science fiction films. You can learn more about them at Mec Film along with In Vitro. There are VOD links, though sadly the films are only available in a small number of countries in Europe.