Muslims in Science Fiction? Yes! @Islamscifi

I grew up on Star Wars, Star Trek, read Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit….science fiction and fantasy were my favourite escape pods. I loved these genres as a child, and I still do. But did I ever come across sci-fi/fantasy characters who were Muslim too? Nope. Not until Alif The Unseen, by the brilliant G. Willow Wilson. She’s also the writer behind Kamala Khan, a Pakistani American Marvel comic superhero. Ah, representation matters.

Muslims in science fiction. It’s a growing thing. Click here for the super exciting ISLAMICATE SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY COMPETITION! Spread the word!

 

 

Sci-Fi Movie Review: Elysium

Elysium_PosterDirector Neill Blomkamp has once again delivered with Elysium. Matt Damon plays Max Da Costa, one of the many residents of an overpopulated, poverty-stricken Earth. Jodie Foster plays Secretary Delacourt, the glacial defense secretary of Elysium, a space-station designed to be a paradisial playground for the rich. No war, no disease, no poverty. And with Secretary Delacourt in charge, no chance of anyone infiltrating Elysium. Until our underdog protagonist comes along, guns blazing.

Anyone who’s watched District 9 will be familiar with the gut-wrenching sci-fi narratives produced by Blomkamp. Elysium wasn’t as violent as District 9, but it also lacked the deft touch and subtleties which made District 9 so incredible.

If you enjoy a good sci-fi story with a lot of explosive action scenes, then you’ll enjoy Elysium. It’s a lot more heavy-handed than District 9, and it would have done better if we had more time to explore the back-stories of the main characters. Less shooting, and more character exploration, I say.

Spoilers ahead!

It was chilling to watch two of the three illegal shuttles heading towards Elysium getting shot down. Art imitating life, especially with the rising numbers of people dying on the boats to Australia. People smuggling is alive and well, and the best kind of sci-fi/fantasy forces us to reflect on what’s happening in the real world.

Police brutality takes on a whole new meaning in Elysium, with robots literally having no mercy with the human population. Max gets his arm broken in the first ten minutes of the movie because he started mouthing off to the unsympathetic police cop. His conversation with the robot parole officer is even more ludicrous.

Watching the mild-mannered protagonist from District 9 playing a psychotic sleeper agent in Elysium was really jarring. I could barely recognize him! Then I did, and it was kinda creepy. Sharlto Copey is clearly a very versatile actor. You can hear Copey’s thoughts about his role as Kruger in Elysium.

The use of language in Elysium was very clever. Spanish was used by the working class of underprivileged Los Angeles, while up in the paradisial space-station, English, French and German were used by the polished elite. Definite class commentary there. I couldn’t figure out what accent Secretary Delacourt had while she spoke in English. Not quite British, definitely not American, but very…clipped. You can watch Jodie Foster’s interview about Elysium here.

The ending of the movie was just epic. It was heart-wrenching to watch Spider (Wagner Moura) reboot the entire system of Elysium and change Earth’s population’s illegal status to legal. Everyone on Earth became a citizen of Elysium, causing a mass influx of coveted med-bays to be sent down to Earth! Sigh. If only that kind of technology was really available.

I’m looking forward to Blomkamp’s next sci-fi movie – Chappie.

Blomkamp previously said that “Chappie” will be a “touching” story, “but, you know, fraught with gunfire.”

LOL.

Daily Science Fiction – my story made it to the second round!

logo-highlightRaidah,

We have good news and we have bad news. The good news is that your story has made our second round, rarified company that more than 90% of submissions do not reach. While half or more of our second round stories will not ultimately see publication under the DSF rocket, this story has reached the final go/no-go before launch.

The bad news–and I promised you some bad news–is that it will take us time to make that final decision. Expect an additional two weeks or so, but don’t be surprised if it’s a month from today. Thanks for your continued patience, and thanks for sending us this worthy submission.

 – Jonathan & Michele, Daily Science Fiction

I’m hopeful that my flash fiction urban fantasy story will get published, but if not – hey, it made it 90% of the way. If there’s something I’ve learned through my freelance career as a writer, it’s this – celebrate every milestone! In something as amorphous as a writing career, it’s easy to feel disheartened by rejection, or the very long response times from editors. Keep at it, and live in hope that your stories will meet the light of day.

Strange Horizons article – Don’t just write one story

indexEid Mubarak to one and all!

Over the weekend, I’ve realised that there are some AMAZING science-fiction and fantasy magazines out there. Here’s a Top Ten Science Fiction Magazines list to point you to the right direction. With my recent focus on writing non-fiction pieces, I’ve forgotten how fun it is to be immersed in the world of sci-fi/fantasy, and how enjoyable it is to write in that genre.

I’ve been enjoying the stories on Clarkesworld Magazine as well as Daily Science Fiction. Personally, I’m a fan of flash fiction (1000 words), but I’m also liking the longer pieces. I really liked this flash fiction piece – Zombie Widows.

On the topic of writing for these SF mags, I read a funny and encouraging piece on Strange Horizons by Jed Hartman –  Don’t just write one story. Check it out! His article encourages writers to keep writing and submitting to different magazines to increase the likelihood of publication. Sounds pretty obvious, right? In a sense, it is (teachers teach, writers write), but it’s easy to get bogged down while waiting for a response from one particular SF mag.  Response times may vary from a few weeks at the very earliest to a few months. Plus, knowing that you’ve got several other stories sent out to different mags makes rejection a lot easier to handle. Don’t give up!

I need to make a spreadsheet of the different stories and articles I’ve sent out, and the estimated times the various editors will take to get back to me….