Our authors for this issue are all resident in or part of the wider diaspora of one of the twenty-two states of the Arab league. While there is a strong and vibrant tradition of SFF in the Arabic and Middle Eastern world, to date very little of this work has been translated into English, and at a time when these cultures are often presented in narrow, harmful ways in Western media, bringing these works to an Anglophone audience is increasingly important.
In recent years there has been a wider awareness of the rich landscape of Arabic and Middle Eastern speculative literature, thanks to works like Iraq +100, which was the subject of one of our most popular roundtable discussions to date. We are excited to present new work from Diaa Jubaili, a contributor to Iraq +100, in this issue. We have also had the pleasure of reviewing work such as The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz, which have comprehensively proved that literature from the Arabic community and diaspora is not marginal to the SFF world, but central to and instrumental in the future of the genre. As such, this special issue both recognises an existing tradition, and a key moment in the popular reception of these works.
It has been a major goal of ours at Strange Horizons to do more in the arena of translated SFF. As well as the two pieces of fiction in this special issue, do consider visiting our sister magazine, Samovar, for more excellent translated fiction and poetry from all over the world. Special thanks are due to Samovar editor Sarah Dodd and M. Lynx Qualey of arablit.org for their invaluable help with putting together this issue. Further thanks are due to our fabulous translators, Alexander Hong and Robin Moger, who, frankly, pulled off the miraculous.
This issue was made possible thanks to the overwhelming response to our 2017 fund drive, and features two stories presented both in English and the original Arabic, four poems and non-fiction content. A huge thank you goes out to all our patrons and donors who made this possible.