Welcome to a special issue dedicated to SFF from the Arab League community and diaspora.

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.



Jane Crowley is deeply enthusiastic about tea, being in and around water, and things with wings (mechanical or avian). By day she is a marketer for a UK university. By night she writes poetry and other miscellaneous fragments that occasionally find a home and get published. You can find her on Twitter at @j_e_crowley.
Current Issue
26 Sep 2022

Would a Teixcalaanli aristocrat look up at the sky, think of Lsel Station, and wonder—with Auden—"what doubtful act allows/ Our freedom in this English house/ our picnics in the sun"?
I propose that The Expanse and its ilk present us with a similar sentiment, in reverse—a warning that for all the promise of futurism and technological advancement, plenty of new, and perhaps much worse futures are right before us. In the course of outrunning la vieux monde, we may find that we are awaited not simply by new worlds to win, but also many more which may yet be lost.
where oil slurped up out of the dirt, they drink the coffee
Science fiction is a genre that continues to struggle with its own colonialist history, of which many of its portrayals of extractivism are a part. Science fiction is also a genre that has a history of being socially progressive and conscious – these are both truths.
Bring my stones, my bones, back to me
If we are to accept that the extractive unconscious is latent, is everywhere, part of everything, but unseen and unspoken, and killing us in our waking lives, then science fiction constitutes its dreams.
they are quoting Darwish at the picket & i am finally breathing again
Waste is profoundly shaping and changing our society and our way of living. Our daily mundane world always treats waste as a hidden structure, together with its whole ecosystem, and places it beyond our sight, to maintain the glories of contemporary life. But unfortunately, some are advantaged by this, while others suffer.
Like this woman, I am carrying the world on my back.
So we’re talking about a violence that supplants the histories of people and things, scrubbing them clean so that they can fuel the oppressive and unequal status quo it sustains.
Issue 21 Sep 2022
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By: Cat T.
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Issue 18 Jul 2022
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