Diversity of Setting: the Middle East.

The Middle East is steeped in the fantasy tradition, from Arabian Nights to Farid ud-Din Attar’s The Conference of the Birds. Upon doing research, I found that Middle Eastern writers also produced some of the earliest science fiction writings: the 13th century’s Awaj bin Anfaq, written from the point of view of an alien visiting Earth for the first time; Treaty on the Opinions of the Residents of the Ideal City, a tenth century anti-Utopian narrative; and Ibn al-Nafis’ The Book of Fādil ibn Nātiq, probably the first example of theological science fiction in history.

Here’s a list of a few contemporary novels set in the Middle East, too:

  • Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed
  • The Harem of Aman Akbar, Elizabeth Scarborough
  • A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Arabic diaspora — Sudan)
  • Between The Rivers, by Harry Turtledove
  • Three Princes, Ramona Wheeler (Arabic diaspora — Egypt)
  • Dreamblood series, N.K. Jemisin (Arabic diaspora — Egypt)
  • Arabian Nights and Days and The Journey of Ibn Fattouma, Naguib Mahfouz
  • Creatures of Light and Darkness, Robert Zelazny (Arabic diaspora — Egypt)
  • Alif the Unseen, G. Willow Wilson
  • The Steel Seraglio, Mike Carey
  • The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, Jan Potocki (Arabic diaspora — Spain)
  • Mirage, Matt Ruff
  • The Years of Rice and Salt, Kim Stanley Robinson
  • The Dagger and the Cross, Alamut, and A Wind in Cairo, Judith Tarr
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