While I work up reviews of Brian Stableford’s critical anthology Scientific Romance and Bruce Sterling’s Pirate Utopia, I thought I’d start a mini-series on science fiction works that future Islamic futures.
These will be from more innocent days before we realized Islam has become a blood-soaked “revitalization movement“.
Raw Feed (1990): The Crescent Sky: Book One of the Mechanical Sky, Donald Moffit, 1989.
I liked this book. I have something of an idle fascination for sf versions of Arabic culture like Herbert’s Dune books (at least the first of the series) or George Alec Effinger’s Budayeen series. This is one of those books that takes a naive, political innocent and passes him around from side to side (and there are always at least three) in a series of intrigues till our pawn-hero, at the end of the novel’s plot, comes to a bad end in which he’s rescued in the nick of time. It’s a standard plot. There’s even a last minute reprieve from death.
I liked the Arabic color, the Martian desert, the massive genetic engineering. And the plot, for all its formula, works and is exciting. There is grotesquery and, unfortunately (it seems no author can resist), the romantic subplot. Moffitt has thought things through in working out his culture. I found one of the most interesting aspects of the novel was its extrapolation of an Arabic future — a second energy crisis pouring money into Arab coffers which they invest in key industries (including space). Along with demographic destiny (Moslems are outbreeding their competition all over — a timely issue then and now), this vaults Arabs to the top of the world.
An enjoyable book with a plausible future with grotesque, exotic supporting a suspenseful formula plot that wasn’t boring.