Palestine re-imagined a century after the Nakba, which marked the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes in what is now Israel; Palestine re-imagined via the prism of sci-fi fiction, the fantastical tropes of sci-fi fiction serve to heighten the horror of the stories they are depicting, in which the Palestinian characters are systematically dehumanised beneath the behemoth of the Israeli state, in the many iterations in which it is depicted in the collection of stories.
Particular highlights include ‘Sleep it off, Dr. Schott’, which depicts the burgeoning romance between two hybrid human scientists, one Israeli and one Palestinian beneath a sea of Rachel Weisz comparisons and conversations about the rights and wrongs of the conflict. The way in which the story coalesces the artificial emotions which the two characters are implanted, with the real emotions both characters feel as they explore their individual pasts and the present burgeoning of their relationship exemplifies the artificial constructs which conflict creates around human emotions. Another highlight is ‘Digital Nation’ in which artificial intelligence supplants its human masters and creates a Palestinian state which is able to achieve its aim of independence, or of ‘Application 39’ in which a pair of bumbling pranksters manage to succeed in an application for Palestine to host the Olympics, only for the story to end if farce and tragedy as a peaceful march is turned into a massacre by over-zealous robots, designed to view Palestinians as enemies.
As with magical realism, the horrors depicted beneath all of this fantasy are the only ways in which to depict the surrealism of a world enveloped by belligerence and hatred, a world in which, as with the story ‘Vengeance’ the desire for revenge only serves to trap people in a never-ending cycle of violence from which there is no escape.