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Description - Contemporary Pakistani Speculative Fiction and the Global Imaginary: Democratizing Human Futures by Shazia Sadaf

As the first book-length study of emergent Pakistani speculative fiction written in English, this critical work explores the ways in which contemporary Pakistani authors extend the genre in new directions by challenging the cognitive majoritarianism (usually Western) in this field. Responding to the recent Afro Sci-fi movement that has spurred non-Western writers to seek a democratization of the broader genre of speculative fiction, Pakistani writers have incorporated elements from djinn mythology, Quranic eschatology, "Desi" (South Asian) traditions, Eco-Islam, local folklore, and Islamic feminisms in their narratives to encourage familiarity with alternative world views. In five chapters, this book analyses fiction by several established Pakistani authors as well as emerging writers to highlight the literary value of these contemporary works in reconciling competing cognitive approaches, blurring the dividing line between "possibilities" and "impossibilities" in envisioning humanity’s collective future, and anticipating the future of human rights in these envisioned worlds.

What sets this book apart from others in the field is twofold. Firstly, the obvious focus is on Pakistani writings and their unique contribution to South Asian speculative fiction within the larger aim to "democratize" the imagination about future. Although there is broad interest in this topic, mostly reflected in newspaper articles and in interviews with Pakistani authors, a specific scholarly analysis of Pakistani speculative fiction has not yet been published. Secondly, this book offers an important intersectional element previously untapped, that of Pakistani speculative fiction in relation to human rights and the imaginative capacity of these writings in anticipating future rights that do not yet exist. Such "speculative human rights" warn of future threats to underprivileged societies, not only from rapidly changing technological and environmental factors, but also from epistemological and ideological fronts.

As the first of its kind, this book’s interdisciplinary and intersectional critical approach will interest scholars and researchers of English literature, South Asian studies, human rights, Islamic studies, women’s and gender studies, comparative literature, and cultural studies.

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