The local literature is producing some works. One of the genres that is witnessing new additions is that of science fiction. For the majority of us the association with this segment of storytelling comes from western literature and cinema. Therefore, it makes the local context even more intriguing.
Divided Species, is the debut novel by Muhammad Omar Iftikhar. This is a sci-fi story based in Karachi, as the city of light becomes the focus of attention for the aliens, known as the Taleykens from planet Arplon.
The Taleykens are in search of an ancient mineral resource that their ancestors buried in Karachi many years ago, in order to protect it from the wrong hands as their planet is undergoing its own version of civil war. This resource is a key source of life for planet Arplon and capable of wiping out planet earth if it is not extracted in the right manner. When they finally land, they end up befriending Rayan, a 21-year-old business major and together they locate and protect the mineral before a situation is created that has the potential of extreme destruction on both the planets.
Many a times the stories told from our part of the world tend to portray a stereotypical image of the people and places. This stands true for both western and local writers. So all those trying to break the cycle are duly appreciated and Divided Species is a good addition to the list, as the author has been able to stay away from the typical stereotypes and at the same time communicate the complicated chaos that is defines the city known for being Pakistan’s economic hub.
Muhammad Omar Iftikhar, is a communications specialist by profession. He has been showing his writing skills as a columnist and Divided Species is his debut self-published novel which shows his fiction writing potential.
Fans of the genre will find similarities between the narration styles of Divided Species with that of any sci-fi film. The dialogue intensive style makes it a fast paced read. There are time where the historical background details might be a little drag but then again this genre is known for its inter connected details and potential of theorizing.
Under the broader storyline, Iftikhar has embedded some subtle themes that highlight some of our society’s taboos and without adopting a preachy tone has addressed them. From greed and friendship to how even in this century kids are forced into taking up seemingly secure professions, no matter if that is a clash with their interest and aptitude.
This is a good addition to the growing literary ecosystem as there is a need for diversity in storytelling, and Omar has the potential of making interesting contributions on this front. As mentioned earlier his debut novel reads like a film and hopefully we will get to see our visual storytellers get creative and with improved production quality they too divulge into sci-fi. We now have a couple of writers exploring this and hopefully more will follow suite. Our filmmakers might want to take a page from Reese Witherspoon’s book and make the best of good books.
From : pk.mashable.com