The funny features of the future in the ‘Digital Hydra’ stories | Khaled Gouda Ahmed


The Palestinian-born storyteller presented d. Emad Al-Din Aisha, his collection of short stories “From the literature of science fiction and the future”, for the Arab reader – as indicated by the title parallel to the title of the group – through the portal of translating narrative texts written by the storyteller into the English language, by the writer and translator / Ahmed Salah Al-Mahdi, who is also one of the science fiction writers, This made its translation transparent and sublime in absorbing the features of genre literature in the fabric of stories.

According to the element of artistic pleasure that I tasted in the stories, we find the story “The Time of the Heroes”, which presented the idea of ​​moving in time to the past, which has always been knocked on by the science fiction book, but what is new here is its weaving in the light of a historical culture, related to the tablets of the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh, written in cuneiform. It is considered by some to be the oldest written story in human history.

It contains editing details about the comparisons of life between the ancient and modern civilizations of the Arabs, then the transition to the twenty-second century, and the braiding of all these threads to provide wisdom, the stability of the laws of universal giving, the controversy of generations, and from the high-end wisdom in the story, which I see as a key to understanding and victory shown: “The first rule in combat It is not to face an enemy over whom you know you cannot win; there is no shame in withdrawing from the battlefield.” And where the lesson is that man reaps on himself, he is both the culprit and the victim: “Human folly is a bottomless abyss.”

The writer returns to confirm that the right that is not protected by thorns is a lost right: “And they saved the ancient world as old as history…not by violence, by the way, but by a balance between violence and creativity.” Then the expressive conclusion of the story about possible change: “He carries this in his blood, that He makes his own.

The expression in the stories adopts the style of the figurative scene, when “Mustafa” the hero of the “Epic of Gilgamesh” found the strange metal structure, he insisted on riding it, and the key to the figurative scene is based on the analogy of the metal monster to the whale: “He also made sure that the ropes remain well wrapped around the rectangular body throughout the journey. Like a fishing net that attracts a whale that the waves threw on the shore, his son looked like a miniature copy of the Prophet Yunus, peace be upon him.

This metaphor always operates along the length and breadth of the stories, and the textual evidence is numerous, and we can break it down:

“They were surrounded by priests, and sorcerers, who encircled them like a human noose.”

“Palm trees decorate the city like minarets in their world, and green fields shake their eyes on the horizon.”

“…when he saw the great wooden gates open, like a beast with open mouth to swallow them.”

And belonging to the Arab heritage was not only represented in the honorable textual evidence that the narrator transmits in his stories, but rather represented the universal magic story in The Thousand and One Nights, depicting the stage of moving through the strange metal structure in a way that belongs to the famous Arab storytelling idea of ​​​​the genie exiting from the lamp: “A luminous aura crept out from the cracks of the body of The metal object, then a vortex of rainbow colors swept them before it turned into a whirlwind of blinding bright light.

The interest in the expression card inspired by heritage was not the root of the Arab feeling, so it works more than one story with the idea of ​​the cultural component of the nation, the idea of ​​searching for identity and affirming authenticity and means of resisting the hostile other and not the civilized one, which seeks to eliminate culture through the elimination of language, says the saboteur. In the story that the group took the name “Digital Hydra”: “We have eradicated the language, customs and clothing of these people, we have eliminated their entire leadership, we have crushed them militarily…” Free human will, and it is clear in the story that he seeks to kill any spirit of resistance.

The minute details in the story contribute to imagining the future, where events revolve through interchangeable scenes between the scene of the saboteur, the hostile occupier and his assistant, and the means of resistance, which was represented in video games on the black market, as the future in the story imagines that the occupier is installing CDs And he stuck it in people’s skulls, in the words of the story: “to erase memories and facilitate the introduction of language”, as a way to achieve the subjugation of the people afflicted by the calamity of occupation, and as a technique to amputate free will, and he sees it as a way of preventing and ruling, but those games appeared that contained its language, which automatically carries itself to the minds of young people, and achieved Enlightenment to revolutionize and enlighten the boys to the reality of the occupation and its malice. The way to victory was the idea of ​​inheritance through the course of these digital games, where the youth see through the special language of games: “The entire history of his people, to play the role of all their heroes, to live the battles and victories and learn from defeats. They learned Administration of city affairs, diplomacy, economy and science. Legislation of new laws. Reformation of the Senate to represent the people. Everything.” Here we find the important feature of resistance through science and history.

Then comes the luminous catchphrase, describing that resistance is a glorious journey that stems from self-certainty: “You carry a people with you wherever you go, in your heart and soul. Since your skull is impenetrable, no one will feel a thing.”

The narrator began two of the group’s stories with two introductory texts, the first of Jalal al-Din al-Rumi, talking about a soul who complains about the pain of his exile after being cut off from his plant in the forest, and sings a chest torn by separation. connection”. The choice here lies in the idea of ​​identity and the care of “language” as the most important cultural component of national identity and its necessity in light of the stormy winds of globalization sweeping the Arab man.

As for the features of the funny future in the stories, they are evident in the concerned narrator’s awareness and imagination of this future, and his acumen for the idea of ​​returning to primitiveness, while mixing it with modern technologies, so that this strange age appears, whose scientific progress is cloaked by backwardness and brutality, as the city dwellers flee to the desert, and they drag their things with camels and abundant food for them. luxury, and they live a hybrid life between scientific progress and a nomadic life, as CDs are almost free, of a pocket-sized type, that are stuck in the heads. The Public Administration in the future is also working on the idea of ​​coding information in the brains, inventing a brain-scanning device for citizens, and using it at border checkpoints, the development of lethal weapons, the Apache is an old fashion, the invention of natural energy guns, the hologram self-charging board, its role in future communication, and the relationship between languages. And the technique of simultaneous technical translations among them, the denial of administrative specialization, the new generation and the deprivation of literature and romance, the focus of excellence is mathematics and engineering, not poetry and rhetoric like the fathers.

The narrator’s awareness also worked on the most serious human immediate problems that draw the features of the bleak future, which is the idea of ​​environmental pollution, and its imminent danger: “Will there still be air for us to breathe in the distant future? Wouldn’t it have been consumed by then? And certainly the earth will become barren by then and the water will evaporate into the air, and become The soil is salty, the earth’s crust is fragile, animals, plants, and… humans are dwarfed.”

The environment in the world of the future is prepared in more than one story through the idea of ​​waste recycling, and how to be a mainstay for future economies.

In the administrative matter, we find the three-man minister, who takes over the portfolios of three ministries, “Aviation / Security / Fisheries”, where he denied the specialization that imprisoned minds, and eliminated the pathogenic routine of the public administration.

And in the story “Replacement of Thoughts,” he told about energy as an environmental resource, and the depletion of a natural resource, which is oil, and what resulted in this matter by canceling university study majors, and selling its books to UNESCO as an extinct heritage. With the replacement story recommendation: “We need new, open minds.”

The scientific solution was also the body of the “Cat’s Claw” story, where it stimulated scientific thinking in treating the environmental problem, and provided knowledge about clean energy, and knowledge about the tree and its important environmental role. The story presents an interview between negative images about people wasting their time, and other positive images represented in the development of The faculty of thinking and an ordered scientific solution, and the mechanisms for producing these solutions, presents two different opinions: the first: “Living things take care of themselves,” and the other opinion is like the conclusion at the end of the story: “There is no such thing as nature, as long as you give it a helping hand from time to time!” .

The story also has a funny futuristic feature about the ideas of environmental innovation, as the inventor plants (a tree glowing with solar-powered electric lamps, but it does not derive its energy from expensive solar panels imported from abroad and needs regular maintenance, but rather derives energy directly from the leaves of the tree itself!).

These features and narrative style, and the fabric of the stories themselves, build a direction I think is close to the narrator, which is writing the novel, with the vastness of details and the fertility of imagination, and the inclusion of time-displacement legislation as a model through the idea of ​​an alternative history, or in the words of Gilgamesh’s story “Your future is our past”, and in the story of Haidar, about the body The metal messenger who resists a monster, and others tell about the ability and soul of a novelist called by a science fiction story, and if Dr. Abdel Moneim Talima says that the weakest short story is the one that is a summary novel, but I see the only exception to this saying is the story of science fiction, because it constantly needs to build new worlds with many details, and to satisfy the features of this funny and frightening future at the same time, so I invite our storyteller to write A science fiction novel that I think will be exciting, fun, and alarming at the same time.

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