British Fiction Focus

Djinnthology Joy

By way of The Book Smugglers, Mahvesh Murad of the kickass Midnight in Karachi podcast and Jurassic London’s Jared Shurin (never forget The Folding Knife reread!) announced yesterday that they’d signed up with Solaris—the purveyors of so very many of the best genre anthologies in recent years that it’s getting a little ridiculous—to curate and co-edit “the first-ever anthology of original fiction inspired by the Djinn.”

It’s, em… ages away. Expect to see it sometime in spring 2017. But hey, that just means we’ve got all the more of time to get excited.

And quite rightly! Djinns have an incredibly rich history. As the press release announcing the project puts it, they’ve been “a fascinating part of many cultures for centuries.” So fascinating, in fact, that I had a hard time believing no-one’s ever devoted a book of short stories to said, but I asked Google, and got nothing. To wit, world: let’s give a warm welcome to what is literally the one and the only Djinnthology.

Every country touched by Islam has their own version of these interesting mythological figures embedded in their cultural heritage: including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt, and even parts of Africa.

Nor has the West gone without. The Djinn have been a beloved (if overlooked) part of English and American fiction as well—more than simply Aladdin and I Dream of Jeannie! Djinn have appeared in classics of modern fantasy by Neil Gaiman and Tim Powers, as well as the acclaimed recent books by Helene Wecker and G. Willow Wilson.

Across the world, the Djinn have been presented as mischievous, powerful, devious, mysterious, good and evil, majestic, devilish and more… but despite their fascinating history and incredible cultural impact, the stories of these ‘hidden people’ have never before inspired a contemporary anthology.

And that cannot stand. Thus, this: “an eclectic and fantastical anthology collection, prefaced with a comprehensive and insightful introduction to the importance of Djinn and their extensive history that will provide new readers with an accessible window into the unseen world of the Djinn, whilst also setting the tone for this exciting and original new collection.”

Because of course these guys would go the extra mile. They even made a joint statement I think specifically to set up the best/worst wordplay ever inflicted on the internet:

For editors Murad and Shurin this will be “a wish come true […] We’re really excited to create new stories inspired by some of the world’s oldest myths, especially as it gives us a unique opportunity to work with talented writers from all backgrounds, from all over the world.” They also apologise for this pun.

As well they should.

Solaris’ Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Oliver added:

“Jared Shurin and Mahvesh Murad are not only editors of exceptional taste, but they are also amongst genre’s newest champions—showing how valid a form of literature and expression speculative fiction is, and taking genre fiction forward in leaps and bounds with what promises to be a diverse, fresh and exciting anthology.”

Honestly, I’d expect nothing less with this lot involved!


Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.

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