Screw Roland Barthes: if ever the identity of the author mattered to how a piece of literature is understood, it matters to Palestine +100.
The nationality of the authors in this collection is relevant for several reasons. First, because this book is (according to the publisher) the first ever anthology of Palestinian Science Fiction. But it matters also because this collection is an important statement on how Palestinian artists see themselves, and how they view their national prospects in the decades to come.
The premise of the book is a simple one. A dozen authors are invited to write a story set one hundred years after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. During the creation of that new country, more than 700,000 Palestinians were forced to flee their homes, an event that they and their descendants have come to know as the Nakba (‘catastrophe’). This was the event that created refugee camps all over the Levant, and in turn a sense of the Palestinian ‘right of return’ to the homes they left behind. This concept haunts every negotiation between Palestinian representatives and the Israeli government… and it looms large in this collection too.