AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 8, Number 1. February 2024 Pp.159-172

The Resistance Narrative in Arabic Science Fiction: Azem’s The Book of Disappearance (2014)

Programme of English Language and Literature
The Department of English Language
College of Language Sciences
King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


This paper aims to analyze the mode of resistance narrative in Ibtisam Azem’s The Book of Disappearance (2014), which is read within the frame of Arabic Science Fiction. The study answers the following questions:(1) What are the Arabic Science Fiction tropes in Azem’s novel? (2) How does ASF subserve resistance narratives in Azem’s novel? (3)Why does Azem utilize the Dystopian Narrative for resistance narratives? The study examines the structure and themes of Azem’s The Book of Disappearance in terms of postcolonial and science fictional theories. The study’s methodology considers Kanafani’s resistance narrative, Morrison’s rememory, and Hochberg’s archival imagination in exploring the historical frame in Azem’s The Book of Disappearance. The analysis of Azem’s The Book of Disappearance interconnects the Palestinian resistance literature and the postcolonial writing to the ASF tropes and techniques. The alternative history closely examines the controversy between Israeli utopia and Palestinian dystopia. The study concludes that in Azem’s novel, the 1948 Nakba is recreated in the future through the imaginative incident of the Palestinian disappearance. As Palestinian novels often grapple with the complex question of identity in the face of displacement, occupation, and cultural pressures, Azem’s novel inspects the question of identity through a simulation of history in Alaa’s diary and through the gaze of Arial, the Israeli journalist. Azem’s novel confronts this trauma, giving voice to the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people through the Arabic Science Fiction frame of a dystopian narrative that dismantles the Zionist ideology and Israeli oppressive regime.

Cite as:

Almalki, S. B. (2024). The Resistance Narrative in Arabic Science Fiction: Azem’s The Book of Disappearance (2014). Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 8 (1): 159-172.


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Salma B. Almalki is a PhD candidate at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. She received a Master’s degree from IMSIU in 2017. She published a paper entitled “A Feminist Reading of Kizer’s Persephone Pauses.” She is interested in Arabic Science fiction studies and comparative literature. ORCID ID:  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9333-0185