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Alif the Unseen

af G. Willow Wilson

Andre forfattere: Se andre forfattere sektionen.

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,7171099,947 (3.81)158
In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients, dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups, from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the State's electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover's new fianceé is the head of State security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground. When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen.… (mere)
  1. 40
    Little Brother af Cory Doctorow (kaledrina)
  2. 20
    The Dervish House af Ian McDonald (mamajoan)
    mamajoan: A similar melding of very-near-future technology with ancient Middle Eastern mythology.
  3. 10
    Fool's War af Sarah Zettel (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Fool's War is also science fiction dealing with computer issues that features a protagonist who is a Muslim, though it is in a far future spacefaring setting instead of based on Earth.
  4. 00
    Shantaram af Gregory David Roberts (kaledrina)
  5. 00
    If You Could Be Mine af Sara Farizan (FFortuna)
  6. 00
    I Am Princess X af Cherie Priest (beyondthefourthwall)
Indlæser...

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» Se også 158 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 109 (næste | vis alle)
Story: 6.5 / 10
Characters: 7
Setting: 8.5
Prose: 6.5

I learned a substantial amount about Islamic culture from this book. Compare this to a piece of literary fiction, which will predominantly focus on cultural exploration without a plot and you'll understand why Alif the Unseen is so unique.

Nevertheless, I had generally mixed feelings about the book. Very slow start, picking up only when the urban fantasy elements were introduced. Note also that this is a different type of fantasy novel, opposed to traditional Tolkien worlds, making it more interesting than most other books in this same genre. Not recommending it, but not warning others away from it either. ( )
  MXMLLN | Jan 12, 2024 |
This book had its problems, especially with the women characters. Some of those are highlighted well here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/758951337

As an Arabic speaker, I enjoyed reading the English translations of Arabic phrases. Whenever someone said, "My eyes," when asked a favor always got me. And "alhamdulillah," every time someone was asked how they were doing... I enjoyed that part a lot.

It took me a long time to put together the cover art with the story. Not the circuitry among the calligraphy (Molly pointed that out to me), but on the back, there's a hand that wards off the evil eye. Just made me think of The Hand that fought Alif. Interesting.

Minor spoiler: I wish she hadn't used Alif's given name, Mohammad. It was a funny quirk throughout the book to avoid saying his name, like the convert's.

I lived in Egypt a while back, and it was nostalgic to see the similarities between The City's culture and Egyptian culture. I also wondered if The City was Medina... Maybe so, maybe not.

The story was enough to keep me coming back and wanting to finish. Supernatural Arab story... I haven't read too many of those outside of Alf Layla wa Layla.

A fun story marred by a few problems. ( )
  Tom_Wright | Oct 11, 2023 |
Alif the Unseen is something truly unique -- an urban fantasy spin on djinns and the Arabian Nights from a Muslim author, set in the the modern Middle East/Arab world. It sits on the edge between the genres of urban fantasy and cyberpunk in a delightful way, with computer code invoking imagery of the worlds of djinn and fantastical creatures. Like good speculative fiction, Wilson uses the speculative elements to cast a light on aspects of "real life" in the modern world, namely surveillance and suppression of the populace as the true scourge of the Arab world, oppressive to both the religious and the secular.

In the praise column here is also Wilson's beautiful, nuanced, discussion of religion, belief and faith. She contrasts the beliefs of several characters who do and don't believe in religion and/or djinn to various degrees of literalism. This exploration is fascinating. Many of the ideas, such as how to believe in the fantastic are generalizable across religions. It also was fascinating as a discourse on Islam.

Usually, any truly unique book on my shelf gets four stars, and this is truly unique and well-done. However, there is a major drawback that I would feel remise if I didn't address, which is the female characters. I know that Wilson is much believed for her work on the Miss Marvel series, which I had not read. However, there is not a shred of evidence of feminism in this book. The female characters have no agency at all and exist largely to be sexualized/romanticized by the male characters who do have agency. No book needs to be perfect in every respect, but the extent to which female characters exist only for male gaze here is beyond just failing the Bechdel test and borders on disturbing. ( )
  settingshadow | Aug 19, 2023 |
Revolution, Love, Religion, Hackers, & Jinn. All the right ingredients for a contemporary look at life in an unnamed middle eastern city.
This novel is fantastically written and accessible for all readers, not just those well informed in current events.
G. Willow Wilson takes you on a whirlwind adventure of a young hacker embroiled in more than just his secluded computer life.
Alif's world is wonderfully described, from the dictatorial society to the invisible city of the Jinn. We see the beauty and also "the desperate, fearful, and claustrophobic conditions in which the citizens of the city live." -RR
The first time I read it I was taken in by the thrill of the chase, the second time I was able to appreciate the details more. ( )
  juliais_bookluvr | Mar 9, 2023 |
I love this book. With the excitement of intrigue, the imagination of sci-fi, Wilson has woven a fabulous story. This is a page turner. ( )
  JRobinW | Jan 20, 2023 |
Viser 1-5 af 109 (næste | vis alle)
...as with the work of many of the best young writers today, it is both a book written with a love of the fantastic in all its genres and a serious work of fiction.
tilføjet af melmore | RedigerThe Guardian, Damien Walter (Dec 13, 2012)
 
For all its playfulness, “Alif the Unseen” is also at times unexpectedly moving, especially as it detours into questions of faith.... For those who view American fiction as provincial, or dominated by competent but safe work, Wilson’s novel offers a resounding, heterodox alternative.
tilføjet af melmore | RedigerNew York Times, Pauls Toutonghi (Aug 10, 2012)
 
It’s difficult to convey how outrageously enjoyable “Alif the Unseen” is without dropping names — the energetic plotting of Philip Pullman, the nimble imagery of Neil Gaiman and the intellectual ambition of Neal Stephenson are three comparisons that come to mind. Yet I’d hate to give the impression that the novel lacks freshness or originality.
tilføjet af melmore | RedigerSalon, Laura Miller (Jul 1, 2012)
 

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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Wilson, G. Willowprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Brown, LisaIllustratormedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Fusari, LucaOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Jhaveri, SanjivReadermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Rovira, GemmaOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Schmeink, JuliaÜbersetzermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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The devotee recognizes in every divine Name the totality of Names.

Muhammad ibn Arabi, Fusus al-Hikam

If the imagination of the dervish produced the incidents of these stories, his judgment brought them to the resemblance of truth, and his images are taken from things that are real.

François Petis de la Croix, Les Mill et Un Jours (The Thousand and One Days)
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For my daughter Maryam, born in the Arab Spring
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Chapter Zero:
The thing always appeared in the hour between sunset and full dark.
Alif sat on the cement ledge of his bedroom window, basking in the sun of a hot September.
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“Be careful with this one," said Dina, bending down to greet the cat. "All cats are half jinn, but I think she's three-quarters.”
“These are not the banu adam you're looking for.”
Society didn't mind if you broke the rules; it only required you to acknowledge them.
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Ingen

In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients, dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups, from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the State's electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover's new fianceé is the head of State security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground. When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen.

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G. Willow Wilson er LibraryThing-forfatter, en forfatter som har sit personlige bibliotek opført på LibraryThing.

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2.5 5
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