Saad Z. Hos­sain

Djinn City

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Nonfiction -

Un­named Press • 9781944700065 • un­named­

Ge­nies ap­pear to be the most pop­u­lar char­ac­ters in Ara­bian mythol­ogy. What do you add to the ge­nie canon?

Ge­nies wear pa­ja­mas and live in bot­tles. Djinns are de­vi­ous, bru­tal, pow­er­ful crea­tures who live for­ever and have highly sus­pect po­lit­i­cal mo­ti­va­tions. And they def­i­nitely don’t grant wishes.

The djinns in my book aren’t built ex­clu­sively from Ara­bian mythol­ogy. I didn’t like the idea of them be­ing a static force. If hu­mans have changed so much over a few thou­sand years, why haven’t the djinn? I hope I have made them more in­ter­est­ing. Do you think sto­ries about fan­tasy and mythol­ogy should make a state­ment about re­al­ity, too? Ev­ery­thing we write should make a state­ment about re­al­ity. Fan­tasy is a per­fect place to make state­ments, be­cause you get a chance to re­make the world a cer­tain way, to talk about is­sues through a dif­fer­ent lens. For ex­am­ple in mine, djinn pur­port­edly caused the ice age, and now are threat­en­ing to ma­nip­u­late cli­mate change to de­pop­u­late large parts of the world. They are in fact sick of hu­mans and wish to turn the clock back. If some other species ac­tively, de­lib­er­ately de­stroyed the en­vi­ron­ment, caus­ing ter­ri­ble dam­age, you’d say that was bad, right? Our re­viewer says your book is “ad­dic­tive.” What’s the se­cret to hold­ing read­ers’ at­ten­tion? Good char­ac­ters have al­ways held [mine]. A good char­ac­ter has to have an in­ter­nal logic, so that they be­have in a con­sis­tent man­ner, even if it goes against the story. Also you want the char­ac­ter to be bal­anced, with a bit of good and bad, like a nor­mal per­son, so that they are be­liev­able. What do you hope peo­ple walk away with af­ter read­ing Djinn City? I try not to be preachy. In my mind, the story takes prece­dence over any po­lit­i­cal mes­sage. First and fore­most, I want peo­ple to en­joy a good story, to hope­fully ap­pre­ci­ate fan­tasy based on other cul­tures.

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