Sunday, February 01, 2009

Where Fantasy Meets Science Fiction (Does it ever?)

My brain is a blender.

I've just bought a new Osterizer (TM) to turn nuts and flax/sesame/sunflower/pumpkin seeds into powder, hence the metaphor. The whirling sharp blades are, of course, my incisive analytical skills.

This week, I have several disparate issues on my mind. Also an agenda. I always have an agenda.

1. Goodreads discussions on which GoodReads authors' books are fantasy, which are science fiction, which can be dismissed as merely romance --or alien romance--, and whether the same book(s) can legitimately be nominated reading in both groups.

Obviously, I think so. So do friends and fans of Stacey Klemstein.

2. Crazy Tuesday, February 3rd. Last month, Linnea Sinclair and Catherine Asaro took over the two-hour, Tuesday morning show for me. My guests this coming Tuesday are a truly eclectic mix. Possibly, all we have in common are the fact that each book has a hero (!!) but, we're all thinking of Valentine's Day, and a good book is a much healthier and long-lasting gift than roses or chocolates.

By the way, on Facebook, I posted that Mark Terence Chapman, Kellyann Zuzulo, Emily Bryan, paranormal YA author Lillian Cauldwell, Brenna Lyons, Sara Taney Humphreys and yours truly Rowena Cherry will be talking about Holding Out For a Fantasy Hero.

Lesli Richardson, author of "The Reluctant Dom" suggested a question:
"What do you least like about your heroes, what makes them "human?"

Interesting juxtaposition, that!
Is being "human" the same as being unlikeable?

I can see one of my less-than-likeable aliens, such as Thor-quentin, having some fun with that premise.

3. How marvelous it is that a myth or legend (or half-lost historical truth) can be taken in different directions and become the stuff of different paranormal genres.

The first Djinn romances that I read, after I'd written Forced Mate) were Kathleen Nance's Much More Than Magic and Wishes Come True. Kathleen judged Forced Mate in a contest, and mentioned in a kind note that her plural for Djinns was djinni in her romances.

I wrote back that I preferred to follow Rudyard Kipling.

Kathleen's djinni are hunks with magical powers who shift between dimensions from the magical world of Kaf to the human plane.

Kellyann Zuzulo has just popped up on my radar. Her site has a very cool research page about Djinni.

I've snagged it with Kellyann's permission:

Djinn — The term means "the hidden." And, indeed, these mythological figures have been hidden in human consciousness since ancient, pre-Islamic times, revealing themselves through stories and superstition, but also through fervent belief. While there are countless stories about djinn, most famously those in The Thousand and One Nights (also known as The Arabian Nights), existence of the djinn is documented as real and substantial in the Koran, by some Islamic scholars, and in folktales passed from generation to generation.

In the written records of legend and of belief, God created humans from the clay of the earth, angels from celestial light, and the djinn from the smokeless fire. Known variously as jinn, genie, and jnun, the djinn are subject to the same laws of creation as man. And when they sin, they are cursed; considered to be followers of Iblis, a powerful genie who defied God's will and is considered by many to be a manifestation of Satan.

Not all djinn are evil. Like humans, they are born, marry, bear children and interact in the world. The Prophet Mohammed was sent to both djinn and humans, with an entire book of the Koran, the Al-Jinn, devoted to dictates for living and behavior of both species.

As a community, the djinn can be massless, occupying what would seem to be small physical spaces. Yet, they can also expand and assume a physical dimension, travel the world in a flash, or inhabit animals, like cats, dogs,20snakes, and scorpions. For the most part, they are invisible to humans. When they have revealed themselves, djinn are described as being similar to the human form, though more imposing and fearsome. If they choose, they can mingle unnoticed among men. Alternately, some stories and tales have described intercourse between a djinni and a human. There is no prohibition against such co-mingling, although there are not many accounts of it.

Western lore interprets the existence of djinn primarily as Middle Eastern fable. Yet, some aspect of the djinn has been incorporated into European and American tales of fairies and evil spirits. Most cultures describe their own pantheon of spirits that bear startling similarities to the three types of djinn: marid are wicked and malicious spirits, like devils and demons; ifrit are strong and powerful spirits that are not necessarily evil; ghuls are lesser phantoms who can fly, much like ghosts and ghouls.

Supposed remnants of djinn civilizations litter the world’s archaeological digs. From the forgotten city of Ubar in the Rub al Khali, a trackless expanse of desert in southern Arabia, to the mystical and long-abandoned stronghold of Meda'in Saleh in northeastern Saudi Arabia, and its sister city, Petra, in southern Iraq. Across Afghanistan, Iran, and Egypt, ruins of ancient sites are still believed by many to harbor realms of the djinn. It is in Ubar that the primordial dwelling place of the djinn purportedly originated — a city once known as Irem of the Pilla rs and which has carried forward in time as the supernatural djinn kingdom of Jinnistan.

Whether djinn truly exist ultimately is a matter of personal belief. Millions of people in the world today are aware of djinn as creatures of myth; of those, easily thousands accept the presence of djinn as real, unseen wards of a parallel realm.

Where you can read more about genies...


* Essential Koran: The Heart of Islam, by Thomas Cleary HarperSanFrancisco
* From the Ashes of Angels: The Forbidden Legacy of a Fallen Race, by Andrew Collins; Bear & Company
* The Jinn In the Qur'an and the Sunna, by Mustafa Ashour; Dar Al Taqwa, Ltd., London, 3rd edition, 1993
* Secrets of Angels, Demons, Satan, and Jinns Decoding their Nature through Koran and Science, by Mahmood Jawaid;, 2006
* The World of the Jinn and Devils, by Dr. Umar Sulaiman al-Ashqar; Al Basheer Company, Boulder, CO 1998


  1. Me want to know what you be using the nuts & seed powder Sounds yummy!

  2. Seeds contain copper, which helps to preserve the sharp mind and vivid hair color.

    Good fats. Mostly mono.

    A nice well ground mixture of nuts and seeds is quite delicious with a handful of raw bran stirred into uncooked Quick Quaker oats, and moistened with yoghurt. (I like the strained Greek fage, my dh likes Kroger fat free vanilla).

    Dried cherries go very well for color and tartness.

  3. Yummy Rowena. We need all the help that we can get with the little grey cells. *G* Love your history of the djinn.