Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Tribe!

It's so hard to find people who actually appreciate religion these days. It seems everywhere you look traditional values are being attacked. It's sad to see the natural order of things being usurped for feeding man's petty lust. That's why it's always refreshing to find like minded individuals. But in this case I think the demographics are spot on. Enjoy these stories from a sub-genre that is dear to my heart...



The Maker Myth
By Ahmed A. Khan

This short science fiction story comes as part of IslamOnline.net's invitation to writers from around the world to contribute with their own work in this field. Read more about the initiative and guidelines here.


It was with great anticipation that people packed the convention hall. Such was the popularity of the guest speaker of the day. There was an air of high expectation all around. The great Mr Arten was coming here, and he was going to deliver a talk on the origin of life. It was bound to be interesting as he had been working on this subject fruitfully for several years.
The buzz in the hall suddenly died. The great person had arrived. The audience rose to give him a standing ovation. He bowed and took his seat with great dignity.
First, there were a few speeches by the organizers about the guest speaker, his life and work, his extraordinary contribution to science, in particular his discoveries about the ever-interesting, ever-mystifying subject of the origin of life. The audience fidgeted and murmured, waiting for all these speeches to end and for the great scientist and philosopher to take up the microphone.
Finally, the moment arrived. With ponderous steps, Mr Arten mounted the podium. He cast a grave glance at the packed hall. A hush fell over the audience.
And then he began speaking. His voice was sonorous, his delivery clear. He exuded an aura of supreme self-confidence.
He spoke thus:
Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to prove the creationists wrong.
Let us go about it logically.
What are the arguments that the creationists put forward? The primary one concerns the chain of cause and effect - the argument that the existence of a thing points to the existence of its maker.
Why should this reasoning be true? I agree that we have yet to discover any causeless effect, but does it mean that it does not exist, never did exist and will never exist in the future? As you can see, this line of argument leads us into a labyrinth of philosophical concepts, without helping us reach any conclusive result. All we can concede is that creationist view is nothing more than a mere hypothesis.
I want to present the counter hypothesis that causality does break down at some level of existence, and at that point, a thing can come into existence spontaneously. There doesn't always have to be a maker.
The second argument that the creationists put forward is this: strange objects, pictures and signs have been unearthed which point to the existence, at some time in the very remote past, of the Maker. They believe that at one time, much before our existence, the Maker lived on earth. He created us in order to serve him. But later, something befell the Maker and he vanished from the earth, leaving only vague traces.
Now, this is an interesting argument. I see that my esteemed opponent Mr Defore is in the audience. I am sure he can provide you with more details about these so called signs of the Maker. However, it was to these very signs that I have applied myself for the past decade. My research has been gathered in a book called "The Maker Myth", which is now undergoing publication. I urge you all to read this book when it comes out. I promise that you will find it interesting and stimulating. In this book, I have taken the alleged signs of the Maker and have postulated possible rational causes for each and every one of them, proving that these signs do not necessarily point to the Maker.
So then, if there is no Maker, how did we come into existence? This is the question that I am going to answer now. Listen carefully to the following scenario and see how rational, how intellectually satisfying it is.
In the beginning there was a timeless singularity. This singularity exploded in a big bang and gave birth to two things, matter and energy. The existence of matter and energy resulted in the simultaneous existence of time. The world progressed. Chaos settled into order. The matter, influenced by energy, formed various ordered elements, substances, planets, suns, and so on. One of the planets thus formed was earth.
On earth, several random combinations of elements took place and several substances were formed. One of these substances was also the substance of our bodies. This substance, when formed, had no coherent shape. Then, with the passing of eons and the continuation of random combinations, once again order resulted from chaos and some of the substances arranged themselves into an orderly shape - the shape of our bodies. The substance was of course, lifeless. It probably lay lifeless for several more eons until, on pure chance, a bolt of lightning hit it. Electricity coursed through it, and this electricity did strange things to it. It gave sentience and motion to the substance.
That was the first being, the father of us all. Once he became alive, he took control of what so far had been a random process. He began gathering and giving shape to the substances. He discovered how to create electricity and he also discovered other sources of power. With these power sources, he gave life to the images he had assembled. In short, he created more beings like himself, who then helped him to create still more, till the world was populated by our like.
That is my hypothesis about our origin. Tell me honestly. Isn't it a beauty? And where does the so-called Maker come into it?
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I firmly believe that us robots came into being by ourselves as I have described, and the myth of Man, the Maker, is just that - a myth.

Ahmed A. Khan is a Canadian science fiction writer who has published numerous stories in the science fiction genre. He has also edited three anthologies: "Fall and Rise", a post-apocalyptic science fiction anthology; "Science Fiction Waxes Philosophical", a collection of science fiction stories with philosophical underpinnings; and "A Mosque Among the Stars", containing science fiction stories informed by Islam. He maintains a blog here.


The Pre-sonic Man
By Ahmed A. Khan

This short science fiction story comes as part of IslamOnline.net's invitation to writers from around the world to contribute with their own work in this field. Read more about the initiative and guidelines here.


What would you have done if you were in my shoes?
It happened suddenly. One night, I had gone to sleep, a normal man. The next morning I got up as a thoroughly abnormal individual.
At that time, I was a moderately well-to-do writer. I had no living relatives and lived alone in my apartment.
That morning, I switched on the TV. A cartoon was being shown but the sound I heard was not the sound of a cartoon but of news being read. Was something wrong with the TV?
Had two channels somehow got mixed up? Then I heard the news reader announce the date. I sat bolt-upright. How could it be the 25th of May, today? Yesterday, when I had gone to sleep, it had been the 20th. What was going on? Had I slept for four days – a modern day Rip Van Winkle? I ran outside, picked up the newspaper lying on my doorstep and looked at the date. Twenty first of May.
So, I had not slept for four days, after all.
That was just the beginning. That whole day, I kept hearing voices: Voices of my friends, my neighbors, the voice of my sweet heart, and my own voice. What was going on? Was I going mad? But there was no insanity in the voices I heard.
I thought hard, struggling against a rising sense of panic. Slowly, almost shyly, a tiny idea raised its head. I had a hypothesis. It was fantastic. Nevertheless, I decided to test it.
Next morning, I switched on the television. Once again, the picture on the tube didn't match the sound. I heard the date being announced, and it was the twenty sixth of May. Hypothesis proved!
No matter how fantastic, it was probably true. My sense of hearing had extended four days and a couple of hours into the future.

First, I went into panic. Then, recovering, I quietly sat at my writing table for hours, mentally working out the ramifications of my condition. There were various things, big and small, to take care of. For instance, if someone rang the doorbell, I wouldn’t hear it. I had to have some kind of visual indication for it. Then there was the phone.
This was one instrument that would become almost totally useless to me. And what about conversation with people? I could talk to them and they would hear me but when they talked, I would have heard it four days ago. How then to have a coherent conversation? The only solution was to tell everyone that I had gone totally deaf. Let them communicate with me via writing or sign language.
And life went on with all its strangeness.
My pre-sonic condition had its advantages. I made it a habit of hearing the business news bulletins on the TV, and armed with advance knowledge of the market, I started playing the stocks. Inevitably my income became healthier and healthier. In turn, I became quite a philanthropist and had no end of fun.
No one knew about my abnormality till I heard myself telling my sweetheart about it and didn’t hear her scream or panic. So four days later, I did tell her about it and she, after a brief adjustment period, accepted it and said so in writing.
And one day, I wrote a note to her, asking her to marry me. She accepted and soon we became man and wife and lived happily for quite some time...
...till the time – yesterday - that I heard my wife crying with grief. And this grief was over my death.
I immediately got busy straightening out my things, preparing my will, loving and cherishing my wife.
Today, I heard my friends come to bury me.
And then my world went dead silent for some time.
And then I heard a terrible voice say: "Who is your God?"
And now I have three days to find the correct answer to that question.

Ahmed A. Khan is a Canadian science fiction writer who has published numerous stories in the science fiction genre. He has also edited three anthologies: "Fall and Rise", a post-apocalyptic science fiction anthology; "Science Fiction Waxes Philosophical", a collection of science fiction stories with philosophical underpinnings; and "A Mosque Among the Stars", containing science fiction stories informed by Islam. He maintains a blog here.
Post a Comment