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Jumada-I 1441 / January 2020's Book Club Pick — The Ducktrinors Book I & II by Papatia Feauxzar

Updated: Feb 1, 2020

Bismillahi ar-rahmani ar-rahim

Assalamu aleikum waramatulahi wabarakatuhu everyone!

Welcome to another book club edition! For this month, The Muslim Bibliophile book club is taking over this session insha'Allah. Check them out on Twitter here, too.

On the discussion panel, we have Sister Maryam, Brother Djubreel, and the Moderator Sister Nusaybah.

1. What did you like most?

Nusaybah : It was a different genre from what I had ever read, and it was interesting to see issues addressed this way.

Maryam : I like the way she brings about the consequences we will face as an ummah if we neglect our Creator and our religion and continue holding on to that which is transient /ephemeral i.e. the dunya. I also like how she depicts the characters as humans with flaws.

Djubreel : I haven’t been a reader of Islamic sci-fi books (if it exists) & seeing the infusion of Islam in that context was interesting to read. The story showed that Islam could fit in a non-traditional context and still have its originality intact. I liked the infusion of Islamic stories and also the way the Ducktrinors’s religious life was portrayed.

2. What gave you pause?

Nusaybah : Sci-fi isn't really a genre I read so I had a lot of pauses trying to understand the story.

Maryam : Nothing really. I won't say it was a great read—maybe because I am that much of a fan of sci-fi—but it was a good book.

Djubreel : I think a lot of the technological advancements talked about gave me a pause. I needed to process the possibilities et al.

3. What didn't you like?

Nusaybah : I had issues with the time travel theory. I know it is fiction but I felt uncomfortable that they time-traveled to meet the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

Maryam : The time travel thing. I think it is essentially incorrect to say they have traveled and met the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and talked with Him. It would have been more okay if maybe to say that one of them had a dream and saw the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

Djubreel : Nothing really.

4. What are your other thoughts?

Nusaybah : While this is a good book, I'm not sure I enjoyed it. I kept thinking of the fatwas of some scholars that said Harry Potter was haram. I'm sorry.

Maryam : I think Sir Landry Big is supposed to have a backstory, especially given the way he changes at the end. The change feels acute even though we have been given insight into how he still has a bit of a good conscience remaining. But I think it would have been better if she had shown us who he was as a person before he came into power, what changes occurred in him after he comes into power. The narration of the book doesn't flow smoothly, it kind of feels disjointed especially towards the end.

Djubreel : I think the timeline thing and some other parts (e.g. factions/groups being explained towards the end. I felt that could have come earlier) were not properly sequenced and could be better. I also think the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم part wasn’t really necessary, it would still be a solid story without it.

5. What question (s) do you have for the author?

Nusaybah : Where did she draw inspiration from?

Maryam : What was her inspiration for writing the book, apart from the Quranic verses she mentioned.

Djubreel : What was the motivation for the book? And how long did this current version take?

Papatia Feauxzar - I grew up in an era which was crazed with fantasy books especially secular ones. And for many Muslim clerics, that was problematic, and it still is because if we really want to think about it or want to be honest about it, the HP series has roots in the dark arts. The dark arts part is a bit erased and presented as light magic. The only reason many Muslims still find the HP series appealing is because the source of the magic is not stated. If it was clearly stated as a false god, many Muslims would have quickly dissociated themselves from that series.

Anyway, while my books are often classified in Sci-Fi or in Islamic fiction because of the technological advances I imagined or the Islamic References, I have a problem with classifying my books solely in sci-fi or as Islamic Fiction. I prefer Muslim Fiction for the latter and the supernatural and the unseen are not sci-fi. They are mentioned at every corner of the Quran starting with Quran 2: 2-3. Now, to finally answer the question, I wanted fantasy books with cool sahabas and more Islamic History foundation for the next generation. See the meme below.

In addition, the night the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم time-traveled to the holy mosques and lands with Jibril and then to Jannah—The Night of the Miraj, and how He صلى الله عليه وسلم liked to refer to the strangers of the future inspired me among many other stories from the early righteous in penning this series. Nothing is technically made up. It is what they said, done, and would have said that I rephrased in the Book 1 and Book 2.

In all, it took me roughly four years to write the two books in the series. The character of Hanifa first appeared on my blog in the early 2014s as a short story alhamdullilah.

6. What questions about the book do you have for the moderator or other members of the discussion(s)?

Nusaybah : Do they think sci-fi is a genre for Muslim writers to explore because it sometimes deals with matters of the unseen?

Papatia Feauxzar - Yes, but I would like that it's classified as fantasy instead; since that is a genre that deals with supernatural characters. And to be honest, it's already being explored by many Muslim authors. The Muslim Fiction movement IS on the road as I'm typing this.

Maryam : What you think about their aqeedah and what are your thoughts about the genre of the book? Do you feel we need this narrative as Muslims?

Djubreel : I’d love to know what their take is on the combination of Islamic fiction and sci-fi. What do they think about it?

Papatia Feauxzar : The aqeedahs are there to make a point; they unite us and each Ducktrinor is a hafiz of the creed he or she is named after. Aqeedah also known as Creed is a madhab; a school of thought; a doctrine. Teachers are "Doctrinors" in my opinion. There should not be "in-doctrinators" because acquiring knowledge should not be a compulsion. The title is often abbreviated to "The Ducks." And when you see ducks, there is always one who strays away. And the analogy will reveal itself in future series of The Ducktrinors insha’Allah.

Muslim Fiction is a debatable topic that I have expatiated on before. You can read my thoughts here and here. Do let me know what you think after you read both blog posts!

Thank you everyone!

Readers, please check out Feauxzar's books :

- here at our e-Store

- at Djarabi Kitabs Publishing

- and on Amazon.

Jumada-II 1441 AH / February 2020's Book Club Pick will be My Sister the Serial Killer insha'Allah.

Book Club Questions :

1. What did you like most?

2. What gave you pause?

3. What didn't you like?

4. What are your other thoughts?

5. What question (s) do you have for the author(s)?

6. What questions about the book(s) do you have for the moderator or other members of the discussion(s)?

We look forward to hearing from you.

G E T  I N  T O U C H !


Books, Teas & Coffees

Until next time, subhanaka Allahumma wa-bihamdika ash-hadu anla ilaha illa anta as-taghfiruka wa atoobu ilayka. (O Allah, You are free from every imperfection; praise be to You. I testify that there is no true god except You; I ask Your Pardon and turn to You in repentance.) Aameen.


The Fofky's Book Club in partnership with The Muslim Bibliophile

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