5 Best Pakistani Sci-Fi Novels to Read

Explore dystopian worlds and alternate realities as we look at the top Pakistani sci-fi novels from illustrious authors.

This mineral holds the key to life

Within the enormous field of literature, sci-fi is a potent prism through which writers examine the complexities of society, culture, and human nature in addition to fanciful realms.

Sci-fi books are becoming more and more popular in Pakistani literature, and they provide readers with a distinctive experience that combines inventive narrative with social critique.

These stories cross traditional lines and take readers to future settings.

We travel to where technology and tradition collide and where social conventions are questioned against the backdrop of alternative landscapes.

These works capture a wide range of issues, from Karachi’s busy streets to the vast reaches of intergalactic space.

From tales of rebellion against oppressive regimes to investigations into extraterrestrial mysteries, these novels captivate readers with their rich storytelling.

The 786 Cybercafe by Bina Shah

5 Best Pakistani Sci-Fi Novels to Read

Unknown to those around him, Jamal Tunio harbours a fervent ambition.

In Karachi, a city not always hospitable to dreamers, Jamal’s vision of launching a cybercafé on Tariq Road is a beacon of potential success.

Assisted by his technically adept brother Abdul and his steadfast companion, Yasir, Jamal envisions a space where individuals can readily access a wealth of information, communication, and technology.

Jamal’s entrepreneurial spirit sees an opportunity in this 21st-century gold mine, where the burgeoning internet offers new horizons for all in Pakistan.

Yet, amidst their aspirations, Jamal, Abdul, and Yasir find themselves drawn to Nadia, a captivating figure veiled in a burqa, who clandestinely frequents the 786 Cybercafé.

What secrets does she hold, and could one of them be the key to fulfilling her desires?

Will the trio succeed in establishing the 786 Cybercafé, or will they succumb to the enticing distractions that Karachi so adeptly presents?

Witness Jamal Tunio’s journey as he navigates the complexities of love, bureaucracy, and familial ties.

The Lost Children of Paradise by Omar Gilani

5 Best Pakistani Sci-Fi Novels to Read

In rural Pakistan, a driverless cargo container careens off course, resulting in a collision.

Inside the container, 46 abducted street children are discovered…

Officer Nawaz, a weathered ex-law enforcement officer living in 22nd century rural Pakistan, has long abandoned any aspirations of heroism in favour of a notable drinking habit.

However, when he stumbles upon a crashed cargo container, his curiosity compels him to delve into the matter.

Circumstances pair him with Adil Khan, a youthful, idealistic, and somewhat irksome space cadet from the global Confederation.

Together, their investigation unravels a perilous conspiracy, forcing them to question their understanding of Pakistan and themselves in their pursuit of justice – and survival.

Set against a futuristic backdrop, this sci-fi detective tale delves into a society grappling with a world fixated on space exploration.

As the duo navigate through the challenges, they confront a blend of contemporary and timeless hurdles while unraveling the enigma surrounding the abducted children.

The Light Blue Jumper by Sidra F. Sheikh

5 Best Pakistani Sci-Fi Novels to Read

In a struggle against an oppressive interplanetary regime, a diverse group of rebels find themselves crossing paths with a Zaaronian possessing enigmatic abilities.

Is he the prophesied saviour destined to guide them to triumph?

Contrary to expectations, he harbours no such ambitions; his priority lies in maintaining his job security within the IPF, and the impending peril of the universe pales compared to the fear of unemployment.

Embark on a comedic space odyssey with this eclectic ensemble as they unite behind an unwilling hero to combat oppression, imperialism, and societal rudeness.

Divided Species by Muhammad Omar Iftikhar 

5 Best Pakistani Sci-Fi Novels to Read

Divided Species marks the debut novel of Muhammad Omar Iftikhar, presenting a captivating sci-fi narrative set in Karachi.

Here, the bustling metropolis becomes the focal point for extraterrestrial intrigue involving the Taleykens from the planet Arplon.

The Taleykens, seeking an ancient mineral safeguarded by their forebears within Karachi’s depths, must secure it to avert catastrophe amidst their planet’s civil strife.

This mineral holds the key to life on Arplon and poses a threat of global annihilation.

Amidst this tension, they forge an unexpected alliance with Rayan, a 21-year-old business student, embarking on a mission to safeguard the mineral and prevent a calamitous confrontation between worlds.

Divided Species skillfully navigates Karachi’s complex dynamics without falling into clichés.

With deft storytelling, the author captures the essence of the city, known as Pakistan’s economic nucleus, while delivering an imaginative tale of intergalactic intrigue.

Before She Sleeps by Bina Shah

5 Best Pakistani Sci-Fi Novels to Read

In the aesthetically pleasing Green City, the imbalance caused by gender selection, warfare, and disease has led to a disturbingly skewed ratio of men to women.

Under the governance of a regime employing both terror and advanced technology for control, women are compelled to enter into polyandrous unions to expedite childbearing.

However, amidst this oppressive system, there exist defiant women who have formed an underground collective, rejecting participation in the government’s dictates.

Operating clandestinely and shielded by powerful figures, these women emerge only under the cover of night to provide a unique service – intimacy without the need for sexual engagement.

Despite their elite patrons, they remain vulnerable to exposure and severe consequences.

This dystopian narrative, penned by one of Pakistan’s most esteemed authors, sheds light on the plight of women within oppressive Muslim societies worldwide.

By magnifying and distorting patriarchal norms such as female seclusion, gender bias, and control over women’s bodies, the novel paints a chilling portrait of a society engulfed in authoritarianism.

Pakistani sci-fi stands out as an innovative and imaginative light in a literary world that is frequently dominated by traditional storylines.

The speculative technology and futuristic planets depicted in these works provide a distinct viewpoint on Pakistani society.

Each work of fiction takes readers on a voyage of discovery and reflection, taking them from the busy streets of Karachi to dystopian ideas of civilisations to come.

These books encourage readers to consider alternative scenarios and challenge accepted truths in addition to being aesthetically pleasing.

By doing thus, they add to a dynamic literary environment that keeps growing and inspiring.

So, delve into these engrossing stories whether you’re a seasoned sci-fi fan or a novice to the subject.

Balraj is a spirited Creative Writing MA graduate. He loves open discussions and his passions are fitness, music, fashion, and poetry. One of his favourite quotes is “One day or day one. You decide.”

Images courtesy of Goodreads.

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