(1898-1987) Regarded along with Nobel-prize winning author Najib Mahfuz as the most important modern Egyptian author, author of over 50 books of short stories, novels, dramas and essays, some of sf interest. In 1947 he published his first sf short story, "Fi sana malyun" ["In the Year Million"]. His most interesting sf works are plays. In Rihla ila al-ghad (1950; trans as "Voyage to Tomorrow" 1981) he uses relativistic Time Travel during interstellar flight, in something of a homage to H G Wells. Two one-act plays have sf themes: Shair ala al-qamar (1972; trans as "Poet on the Moon" 1981) and Taqrir qamari ["Moon Account"] (1972). The first uses sf metaphor in a story about the struggle of Art to assert its place in society; the second tells of two extraterrestrials writing a report about life on Earth. English translations of "Voyage to Tomorrow" and "Poet on the Moon" can be found in Plays, Prefaces and Postscripts of Tawfiq al-Hakim: Volume One: Theatre of the Mind (coll trans William M Hutchins 1981). His essays about the future in Hadith maa al-kawkab ["Conversation with the Planet"] (coll 1974) have sf relevance, as do some other works. [JO]
see also: Arabic SF; Theatre.
born Alexandria, Egypt: 9 October 1898
died Cairo, Egypt: 26 July 1987
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