In an excellent essay for, Pakistani author Usman Malik has a fantastic look at his home country, and how speculative fiction can help it regain some hope for the future .

Writing for The Herald, one of Pakistan’s widely-read magazines, Malik looks back on his own education in Pakistan and how the lack of encouragement when it came to cultivating an imagination is widespread there. He’s points out that this is a terrible thing for Pakistan and its future. Now residing in the United States, Malik won the Bram Stoker award and earned a Nebula nomination for his story The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family.

Is it a shock to anyone that Pakistan has been in the grip of an existential crisis for the last 60-some years? Outlining the root causes and effects of it is outside the scope of this article, but I will take a moment here to make a (seemingly) preposterous claim:Encouraging science fiction, fantasy, and horror readership has the potential to alleviate or fix many of Pakistan’s problems.

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The rest of the essay is a fascinating read, and well worth taking a couple of minutes to read through.

Artist Credit: Zehra Nawab