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Frankenstein’s Podcast Blog

Comma editor Basma Ghalayini recently joined Joe and Kalid from Frankenstein’s Podcast to discuss how genre fiction and speculative fiction can be seen as a tool to reflect on the traumas of the past and present as well as explore the hopes for the future. Specifically, the Comma short-story collection, Palestine + 100: Stories from a Century after the Nakba

Frankenstein’s Podcast is available on all major podcast platforms. Listen to ep 84: The Hopes & Traumas in Palestinian Speculative Fiction w/ Basma Ghalayini here. 

Read an excerpt of their chat below…

JOE: Since we are a creature feature podcast, in any realm of pop culture what do you consider your favourite monster or creature?

BASMA: I’m fascinated by a creature called Al-Jathoum. This creature exists in all cultures, in all languages and I came across it when I was maybe fourteen or fifteen reading like a YA series called Beyond Nature written by an Egyptian writer Ahmed Khaled Tawfik. You don’t get much access to YA in Arabic so when this came out, we all just clung onto it. He would feature a different monster in every story but this one stuck with me. It's a creature similar to the incubus or the succubus in that they’re said to be the reason for sleep paralysis, so if you’re asleep on your back at night any you can’t move it’s because this creature is sitting on your chest… The idea of this creature coming out of the shadows I always found so creepy.

KALID: I love when there’s that kind of parallel thinking of creatures or demons across the world where you have a lot of similarities to the point that you’re like ‘is this real?’

JOE: What do you consider yourself geeky about? Like what could you just talk about for hours?

BASMA: I go through intense phases – so my background is in software engineering -and I’ve always been fascinated with machines and computers; not technology in general but specifically computers and code. So in life if there’s a problem I delve deep into it and get completely consumed by it and I wouldn’t leave it until I’ve solved it and I’d need to understand how it words and how I did it so I’d research into the history of this particular problem, the history of the progression of this particular output and I get quite geeky in that sense. People in the office take advantage of it – they know I can’t hear ‘this isn’t working’ without getting involved!

JOE: You spend a lot of your formative years in Gaza after spending some time in the UK. I wondered if you could tell us a bit about your upbringing and what brought you to writing?

BASMA: I lived in the UK the first four years of my life – my parents were medics practicing in the UK after finishing their degrees. When I was four they decided they wanted to move back home to Gaza so I was there until 2009 when I was 26/27 when I decided to come live in the UK. I spend my childhood in Gaza, I did all my school years, university, my undergraduate – I got my software engineering degree there. Gaza is a really significant part of my life. When I came to the UK I gravitated towards interpretation and translation because I spoke English and Arabic and there was demand for that. I came across Comma Press after doing a couple of freelance translations for The Book of Cairo and Banthology, and I got to know the editor-in-chief Ra Page. They had a need for an in-house Arabic editor and an office manager so I ended up working for Comma Press and… here I am!

About Frankenstein's Podcast

We LOVE monsters!

Every other week, Joe Praska and Kalid Hussein chat about creature-features from across the pop culture spectrum with a slew of special guests along the way. We cover various creatures from movies, TV series, comic books, and even an improv stage production once!

If you like what you hear, consider supporting us on Patreon!


Buy Palestine + 100 HERE