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Posts Tagged ‘“the right book”’

In my previous post, I emphasized a funny quote from Cory Doctorow’s short story “The Right Book”: “No one could have predicted how well books and halal fried chicken went together.” So I think this is a good opportunity for me to talk about halal fried chicken — or halal in general, at least.

Curiously enough, last night hosted multiple coincidences. Not only did I discover that Cory Doctorow also wrote a story about the future of literature (as I’d done with “After the Age of Giant Sundials”), but his story mentioned — briefly, of course — halal. As it happens, I watched the reading of “The Right Book” just after hearing my dad deliver a speech about halal foods and socially conscious business.

He talked about a bunch of stuff — how he used “guerilla tactics” to start up a business from almost nothing, how to give back to the community, how to make sure your employees get paid right, how religious Sharia business rules stick so well with the socially conscious model. Most importantly, he talked about the halal/organic food business. There’s a strong demand for organic, quality halal food among American Muslims.

But the biggest idea is that even non-Muslims will go for halal. My dad assured his audience — the Muslim Business Alliance of Connecticut — that halal is a huge opportunity for anyone going into business, not just in financial terms but also in moral and spiritual terms. He and many others who are involved with halal business see that non-Muslims will jump for ethnic halal foods and will be attracted to the fact that halal regulations demand the humane treatment of animals.

This also opens the doors to interfaith work and eliminates Islamophobia. In other words, when people find plenty of halal food — good halal food —  in their grocery stores, then they connect it to Muslims. Opinions just might change. My dad is also helping start “Profits for Peace,” meant to establish relations between people of different religions.

A lot of times people — including myself — tend to complain about the serious issues we might see around us, but we never talk about the solutions because either it’s too hard to think about solving problems or we don’t even think about thinking about solving problems. Sometimes I try to excuse myself by saying that if I write about a problem, then other people are the ones who should figure out how to do the mending. But that’s not the case. As a writer, if you reveal an unsettling conflict, then you better think about how to fix it up. In my post “Why Cory Doctorow is ‘The Man'” I mentioned the elimination of the mental divide between East and West via “a wrinkle in time” — the web. Halal business is just as valid a method — it reaches out not only to Muslims, but to everyone else as well. Food, as a representation of culture, is a great way to unify people of different races, ethnicities, religions, and nationalities.

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Wow. Talk about coincidences.

I just posted my short story “After the Age of Giant Sundials,” which was inspired by the style Cory Doctorow used in his Locus Award-winning novelette “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth.” My story was about the future of literature. Now I’ve just discovered that Doctorow himself wrote a story — “The Right Book” — that is also about the future of literature. Weird. Or, if you want to go for word origins, “wyrd” as in fate. It reads cooler that way, I guess.

If you think “The Right Book” bears any similarity to “After the Age of Giant Sundials,” just keep in mind that — while Doctorow has inspired me — I had no intention whatsoever of copying him. I even wrote the story in the beginning of April 2009.

Anyhow, Neil Gaiman himself read Doctorow’s story at the Worldcon science fiction convention. The videos are below, and you can also read what Doctorow had to say about it.

My favorite line? “No one could have predicted how well books and halal fried chicken went together.”

 

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