Come to think of it, the story’s premise backfired in my mind and made me a bit suspicious of the story. A novel honestly exploring that just can’t be published, I thought. No one would be brave enough to explore the logical conclusions of a sharia-ruled world of the future. Even if someone did, the themes or conclusions would be infected with political correctness. And if I flipped my initial pessimism, I might have also thought: It will be too politically conservative. “War on Terror” advocacy will gradually infect an otherwise excellent science-fiction setup.
Now, let me assure you that A Star Curiously Singing is nothing of the sort! Nietz knows his Islam, but also knows how to craft a fully-realized, vivid, dusty, machinery-humming science-fiction world. His first-person style is immediate and not merely the result of a trend. Supporting characters are sympathetic and real. And Sandfly is a remarkable hero.