There are countless stories scattered in every corner of the world, told in books or around kitchen tables; hidden under the hoods of sages; engraved on the faces of mountains; written or typed or drawn in every form. People are storytellers. Our lives are joined through the sharing of our stories. Behind every story is a teller, behind each teller is a tradition, and traditions trace back and merge and twine together.
The story that we tell, again and again, is the story of ourselves: who and why we are. There are so many tales still to be told; so many new combinations, interplay of ideas, mythmaking of intertwining traditions ever more pertinent in our multi-heritage, cross-cultural world.
Who are we?
Fictional Frontiers as an emerging subscription platform inspired by Islamic heritage – its stories, archetypes and themes. The platform will an encompass a variety of methods of narrative creation and media forms. Books, graphic novels, manga, art, and music are being developed, set for release from this year. Also in the works are series for television, anime, films and documentaries. Alongside these projects, there will be a variety of collectibles, garments and textiles, toys and games.
The Fictional Frontiers platform has diversity at its core. Based in the US, it has Sohaib Awan at its helm, the director of Jabal Entertainment, who has decades of experience in the creative media industry. He has created this platform to share his knowledge and expertise while providing more opportunities to creators from diverse backgrounds. Fictional Frontiers works with creators from different countries and cultures, with their languages, unique artforms and expressive styles.
There is a rich heritage here to be explored. Collections and compendiums of stories are being brought forward for discovery by new audiences. The platform aims to broaden perspectives and encourage mutual appreciation for different world-views and the stories that have shaped them.
What are we doing?
The opening salvo of the platform, launching this March, is the Fictional Frontiers Streaming Channel. For a limited time, some of its streams will be publicly broadcast for viewers to get a taste of what is to come, before the monthly subscription support comes in at $4.99. The channel aims to create creative spaces. With several streams a week, each with a different theme, a host of guests will be interviewed and interacted with.
Guests range from authors, artists, producers and directors, to scholars, academics and figures in various adjacent fields. There is something for everyone: if you are interested in the process of story-crafting, in the topics of the day and the people being hosted, or if you want to get into the industry. Valuable information and guidance will be distilled from years of experience, from prominent figures, as well as those growing in their fields. The platform also invites submissions from the audience, allowing their own stories to be discussed and developed.
Imminently upcoming works to be published on the platform include two graphic novels. Beyond the Forest by Noor Yusuf is a story of adventure, friendship and spirituality, which delves into the legendarium of the mythic Muslim heroes: the Awliya. Clear by “mangaka” Alex Irzaqi is a story of the unseen realities of good and evil, brought forth and manifested in the physical world through martial arts.
These series will be released on the platform in periodic instalments, alongside articles documenting the process of creation, behind-the-scenes details and further information on the history and culture from which the stories find inspiration. Thereafter they will be released in print, followed by other books that Fictional Frontiers has in its publication line-up. There are more projects in development, but information will be released for those in due time!
How are we doing it?
Fictional Frontiers applies a ‘transmedia’ approach. There are many mediums of storytelling and to each is their own style of learning, chosen genre or art. The creators of the platform intend to accommodate their audiences whether they prefer fiction or non-fiction, novels, short stories, comics and manga, film or interaction and conversation. Fictional Frontiers intends their stories to be many things: refreshment of the spirit, relaxation and entertainment, and education, learning about oneself and others, and the connection that exists between us.
While Fictional Frontiers aims to cater to a wide audience of all backgrounds, they have a particular interest in stories from and inspired by the Muslim world, its cultures and philosophies. The approach takes its lead from traditional arts of storytelling. Different communities of Muslim peoples historically delved into different creative arts: stories and teaching tales, a myriad of artistic styles, songs, music, plays and theatre.
There is symbolism, mystery and deep meaning in the great works of Islamic art, which then make their way into our homes, onto tapestries, onto pitchers and pots and table-spreads, and the embroidery of clothes – the great design and intention pervades our lives. The spirit of the emotion it was designed to nurture on a grand scale reaches each individual in many small and beautiful ways. Fictional Frontiers holds the cultivation of true beauty at its heart.
Join the Fictional Frontiers!
We are people of the moment. Fictional Frontiers invites you to be part of each moment as it happens. We’re not just building a bank of things, filling it up with more and more, like a dragon’s hoard, immense in size with a glittering exterior and everything underneath forgotten and lost. Each project, each creation of ours is crafted with our own hands and hearts, supporting the people who create it, enabling those who want to experience it to support them and be part of the journey of that creation. We want to explore our projects and stories wholly. We want to give our audience a chance to experience them in a holistic, collaborative way, participating and choosing for themselves what they want to see and feel. We are present with one another at each step. We support your growth, you support ours, and we grow together, many twining threads of one tale.
Written by Noor Yusuf
Learn more about the Fictional Frontiers over on their Instagram and Website