Shelf of Today

Shelf of Today Cover

Publishing House: Athar Publishing House

Publication Year: 2022

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 112

In the novel “Shelf of Today.. What the Master Couldn’t Obtain,” author Najwa Al-Otaibi reconsiders our current human reality and the dangers threatening it, through the creation of an imagined world in which humans become half-human and half-machine. It is an enchanting and strange world that raises more questions than it provides answers, through a language that is intensely concise, sometimes shocking, and astonishing. Within the novel, we live in an era of “post-humanity” with all its conditions, concerns, and preoccupations, a fictional world, yet shocking and real, and inseparable from our current reality by any means. A world where attempts to control humans reach their peak, turning them into beings that are half-human, half-mechanical, not precisely understanding their feelings, even food is manufactured.

This hybrid human tries to find a refuge for themselves, or a friend, and even new parents, but how will they do that? And could there come a time when a person goes to the store to buy a friend to save them from boredom? How can technology, which was created to assist humans, belittle human beings themselves or even erase their existence? All these questions, and many other question marks, are posed by Najwa Al-Otaibi in her first novel, where she creates a dystopia through which she raises questions that can concern every human being as they pertain to their future, drawing a world where everything can be bought with money – according to her – even a person can go to buy a friend who feels and shares their feelings, as stated by the protagonist of the novel: “What mattered to me was that there was someone who truly cared about me without forcing me to do anything, or frightening me, and that I would not die alone.” The novel sends many important messages about the use of modern and advanced technology, especially in the field of artificial intelligence. This field, which is the subject of study by many academics and specialists around the world, to understand the impacts of this technology both in our present and future, but in the novel, Najwa poses the most dangerous question: Is this technology capable of erasing the existence of humans themselves? However, despite everything, even if half of a human turns into a machine, they will still be able to feel pain, sorrow, and most definitely love. This is what the author confirms through her novel.

Read More About Najwa Al-Otaibi

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