In my novel Mars Crossing, Brandon quotes some of the lyrics to a song about the mythical desert nomad Abbas abd el Sami. For those interested, here are the complete lyrics.

Abbas abd'el Sami


Abbas abd'el Sami is the sultan of the sands
He's the prince over the desert, he's a prophet in his land
His only home's a silken tent, he wanders with the wind
With the sighing of the lonely desert wind

He steals into the desert night,
with sword and gun and dynamite
and no man's walls can hold him in
he wanders with the desert wind

he's a warrior and a lover, got a harem of his girls
and he loves em and he leaves em in the palaces of the world
No one can say they know him, though all men know his name
He keeps his heart well hidden, and his love is just a game

Riding across the burning sands
into the cliffs of shadowed lands
In hot pursuit, the nomad bands
and the sighing of the wind

But when the sand storm come,
When the sand storm blows across the wastes
Everything gonna be changed, I tell you
Yes, everything's gonna be changed

He races through the desert night,
with scimitar and dynamite
Only the moon dares call him kin
The moon, the sun, and the desert wind

For Abbas abd'el Sami, he's the sultan of the sands
He's the caliph of the wasteland, he's a prophet without a land
When the sun comes up on lonely peaks, he's vanished with the wind
With the sighing of the lonely desert wind.

--Geoffrey A. Landis, 2000

sand dunes of Endurance crater (image courtesy NASA/JPL/Cornell University)>

Page by Geoffrey A. Landis, copyright 2000, 2006