Forget about start-up nations. Israel is the ‘Science Fiction Nation’ – the only country whose establishment was directly inspired by not one but two seminal works of wonder: The Hebrew Bible, with its signs, prophecies and apparitions, and the seminal utopian novel Altneuland (Old-New Land), Zionist ideologue Theodor Herzl’s enlightened, Bellamyesque blueprint for Jewish communal sovereignty in the ancestral Jewish homeland.
At an age most of us start drawing our first Social Security checks, the Jewish state is busy cracking out such wondrous products as bio- embeddable Pillcams, electronic diving gills, dragonfly drones, SMS’ing fruit trees, missile trajectory systems adapted to track World Cup soccer players, billion-dollar computer and smartphone apps like Skype, Waze and WhatsApp, and last but not least, the venerable cherry tomato.
What it has yet to generate is a single, authoritative volume (never before published in any language, including Hebrew) of Israeli fantastic literature.
The editors will remedy this not so incidental oversight with the publication of Zion’s Fiction: A Treasury of Israeli Speculative Literature, hopefully in August 2018. The world’s first English-language historical anthology of Israeli fantasy and science fiction, Zion’s Fiction will open a portal into a little-known wellspring of speculative fiction from the ultimate ImagiNation.
Showcasing stories originally crafted in Hebrew, Russian and English and published since 1970 by a gallery of genre-savvy Israeli writers (including Shimon Adaf, Pesakh (Pavel) Amnuel, Rottem Baruchin, Gail Hareven, Yael Furman, Guy Hasson, , Etgar Keret, Keren Landsman, Moredechai Sasson, Nava Semel, Nitay Peretz, Lavie Tidhar and Nir Yaniv,), the book will lay bare the hidden dreams and fears of a people whose literary imagination has been squeezed in a vise of threat and uncertainty – and conversely, untold possibilities.