Reviewed by Leybl Botwinik
If you’ve not bought it yet – you should! Zion’s Fiction (sub-headed: “A Treasury of Israeli Speculative Literature”) is worth the investment. The intros are fascinating, the stories are great – as SF should be – and include great front and back artwork, also accompanying each story, by veteran SF illustrator Avi Katz.
Following is a very quick synopsis of some of the contents and stories of this exciting new 311 page anthology, containing 17 short stories, co-edited by Sheldon Teitelbaum and Emanuel Lottem, and co-published by Mandel Vilar Press (CT-USA) and SiAL Publishing (TA-Israel), 2018.
These are some of the best representations of SF writers and their short works – though by far not the only ones (apparently, Volume II is in the works). I would like to add, that some of the stories are universal in both content and context, while others contain specific references to Israeli culture, geography, etc. In addition, some are translations and some originally in English, but all are worthy contributions to the multiverse of SF.
Inside cover flap
You’ve probably heard of the now well-known description of modern Israel as “The Start-up Nation”, well the inside cover flap begins:
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…and the utopian novel Altneuland… [by
This concept is further expanded on, in the editor’s introduction and also touched upon by Robert Silverberg in his opening statements (see below). – How great minds think alike… Though I have to admit, that I didn’t think about it myself, but after studying their definitive arguments, it seems to me to be quite naturally true…
Foreword: Robert Silverberg
The 4 page forward takes us through a short but fantastic journey beginning with the Bible and its stories, and through to some other fantastical story elements in Jewish History of the past 3000+ years. Silverberg then continues with a very curt overview of the significant Jewish contribution to Fantasy & SF, notably in the USA. He follows that up with some notes about Israeli SF – and the fact that it is mostly in Hebrew, concluding that this new and worthy collection – now in English – represents the exposure of SF “Messages from another world” (i.e. Israel), that have now been made now accessible to the English reading audience.
Introduction by the co-editors: Sheldon Teitelbaum & Emanuel Lottem
The co-editors have written an excellent and very thorough 28-page introduction (with additional three-and-ahalf pages of notes and references) to this collection of stories. They begin with the concept – as noted above – of Israel’s conceptual creation based on turning fantasy/dreams into reality. They then discuss the early cultural restrictions and the how and the why – including the ‘heroes’ who made it all possible – for SF to develop and blossom in primarily the last two decades, in this tiny far-away nation.
I can well understand, when Sheldon and Emanuel made their personal statements at the book launching in Tel Aviv in October 2018 (at the annual ICON fest), how difficult it must have been to both gather the relevant material and then to write it up in such a compelling way. According to them, the introduction took them a long time to piece together and fine tune – to the point where it was done and redone so many times, that it began to become an exasperating experience for them.
From my point of view – as a reader and lover of SF, and a keen follower of the development of interest in SF in Israel – it would be great to see them collect all their previous work in preparing the 28 page intro, and make an expanded presentation on SF in Israel – past, present, and potential (i.e. where it’s headed, down the road).
As current editor and publisher of CyberCozen, I was, however, disappointed. Although Aaron Sheer (founding editor of CyberCozen and also founding member of the Rehovot SF group) is mentioned with 4 others on an inner page “In Memoriam” – there is no mention of him or his merits in the Israeli SF world (there are 2 lines mentioning the Rehovot SF group and CyberCozen on page 15, footnote 23 – but no connection is made to Aaron Sheer).
Story #1 – The Smell of Orange Groves by Lavie Tidhar
This story is – appropriately – about memory, which is commonly associated with the history and tradition of the Jewish people. It takes place in a future Tel Aviv with its own spaceport. The land is still divided – or at least there still seems to be friction between Jew and Arab, but there is also a large percentage of foreign workers who have lived and intermarried with the locals to sink in several generations of family roots. Thus, the protagonist Boris Chong – whose ancestor (great grandparent) was a Chinese worker who married an Israeli woman – tries to escape the memories of his past and of his family and people by travelling to other planets, etc. He can’t entirely escape, however, because that ancestor, Weiwei, had a biological memory-bridge procedure performed on him, that would affect all future progeny: All family memories and experiences would somehow always be intercommunicated and never be lost. It may seem ironic, that a non-Jew – a Chinaman – has done this, since this one of the foundation pieces of Jewish civilization – our long and shared memory.
(Then again, Jews and Chinese seem to have much in common – including love of Chinese food…)
Story #2 – The Slows by Gail Hareven
In a future where humans can be bred and grow up almost instantaneously (under lab-sterile conditions), there remains a small group of humans that insist on carrying out the birthing and growth of the body (and mind) according to the ‘savage’ old (traditional) ways. This story recounts the experience of one of the – for lack of a better word – social workers who is trained to deal with Slows who reside in a special camp – like some kind of prison or fenced-off Reservation. The story takes place as the last of the camps are being shut down by government order – as she is about to lose her job – and her final contact with a female Slow. She refers to the subjects as savages, and the babies as ‘larvae’.
This somehow reminds me of the Bible passage two weeks ago, in the book of Exodus, where the Jewish slave women were considered ‘savages’ when giving birth, unlike the ‘normal’ Egyptian women.
Story #3 – Burn Alexandria by Keren Landsman
I particularly liked this one, since I’m an avid reader and libraries are my favorite stomping grounds. Oh, and I’ve also followed several seasons worth of “The Librarians” TV series…
And, if that wasn’t enough hinting about the title, then you really ought to go to a library to find out more about the Great Library of Alexandria. Now, about the story.
Earth is continually invaded by extra-terrestrials – several times, and by various species. Whenever a spacesphere opens up on Earth and lets loose the various Aliens, Earth’s protectors are called in. These are soldiers specifically trained to enter the spheres and stop the invasion. The spheres are transportation modules opening up gates (or access-tunnels) between hostile invading planets and Earth.
Of course, since this is Israeli SF, then the protecting soldiers are Israeli – one female and one male. You can feel the military speech and other signature behavior patterns in the way the two Israeli protagonists in the story act and react. In this story’s latest invasion, they are surprised to discover the nature of the latest “invasion”: A self-contained library. But is it ‘friend’ or ‘foe’?
Story #4 – The Perfect Girl by Guy Hasson
There is nothing Israeli about this story, nor is it about the future, or space, or hi-tech or the likes. So it may actually be taking place somewhere nearby. In fact it takes place at the Indianapolis academy. However, if you are a telepath (or someone you know is) – particular a newbie in need of some training – then this story is just right for you.
At 46 pages, it is the longest short story in the collection. Guy Hasson takes us into the head and the emotions of a telepathic student, Justine, who begins her training by touching the body of a recently deceased young woman. The premise is that the thoughts in the mind of a dead person are still accessible to a good telepath for up to 7 days after death. Reading this story, you will learn how a telepath thinks, what he/she should be careful about, etc. In short, highly recommended for budding telepaths… Oh, and the story of the dead girl and how it affects Justine is very well written too.
Story #5 – Hunter of Stars by Nava Semel
Imagine that the sky blanked out one night – that we could no longer see the Stars (on a ‘good’ night, you could barely see the outline of the Moon) – and this was the new reality:
“At first people cried, then they didn’t cry so much, and Grandpa says that people get used to bad things just as they get used to good things. In school we were taught that this was an ecological disaster no scientist had anticipated, and unlike those who claim that this was God’s curse, Grandpa says that this is people’s curse…” (p.127)
This short story contains only 5 pages. In my opinion, the premise (about the ecological disaster) is rather weak. However, it contains many interesting points and presents some basic issues that concern our modern life. The main character Neri (from the Hebrew for “candle”=“ner”), a boy, recounts how people have polarized into those who “believe” in the stars that were, and those who oppose them, from the “Movement against Star Worship”.
On the one hand, Nava Semel’s tale emphasizes the ‘darkness’, but that technology is still ‘alive and kicking’. For example, all the light emitting and reflecting gadgets (phosphorescent shoulder pads and headbands) and the gifts the boy got for his birthday (glowing soccer ball so you can play in the dark/dimness, etc.), as well as the “Heavenly Body Substitute Searchlight” that lit up every night at midnight over the sea at the Tel Aviv beachside. On the other hand, there is a strong emphasis of tradition, family togetherness, and respect for the elders (parents and Grandpa).
Is the message here, that difficult times are easier to overcome or ‘endure’ when you are not alone, and can also fall back on ‘tradition’ (the tried and true of our forebears)? Are the ‘traditional values’ more supportive for survival than technological ‘solutions’? The story is short, possibly simplistic (as seen through the eyes of a young child) and straightforward, but contains excellent food for thought. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Story #6 – The Believers by Nir Yaniv
I’m afraid to say, that I read this 9-page short story several times in order to understand it (Possibly, it’s due to the mystic-theological aspects of the storyline). It’s a very heavy, intense philosophical-theological story where logic – and science – seem to have failed.
The main premise of the story is based on fundamental and fundamentalist religious doctrine. Basically, God is back. And with a “vengeance”. In modern as well as traditional Judaism, we are taught – whether one believes or not – that God is omniscient and knows and sees all. In this story, even the most minor trespass or ‘sin’ is punishable, and mostly by burning up, or “melting” down, or being turned inside-out. God knows all.
But he (or maybe she) punishes selectively. It is said, that this is not because he can’t see and hear all the sins, but rather that he is bored and decides when it’s a good time to punish. In other words – everyone eventually gets what’s coming to them. Only sometimes you can “get away with it”, and sometimes not – but your time will come…
Another fundamental concept is “FEAR OF GOD”. Whereas, in theory it is real FEAR, in modern as well as traditional Judaism, we are taught that this has been toned down to “AWE and RESPECT”. In this story, however, it’s real FEAR. After a while, though, it becomes a kind of numbing fear and then a passive or subconscious fear – because there is nothing anybody in society can do about it. Except, maybe, those who are planning to fight God – or at least to confront Him, using scientific means. Will they prevail?
This story is quite scary. It takes the laws of the Scripture to be so fundamentalist, that there is no need for an intermediary to punish you if you transgress. God knows all – and punishes you in an instant. The fear in the story reminds one of life under a harsh dictatorship, possibly to the extreme of Huxley’s 1984. This story takes that fear of being watched (and mind-read, even) a few notches higher.
As a side note – in contrast to this story – there is the opposite scenario, where God is in fear of Mankind, such as in the daring SF anthology “Dangerous Visions” by Ellison (who passed away this time last year – end of June, 2018). The story, “Evensong” by Lester del Rey, is about the capture of a being, identified at the end of the story as God, by Man, who has usurped God’s power.
Story #7 – Possibilities by Eyal Tener
This starts like a classic SF time-travel story, where the protagonist meets his/her future (somewhat older) self, face-to-face. A perfect example is in Heinlein’s “Farnham’s Freehold”. And this idea has been copied on numerous occasions. Sometimes they’re there to warn you… sometimes to kill you…
This story is wonderful – beautiful, in fact (or at least in my opinion). It particularly speaks to me, because it’s about a writer, who is particularly successful (unlike me…).
The writer, who is narrating, is around 70, and in his deathbed with incurable cancer. He vividly remembers himself at age 19, being visited by his (future) friend Ray, who arrives by time machine with the writer’s future self. Ray introduces himself and the older self and warns him NOT to go fight in the Korean war, but to rather continue writing. He remembers his younger self, punching his older self, beating him, and ultimately killing him. Ray takes the body and leaves. There doesn’t seem to be any good explanation for this violence – but it is what it is, and strongly affects the young man who becomes slightly emotionally unstable and is therefore rejected by the army doctors at the recruiting station.
The writer tells us that at some point in time, when he was healthier, about 20 years earlier, he sought different ways to resolve this conundrum, including visiting a young woman seer who could purportedly look into your past and tell you what would have happened, had you taken a different path at a particular turning point in your life. Although skeptical, he is reaching for straws and is willing to try this one too. He talks to her and answers some of her questions. She says that he has a ‘power’ in the way he unfolds his stories – though she has never read any – just from talking to him. She talks some more with him, then goes into some sort of trance.
When she reawakens to talk to him, she says that there is a barrier, and hints that it seems that the other time-stream seems to be the more natural one. She also says that she needs more time to pass that barrier. Believing her to be a fraud trying to milk him, he abruptly gets up to leave, and hands her a 100$ bill. He hears her say that she doesn’t take money…
Over the years, he is still troubled by his traumatic youth, and often thinks of the seer, but never returns for the follow up session. With mixed feelings he always finds an excuse to put it off. She shows up at his deathbed, and helps him to understand what happened.
Story #8 – In the Mirror by Rotem Baruchin
Imagine that you have been handed down a magic mirror… The protagonist, Danielle, has the ability to look into that magic mirror and see other Danielles’ from multiple parallel universes, and somehow
affect their lives – usually in some nasty way. She punches and cracks the mirror (on the other side) and brings the other Danielles’ some level of bad luck.
But one day – a Danielle – on the other side punches and cracks her side of the mirror…
This story is short, and readable, and although not directly SF – it’s more on the fantasy side–it does present parallel world issues. There is nothing particularly Jewish or Israeli in the story’s text, other than the second woman’s name “Liron”.
The climax, is where Danielle gets hers – but maybe it would have been more interesting if she then hits back too and causes that Danielle’s world to also be influenced – then they would both ‘learn a lesson’ that it’s not nice to manipulate other people’s lives… Still, it’s a nice take on Mirror-world fantasies.
Story #9 – The Stern-Gerlach Mice by Mordechai Sasson
It’s very much an SF story, and very Jewish/Israeli. The grandma and her friends all talk and react in
very stereotypical “Yente” fashion (see: Merriam Webster Dictionary) including playing the poor, helpless old lady, as she manipulates and takes advantage of the robot.
These robot are called “Tin Beggars” because they work for people in return for pieces of metal. (The word “Yenta” is also used in the story).
The story has some elements of humour/satire and the style is very informal in many ways, as it’s recounted by the main antagonist, the grandson (a student) at the house of his grandma and her visiting group of old ladies. A tranquil day in the very Jewish Jerusalem neighbourhood is disrupted (a day before the mourning day of “Tisha B’Av” that reminds of the destruction of Jerusalem and dispersal of all the surviving Jews into the Diaspora for almost 2000 years, by the Romans) by mutated mice who attack helpless women and children driving them from their houses. The main hero manages to mostly save the day. In reality, though, it’s the robot who does. Nevertheless, in the end, it even gets manipulated by the narrator.
Although this failed ‘pogrom’ by the mice seems to be the focus of the story, I believe that the writer actually wanted to focus on the terrifying experiments done on the mice (and the consequences) – as well as the bungling of the security forces/municipality/those in power in dealing with them. This may be why the story is set a day before Tisha B’Av – to remind us of the consequences of not behaving correctly/compassionately.
Story #10 – A Good Place for the night by Savyon Liebrecht
At 29 pages, this is the third longest of the short stories in the collection… The story is about an Israeli woman, Gila, and several other lone survivors of some great calamity – probably a nuclear war (possibly on a global scale): an American, a young Italian nun and her old sick ward, and a baby.
… and later a Pole who is on a bike on a five hundred mile quest to find his family (Gila and the American were on a train near the Polish-Austrian border when the world stopped). According to him, everyone in the surrounding villages is dead. Later he returns and tells them that there is almost no one alive. Gila and the American discover that they have some mutated growths in their bellies – and in a desperate plan to preserve the ‘future’ decide to try to convince the young nun to be impregnated – and hopefully a girl child will come of it – for the baby boy to procreate with, at some future time.
In general, this is a ‘light’ story of survival after an apocalyptic apparently world-spanning catastrophe. There are some elements of mutual assistance – everyone of different religions, languages, and cultures thrown together in one ‘boat’ (so to speak) – needing to help one another to survive both physically, but mostly emotionally.
Story #11 – Death in Jerusalem by Elana Gomel
A not too short 19-pager, but worth the read. This one is a theological fantasy that is in some ways, maybe even satiric. A 35 year old Israeli girl falls for a MAN who isn’t really. He is DEATH impersonated. Actually, one of many types of DEATH (his family consists of WAR, HUNGER, OLD AGE, etc.). She marries him – he is a guntoting DEATH (maybe even symbolizing terrorists) – in full knowledge of his state and of his ‘brothers and sisters’, but is nevertheless uncomfortable with the result. One day a ‘retired’ DEATH approaches her (there are some hints that he is a resurrected evil person from recent tragic Jewish history) and suggests a way of getting out of the marriage contract – and there are some rather surprising and even world-shaking – consequences.
This story does reflect many Israeli/Jewish background issues (and mostly takes place – as the title suggests – in Jerusalem). For example, one Friday evening she lights Shabbat candles. At the same time, because she can’t sleep that night, she turns on the TV. The only late night programming on Fridays – unless you have Cable-TV – is Arabic.
[*NOTE: since I am religiously observant, and do not watch TV on the Sabbath – I’m assuming that is correct today as well. I know, that in the past, Israeli TV programming in Hebrew was suspended after a certain hour Friday evening/nights, and the Arabic language programming continued – and even that would suspend, so that the only other programs on TV would be to switch to an Egyptian or other middle-eastern station – But I can’t tell you for sure what happens now]
Story #12 – White Curtain by Pesakh (Pavel) Amnuel
This 9 page short story fits rather well into our current series of articles concerning time and space – notably the multiverse. Imagine that there was a way to figure out what are the exact combination of life-circumstances (those key decision- or event-turning points in your life) that brought you to where you are today – and that you could somehow have them remanipulated to give you the best Present and Future – or at least manage to fix some significant issue(s) in your life…
This is the premise of Pesakh Amnuels fascinating tale: The conundrum of the multiverse and about two longtime rival-friends – one the theorist for the possibilities of multiverse ‘splicing’ – and one the practicing ‘splicer’. The ‘splicing’ is, of course, resetting paths from one ‘successful’ (or ‘mostly successful’) multiverse time-and-space, to another, in order to achieve optimum results and place you on a ‘positive’ path. As colleagues and friends, they once worked together, but then drifted apart after a love-triangle-rivalry… but the woman dies, and no matter how many permutations and possible ‘paths’ they try to work out, they can’t find the right set of circumstances to bring her back to life – or rather into their lives…. Or can they?
On a side note – although I thoroughly enjoyed the story – it’s about “Irena”, and “Oleg”, and “Dima”, etc… with no connection to Israel or Jewish thought, tradition, etc. Much as I appreciated it, I’m not sure I would have included this particular story in the collection of “Israeli SF&F”.
Story #13 – A Man’s Dream by Yael Furman
In this enjoyable story, Yair has a teleportation ‘quirk’: When he dreams of someone, that person pops up in bed with him –and naked – literally wrenched out of that person’s whereabouts and transported to immediately next to him. Imagine the consequences.
In the opening few lines, we find that Galia (the person Yair dreamt about) was literally sucked out of her car while she was driving, and the car just kept on going, driverless.
Yair is known as a ‘Dreamer’ – and apparently, there are more like him in Israel (the world?). In most cases, this is a one-time occurrence: A Dreamer would dream of someone he met, the person would be teleported into bed with him, and – notwithstanding the shock and embarrassment – the Dreamer would then forget that person, and it would never happen again – to that person. Unfortunately, Yair keeps dreaming of the same young woman. Yair is married to Rina. Both she and Galia are suffering. Rina loves her husband, and so puts up with it. In some ways, she befriends Galia whose life is disrupted every time Yair dreams of her – but there is nothing much anyone can do. The doctors and psychiatrists have tried… Is there hope for a solution?
Yael Furman touches on a very interesting ability: teleportation based on a semi-conscious ‘whim’. In fact, it’s not clear in this story if there are also women Dreamers, or if there are men who dream of other men, or animals, or objects – would those also be teleported? Is there a limit as to the number of people (i.e. dreaming of, say, a dance group of 20 women)? Could this be manipulated for Good: have someone dream of a lost person or wanted fugitive? Could it be used in an evil way to kidnap people or help criminals escape incarceration? – As I said, very interesting …
The story takes place in Israel, with some mention about Israeli place names, stereotypes, and idiosyncrasies.
Story #14 – Two minutes too early by Gur Shomron
The year is 2137, the venue, the Linton family house, where the 3 siblings are participating in the annual Worldwide Puzzle championship against other groups of 3 genius kids. They have 48 hours to complete an intricate puzzle, but if they can manage it within 24 hours or less, they will be considered among the top contestants. To aid them, they have a hovering AI computer called “Piper”. It seems, however, that the parts were delivered 2 minutes before the actual start of the competition (which is against the rules). Something fishy here.
This 12 page short story is quite interesting and well written. I enjoyed the suspense and the twist in the plot (I’m not going to spoil it for you). Unlike most of the other stories in the collection, Shomron’s story is not only about kids, but seems to be written for a young audience (though adults will enjoy it as well. I did!).
This storyline, setting, characters, etc. is also one of those in the ZION’S FICTION collection that may be considered ‘universal’ and has no connection to Jews, Israel, Jewish tradition, etc. but is – as the co-editor mentioned in his letter – “…worthy of publication.”
Story #15 – My Crappy Autumn by Nitay Peretz
This story is about Ido, a modern and secular Israeli who tells us of his sometimes normal and more often than not weird experiences during a period of about a month, during the summer month of August.
Told in the first person, he describes his feelings as he lives through a series of events that include his girlfriend of four years leaving him, a donkey that begins to talk and becomes the spokesperson for a new cult, and a visit by some mysterious UFO. The entire 32 page short story feels like it’s some manifestation of the marijuana that Ido likes to smoke. In fact it is probably the most “Israeli” SF&F story in Zion’s Fiction’s collection of 16 short stories – with multiple references to “classic” Israeli images, events, and symbols (such as soccer teams, TV channels, etc.) – including iconoclastic thoughts and activities on the part of Ido and others. Even the language and style Ido uses often reminds one of Israeli-like expressions or ways of saying things (including syntax) that don’t always come out right in English – but are very typical of Israelis. This all makes the story very authentic.
Overall, however, I didn’t really connect to this story as much as I did to the other ones in the Zion’s Fiction. In fact, regardless of the ‘weirdness’ and random UFO appearances, I didn’t feel that the story was one I would have selected for this collection.
Story #16 – They had to Move Autumn by Shimon Adaf
The story takes place soon after the war with the Hezbollah of Lebanon (since the story has a copyright of 2008, we can assume it was influenced by the conflict of 2006). The narrator’s father was killed in action. As a result of this, the narrator (a teenage girl), her younger brother, and her mother are all under great emotional stress. The boy has become a troublemaker, and the mother is an emotional wreck: now that her husband is no longer alive, she has nothing to live for.
The girl telling the story seems to be the only stable person – and then the Aunt arrives to ‘save the day’ and take them in, in her house, but in some ways, disrupts their lives even more. Here, the boy discovers a magazine with stories that he relates to, and he brings alive characters from those stories to assist him in hurting and bullying others.
This 12 page short story, the last in the ZION’S FICTION collection, is doubly interesting, in that the stories that the boy reads are specific references to various short stories from the classic Israeli SF magazine “Fantasia 2000” that published both Hebrew translations of good SF and original stories as well. Some of the magazine covers are also depicted.
The last sections and concluding remarks
For the past year and a half, I’ve been having a lot of fun reviewing this fantastic collection of outstanding SF. When sifting through my various reviews you will find that I appreciated all the stories (on their own merit). I did, however, feel that one or two were not what I would have included as part of the anthology, had I been given the authority to accept or reject entries for this specific assembly of representative Israeli SF short stories. On the other side of the coin, some of the stories were – in my opinion – exceptionally worthy of inclusion.
Notwithstanding my minor criticism, I would like to share some thoughts on the outstanding work, and congratulate the two editors, Sheldon TeitelBaum and Emanuel Lottem for their major and groundbreaking contribution to showcasing Israeli SF to the world through these (mostly) English-language translations. And we mustn’t forget the amazing and impressive artwork by Avi Katz on both the front and back covers (particularly the front one), as well as those accompanying each of the 16 stories.
Afterword – by Aharon Hauptman (p.293-295)
In his short, concluding piece, Aharon – who was the editor of “Fantasia 2000” (1978 – 1984), Israel’s foremost (unfortunately now defunct) Hebrew-language SF magazine – discusses and underscores the important role of SF in society. He succinctly presents the case as such: “If humans fail to understand our potential futures, …, it is mostly due to the failure of imagination, something that the SF community is not short of.” And later, “Indeed, in recent research activities, …, imagining wild cards played an important role, and the project’s work plans explicitly encouraged the researchers to explore SF literature for inspiration.”
Acknowledgements & About the Contributors (p.296-311)
The final 2 sections of the book contain a two-page presentation of well-deserved thank-you notes to everyone who assisted in putting together the major work. I would like to add my own thank-you to them as well, to indicate my appreciation to all who were involved in the production of “Zion’s Fiction”. This section is then followed by 12 pages of short bios of all the contributors (writers and artist and editors).
Well, I admit that I will be a bit saddened to not be able to continue my reviews of the short stories – so I will just add my two cents worth of final – no! Not final – acknowledgement of my own. The anthology “Zion’s Fiction” should be on every SF lover’s bookshelf. It is but a sampling of a growing interest in both reading and writing in this genre in Israel, and happily, offered in a well-written translated version – in English. This, of course provides essential exposure to the outside world, of what SF is like in Israel. Of course, this is only a sampling. Hopefully, anthology #2 (and on) will be available in the near future. Until then, you should enjoy and savor these gems, brought to you from the SF Nation of the world, Israel, whose heart is Zion*.
*Zion: For those not too familiar with the concept of “Zion” I found this interesting discussion. Although it tends to lean a bit too much on the Christian evangelical gospel for my taste, it seems to bring out the ‘facts and figures’ quite correctly, if only briefly: What is Zion?