Zion`s Fiction: A Treasury of Israeli Speculative Literature, 2018
(translated by Toru Nakamura)
A selection of science fiction masterpieces written in Israel, which is almost unknown to the Japanese. If you are a Jewish American, there are many celebrities in science fiction. Like Silverberg, who wrote the preface, Isaac Asimov, Alfred Bester, Harlan Ellison, Robert Sheckley, and Hugo Gernsback, the founder of American science fiction known for the Hugo Awards, is also Jewish.
Then what about Israel, an emerging country built after the war? It is a powerful military nation in a conflict area in the Middle East, and both men and women have military service, and it seems to be a hidden nuclear power, so it only conveys a non-cultural image. But that’s just one side. This book is a selection of English translations of masterpieces published in the United States (mostly Hebrew, but Russian used by many Russian immigrants, including English publications abroad). It can be said that it is the same style that Ken Liu introduced by translating Chinese science fiction into English.
Lavie Tidhar (1976-) “Orange Field Fragrance” (2011) In the old town where you can see the space port that was once an orange field, the main character recounts the memories of his father and ancestors who were Chinese immigrants.
Gyle Haeven (1959-) “Slow” (1999) The Slow reserve, which is characterized by slow growth, has been abolished. The hero who has been the theme of the research is upset.
Keren Landsman “Burning Alexandria” (2015) The protagonists are trying to destroy the unusual facility that appeared as an alien invasion. However, it was humans who showed up, and it is said that this is a timeless library.
Guy Hasson (1971-) “Perfect Daughter” (2005) New students enroll in the Academy. There is a strict curriculum, and only one of the six can remain until graduation. Only students who can read the hearts of others are gathered here.
Nava Semel (1954-2017) “Hunter of the Stars” (2009) The shining night sky of the stars is lost from the ground. The protagonist is a generation after the night is pitch black, and you can only imagine by looking at the pictures of the universe.
Nil Janiv “Piouss” (2007) After the advent of God, those who violated the commandments began to be severely punished. The hero tries to escape from it and plans with unbelievers.
Eyal Terrell (1968-) “The World of Possibilities” (2003) A writer comes to a fortune teller. If he was in the war he avoided, he would ask him to tell what happened.
Rotem Balhin “Mirror” (2007)My friend’s cat dies. A friend who takes responsibility for the accident is bothersome, and the hero replaces himself.
Mordehai Sason (1953-2012) “Stern-Gerlach Rats” (1984) Intelligent rats occupy the old conservation area of Jerusalem. Eventually, the mouse appears at the hero’s grandmother’s house, and a battle begins involving the robot.
Savillon Librecht (1948-) “A place that suits the night” (2002) The ruin comes and most people die. It is not local and there are no signs of rescue. Some, neither parents nor couples, barely maintained their lives.
Elena Gomer “Grim Reaper of Jerusalem” (2017) The main character becomes dating a strange man. The coldness of the body, which was not exposed to the heat of the Middle East, was attractive. Eventually the man reveals his identity.
Passover (Pavel) Emanuel (1944-) “White Curtain” (2007) The hero who lost his wife visits a friend. Because my friends have the art of joining the forked world.
Yael Fulman (1973-) “Dream of a Man” (2006) When a man dreams of someone, the dreamed woman is forcibly drawn to the room. Even if you get up and work or drive.
Guru Shomlon “Two Minutes Early” (2003) A group of three boys will challenge the World Puzzle Championship to build a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. However, the packed puzzle box arrives two minutes earlier than the rules.
Nitai Perez (1974-) “Autumn is not good” (2005)The hero who was watching a soccer game is upset when a farewell story is suddenly cut out from his lover. Instead of going to work, get a pistol at a gun shop.
Simon Adaf (1972-) “I have to leave” (2008) A mother who lost her father and her siblings will live in her aunt’s house. There are many boxes with the man’s name on them, packed with various things.
According to the editor’s detailed “History of Israeli Science Fiction,” science fiction in Israel , including translations, was almost nonexistent before the war-torn 1970s (until the end of the Yom Kippur War). Existence was not allowed as a social trend.
However, a large amount of translated science fiction began to be introduced in the mid-1970s, the first science fiction magazine Fantasia 2000 (1978-84) was born, and fandom was born in the 90s. The population of Israel is only about 9 million as announced in 2020. In a minor environment with few readers, the presence of fixed fans is a great help. As you can see from the year of publication of the recorded works, most of the works were written in the 21st century. It took that much time for the original Hebrew science fiction writer to appear (Soviet / Russian sci-fi immigrant writers in developed science fiction wrote in Russian).
Today Israel is a high-tech nation, both military and civilian. There have been development bases and research institutes of Western manufacturers from the past, and now the number of their own venture companies is increasing. As in China, the spread of science and technology and the generalization of science fiction go well together. In addition, there is a huge shadow of the Holocaust in the background of Israel. Although the number of people who have actually experienced it has already decreased, it is said that there is a basis for accepting dystopian things (including religious things), apocalyptic endings, and alternate history that foresee and warn of its resurrection. There are few short stories in this book that show the theme straight, but you can see the atmosphere peculiar to “a place that suits the night” and “believers” like Ted Chiang. On the other hand, “Grim Reaper of Jerusalem,” “Autumn,” and “I have to leave” are modern urban fantasies that you can enjoy without knowing the background.