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מדע בדיוני

A Survey of Israeli Science Fiction and Fantasy in the Year 2003

Appeared in  a shorter version  the August 2004 issue of LOCUS

A cover of the fan magazin HAMEIMAD AASIRI ( THE TENTH DIMENSION )by Avi Katz . The picture is of the propete Ezkiel and a space ship.

The year 2003 was very hard for the State of Israel. Israeli economy continued to deteriorate (though it now show some signs of recovery ) and the citizens continued to suffer from murderous teror attacks with many peoples killed . Howewer despite this ( and probably also because of it ) the state of Israeli science fiction writing and fandom was never better.

Original short fiction


The most important development in the Israeli sf field was the appearance of the first ever Israeli sf magazine the bi-mounthly CHALOMOT BEASPAMIA (Dreams in the air ), dedicated mostly to original Israeli fiction. The Editor of the magazine is a well known sf writer and translator Vered Tochterman ( Winner of last year Gefen award for her sf short story collection ). The publisher is Ron Yaniv who also writes sf stories.
Most of each issue (which are now published in a big format illustrated with artwork of Israeli fan artists) is devoted to originall sf and fantasy stories. Beside that, there is one translated story in each issue, articles about the state of sf in Israel, profiles of sf writers such as Cordwainer Smith and others, technical articles about how to writes stories , books reviews and more.
All the misgivings that there would not be enough stories of sufficient quality from local writers to fill each issue and that the journal would have to concentrate on translated stories have been proven mistaken. The editor report that they get each month more and more stories of good quality as “word about the magazine gets out “.
Most of the writers (many of whom had published several stories in the magazine by now ) belong to the hard core internet fandom, from which the magazine’s publisher and editor have come. But more and more writers who do not belong to that core group are published as well. Also in the last issues there appeard graphic stories by the well know comics artist Uri Fink . At the time of writing (February 2004) 9 Isues had apeared and at least 3 more are planned.
The stories which impressed me most were :

Issue 1 : SHERACH by Ilan Eshcoli, a story by one of the best fan writer (who is religious and uses many Jewish religious motives in his sf stories ) about the biblical patriarch Jacob’s granddoughter Sherach who is immortal and continues to live on an Israeli Kibbutz as the world oldest woman. Also of interest was VEELA TOLDOT ( THIS IS THE HISTORY ) by Aviel Tuchterman, a story of alternative history in which the Biblical Hebrews had conquered most of the world, filled with quotes from the noncanonical books of the Bible.

Issue 2 : NEKUDA BAZMAN ( A POINT IN TIME ) by Guy Baker ( who usualy collaborates with editor Tuchterman ) about a man who get godlike powers thanks to the secrets of Cabala . Readers also rated highly the story ZOHERET ( SHINING ) by Dana Katz, a new spin on the old theme of vampirism .

Issue 3 : KEZOTZ ET CENAFAV ( CUT HIS WINGS ) by Chamutal Argaman gave a new and very originall version of the story of the war between God and the rebellious angles, ending in the story in a very unexpected way. Also of note was SHALOM LATMIMUTH(GOODBYE, INNOCENCE) by Dolev Katz about a man who discover that his blood stream is the home of a wholl intelligent race with whom he tries to communicate and with tragic results.

Issue 4 . HAYOM BO ADLATOT HITCHARFENU ( THE DAY THE DOORS HAD GONE CRAZY ) by Itay Shlamkovitz is a very funny story, in which something happens to the world’ doors, so that nobody who gets out of then comes to the desired and expacted destination, with hilarious and scary results. Other story, which got a good readers’ response was KESUROTH (JOINED ) by Yael Sivan ,
Issue 5. BOLANIM (THE SWALLOWERS ) BY NICHOLAS KOPITMAN based on a well know and recent natural phenomenon in the Israeli region of the Dead Sea, in which a giant pits suddenly formed as a result of instability in the ground.. In the story this phenomenon is connected to the biblical destruction of Sodom and is result of the judgment of inteligent forces of nature. Also of importance was the political sf story COLL BNEY HHADAM BESHALO VEBACHAVA ( ALL MEN IN PEACE  AND HARMONY  ) by Vered Tuchterman in which two enemies a Israeli soldier and a Palestinian have to fight together a hostile alien.

Issue 6. LECHASHEV ET AKETZ ( TO COUNT THE END OF DAYS ) by Guy Wiener, a story about the final descendant of an ancient French Crusader family with reputed demonic connections who tries to save the world from Armageddon by killing a Palestinian leader and only succeeds to make it reality.

Issue 7 : HACHALAL VEHHAR ( THE FALLEN E AND THE MOUNTAIN) by Asaph Ashery ( the editor of a series of translated sf books ) about the son of a fallen Israeli soldier who finds a way to communicate with his dead father and so brings a complate change in the nature of the memorial services for the dead soldiers.

Issue 8: AVTASH (GUARDING SETTLEMENTS) by Chagay Everbuch , in which a group of aliens come to a Israeli settelment in the occupid teritories in the vain hope of making peace between the Jews and the Arabs .Also of interest was HAKRAV (BATTLE) by Or bialik, a long miltaristic story which is a part of a continuing series about future universe in which humanity is formed of severaL races very different in powers and abilities.

Issue 9. CATUVE CESHED MESHACHAT ( WRITTEN LIKE A DEMON) is a nice fantasy story by Yonatan Shwartz, in which a writter comes to hell descovering that there are severall hells. The rules of each were written by a well known deceased writer such as Dante and now it is his turn..
The Hebrew site of the magazine is here :

Another continuing sf magazine is THE TENTH DIMENSION, the  magazine of  the Israeli  sf  and fantasy  society , which has recently published its 20th issue, it publishes mostly translated stories  from the American magazine  "Fantasy & Science Fiction"  along side  some original stories,  articles and reviews .

Sf books and story collections

A cover of the TENTH DIMENSION by Avi Katz

Dror Borshtein’s book AVNER BRENER ( Bavel 2003 ), which was perhaps the most talked about literary novel of the year and dealt with the experiences of a religious youth, also included some sf elements which show deep familarity with the genre. Those included a story about a voyage of a spaceship to Triton, the moon of Neptune, and a story about the father of Superman .
Other sf books included :
ADOM ( RED ) ( YEDIOTH ACHARONOTH , 2003 ) by Shelomo Leniado, a book by a medical man ( which in the past wrote a novel about parallell worlds ) which deals with cloning of a woman. The publisher denies that the book is sf but claims that it is a novel, which will becomes reality in the near future.
Geologist and near future thrillers writer Eimanuel Atzmon published a new thriller AAGURAN ( AZMON , 2003 ), in which a Israeli geologist and sf writer suggests to the president of the US a plan to destroy Muslim Terror, a plan, which is tried out with great success.
And surprisingly there were also some apocalyptic books publshed .
MOTEK by Eli Shriber Chatulli(YEDIOTH ACHRONOTH, 2003 ) in which a woman escaping from the war torn Israel gives birth to the Messiah.
IROSHALEM by Efrath Roman- Asher ( Bavel , 2003 ) is again a apocalyptic story about the destruction of Israel as experienced by a woman artist .



ACHIM MIN AMIDBAR (BROTHERS FROM THE DESERT) by Daniel Shalem (YEDIOTH ACHRONOTH, 2003) is a nice fantasy book from the long exTINCT genre of the lost race/ten lost tribes. It is about a Jewish soldier in World War 1 who finds in a hidden oasis in the Arabia desert a lost Jewish tribe living along side prehistoric animals .
LAYLA ADOM ( RED NIGHT ) BY Gal Amir ( zmora bitan , 2003 ) is the first Hebrew vampire novel , in which a police investigation in the Galilee uncovers a group of vampires led by a 400 old Orthodox vampire. The book won some good reviews and became popular in the genre circles in Israel ..
REZAC IM KABALA ( MURDER WITH KABALA- a cabalistic thriller ) BY Natan Erez and Dorith Zilberman ( mach hapakoth 2003 ) is a fantastical thriller about a murder investigation connected to cabalistic paractices and apocaliptic predictions .
Thechyat Chava ( THE RESURRECTION OF EVE ) BY AVIDAN ( ORLI LEVI 2004) deals with the restoorruction of all humans including the biblical figurs like Eve and patriarch Jacobe as was foretold by Jewish Propecies and their strugles with a new world.
CHEREV 1000 HARAMOT ( THE BOOK OF ARMADIN THE THOUSAND RAMMAS SWORD ) BY H. kugel( Yedioth Acharonot , 2003) is a Tolkein-like fantasy, which is supposed to be the first volume in a series. It was much criticized in the fan community for its heavy dependence on the tolkien-esque cliches but the author plans to publish more volumes.

Story collections


An important book of the year was HAZAD HAAFEL ( THE DARK SIDE ) ( BITAN 2003) BY

Guy Hasson, a collection of 7 sf stories which were originally writen and published by the Israeli writer in English and were translated to Hebrew by other peoples. Hasson had won much acclaim in the fan community for the quality of his stories and ome of them was optioned as a movie. He had won the Gefen prize for 2002 for his story “'All-of-Me(TM)” a story which was recently also published in  English  in the magazine Jupiter SF . Another story of his “The Dark Side”, was also published in the infinity plus site. :
Also a novel of Hasson “The Shadow of God”which deals with the exploration of memories from previous exitences was published on line in the Internet sf magazine BELI PANIKA .
Other Israeli writers who published sf works in English included writer, translator and editor Vered Tochterman, whose sf collection LIFAMIM ZE ACHEREY (Sometimes it's Different) had won the first Gefen award for origianal Israeli sf book at 2003. She published an English translation of her fantasy story Hunting a Unicorn in the December 2003 issue of the magazine Fantasy and Science Fiction.
Lavie Tidhar is an Israeli sf writer and reviewer which lives in England. His short story TEMPORAL SPIDER, SPATIAL WEBS had won the 2003 Clark –Bradbury award from the European Space Agency as the best sf story of the year. Like Hasson, he publishes many of his stories in Hebrew versions in the Israeli sf sites and magazines.

Leading  Hebrew  fantasy writer Alex Epstein began to publish regulary a weekly short story  usually of fantasy nature) in the literary section of the daily newspaper HAARETZ .

     AEMET  2014

   by Carlos ben Nun (Orli Levi , 2003 ) was a collection of related sf stories about the *aliens who created the human race and who return at the end of the book in the title year.
Raz Nadav had published HALEV AROEH ( THE SEEING HEART; MODAN 2003 ) which had included several sf storues including one about a futuristic world in which robots are regular humans who cannot have feelings as a result of a speciall technology. Also critic and writter Orzion Bartana who has a special interest in sf and fantasy published his third collection of fantastic stories ADOM VESIPURIM ACHERIM ( RED AND OTHER STORIES ) ( HAKIBUTZ HAMEUCHAD , 2002).
Another collection of sf and fantasy stories was by Raz Cadan HALACH VERAA (WENT AND SAW) ( MODAN 2003 ).

Children’s literature


Anath Kofman published MISTERI COCHAV ZALMAVET ( THE SHADOW OF THE DEATH STAR ) (YEDIOTH ACHARONOT 2003 ) a sequel to another sf book of hers from last year about 2 Israeli children’s adventures in the Galaxy.
Barry Prigat writes sf children’s series. The seventh to ninth books appeared in the MILLIMETER series about a superpowered girl and in the ALFA RAY series about adventures in a simulated computer world. Prigat has also created a new fantasy for children about the crew of a TV show how who have to struggle in each book with a new fantastic foe.
New books continue to appear in the TIME TUNNEL series by Galila Ron Feder about time travel into different periods of Israeli and Jewish history. The series has now reached its 27th volume. A book very similar in subject was MASA HARPATKAOT BEMINHERET HAZMAN ( ADVENTURE IN THE TIME TUNNEL ) by Moshe Yahalom ( Dor 2003) which again described a time travel by children to various periods in Israeli history .
Yahalom Had also published a fantasy book HAYALDA SHERAZTA LIHYOT MECHASHEFA ( THE GIRL WHO WANTED TO BE A WITCH )( DOR 2003) A fantasy adventure in the Harry Potter style.
Edna Izack had written DANIEL: HARPATKAA BEMIRMAR ( DANIEL ADVENTURE IN MIRMAR) ( 2004 ): The story of a boy who getS into a world inside his own drawings and fights there with the powers of evil.
And writer Zihar Aviv had published a new fantasy series which by now has 2 books YAD HAPELE (THE MAGIC HAND) about a fat boy with a super strong right hand.

Non fiction


Several intrensting genrerelated non fiction books werE published at 2003 :
SEFER MEGILAT YERUSALAYIM (THE JERUSALEM SCROLL ) by Michael Chyutin ( bavel 2003 ). This is a tranlstion of one of the Dead Sea scrolls from the second century BC, which gives a detailed architectural view of the future city of Jerusalem as was written by a sectarian . According to the translator (a professional architect) this is the most ancient description known of a futuristic city .
The children writter Yehuda Atlas had published a 3-volume book YELADIM GDOLIM ( THE CHILD WITHIN ) ( YEDIOTH ACHARONOTH , 2003 ), in which he described the life of various well known American, British and European children writers including fantasy writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan, Roald Dahl, Astrid Lindgren, Bashevis Singer and Salman Rushdi . Atlas plans further books in this series.
Lea Baratz had published a monograph about a litte known Israeli fantasy and sf writer Itzhak Oren ( OR AM ‘ 2003 ) who wrote many sf and fantasy stories with both Biblical and futuristic Jewish subjects over the years and only now won a critical recognition.
In recent years there is much interest in Israeli publishing in world Mythologys. Foremost on this subject is the publisher MAP which is publishing a series in which each volume written by an Israeli expert on the subject is devoted to a different Mythology . to date there are books about Greek , Japan , Chinese , Indian ,Irish ,Spanish and Finish Mythology, Among This was HAMITOLOGYA HAYEUDITH (JEWISH MYTHOLOGY ) by Hagai Dagan ( 2003) a very unconventional and unorthodox retelling of various Jewish talls and myths aboutGod the world and the Jews from biblical times to today .
Sf researcher is Elana Gomel, who has for years published research papers in English and Russian, on science fiction in the Soviet Union and in today’s Russia, and on British and American 19th century fantasy published recently in English the book BLOODSCRIPTS: WRITING THE VIOLENT SUBJECT (OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS), which deals with the ways various narratives of popular culture and sf use the subject of violence and mass murder and thus influence reality


The cover of the THE GOLEM by Eli Eshed and Uri Fink

In the comics field there appeared at the beginning of 2004 the first all original monthly co

mics magazine in Hebrew “ZBENG MAGAZINE “ produced by Uri Fink, which deals mostly with his most famous series but other artists contribue as well.
Comics writer Eran Aviany and artist Aviv Or had published a four issues limited comics series called ARINEA published in 2002 and 2003 , this comics series story was inspired by Tolkenian fantasy and described the Jouney of a group of heroes from different races to fight a powerful and evil vizard . The story was nothing new But the art was one of the most detailed best to be presented in Israeli comics in recent years, and it was a welcome return to adventure comics , a subject which had becomes non exit in Israeli comics in Recent Years
Comics group EMBLAM had produced issues both in Hebrew called ADIREY ATCELET ( purple masters ) and in English called ETHER about Israeli Super heroes .
Comics group ACTUS produced a comics book for children based on the fairy tales of brothers Grimm.
A book connected to the comics field which won much attention in the media this year was

THE GOLEM : THE HISTORY OF A COMIC BOOK ( MODAN 2003), an imaginary”mocumentary” book by Eli Eshed ( this writer ) and comics artist Uri Fink about the history of a comics series in an alternative state of Israel, in which there was a fully developed and incredibly succesful comics industry since the 40s as a result of the success of this particular super-hero. The series and the book are called THE GOLEM and the hero is a Hebrew super hero to finish all Hebrew super heroes. The book describes the history of the series since the 1940s, when it was drawn by the young comics artist , Jack Kirby ( Jacob Kurtzberg in that reality) who had immigrated in that alternate univers to Palestine like many other Jews, and until the year 2003. It brings “examples” from many graphic novels, in which the Golem is collaborating with various real and well known Israeli personalities, such as Itzhak Rabin, Moshe Dayan and Ariel Sharon, as well with as imaginary ones such as the Jungle King Tarzan in Africa He also finds the ten lost tribes of Israel in Africa and fights the African leader Idi Amin at 1976 during the Entebbe raid to free Israeli hostages and meets his fellow famous (in our reality super hero Danidin the invesible boy from the famous series with that name
Specifically for the book a song and a movie clip with limited animation about the Golem adventures.in the style of the 70s were created. The book won many positive reviews including by one leading reviwer who thought that it was a “real “history but stated that he would not change his opinion even when he found out about his mistake.
The Golem site in English  :

The golem clipe

Author’s book recommendations

In this writer’s opinion the best sf and fantasy books of the year in Israel were :
Avner Brener by Dror Borshtein
The Dark Side by Guy Hasson
Brothers from the Desert by Daniel Shalem


English articles in the web about Israeli sf and fantasy

Hebrew sf from Biblical times to the 90s

Israeli comics

Israeli super heroes

Israeli sf at the 90s

Israeli sf at the beginning of the 21 century :part 1

part 2



מאת אלי אשד

בלש תרבות וחוקר של תנ"ך, תרבות וספרות פופולארית

11 תגובות על “A Survey of Israeli Science Fiction and Fantasy in the Year 2003”

באנגלית? לשם כך הקמנו מדינה יהודית? בשביל זה סבלנו עם/את הרצל? וקראנו לרחוב שבו אני גרה "בן יהודה"?

לאחר קריאת הכתבה, זה נראה כאילו אתה כתבת אותה ושלחת אותה אליהם
זה נכון?

שאלה שנייה-אני לא מוצאת את הכתבה המקורית באתר שלהם. אתה יכול לומר לי היכן אני מוצאת את הכתבה?

בעמקותה . יותר נכון יהיה להגיד שהם פנו אלי לפני כמה שנים על מנת שאכין כתבות שנתיות מסוג זה.
את יכולה למצוא את הכתבה בגליון המודפס שלהם.

על אף היוזמה הברוכה של לכתוב למאגזין לוקוס אני תוהה מדוע היה צורך לטעות באיות שמות הכותבים באנגלית ובתרגום מוטעה ורחוק מהמשמעות המקורית של שמות הסיפורים?
מדוע הפרטים בביוגרפיה האישית של הכותבים לא יכולים להיות מדויקים ומדוע התיאור של הסיפור לא יכול להיות בהתאם לתוכנם ולא רק לכותרת שלהם.
הרי מייל פשוט ליוצרים היה פותר את העניין.
תמה אני מאד.

תיקון שגיאות דיקדוק באנגלית גם יעזור.
though it now show some signs of recovery
צריך להיות now shows
ואפילו באותו משפט:
) and the citizens continued to suffer from murderous teror attacks with many peoples killed

צריך להיות with many people killed.

ואלו שגיאות צורמות רק בפתיחה…

הערה נוספת: אם כבר אתה מפרסם כאן תוכן באנגלית, שיהיה לפחות מיושר לשמאל. מאוד לא נוח לקרוא ככה אנגלית.

של כלל המאמר ולשלוח אותה אלי .ואני מבטיח שאאני אעלה את המאמר מתוקן על הרשת .
לגבי הישור לשמאל מצטער יש כאן בעיה טכנית שאינה מובנת לי שקשורה לרשימות. ושאינה מאפשרת אישור כזה.
הקוראים באנגלית יצטרכו לסבול .

אלי, אני רוצה להבין: למה אתה כותב באנגלית אם האנגלית שלך כ"כ גרועה? וכשמישהו בא עם טענות ענינות לרמת האנגלית שלך, במקום להגיד תודה, לתקן את מה שהוא העיר עליו ולנסות לתקן גם את השאר, התגובה שלך היא שהוא ישב ויבצע לך עריכה לשונית עבור- מה בדיוק?

וגם תמוהה התגובה שלך "הקוראים באנגלית יצטרכו לסבול". קוראים באינטרנט לא סובלים- הם פשוט הולכים למקום אחר. אתה רוצה שיקראו את הטקסטים שלך? אל תצפה שהקוראים שלך יסבלו למען זה, בין אם זה בישור מכאיב או בשגיאות דקדוק בסיסיות (או השילוב של שניהם, שהופך את המאמר שלך לבלתי קריא)

אולי אינה משובחת אבל היא ברורה מספיק .
ומי שבאמת מתעניין בנושא מבין קוראי חו"ל האנגלית לא תרתיע אותו מכיוון שרק כאן הוא ימצא מידע מהסוג שהוא מחפש.

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