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Zion's Fiction: A Treasury of Israeli Speculative Literature

Mandel Vilar. Sept. 2018. 328p. ed. by Sheldon Teitelbaum & Emanuel Lottem. tr. from Hebrew by Yaacov Jeffrey Green & others. illus. by Avi Katz. notes. ISBN 9781942134527. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781942134534. SF
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This first English-language collection of Israeli speculative fiction fills a hole in the literature of international sf that readers might not have realized needed filling. Although the stories, some originally published in Hebrew or Russian, don't all have an Israeli "feel" to them, they present fascinating futures from another culture. Standouts include Guy Hasson's "The Perfect Girl," about the dangers of telepathically connecting with the deceased; Rotem Baruchin's "In the Mirror," a Twilight Zone-type story about changing one's fate; and Gail Hareven's "The Slows," which could be interpreted as a metaphor for aspects of modern Israel. A historical survey of Israeli sf contextualizes the works for new readers, and a foreword by American Jewish sf Grand Master Robert Silverberg sets the stage. An afterword by Aharon Hauptman, editor of the first Israeli sf magazine that included original stories (the now-defunct Fantasia 2000), and illustrations by Katz round out the volume.
VERDICT This notable anthology is appropriate for all sf fans and a valuable resource for any library.

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