Hebrew Speculative Fiction in Translation

We may not have a ton of Hebrew speculative fiction in English translation (SFT) (or Hebrew sf at all), but what we do have shows the diverse and highly-imaginative ways in which Hebrew-language writers explore the complexities of ethnicity, religion, and the State of Israel. From horrifying dystopias to meditations on mysticism and fantasy literature, Hebrew SFT is never boring or uninspired. And while there isn’t currently a large market for Hebrew-language sf in Israel, the genre can only grow as writers like Lavie Tidhar, Guy Hassan, Orly Castel-Bloom, Vered Tochterman, Etgar Keret, Nir Yaniv, Nava Semel, Ofir Touché Gafla, and many others continue to produce stories that are both specific to the experiences of Hebrew speakers and yet expansive enough to reveal truths about human nature and our place in the universe.

I’ve compiled some lists of Hebrew SFT, and Hebrew SF not yet translated into English, to give you a place to start if you’re looking for a way in to the genre. Hopefully, we can start getting more of these books and stories in English, and thanks to translators like Jessica Cohen, Dalya Bilu, Mitch Ginsberg, and others, what we have so far is excellent. So if you are a Hebrew-to-English translator or you know someone who is…well, you know what to do!

Hebrew Speculative Fiction in Translation

Sunburnt Faces by Shimon Adaf, translated by Margalit Rodgers and Anthony Berris (PS Publishing, 2013)

“Ishmael” by Shimon Adaf, translated by Leanne Raday (The Short Story Project, 2016)

“Jacob Wallenstein, Notes For a Future Biography” by Shay Azoulay, translated by the author (The Short Story Project, 2017)

Dolly City by Orly Castel-Bloom, translated by Dalya Bilu (Dalkey Archive Press, 2010)

The World of the End by Ofir Touché Gafla, translated by Mitch Ginsberg (Tor Books, 2013)

“The Slows” by Gail Hareven, translated by Yaacov Jeffrey Green (The New Yorker, 2009)

The Road to Ein Harod by Amos Kenan, translated by Anselm Hallo (Grove Press, 1988)

Isra Isle by Nava Semel, translated by Jessica Cohen (Mandel-Vilar Press, 2016)

“Shira” by Lavie Tidhar, translated by the author (The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2008)

“Hunting a Unicorn” by Vered Tochterman, translated by the author (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 2003)

“Another Love Story” by Uzi Weil, translated by Sondra Silverston (The Short Story Project, 2017)

“Benjamin Schneider’s Little Greys” by Nir Yaniv, translated by Lavie Tidhar, (Apex Magazine, 2009)

“The Believers” by Nir Yaniv, in The Love Machine & Other Contraptions (Infinity Plus Books, 2012)

 

Hebrew Speculative Fiction Not Yet Translated

Kfor (Frost) by Shimon Adaf

Arim shel mata (De Urbibus Inferis) by Shimon Adaf

Every Story Is a Sudden Cat by Gabriela Avigur-Rotem

Herzl Said by Yoav Avni

Tzong Li’s Fifth by Yoav Avni

Sequoia Children by Gon Ben-Ari

Demons in Agripas Street by Hagay Dagan

Alma by Roni Eshkol

Eshtonot (The Book of Disorder) by Ofir Touché Gafla

Hydromania by Asaf Givron

Mesopotamia—Silence of the Stars by Yehuda Israely and Dor Raveh

Broken Skies by Keren Landsman

Kesheha-meitim hazru (When the Dead Returned) by Ilan Sheinfeld

Etsba’ot shel pesantran (Piano Fingers) by Yali Sobol

 

SF organizations in Israel

Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy (ISSFF)

ICon (hosted by (ISSFF)

 

SF magazines/websites

Chalomot Be’aspamia (“Idle dreams”) (2002-2006)

Fantasia 2000– Israel’s first long-running SF magazine (1978-83)

The Tenth Dimension (fanzine of the ISSFF)

 

By Rachel S. Cordasco

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