Editor Sheldon Teitelbaum has been posting author bios for each of the contributors to the Zion’s Fiction anthology on facebook and kindly allowed me to collect them and repost them here. Enjoy, and don’t forget to grab a copy!
Nitay Peretz was born in 1974 in Kibbutz Revivim, where he lives now with his family. He studied scriptwriting at the Camera Obscura school of art and became a researcher, scriptwriter, and documentary director. He is also a social activist, involved in various projects, and a blogger. Since 2004 he has been directing, shooting, and editing the life stories of many Israelis. His writing career so far includes one children’s book, ‘Eyaly’s Heart,’ and the novella, featured in ‘Zion’s Fiction,’ “My Crappy Autumn.”
Pesach (Pavel) Amnuel was born in 1944 in Baku, Azerbaijan (then part of the USSR), and is known as a brainstorming astrophysicist and SF writer. Amnuel, with O. Guseynov, predicted in 1968 the existence of X-ray pulsars, which were later confirmed by the American Uhuru satellite. Amnuel and Guseynov’s catalog of X-ray sources was considered the world’s most complete. Amnuel first began publishing SF/F in Russian in 1959, his first story appearing in ‘Technology for Youth.’ His first collection of stories saw publication in Moscow in 1984. Since 1990 he has lived in Israel, where he has taught at Tel Aviv University and edited several Russian-language newspapers and magazines, including ‘Time,’ ‘Aleph,’ and ‘Vremya.’ Since emigrating to Israel, he has published the novels ‘Men of the Code’ (1997), ‘Three-Universe’ (2000)—the latter involving social satire and kabbalistic mystery, with events transpiring in a mid-twenty-first-century Moscow run by the Russian Mafia and Israeli rabbis—and ‘Revenge in Dominoes’ (2007), as well as sundry SF/F collections, short stories, and detective novels. His work appears regularly in Russia, where he continues to claim a large fan base. He has won multiple awards, including The Great Ring, for achieving the greatest popularity among contemporary Russian writers, the 2009 Bronze Icarus Award of Russian Science Fiction, and the Aelita (the Russian equivalent of the Hugo) in 2012. “White Curtain” is one of several stories and novellas in his Multiverse cycle. These include the yet-to-be translated novellas “Branches,” “Facets,” “What Is Behind This Door?” and “Seeing Eye.” Appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 2014, “White Curtain” figured in Gardner Dozois’s 32nd Best SF of the Year anthology, in 2015. It was Amnuel’s first publication in English translation.
Rotem Baruchin grew up in Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Petach Tikva, and Giv’at Shmuel, all in Israel, as well as in Swiss suburbia. She began reading science fiction and fantasy at the tender age of eight and started writing it at about the same age. For years she has combined fanzine writing with original fiction, published in both printed and online magazines, and then went on to study screenwriting at Tel Aviv University’s School of Film and TV. For the past ten years she has been writing plays for Israeli LGTB groups, such as the Gay Ensemble, produced on commercial stages. She was a dialogue writer and consultant for a children’s show, ‘The Dreamers,’ broadcast by an Israeli TV channel, and has directed several plays and musicals for a number of theaters, festivals, and conventions, including an interactive production involving audience plot choices. Her Internet series, The Grey Matter, filmed in the United States, can be seen online. For the Israeli youth magazine Rosh 1 she wrote two story series, published over a couple of years. Rotem won three Geffen prizes for her short stories and is currently working on her first full-scale novel in a planned series, The Cities’ Guardians, which is based on the premise that every community has a “spirit of place” that manifests itself as a living entity—supernatural, eternal, and almost omnipotent. Some of her stories have been translated into English.
Mordechai Sasson (1953–2012) was a chemist, an artist, and a writer. Born in Jerusalem to a family that has lived there for many generations, Sasson became a self-taught painter, specializing in oils. Since early childhood he avidly collected science fiction books and magazines, comics, and films. His worldview was ahead of its time in Israel, especially in matters of literature and poetry, art and music. During his military service he participated in the Yom Kippur War, and he subsequently started painting. While studying chemistry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he began to write science fiction. One day he left his notebook in class, and the assistant professor who found it decided to send one of the stories to Fantasia 2000, which published it forthwith. Having won some success with further stories, he began publishing stories in more venues, mainly children’s magazines. These stories were accompanied by his own illustrations. He published one children’s book, The Toads’ Party (1993), also illustrated by him. Sasson dedicated his stories to his good friend Eli Altaretz and to his own two daughters, to whom he always emphasized that knowledge is the greatest power. Sasson was involved in helping the poor and was severely critical of Israeli society for generally ignoring them. His stories featured the city of Jerusalem and its folksy citizens with gentle humor, kindness, and deep love.
Born in Ramat Gan, Israel, on October 7, 1973 (a day after the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War), Yael Furman began publishing work of genre interest with “Hatzva’im haNechonim” (The right colors) in the online magazine Bli Panika in 2001. For the next few years she published several well-regarded short stories in Israeli genre publications such as Halomot beAspamia and the annual anthology series Once Upon a Future, for which she was nominated for the Geffen Prize a remarkable eight times. Her novel ‘Children of the Glass House,’ 2011, is notable as a genuine example of Israeli young adult science fiction. Set in a future Israel, the novel concerns humans genetically modified to live in water, existing in conditions somewhat reminiscent of James Blish’s tiny underwater humanoids in “Surface Tension” (1952) or Cordwainer Smith’s ‘Underpeople’ (1968). A human child befriends a water child against the background of a civil rights battle, partly carried out by members of the “Human League,” who want the captive water people released. Although the theme of the book is not unusual in SF, the Israeli setting is uncommon, and, in a nice use of location, at the end of the novel the water people are transferred to the Sea of Galilee, where they are now free—or at least freer. The novel was illustrated by artist Yinon Zinger and was based on Furman’s earlier short story, “Empty Walls,” winner of a first prize in a 2009 Olamot Convention short story contest.
A diehard Tel Avivian, Nir Yaniv is a musician, writer, editor, and occasional director. He describes himself as a hi-tech wizard with a background in computer programming and an instrumental vocalist, a devoted a cappella performer, bassist, composer, and arranger. Yaniv performed at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in 1999 and 2002, and at numerous other festivals. He records his own music at his own studio, The Nir Space Station. Yaniv performed live music with a dance company for ten years and created music for films and TV. Indeed, he starred in a short, award-winning Israeli horror film as the monster. Yaniv has participated in numerous musical groups and bands and says he still hasn’t had enough. His short-story collections include ‘One Hell of a Writer’ (2006) and ‘The Love Machine & Other Contraptions’ (2012). Short films include ‘Conspiracy’ (2011), ‘MicroTime’ (2013), and ‘LiftOff’ (animation, 2013). Yaniv draws weird caricatures, sometimes to be found on T-shirts and coffee mugs. He founded Israel’s first online SF/F magazine and served as its chief editor, then moved on to edit the printed SF magazine Halomot beAspamia, and to found the website of the Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy. He writes columns, articles, and reviews for various publications. Yaniv’s short stories appeared in magazines in Israel and abroad (notably Weird Tales, ChiZine, Apex, and other publications, electronic and printed). He wrote two novels with fellow author Lavie Tidhar: ‘Fictional Murder’ (2009) and ‘The Tel Aviv Dossier’ (2009). His memorable short film, “Addict,” was featured prominently at a festival for short horror films in Los Angeles in 2018.
Keren Landsmen is a mother, an epidemiology and public health specialist, and an award-winning SF author. In 2014 she volunteered to go to South Sudan to instruct local health care workers in epidemiology and public health. She is one of the founders of Mida’at, a voluntary organization dedicated to the pro- motion of public health in Israel. She currently works at a free STD clinic and at the mobile clinic for sex workers. Landsman first started reading SF in school, in spite (or because) of the librarian’s claim that “it’s not for girls,” and has been reading it ever since. Her interests come through in her works, where one may encounter children fighting medically accurate space epidemics. From motherhood to friendship and coping with loss, all these and more find their way into stories that balance emotion, plot, and vision. Landsman published her first story in 2006, winning three Geffen awards, Israel’s top prize for science fiction, twice for best original short story and once for best original book: ‘Broken Skies,’ a collection of her short stories. “Burn Alexandria,” showcased in ‘Zion’s Fiction,’ is, she tells, the literary fulfillment of her wistful yearning to have saved, together with her editor, close friend and Israeli SF maven Ehud Maimon, the Great Library of Alexandria.
Eyal Teler was born 1968 in Jerusalem to a literature teacher and an astronomy buff. Teler took to SF/F in high school, advancing from Hebrew translations of genre standards to English, largely, he says, thanks to a seeming inexhaustible supply of Perry Rhodan novels. He attended the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, graduating with a master’s degree in computer science, and has been a software developer ever since, creating, among other products, games, an AI chip, and a 3D 360-degree camera. Teler credits the online Critters writing workshop with his first and only sale so far, “Possibilities,” to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, in 2003. The story was a response to Ray Bradbury’s story, “Quid Pro Quo,” published in 2000. Teler later sold the story through the online service Fictionwise, earning a majestic $2.20, the proceeds of which he never banked, as check-cashing charges in Israel exceeded the value of the check. Henceforth, writing took the far back seat to family and work responsibilities—Teler is married and has two children—and although he has considered writing a novel centered on the female protagonist of his story, time, he says, has eluded them both.
Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Elana Gomel emigrated to Israel with her mother, noted writer and essayist Maya Kaganskaya, in 1978. She obtained her PhD in English literature from Tel Aviv University and went on to postdoctoral study at Princeton University as a Fulbright Scholar. She subsequently taught and researched at many world-class universities, including Stanford, the University of Hong Kong, and Venice International University. Serving as chair of the Department of English and American Studies at Tel Aviv University, she is currently an associate professor. Gomel is the author of ‘Postmodern Science Fiction and Temporal Imagination’ (2010), ‘Narrative Space and Time: Representing Impossible Topologies in Literature,’ (2014), and ‘Science Fiction, Alien Encounters, and the Ethics of Posthumanism: Beyond the Golden Rule’ (2014). Active in the Israeli science-fiction community since its inception, Gomel participated in the development of the annual science-fiction conventions ICon, Utopia, and Worlds, and spearheaded an international science-fiction symposium at Tel Aviv University. Gomel coedited the seminal ‘With Both Feet On the Clouds: Fantasy in Israeli Literature’ (2013), and published widely in New Horizons, Aoife’s Kiss, Bewildering Stories, Timeless Tales, The Singularity, Dark Fire, and other magazines and anthologies, including ‘People of the Book and the ‘Apex Book of World Science Fiction.’ She is the author of the fantasy novel, ‘A Tale of Three Cities’ (2013).
Nava Semel (1954-2017) was born in Jaffa to Romanian Holocaust survivors Mimi (Margalit) and Yitzhak Artzi, née Hertzig. Her father was a member of the Romanian Zionist Youth Movement, which became involved in a first-of-its kind rescue attempt in Transnistria. The family emigrated to Israel in 1947 but was stopped en route by the British, who sent them to a detention camp in Cyprus. Upon their arrival in Israel, Yitzhak Artzi served as deputy mayor of Tel Aviv, a post he would hold for twenty years, after which he was elected to the Knesset as a representative of the Independent Liberal party. Semel’s brother, Shlomo Artzi, is regarded as one of Israel’s most iconic balladeers. Semel attended Tel Aviv’s Gymnasia Herzliya, then served in the army as a reporter for the IDF radio station, Galei Tzahal. She worked for Israeli television and the fledgling Beit Hatfutzot while completing a degree in art history at Tel Aviv University. In 1976 she married Noam Semel, a theatrical producer who went on to become theatrical director of Tel Aviv’s iconically revered Cameri Theatre. Through 1988 she worked as a book reviewer, film critic, and journalist. That year, she left to the United States with her husband, who had been appointed cultural consul to the Israeli Consulate-General in New York. Semel is the recipient of several awards, including the American Jewish Book Prize, the Prime Minister’s Prize under Levi Eshkol, Austria’s Best Radio Broadcast Prize, and Israeli Woman Writer of the Year. Semel’s ‘Kova Zekhukhit’ (Hat of Glass), a collection of short stories, was the first to address the predicament of the children of Israeli Holocaust survivors. An unabashed SF/F fan, Semel published, among many other titles, ‘And the Rat Laughed’ (2001), adapted for the opera in 2005, and ‘Isra Isle’ (2006).
Gur Shomron is a writer, poet, and technology entrepreneur and inventor. He co-started his first technology company, Quality Computers, at the age of twenty-two and took it public in Israel. He continued his career as an entrepreneur and investor, and spent thirteen years in the United States building high-tech- nology companies. At the same time he started writing science fiction. In his first (as yet unpublished) book, ‘A Message from Nowhere,’ Shomron envisioned a network similar to the Internet more than thirty years ago. His second book, ‘NETfold,’ was selected by Kirkus Reviews in 2014 as one of the best in its category (Indie). It describes a virtual world where people have twenty-four times more time and can lead alternate lives. ‘NETfold’ was published in Israel by the Modan Publishing House. Currently, Shomron divides his time among writing, charity, and serving as chairman of various Israeli technology companies. He is the chairman of WalkMe, a world-leading company in the Internet guidance and engagement field, and of Coldfront, which develops medical devices for the treatment of brain stroke. Gur Shomron lives in Raanana, Israel. He is married and has four children.
Born in 1971, Guy Hasson is an author, playwright, and filmmaker who crafts plays in Hebrew and prose in English. His books were published in Israel (‘Hatchling, Life: The Video Game,’ ‘Secret Thoughts, and Tickling Butterflies’), the United Kingdom (‘The Emoticon Generation’), and the United States (‘Hope for Utopia’ and ‘Secret Thoughts’). He won the Israeli Geffen Award for Best Short Story of 2003 (“All-of-MeTM”) and 2006 (“The Perfect Girl”). Since 2006 he has been focusing on the production of original films, including the feature-length ‘A Stone-Cold Heart’ and the web series ‘The Indestructibles.’ His work has been translated into seven languages. His stories can be found in the various Apex World SF anthologies and in Apex’s ‘Horrorology’. In 2013, Hasson created an independent comic book company, New Worlds Comics, and its flagship title ‘Wynter,’ written by him, was hailed as one of the best SF comic book series in recent time. In 2015 Hasson created an online comic book store for the blind and the visually impaired called Comics Empower. Hasson’s latest book, ‘Tickling Butterflies,’ was released in Israel in 2017. He is now writing and directing a feature-length horror film, ‘Statuesque.’
Savyon Liebrecht was born in Munich in 1948 as Sabine Sosnovsky to Polish Holocaust survivors (her father survived Buchenwald, his first wife and baby did not). She was two years old when she arrived in Israel, where her family finally settled in Bat Yam. She started her military service in a kibbutz and was later transferred to the Tank Corps as a communications specialist. During that time she started working on her first novel, about a girl who leaves a kibbutz for the big city. After her service Liebrecht departed for London, where she took up journalism studies. A year and a half later she returned to Israel, changed her first name to Savyon, and began to study English literature and philosophy at Tel Aviv University. After graduation, she taught English to adults, studied sculpture, and began writing for the women’s monthly At (You). She attended a writers’ workshop run by noted Israeli author Amalia Kahana-Carmon and submitted the resultant story, “Apples from the Desert,” to the editors of Iton 77, who published it in 1984. It was reworked for theater two years later and subsequently (2015) became a feature film. Liebrecht has written novellas, novels, and plays, including ‘Horses on the Highway’ (1988), ‘It’s All Greek to Me, He Said to Her’ (1992), ‘On Love Stories and Other Endings’ (1995), and ‘Mail-Order Women’ (2000). She has also translated the Jewish-American writer Grace Paley into Hebrew, and crafted a number of teleplays as well, which eventually found their home on Israeli television. These won her the Alterman Prize in 1977.
Gail Hareven was born in 1959 in Tel Aviv to celebrated author Shulamith Hareven and Israeli intelligence and senior Mossad officer and, later, Foreign Ministry official, Alouph Hareven. Dr. Yitzhak Epstein, her great-grandfather, who immigrated to Palestine in the 1880s, was one of the founders of the Academy of the Hebrew Language, to which Hareven’s mother and then Gail herself were subsequently inducted. Hareven grew up in Jerusalem, where she now resides. After receiving a BA in behavioral sciences from Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, she spent five years at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, reading Judaic studies and Talmud. Hareven made her mark in Israeli SF/F in 1999, when she published an unabashedly genre-infused short-story collection called The Road to Heaven. “The Slows,” published here, was placed in The New Yorker through the efforts of translator and researcher David Stromberg, an editor at the cultural journal Zeek. Hareven has written seventeen books: short story collections, children’s stories, novels, a thriller, and some nonfiction. Major Israeli theater companies have staged five of her plays. ‘The Confessions of Noah Weber: A Novel’ (2009) garnered the Sapir Prize in Israel as well as rave reviews in the United States and elsewhere. In 2015 she published ‘Lies, First Person,’ earning similar accolades. Her work has been translated into English, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Serbian, Czech, and Chinese. She is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Literature.
A well-known poet, prose writer, musician, TV writer, and university educator, Shimon Adaf was born in 1972 of Moroccan parentage in the town of Sderot, adjacent to the Gaza Strip. Adaf attended a religious school as a child and later segued to an ultra-Orthodox Sephardic junior high school, which he left after six months. Adaf completed his studies at secular schools. He began to publish poetry during his military service. Moving to Tel Aviv in 1994, he published his first short-story collection, The Icarus Monologue, which won a Ministry of Education award. This and other poetry achieved widespread translation, earning Adaf a reputation as a literary wunderkind. From 2000 to 2004 he worked at the Keter Publishing House as the youngest editor of their original Israeli prose line, discovering such genre stalwarts as Ophir Touché Gafla and Nir Bar’am. In 2004 he wrote a murder mystery, ‘One Kilometer and Two Days before Sunset,’ and a young adult fantasy, ‘The Buried Heart,’ the latter steeped in Jewish mythology. In 2008, he published the fantasy novel ‘Sunburnt Faces,’ Adaf’s biggest hit until his most recent one, ‘Aviva-Lo,’ about the unexpected death of his sister. In 2006 he launched his Rose of Judah sequence, including the Delanyesque epic ‘Kfor,’ (Frost), deemed Israel’s first SF masterpiece in Locus, in 2010. Adaf followed this in 2011 with ‘Mox Nox’ (Latin for ‘Soon the Light’), an alternate-history ‘Turn of the Screw’–inspired tale, winning the prestigious Sapir Prize. This was followed by ‘Earthly Cities,’ or ‘Netherworld,’ in 2012.
Lavie Tidhar is an acclaimed and prolific author and editor whose work has been compared to that of Philip K. Dick by the Guardian and the Financial Times and to that of Kurt Vonnegut by Locus. He is the recipient of nearly 30 prestigious literary awards, including the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award, the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Last Drink Bird Head Award, and the Clarke-Bradbury International Science Fiction Competition. Tidhar was born in 1976 on a kibbutz in northern Israel, where he discovered SF/F in a cache of the Israeli SF magazine Fantasia 2000 gathering dust in the collective’s library. Upon moving with his family to South Africa in his teens, Tidhar adopted English as his primary creative language. His first publication, however, a collection of verse translated as ‘Remnants of God,’ appeared in his native Hebrew in 1998. He subsequently launched a wildly successful career that began with the online magazine Chizene and his 2007 English-language collection of linked short stories, ‘Hebrewpunk.’ He has published 11 novels, including ‘The Tel Aviv Dossier’ (2009), ‘The Bookman’ (2010), ‘Camera Obscura (2011), ‘Osama’ (2011), ‘The Great Game’ (2013), ‘The Violent Century’ (2013), ‘A Man Lies Dreaming’ (2014) and ‘Central Station.’ He is also the author of the newly minted ‘Candy’ (2018) and the forthcoming novel, ‘The Unholy Land.’ Tidhar has written four graphic novels — ‘Going to the Moon’ (2012), Adolph Hitler’s ‘I Dream of Ants’ (2012), ‘Adler’ (date unknown) and ‘New Swabia’ (2017). He has co-edited four ‘Apex Book of World SF’ collections, the ‘Jews vs. Zombies’ and ‘Jews Vs. Aliens’ anthologies (2015), and ‘The Best of British SF’, (2017). Tidhar, who has lived in Laos and Vanuatu, now resides in London.