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Is Israel One Of The World's Most Science Fictional Nations?

Illustration for article titled Is Israel One Of The Worlds Most Science Fictional Nations?

In H+ Magazine, author Hank Hyena has a fascinating essay about Israel's contributions to futurism. He calls the nation "transhumanist," and makes a pretty good case for its status as a region that's turning scifi into real science.


Hyena writes:

Israel has been described as "the birthplace of science fiction." For chariots in the sky, eco-cataclysms, invisible voices, and other paranormality, check out the Torah. Want a hero traveling through space, searching for the secrets of creation? Examine the apocryphal books of Enoch, circa 300 B.C. In contemporary Israel, "political science fiction" dominates the genre, with the vast majority of successful books using the homeland as a setting. A utopian-intended society tottering on the edge of annihilation is obviously ideal for SF. A partial list of important authors would include Pesakh Amnuel, David Avidan, Dan Zalka, Etgar Keret, Orly Castel-Bloom, Gail Hareven, and Addy Zemach.


It's definitely worth reading the whole article, which is largely about Israel's contributions to technology and science innovation.

via H+ Mag

Image of Tel Aviv via torenos.

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I fear that whatever I say is going to come out wrong... :/

But anyway, saying that Israel is the birthplace of science fiction because of stuff written in religious texts 300 years b.c. is like saying that Serbia is the birthplace of horror literature because the people inhabiting the area had written laws against slaying vampires in the 14th century. It makes no sense whatsoever.

I have a problem with any and all articles glorifying any and all nations as such. True, some of the stuff really is awesome, but it's individual people doing it, Israel is not the Borg. Kudos to the Israeli government for funding science, but that's not that different from what many other countries do. Also, robotic warfare? Not awesome.

And all the stuff about Nobel prize winners is just plain insulting. It's a very clever rhetorical tool to equate being Jewish with being Israeli. And it's even easier to slide into "Jews are smarter than everybody else" territory. Newsflash - they're not. They've just got a better starting position. And if you looked at the overall percentage of black people winning the Nobel prize, for instance, and compared it to the total percentage of black people in the world what would your conclusion be? Probably not that they suck at physics. And what about women? Or Muslims? This is dangerous shit, in whatever context you utilize it. I understand that the author was trying to speak about the awesomness of a culture that spawned so many Nobel laureates, but his choice of argument was poor to say the least.

In short - I don't like this article. It's a one-sided, narrow minded load of glittery capitalist crap that reads like a tourist guide for the free market. I understand that the everyday realities of people's lives were never supposed to be the focus of the text, but I call bullshit none the less.

In my book, what makes Israel awesome is my friend Lior and a bunch of other great people from Israel I've met over the years. What makes it (a) science fictional (dystopia) is the fact that, in the XXI century, my friend had to serve two years in the army under horrible conditions because the state demands it. I guess they haven't developed enough terminators yet.