Thursday, June 9, 2016

​Israeli novelist Moran Chaimovitz, 30, pens a futuristic sci-fi story in English with a cli-fi sub-theme

This photo is not the cover of the book

​Israeli novelist pens 'sci-fi' story with 'cli-fi' sub-theme


Don't tell me there's no sci-fi in Israel because there is, and Moran Chaimovitz, a 30 year old writer in Tel Aviv, has just published a novel in English to prove it.
It's called "Human Again" and the 150-page debut novel is set in Israel some 300 years in the future where an IDF soldier who died in 2006 has been
resurrected after being cryo-frozen for three centuries.

That's sci-fi, for sure. In fact, the subtitle of the book is "Cryonemesis One."

I met Chaimovitz online a few months ago as part of my global ''cli-fi'' work, and when he told me he was about to publish an Israeli novel in English with a strong climate theme, I jumped at the chance to interview him.

"In my futuristic novel, a climate crisis has forced survivors to go underground in the Judean hills to find shelter," he told me. "In that underground city, people are spending their time inside a virtual reality world that keeps everyone occupied and sane. But it also makes them too dependent on technology and generally numb, hence the desire for society become human again, and this my title."

"Cryonemesis is a name I coined for the novel by combining "cryogenics" and "nemesis," he added. "It the novel's tone as a combination of future technology, a sinister element and the conflict between both, and it involves all the elements I'd like to see in a sci-fi book."

The main character's name is Roy, and according to the author, Roy died during a battle in the second Israel-Lebanon war in 2006. It's based on a bit of reality, too.

"I participated in that war as a Navy soldier," Chaimovitz told this blog. "That's the only element in the novel that's based on a real historical event. Everything else is made up.  I'm a storyteller."

In the novel's time frame, Israel no longer exists as a state, author told me. The region holds only three underground shelter cities for the survivors of a prolonged climate crisis, and main city is called New Knaan.

As you can imagine, in this sci-fi dystopian story, with a future climate crisis theme, survivors outside of the shelter cities are fighting over the scarce resources that are out there.

"Inside the city there's a mix of Israeli Jews and Arabs that found a common ground by using Hindu culture as a bridge," Chaimovitz, who grandfather was born in Czechoslovakia, told me. "In my vision, the only country what can withstand a climate crisis in the future is India because the majority of the society is already cooperating under severe economic conditions today. That's why most of the characters in my book have Hindu names."

In the novel, the Israeli coastline is under water, daily temperatures are unbearable, and strong winds blow dust and rocks.  The shelter city was built to last 1000 years and to be self-sufficient. It uses solar power, wind and sea currents turbines to produce electricity and to desalinate water. It's also build deep enough to withstand bombings and other man-made dangers. As you can see, sci-fi has come to Israel.

I asked Chaimovitz if sci-fi was a popular genre in Israel.

"Only among the younger generations, kids and teenagers," he said. "They love fantasy and sci-fi as much as any teenager anywhere in the world. But generally speaking, sci-fi and fantasy genres are just starting to become popular in Israel. Most of Israeli adults prefer realistic contemporary or historical novels. It's a cultural thing, because we're hooked on daily news reports, and our reality here is really hectic. We tend not to run away from it to other fictional world because our reality in Israel is crazy enough."

Chaimovitz did his research, too.

"When I looked at the social implication of rising temperatures in today's world and in a future world, I looked at modern day Syria and Iraq, and how the rise of ISIS is tied to the population immigrating out of drought stricken areas," he said. "When farming of crops becomes impossible on a global scale, the world economy collapses. When there's no rice, wheat and corn available, no money and no fancy technology can save you.

New Knaan, with a population of about 10,000 people, is administered by a man named Padma, who is
president of the city and the engineers who monitor the systems. But behind the scenes it's the quantum systems that run things.

Chaimovitz said he wrote the novel in English, his second language, and that there is no Hebrew version for now.

"English is my second language, but I felt confident enough to try to write a novel in English with the help of U.S. book editor," he said. "I wanted to detach myself from Hebrew so I could look at
​the characters from an artistic distance," he said. "I felt I was aiming a local story for a global audience, and I didn't want to write the novel and then translate it. The idea was germinating in me for about five years and sparked in a screenwriting class I took in university. For my screenplay concept, I wanted to write a funny science fiction movie about dating in the future. But it has all turned out completely different.​ I'm a novelist now."

"Human Again" is available worldwide in English via Amazon's book site.
Amazon link
There’s a term for Science Fiction in Hebrew which is מדע בדיוני.

In Hebrew global warming is  התחממות גלובלית

Climate change is שינוי אקלים

Cli-fi in Hebrew would be rendered best as “Climate science fiction” would be
מדע אקלים בדיוני

or as ‘fictional climate”. אקלים בדיוני

Maybe the best way to say cli-fi in Hebrew would be as “literary climate fiction” ספרות אקלים בדיוני

[But note: none of these options above actually sound like a real literary genre name when said in Hebrew.]


on June 10, 2016
I generally don't like sci-fi books but this one really surprised me. First of all it's not a hardcore sci-fi book with unrealistic settings. Also the future technology and world building was done seamlessly through the plot.

I quickly found myself care for the hero as he tries to make sense of the new world he was "reborn" into. The story gripped me and made me realize it might not be a fiction in the coming years.

I hope it would be made into a film.
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on June 9, 2016
I was lucky enough to receive an advanced reader's copy of "Human Again" by Moran Chaim and enjoyed it thoroughly. It lingered in my mind between reading sessions, a sign of a great book for me.

"Human Again" tells the story of Roy, an Israeli soldier who is killed in action, except he wasn't. He wakes up from 300 years of cryo-sleep to a changed world that has suffered the ecological collapse that is no doubt in store for this Earth. Roy discovers that the leadership of the survivors have taken extreme measures to ensure their citizens' survival and quality of life. The future is not bright and shiny in the underground city-bunker, but Roy works to acclimate to the pros and cons of his new surroundings. As he tries to find his purpose, he discovers that all is not as it seems and that he may never know who he can trust and who he cannot.

This book was a page-turner for me. The world is mysterious, the characters are interesting, and the plot pacing is excellent. I had to know what Roy would learn next and how he would cope with events. "Human Again" is Book 1 of the Cryonemesis series and I'm looking forward to the next installment. Moran Chaim is an author to watch out for!
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on June 8, 2016
A truly great read! This cross-genre story tells an original and unpredictable tale, in a creatively fresh setting.
Fascinating book that is truly hard to put down. Learning that this is the first in a future series of books makes me impatient for the next one!
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on June 8, 2016
Disclaimer : I received an earlier review copy from the author

Human Again has a very plausible and scary back story that I can actually see happening; after a global climate crisis, society collapses and only the rich and powerful can survive underground.

Roy, the main character is a IDF soldier (should be bad ass,right?) that was frozen in cryogenic containment for 300 years. When he wakes up underground he has no idea what happened to the world and why he was brought back.

The story takes place mostly underground, in a grey concrete shelter city, where people are hooked to a real life VR simulation so they could spend their days in mere sanity, rather then living like ants in the dark.

The main theme of the plot, as the title implies is to find the balance between staying human and using technology. Like we see in our time, technology could save lives but also destroy the climate and numb our senses.

But don't think this book is just a complex analogy, it's a fast paced, action filled novel. I was surprised by some of the chapters' action descriptions.

A fine read indeed!
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on June 7, 2016
Absolutely brilliant!
I loved it from the get go. Someone is waking up in the future and sees it all has changed from the outside, but inside - people are still people. The book raises many questions - what makes a certain group "the bad guys" in the eyes of the opponent group and when would be the days we will cease to fight each other? Wrapped in an original adventurous sci-fi story - you will get a kick until the very last page.
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on June 7, 2016
Think Jeremiah, think the Prophets, think Al Gore in Jerusalem. This is post-Biblical cli-fi with a story to tell. Moran Chaim tells it well.
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