Tales from an Israeli Storyteller is a cycle of 20 short stories and novellas born from exploring the most iconic locations in Israel with companions blessed with truly vivid imagination. This is the story of the Israel you don’t hear about on the news – the Israel where an evil rabbi creates a smartass golem that comes back to haunt him during an unholy ceremony on Mount Meron, where talking animals search for justice among the demons and spirits of Ein Gedi, where a Bedouin hero confronts an evil book in the caves of Qumran, and where one clueless efreet keeps losing his wife in the Negev desert.
While some of the characters are hard to meet, all the locations are real and very accessible, making this book a guide to some of the coolest places on the planet as well as an exploration of a modern fantasy setting inspired by the folklore and mythology of one of the oldest (and youngest) countries in the world.
The book will be about 350 pages long and will have 20-25 illustrations, plus a cover and a map.
We get the coolest tourists around here!
Art by the invincible Hugo Solis.
So, what makes this book different from any other fantasy anthology out there?
1) It’s Levantine Fantasy
Israel is a beautiful and fascinating place. Merely looking out of a car window fills you with four thousand years of wonder, magic, and horror. It is a country of dark contradictions – a land of ancient history that hails to times before the flood, and an all-too-fragile modern civilization. It is a land where you can meet ghouls, golems, genies, talking animals, angels, lilin and other wonderful beings. In short, it is a very cool place.
Besides, why should Greeks and Vikings have all the fun? The Gods and Monsters of the Old Levant want to be heard too...
You can read one such story here.
2) It’s Real Fantasy
Yes, it’s an oxymoron. Allow me to explain. This is more than just a fantasy story cycle one writes as he sits in front of the computer, sipping tea and listening to bands you’ve probably never heard of. This is a nice and accurate guide. These stories are not made up, they are told by the land. I am merely translating them into words and pictures. The land is generous, but it is also harsh – it does not tolerate lying tell-tales, so I oblige it by truly listening to what it has to say.
More to the point, I only write about real places that I really visited and which really inspired me.
You can see some cool places here.
A world where this happens every day
Art by the potent Aviv Itzcovitz
So, where does my money go?
Publishing costs money. There is editing, art, layout, cover design and other boring technical stuff. More importantly, this book is inspired by a real life adventure, and real adventuring costs real money. Gas, food, entrance fees, protection money, blood money, coins tossed down magic wells, sacrifices unto minor spirits and retired deities, that sort of thing. This is more than just a book. This is an expedition, and, like all expeditions, it depends on the patronage of good people.
The more we raise, the more awesome this book will be. It will have more cool art, more fun addendums and more stories full of win
Two classic Levantine animals, facing two classic Levantine demons.
I want to help this project, but don’t have money to spare right now. Can I still help?
Certainly! I need the green gold to pay for editing, art, layout and so forth, so contributions will be very welcome. But money is not everything in life (presumably) – drawings, experiences, and even magic stories of your own -- all are welcome!
Thank you for your help!
A note regarding the perks – each perk includes all the previous perks. You don’t have to choose – the more you give, the more you get!
Reviews by early readers:
Clinton Boomer, author of the Hole behind Midnight, writes:
"There are far too few original voices in fiction. A voice like Uri's – breathtakingly imaginative in flights of fancy, brutally rooted in the horror of the real and blindingly human in even the most alien of moments – may come along only once in a generation."
Torah Cottrill, former Managing Editor in Wizards of the Coast, writes:
"This collection of stories is truly out of the ordinary, a glimpse into the place where the magical and the mundane meet. Creatures of legend still live in the old places of modern Israel, so be warned: the stranger you encounter on the streets of Tel Aviv may be much more than she seems!"
Christine Forshner, blogger and reviewer, writes:
"The tales contained within are varied, and span the breadth of human existence. Some are short, some long, but all have something interesting to say about the people and surroundings. Within these pages you can see the perspective of creatures great and small, from the lives of toys and our four legged friends to the lives of gods and otherworldly beings. The fact that the author has visited these places makes it even more realistic in its bizarre fantasy."
Ty Johnston, author of Ghosts of the Asylum and Demon Chains, writes:
"Past and present, divine and demonic, sacrosanct and secular, all are brought together in this collection to breath life into the hidden world of Israel’s secrets. Here legends of old walk the streets and horrors best left forgotten raise their ugly heads to remind us of the thin veil separating our world from theirs. Uri creates all this not only with his words, but with the images he implants in the readers’ minds of the very land he himself has trod upon."
Scott F. Gray, author of A Prayer for Dead Kings and Other Tales, writes:
"Uri Kurlianchik writes with the voice of a seasoned explorer and the imagination of a master fantasist, crafting wondrous travelogues like some bastard love-child of Lord Dunsany and Paul Theroux. Treading the fabled ground of myth and history, this extraordinary collection of unique tales weaves a tapestry of hope and sadness that literally cannot be put down."