Talmi, Menachem

Tagged: Author

(1926-    ) Israeli author and journalist, many of whose works have been for children, though he is best known perhaps for his colourful short stories chronicling the criminal underworld of Jaffa in the 1980s, collected as Tmunot Ya'foiyot ["Jaffa Pictures"] (1979-1986 4vols).

Of genre interest, however, is Talmi's Children's SF novel, Ta'alumat Ha'tzalachat Ha'meofefet ["The Mystery of the Flying Saucer"] (1954 Davar Le'yeladim as "Ha'chalalit" ["The Spaceship"]; 1955). It is notable partly for making early use of the Hebrew word for Spaceship (chalalit), which had been coined only a few years earlier.

In the novel, Uzi, a boy from Tel Aviv, encounters an Alien from the planet Venus, who is visiting Earth in order to secure an antidote to snake venom. Uzi agrees to help the Venusian, who gives him a bar of gold with which to buy the antidote. Uzi's attempts to use the gold land him in jail, but he is rescued by the Venusian and the two finally get their hands on the antidote (while dodging an overzealous policeman on Uzi's trail), at which point Uzi is taken to Venus in the flying saucer (see UFOs). Uzi learns that on Venus all creatures exist in peace. He is witness to a form of the Olympic Games, between the Martians and the Venusians, and falls in love with a Venusian girl. At last he returns to Earth, just in time to save from drowning the policeman who had been chasing him.

The novel is notable for being perhaps the earliest sf novel in Hebrew to take place in contemporary Israel and to feature an Israeli protagonist. Such examples would be few and far between until decades later. [LTi]

Menachem Talmi

born Ramat Gan, Israel: 1926

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