Eilat – Beaches, Books, and Beginnings

If you are a dreamer come in
If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar
A hoper a pray-er a magic-bean-buyer
If you’re a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin
Come in!
Come in!

“Invitation” by Shel Silverstein.

It’s been a rough year

It’s been a rough year. I don’t think I have ever felt as much alone as I did since March 2020. Covid locked us all inside our countries, our cities and towns, and also our houses and rooms if we were forced to quarantine. I have relatives I have not physically seen in over a year. Also friends. I know I’m not alone here. It’s the exact same thing for most of the rest of the world.

It would have been very easy for me to retreat inside my bubble and ignore the whole entire world that’s right outside my window in favor of the ones inside my head. It would be easy, but it would also have been wrong. I needed to remember that their are other peoples and countries that are experiencing (in different ways) the exact same isolation that I am currently feeling. However, it’s not just that. I also share a lot in common with many of those people. I’m talking of course about the geeks.

We’re not alone

Every country has its geeks. I’m talking about the gamers who found fantasy clubs. the storytellers who imagine and write, illustrate or direct stories. I’m talking about anyone who has an imagination and uses that imagination to build floating castles populated by forgotten emperors that an Israeli eye has yet to see. They’ve always been there, and never really went away. Now, more than ever, I want to meet them to remind them and us that there are geeks everywhere, and that even if we can’t meet at cons, there is still someone out there reading their books and stories.

This why I chose this year to embark on my third Omer journey, “Around The World in 49 books”. I plan on publishing 49 reviews of 49 books from 49 countries, in 49 days (hopefully). We’re going to start the journey in New Zealand and Australia, and then continue to Asia and the Arab countries. Afterwards we’ll journey south into Africa before travelling back up north through South America and the Caribbean Islands. From there, the journey will continue to the United States and Canada with the final leg taking us to Europe, and the final country will be Israel. We’re talking a lot of countries here.

On the way we will meet a wide variety of authors and books, the vast majority from the last decade. There will be a lot of punk (steampunk, cyberpunk, silkpunk and godpunk), a drop of pulp, more than a drop of magic realism, urban fantasy, beast tales, witches, robots, zombies, djinn and hippos, and everything else the geeks of the world imagined up.

Enter Enter! I’ve got a lot I want to share.

What to expect

This year, I also received a LOT of help. I have Eight guest posts from some amazing women and (one man) who volunteered to go on a blind date with a book and write reviews for the project. Still, there is a very reasonable chance it won’t be enough.

It’s been a rough year. My original intention was to be deep into Europe by this point. Unfortunately this is not the case, and I am still stuck in Cuba. Maybe I’ll get lucky and narrow the gap a bit over the next week or so while I am on vacation, but I’m not going to kill myself. I plan on enjoying the journey, and If I run out of reviews, I’ll slow down the pace and finish after Shavuot if necessary. I am not going to cut books from the list to meet the deadline.

I can safely reveal that thanks to this journey, my already long reading list has become significantly longer (who knew so much steampunk had been written in Kenya?), and there are now a lot of authors I want to meet and invite to cons. I am hoping this will also be the same for you.

The journey will take place in Hebrew and in English. In English on this newly designed website which I recently migrated to WordPress, but still can’t offer Hebrew Support. The new website does not include the old posts. I need to manually republish them, and that will take some time. It will happen after the Omer. Therefore, I’ll publish the Hebrew posts for now on my FB page.

I could not begin this journey without embarking first on a real journey. Currently I am in Eilat with my two older children gathering strength for the literary journey which will begin in a few days. The image is the view from our hotel room. It’s my first trip with both kids since the pandemic began. The next destination will be on the opposite side of the world, and I look forward to meeting you all again after the Passover Seder  – in New Zealand.

Tihe Mauriora