I met Didi for the first time at World Fantasy 2013. His insight into genre, his passion for translation, his willingness to invest of himself, and the heart that he puts into the work he does are sorely needed in the field today. When I heard of Nova Press’s crowdfunding project, I asked if he’d be willing to write a guestpost for Push.

It’s early days yet, but this project that will see translation and publication of current sff books into Hebrew has been met with an enthusiastic response. I hope Nova Press will continue to find support and gain traction as Didi seeks to bring his translation dream to the world.

In this guestpost, Didi talks about the vision behind his project and how he picks books for publishing. Thanks to Didi for writing and translating this post from Hebrew into English for the bookblog.

How I pick books for publication

As we launch the Nova Press crowdfunding campaign, I wanted to write about the reasons that lead me to select books for translation and publication. There are many, and some are less obvious than others.

It’s important to me to publish books that are enjoyable. I’ve reached a stage in my life wherein I don’t often consume media because it is “important”, and mainly consume what seems like it will be fun and enjoyable. This doesn’t mean it has to be light and fluffy, of course. Many different things can be enjoyable, but I want our books to improve the level of joy in our readers’ lives.

It’s important to me to publish authors and works from the present. At my first job as an editor, a main part of my mission, as I saw it, was to bring readers important/classic works that were never translated. Works the local market missed or forgot. It’s been many years since, and most of those have been published. Moreover, I think genre is really interesting right now, with many new and emerging writers who have brought a variety of new voices and flavors to genre. This doesn’t mean we’ll only be publishing new authors, but they will definitely be a focus.

A diversity of voices is important to me. Author Elizabeth Bear called this decade “The Rainbow Age of Science Fiction”, and I fully agree. Many of those new and emerging writers I mentioned in the previous paragraph aren’t white men from North America or the UK, and I think it’s important to bring those voices to Hebrew readers. Our first two books (The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu and Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone) were written by American men, but the list of future books is very diverse, both in terms of gender and geographically.

I love science fiction and fantasy equally, but I don’t love all sub genres equally, and my selections will reflect that. I’m certainly not ruling epic fantasy out, the bar it would have to pass is very high. I’m not fully ruling out so called “hard” science fiction, but it needs to be astounding. I see science fiction and fantasy as ways to explore people and society, and the books that use the tools of genre to do that are the ones I love.

Finally, I want to get back to the first point: enjoyment. It is important to me that readers enjoy our books. I see a publisher as the servant of two masters: readers and writers. I want to give the writers I love a new audience in a new language, and I want to give Hebrew readers books they will love. Books they will enjoy, that’ll make them think and feel and argue. I believe that if we can do that, success will follow.

A version of this post was originally published in Hebrew on the Nova Press blog:


Didi Chanoch is a translator, writer, and editor with over 20 years’ experience who has decided to take the plunge and become a publisher. Support him at http://www.headstart.co.il/project.aspx?id=15962&lan=en-US