Photo: Kevin Nixon. © Future Publishing 2013
CENTRAL STATION by Lavie Tidhar is a far future sci-fi that imagines a space-faring humanity, a vastly changed earth, and the full integration of technology into society. It is a collection of short stories that are all tied together with an overarching plot, and it touches on things like faith, evolution, discrimination, and more.
The characters here have a lot of depth, flowing back and forth between multiple shades of grey. You get the feeling that for a lot of the population they are simply existing, going through the motions of life in a guarded way so they don’t get too hurt. It’s quite a clever mechanic as it makes the scenes of high emotion all the more powerful by contrast. Tidhar even introduces nodes and symbiotic attachments that allow people to express themselves using digital means along with their biological senses, allowing robots and digital beings to interact emotionally with biological beings. There is so much creativity and original thought here being used to tell a story on multiple levels, which is highly impressive.
CENTRAL STATION is a wondrous thought-provoking book, as you would expect from someone as highly credentialed as Lavie Tidhar. This is a book that asks you to question what you think humanity is, what you think consciousness is, and what you think faith is. It is not a book for everyone, but for those who like literary-style sci-fi that explores complex themes in depth, I think you will love this book.
FinalBlowJoe reviews the book on YouTube.
Here’s an excerpt from his review:
All the stories are interconnecting to greater and lesser degrees with various others. They also work on their own, they were published that way originally, but together they form something much greater than the sum of their parts. May sound cliche but still true here. The stories are wide ranging in scope and ideas but they all manage to create a very personal feel which is something you don’t come across often but it’s remarkable when you do.
Humanity has spread to the stars and technology is suitably advanced. Most people have nodes implanted in them which allows them access to what is essentially universal Wi-Fi Internet; among other things. The world feels alien in some ways due to the technological and sociological changes but still manages to feel very familiar and everyday.
I’d say this is a book with great characters, setting, ideas with a remarkable emotional and intellectual connection.
At THE SPECULATIVE SCOTSMAN, Niall Alexander reviews CENTRAL STATION.
World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar rewrites the rules of the short story collection in CENTRAL STATION, an ambitious assemblage of thirteen tales tall but indubitably true that are all the more remarkable when read together.
Fulfilling that awesome promise—leaving Neve Sha’anan at last—is not nearly so easy for our unfortunate few; nor, indeed, was bidding goodbye to this exceptional collection an elementary experience for me. With each transmuted tale “a node linking the whole into something greater than its parts,” (p.64) CENTRAL STATION is without question the best assemblage of short stories I’ve read in recent memory.
Sublimely sensual, emotionally moreish, and composed with crystalline clarity irrespective of its incredible complexity, if this is “what SF is going to look like in the next decade,” as editor extraordinaire Gardner Dozois declares, then readers: the next ten years will be olsem diffren indeed—which is to say the same, but different, in asteroid pidgin.
For more info about CENTRAL STATION, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Sarah Anne Langton