CENTRAL STATION is quietly enthralling and subtly ingenious
More acclaim for Lavie Tidhar’s compelling CENTRAL STATION.
For ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION (January/February 2017), Paul Di Filippo praises the book.
In his quietly enthralling and subtly ingenious CENTRAL STATION (Tachyon Publications, trade paperback, $15.95, 288 pages, ISBN 978-1616962142), Lavie Tidhar has grabbed ahold of one of SF’s more potent tropes to power his narrative, and it’s a vibrant motif that has gone somewhat underused of late: the doings at a thriving, exotic spaceport or starport.
A lot happens in the
tale, rendered in juicy neologistic language, plenty to keep us
interested, and personal arcs reach satisfying climaxes. But I still
would call the whole novel “plotless” in the sense that no master
narrative—especially nothing with cosmic consequences—dominates.
In this sense, the book recalls a few other similar genre
experiences, such as Disch’s 334 and maybe some slice-of-life
portions from Ian McDonald’s THE DERVISH HOUSE, as well as the
Brian Aldiss story “Working in the Spaceship Yards.”
Larded with Easter
eggs to Simak and Dick, William Burroughs and Frank Herbert, Futurama
and Miéville, this quietly extravagant tale charts small-scale but
impactful affairs of the hearts, minds and souls of its cast with
Photo: Kevin Nixon. © Future Publishing 2013
SF BLUESTOCKING includes the title among The Best Of 2016:
I hate to say that what attracted me to this title first was its gorgeous cover, but it’s true. It’s got such a wonderfully retro feel to it with its monochromatic color scheme and phallic rockets and towers, I just knew it would be a book I would want to have on my shelf. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that the innards of CENTRAL STATION were every bit as enchanting as its outside.
While the book isn’t as entirely cohesive as it might have been if it was written on purpose rather than cobbled together from earlier short fiction, Tidhar has nonetheless successfully arranged numerous slices of life into an overall pleasing composition that paints a compelling picture of a possible future.
CENTRAL STATION is best book of the year according to VAL’S RANDOM COMMENTS.
Everything about this book is strange. It’s is something between a collection and a novel but not quite a fixup either. The setting is unusual and the meandering plot is perhaps even more so. It is firmly grounded in science fiction though, with lots and lots of references to the classics in the genre. I would not be surprised to see this one end up on the Nebula shortlist.
For more info about CENTRAL STATION, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Sarah Anne Langton