Lavie Tidhar trying to keep his cool among all the praise (Photo: Kevin Nixon. © Future Publishing 2013)
A FANTASTICAL LIBRARIAN praises the book.
What I loved most about this book was its setting. I am normally more of a character-driven reader, but the way CENTRAL STATION is set up and the way it was presented just captured my imagination. Tidhar just presents the world of Central Station as just the future, no explanation of how we got here, what sort of first contact of wars there were, this is just how it is. Yet even through its thranshumanist elements, space exploration, and strange virtual worlds, there are also clear traces of humanity and history as we know it today. Oddly enough, these traces served to alienate more than to connect the reader to the characters and story.
But despite my attachment to the setting, there were a number of brilliant characters, my favourites being Achimwene and Carmel. To be fair, I’d read — or rather heard — The Bookseller when it was reprinted in Clarkesworld last year and I loved the story then, so it is no wonder that I reconnected with these characters easily. Achimwene’s love for old, pulpy crime novels and his book collecting nature spoke to me, while I liked the way he and Carmel clicked together. Carmel’s vulnerability, her need for data and answers, were immensely appealing. But of course there are the alte-zachen man Ibrahim, his adopted son Ismail and his friend Kranki, and the various cyborgs in the form of the robotniks and the robo-priests, who are all equally interesting.
CENTRAL STATION is a very layered narrative, that is deceptively meandering and seemingly plotless, but I think this is a collection that bears rereading to mine it for all of its secrets. Tidhar remains one of the most thought-provoking authors I’ve encountered in the past few years and I can’t wait for his next novel to see where his mind goes next.
For more info about CENTRAL STATION, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Sarah Anne Langton