Lavie Tidhar’s THE VIOLENT CENTURY is one of those rare books that stay with you long after finishing the last page
Which all makes this book sound fairly serious. And given that it
catalogues world conflicts from the mid 20th-century onwards, with a
particular focus on World War II, it can be. But it also has heart, a
sly sense of humour, great action set-pieces and a range of fascinating
supporting players. Tidhar’s particular brand of science fiction and
alternate history has come to more prominence recently with awards for CENTRAL STATION and UNHOLY LAND, but he is an author who has been garnering praise throughout his career and THE VIOLENT CENTURY demonstrates why it is worth revisiting his back catalogue.
For FANTASY BOOK CRITIC, Łukasz Przywóski felt much the same way.
THE VIOLENT CENTURY is both demanding and rewarding. It won’t appeal to
everyone and I understand why some readers will put it aside because of
time jumps and fractured writing style. I’ve almost done it myself;
luckily I’ve persevered. If you give it a chance, you may discover it’s
one of the rare books that stay with the reader long after they finish
the last page.
Illustration by John Anthony Di Giovanni
TOR.COM publishes the Tidhar short story “In Xanadu.”
The Theremin played.
In the great hall of the Banu Qattmir all was peaceful. The great
screen displays overhead flickered in a bright rainbow light of nothing
very much. The Keepers of the Cores went about their business on the
gleaming floor, seeming as small as ants in the vastness, and the music
played on. It had always been so, for as long as Nila could remember it.
I hate it, she thought savagely. I hate it, hate it, hate it!
The hall was immense and the lighting always soft and the music
played on. Information scrolled up on the screens. The patrols went out
and the perimeter was secure. Nothing living or digital could approach
within a hundred klicks without being detected and if need be
eliminated. Overhead, the cloud of routers and signal repeaters extended
into the atmosphere of Titan and connected to the dark satellites in
the moon’s orbit. Old-fashioned underground cables ran away from the
Cores and hooked into ghost points on the Conversational infrastructure
of Titan, and into secure escape-pods set up by Clan Qattmir centuries
before, redundancy Cores set under the polar ice, inside volcanoes, or
under the methane seas.
I hate it! Nila thought. Nothing ever happens here!
For more info about THE VIOLENT CENTURY, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Sarah Anne Langton