Tidhar’s second novel out in the U.S. this year, following the pitch-black Adolf Hitler satire A MAN LIES DREAMING, couldn’t be more different: this strange take on space opera is a classic “fix-up,” strung together from a double-handful of previously published short stories exploring the lives of the inhabitants of a slum situated below Central Station, the hub of humanity’s future and a gateway to contact with the Others, an alien force that is changing the future of humanity. On the ground, in a border town between Tel Aviv and Jaffa, genetically engineered children experience a different sort of reality, cyborg couriers deliver drugs, and robotic priests speak to the faithful. It’s a dazzling, unsettling vision of the future from one of the most consistently interesting—and challenging—voices in the genre.
Photo: Kevin Nixon. © Future Publishing 2013
Kel Munger at LIT/RANT also praises the book.
Science fiction serves so many purposes: It offers up potential futures for us to examine (including possible unintended consequences); it can grant us enough distance from the present to really look at ourselves and our biases; it can serve as a hidden way to critique a current system; it can keep us from going stir-crazy when we’re running a fever and all eleventy-hundred channels are running politics.
In the case of Lavie Tidhar, the Israeli-born, London-based s/f novelist, pretty much “all of the above” applies. His most recent American release is CENTRAL STATION, a series of linked short stories set at the base of a space/global travel/communication station built between Israeli-controlled Tel Aviv and Arab Jaffa in a sprawling metropolis that is both cutting edge future (space travel, solar-powered gliders, genetic engineering, a quantum-psychic Internet called “the Conversation”) and as dusty and poverty-stricken as any third world alley.
In short, he is writing about humans and the things we trail in our wake–mostly love and war. People disappear into space travel and, if they reappear at all, come trailing data vampires. A robotic mohel does circumcisions (no doubt with more precision and cleanliness than some humans).
Tidhar is always really, really, good. CENTRAL STATION is no exception.
For more info about CENTRAL STATION, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Sarah Anne Langton