Lavie Tidhar’s groundbreaking CENTRAL STATION is relevant now

Reviews for Lavie Tidhar’s John W. Campbell Award winning CENTRAL STATION keep coming.

In ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION (September/October 2017), Norman Spinrad praises the novel.

This is an unusual and groundbreaking novel, at least for me. CENTRAL STATION is that rara avis, a novel cobbled together from previously published stories that really works as a novel. CENTRAL STATION is the only novel written in English that is mostly set in a future Tel Aviv. CENTRAL STATION is also one of the best, most unusual, and convincing depictions of human-cyborg-robot-AI interactions I’ve read or heard of.


But in CENTRAL STATION Lavie Tidhar does something congruent with form that works brilliantly in this novel be cause of the stories he is telling. The Conversation is a multi-consciousness mish-mash in the conscious perceptions of everyone, attention jumping back and forth between times and memories, and Tidhar jumps around in points of view, non-linear time packets, ongoing bits of intertwined story lines, because that is the nature of human consciousness in this fictional future.

For once the medium really is the message.

PILE BY THE BED enjoys the book.

Tidhar uses these stories to explore a number of well worn science fiction tropes – humans interconnected through a system called the Conversation, virtual reality, cyborgs created to fight global wars, sentient artificial intelligences, a robot religion (complete with robot priest), and a data vampire. But he manages to make this exploration in a humanist way and a way that is relevant now, despite the science fiction stylings. Each of his characters, despite their short time in the spotlight are interesting and so it does not matter that many of their stories do not quite resolve.

CENTRAL STATION is at times more soap opera than space opera, with the various interconnections between characters. With the exception of a military flashback it contains few of the big action or big idea set pieces of books of this type. Instead it is often quiet and contemplative, similar in that way to Becky Chambers’ recent novels. And all the better for that.

Photo: Kevin Nixon. © Future Publishing 2013


CENTRAL STATION is a well-crafted piece of science fiction, with visible writing chops in evidence, and such books seem all too rare in the genre these days…

The Portuguese site RASCUNHOS lauds the tale.

With a little touch of irony about the extent of technology (which produces chatter lifts to which crew members want to escape, but can not do so until they reach their destination) CENTRAL STATION features humans who have merged with technology but still Human beings, CENTRAL STATION- with passions and fears, with disagreements and with the passing of certain ethical barriers by curiosity, but also with altruistic characters.

Slightly chaotic and gloomy in atmosphere, CENTRAL STATION is above all a human story in a distant future where the technology is extensive but does not present a glamorous glamor , rather an evolution of possibilities that seem so strange to us as to the characters that show observation and consideration.

(Translation from Portuguese courtesy of Google.)

For more info about CENTRAL STATION, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover by Sarah Anne Langton