CENTRAL STATION maybe the single most important and culturally-relevant work of science fiction to be published in decades
For THE ANGLIA RUSKIN CENTRE FOR SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, Jonathan McCalmont praises Lavie Tidhar’s strong CENTRAL STATION.
Nowadays, when people talk about science fiction being socially relevant, they often gesture towards Dave Hutchinson’s on-going FRACTURED EUROPE series and how the early books seemed to pre-empt not only the break-up of the European Union but also the brutal militarisation of European borders. Though dystopias will always have a role to play in helping us to prepare for unwanted futures, there is also something to be said for books that make a positive case for what it is that we are about to lose. Hutchinson’s books may be about the ugly, regressive, and nationalistic future we are going to get but Lavie Tidhar’s CENTRAL STATION is about the beautiful, strange, and unapologetically multicultural future we need.
Right-wingers are correct to link multi-culturalism to neoliberalism as embracing the free movement of people and capital has allowed us to travel from place to place in search of better pay and conditions. However, while the flaws and inconsistencies of neoliberalism undoubtedly made the world a more insecure and unjust place, it also allowed a generation of people to experience what it feels like to possess many different identities and to have each of those identities resonate in different ways with the people that surround them. Nationalism is first and foremost about cultural simplification and restricting the range of identities allowed within a particular state. The global turn towards economic nationalism means that we now desperately need works that will argue for the economic, cultural and spiritual benefits of multiculturalism and that is why CENTRAL STATION may yet turn out to be the single most important and culturally-relevant work of science fiction to be published in decades. If ever you wanted a novel that spoke to the Now, if ever you wanted a novel that looked to the future, if ever you wanted a novel that understood what it means to be modern then seek out CENTRAL STATION.
Photo: Kevin Nixon. © Future Publishing 2013
The gang at the podcast SCIFI SCIFI SCIFI discuss the book at length.
For more info about CENTRAL STATION, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover and image by Sarah Anne Langton