Amazing CENTRAL STATION is the future of SF, not the other way round
Photo: Kevin Nixon. © Future Publishing 2013
THE DES LEWIS GESTALT REAL-TIME REVIEWS finished the real time review of Lavie Tidhar’s CENTRAL STATION.
The politics ans today’s history seep for me into this wondrous text of the future, as we explore, trough Boris, the Jaffa part of the installation…
It is a strange fascinating world we are visiting, paradoxically accessible and inaccessible at the same time. A sort of intertextual, interpersonal, multi-nemonymous ablution by Lavie?
This book is the future of SF, not the other way round.
This book, despite its paper and it non-visual, non-illuminated real-time words of today, somehow becomes a miracle of tomorrow’s nodal virtual-reality in itself.
For STRANGE HORIZONS, Christina Scholz reviews the complex book.
Apart from the amazing world-building, it’s all about the meeting, intermingling, and interacting of many cultures (human and non-human is a purely science-fictional distinction). And in chronicling the place, Tidhar acknowledges that the concept of culture, especially seen over time, is really fluid and diverse: “[Zhong Weiwei] knew his children would be different, and their children different in their turn” (p. 45). Via the Weiwei family’s shared virtual family history we get to watch generations increasingly grow up in a blend of physical and virtual spaces: migrating, changing the spelling of their surname, adopting new languages and religions.
However, lots of isolated passages and sentences can be read totally decontextualized from both the genre Tidhar is writing in and from fiction itself. They illustrate what science fiction does best—give a vivid impression of actual people’s lives in places and/or situations that often leave them at a loss for words. The writer’s task, to paraphrase Ursula K. Le Guin, is to say in words what cannot be said in words. Tidhar is giving us glimpses into the lives of people between cultures—people who sometimes feel lost, who sometimes find each other before they lose each other again. Everything is transient, and “[t]he only rule of the universe, child, is change” (p. 224).
From story to story, the perspective shifts between various characters of various genders, nationalities, and religions, but we keep encountering the same places and characters, whose lives in and around Central Station are interwoven. And recognising them from a new position adds layers to them, sometimes criticising them, and/but always rendering them more complex, more human. CENTRAL STATION moves all the way from soap opera to mythology (visiting other genres in between), but it is still most enjoyable when a clear plotline has yet to develop, and it’s just people’s daily lives and routines and chance encounters, meandering and briefly touching and then separating again for a while, until they touch again.
At the Czech 067, Petr Koubský discusses the novel in his yearly recap.
Israeli author Lavie
Tidhar from letoška also known Czech readers with his novel THE MAN
LIES DREAMING, which is also the story of an alternate world – and
unfortunately the worst thing I’ve read from him. I invite you
something else from him, almost sci-fi purebred CENTRAL STATION set
in the future in Tel Aviv, the bus station you Tidhar remade the
space. Sterling is clearly inspired SCHISMATRIX but Tidhar this
burden done better than most. In addition, the originality of his
ideas passed much local color. If you were to Tidhara was reading, I
recommend still HEBREWPUNK and other alt-real opus OSAMA (in
BOOK DEPOSITORY names the novel as one of the best books of the year.
Since his CENTRAL STATION was named as one of their best books of the year, Tidhar participated in The Authors of the Year’s Best SF&F Share Their Favorite Books of 2016 at B&N SCI-FI & FANTASY BLOG
This Census-Taker, by China Miéville
“I’ve not read a whole lot this year, but by far my favourite has to be China Miéville’s
CENSUS-TAKER, which I suspect might be the best thing he’s yet done. It isn’t exactly pleasant—I’d be tempted to describe it as a misery memoir set in fantasyland—but this is also where much of its power lies. It is subtle, unsettling and mysterious, and elevates Mieville’s writing to a whole new level. I know it’s divided readers, but it gets a whole-hearted recommendation from me.”
The Zeno Literary Agency is reporting that CENTRAL STATION is now available in Bulgaria as Централна станция from Бард.
For more info about CENTRAL STATION, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Sarah Anne Langton