Of course, the main barrier to a properly global SF remains the anglophone biases of culture and fandom, which give an advantage to writers who work in English. Lavie Tidhar’s CENTRAL STATION (Tachyon), a sprawling hymn to the glory and mess of cultural diversity set in a future spaceport Tel Aviv, is one example: Israeli-born Tidhar lives in London and writes in English.
Peter Heck in the December issue of
SCIENCE FICTION enjoys the book.
Tidhar follows several such characters, offering a view of the station from each of their perspectives. Several have some connection in the past, notably a love story between an older couple, Boris Chong and an African woman named Miriam Jones. We learn they were lovers long ago before Chong emigrated to Mars. Now he’s back.
The other characters cover a wide range of origins and types; many of them are scrambling to make some kind of living in the strange world that has grown up around this crossroads of the universe.
Back in the 1950s, one critic (Kinglsey Amis? Michel Butor? Tell me if you remember who) observed that the aliens in much American SF had more in common with their readers than the average Mexican did. Here’s a writer who can hardly be accused of that—and yet, even Tidhar’s most alien beings have a share of humanity. Tidhar’s well worth a look if you want an idea of what the next generation of SF is going to look like.
Photo: Kevin Nixon. © Future Publishing 2013
VIEW FROM ASCRAEUS recommends the novel.
For a novel this is, and it is a wonderful thing all by itself. Set around the grand interplanetary Central Station of a far future Israel, this novel ties a loosely connected group of marginalised people into a cohesive examination of identity and history. This feels more like magical realism than SF, given that there isn’t so much a plot rather than a theme, where each fragment binds together into a beautiful tapestry of life.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, lost myself utterly in the world that Tidhar has created. I’ve been falling out of love with SF in recent years, but this book, and some others I’ll be reviewing shortly, have given me renewed hope for the genre. That isn’t to say that this is perfect, it isn’t: it could do with some sort of payoff to conclude the novel, for example, as opposed to just meandering off in med res.
I happily recommend this to your consideration.
SHELF INFLICTED praises the work.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I haven’t been inspired to write lately, or read, or anything really (except football manager 2017, but that’s a different story altogether) But in my long journey to try and put ideas from brain box A to real world B, I read something that either takes me to places I really want to go…ORRRRRRR they show me a glimpse of the future.
Mr. Tidhar did both, a gorgeous vision of what more likely than not will be the world to come and beautifully written to boot.
Do me a favor and yourself, if you haven’t read this..do.
For more info about CENTRAL STATION, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Sarah Anne Langton