PrintE-mail Written by Alister Davison

Rising high above Tel Aviv, Central Station is a giant spaceport and gateway to the stars. On the ground level, humans rub shoulders with androids and the mysterious ‘Others’, connected by a digital consciousness that stretches to the asteroid belt and beyond. This collection of short stories by Lavie Tidhar tells of these people and beings, each tale offering a different perspective from the characters, showing how they interact with one another and their place in the city they inhabit.

Tidhar’s prose draws the reader in, bringing this world to life with ease. There are many concepts on offer – ranging from genetic modification to artificial intelligence – yet the characters are never sacrificed in favour of the technology; in fact, the two of them combine seamlessly to create a unique vision, one that will leave the reader thinking long after the final page. Not only intelligent, it's emotional too, telling of loves lost and those only just begun, of those wishing to escape their past and those hoping to bring it back.

All but a couple of these stories have already seen print in sci-fi magazines over the last five years, but they have been substantially altered to fit the course of the narrative, linking all together to form a cohesive whole. Each is of an incredibly high standard, and readers will take the time to savour every word, relish the structure of every sentence. Tidhar is reminiscent of an early William Gibson, not just in sharing that short and punchy style, but in his ability to create a world where the speculation is believable enough to fit seamlessly into the narrative; somehow, despite being set centuries into the future, it feels just around the corner.

Tidhar’s last two books, The Violent Century and A Man Lies Dreaming, were rightly given great acclaim, so were always going to be tough acts to follow. Central Station maintains that standard, cementing Lavie Tidhar as one of science fiction’s great voices, an author who creates scenarios and characters that feel destined to become classics, ones that readers will be happy to revisit time and time again. It's a compelling collection that mixes the epic and the intimate, one that succeeds at being profound, incredibly moving and, quite simply, stunning. 


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