Sarah Anne Langdon
Here we have another contender for best SF of 2016.
Central Station is a huge tower situated in Tel Aviv/Jaffa. The top of the tower is the departure point for the planets, moons, asteroids and space stations in the solar system.
In the city around the tower’s base we follow the lives of those, who stayed behind, when most of humanity left for the rest of the solar system. Humanity has diversified – some have digital enhancements, some are purely digital entities, some are outdated robot warriors and some are very strange and peculiar children and so on.
The book is a mosaic novel. Most of the chapters were published as short stories in a slightly different form. Thus each chapter can stand alone as a finished story. But by putting these stories together as a novel, we get a vivid picture of a culture – a much greater and more comprehensive picture than just a single story would have given us.
Lavie Tidhar has written a breathtaking book. The prose is so rich and splendid and at the same time so tightly written that the book has no unnecessary filler at all.
For long time SF readers we get many nods to earlier giants and stories in the field: “Shambleau” by C.L. Moore, Louis Wu in “Ringworld” by Larry Niven and Cordwainer Smith’s “The Instrumentality of Mankind” to mention a few.
Lavie Tidhar is an author to be watched – and Central Station is a must read and a very strong contender, when award season comes around.
You should try reading some stories or novels by C.L. Moore – she is worth the effort and time. Some cover pictures: “Shambleau and others” – the original book publication by Gnome Press 1953 (the story was published earlier in Weird Tales, November 1933). I also have an LP (with a fantastic cover by Frank Kelly Freas) where C.L. Moore herself reads the story.