July 2, 2016

Review: Central Station

Central Station Central Station by Lavie Tidhar
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was a bit disappointed with this book. It's billed as a novel, but it's not: it's a collection of previously published and apparently extensively reworked stories, united by a common setting (the titular Central Station) and featuring a rotating cast of characters. Having said that, the writer is very good. In fact, I would say he qualifies as a truly literary SF writer. His settings are especially vivid: I could smell every scent and hear every sound in Central Station. His stories are artfully constructed and compellingly told, with a unique far-future culture. But in the absence of any overarching plot, after a while I felt like I was in the middle of a beautiful, empty circle, going round and round and getting nowhere.

It's a shame, because there's one story that could have made a fantastic novel: Chapter Five, "Strigoi," the tale of Carmel the data vampire. I wish the author had fleshed that out to full book length. How such a thing as a Strigoi, or Shambleau, could have been created, how she survived, if she could be cured...I would read the hell out of that book.

Unfortunately, Central Station is not that book.

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