Diversity, Edelweiss, Fiction, Other-cultures, Scifi, Scifi month

A Slice Of Life In Israeli Space City Filled With Robotniks Central Station by Lavie Tidhar

What is this? Evelina is giving you another 5 reasons to read something space related? What are all these reasons all about lately?? (*faints*) This time I’m going to talk about yet another non-American sci-fi. Enjoy!

Central Station

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★★★✬☆  3.5 stars

IT’S A SLICE OF LIFE, BUT THAT LIFE IS SEVERAL HUNDRED YEARS LATER AND MUCH WEIRDER THAN YOURS.

If you can still imagine that as a slice of life? Granted, there are no aliens (any I can think of, at least…), but there are robots, half-robots, computer generated life forms… Basically, anything on the spectrum of human and machine. The ways this society meshes are pretty amazing!

#DIVERSITY IS ALL AROUND, BUT IT’S ALSO COMPLETELY NATURAL

You know how diversity is almost always forced in books these days? It’s because it has to ‘fit a quota’. We all know how much fun that is. And want to know why this isn’t like that? Because it’s actually written by a non-American. (Here she goes again with her “Read A Non-American Sci-Fi For Once™” stuff…) First of all, the story is based in Israel. How many other scifis can you think of with that setting? Second, there are just so many lifeforms – like I mentioned earlier, there’s basically anything from natural to synthetic life, even life that’s purely computerized and has no body. Third – society is formed from many nationalities of people who moved there as immigrants centuries ago. None of them are Western. Simply speaking? LGBT in this book is the smallest and most natural kind of diversity, because the rest of… the diversity… is so diverse you can’t even. (Way to go with that sentence.)

THE STRIGOI

So basically… The Strigoi is pretty much the best thing in the book! It’s a kind of space vampire..? That feeds on data, not on blood. It will erase a person’s memory only to gorge itself up on it. Nobody really knows what they are or why they’re here. Either it’s a former bioweapon… Or it’s a means for other lifeforms to coexist. I won’t spoil it for you.

ALL THE SCIFI AND CULTURAL REFERENCES!

I barely caught half of them. If you’ve read a lot of scifi or are familiar with the smart pop of this and the last century, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The book is full of words like ubicked, Urbonas death machine, Shambleau, etc. There’s even an invented Asteroid pidgin which I thought was pretty amazing.

THE WORLD ACTUALLY WENT INTO A NON-WESTERN DIRECTION

There’s just something so cool about scifi going there. I live in a Western society. That’s not what I want to see in my books. I want something outlandish. I want to see something that makes me ponder diffferent possibilities. I’m so tired of the world being only America! Write about the rest of the world please! Yes, we exist too!

However…

Admittedly, nothing really happens. It feels like what it is – a lot of different novelletes or even short stories, welded together into a book. It tells about a world that is very different from yours, but also strikingly similar. It doesn’t tell of a plot though. And I felt like that’s where the story lost some of its charm. That’s why only 3.5 stars!

I thank Tachyon Publications and Edelweiss for giving me a free copy in exchange to my honest review. You can grab it here at Book Depository, and yep, that’s an affiliate link, so it supports my blog!

Have you read Central Station? Maybe you have other non-Western scifis to recommend to me?

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

19 thoughts on “A Slice Of Life In Israeli Space City Filled With Robotniks Central Station by Lavie Tidhar

    1. Stale? Did you get it a year ago? I only got it like… last month 🙂 maybe they’re making a second round of promotion. It’s really worth it to read at least once though, especially now that you know what you’re in for 🙂 (the biggest problem for me was the no-plot bit)

  1. Ooh I legitimately love what you said about the diversity being natural- yes please! And the Strigoi make me curious! The world building in this sounds great- it’s just such a shame it was uneventful. Might check it out anyway though. Great review!

    1. Well, that is always an accomplishment 🙂 I hope you enjoy it. When/if you review, and if you still remember me, feel free to spam me with the review links for these 🙂 I’d love to see them.

  2. Great review, Evelina. I do love the sound of a “diverse” book that doesn’t force it into the story! I see wayyyyy too much of that and I am sort of tired that everyone is now forcing it into the story only to please certain people… And that space vampire that prefers data over blood is fascinating! :O

    1. Exactly 🙂 I also dislike the books which just try to make the diversity quota, basically. The space vampire! That was the most amazing bit. You know, I thought this book lacked plot a little, but I think you’d really enjoy it. Because I’ve seen you enjoy other books that I thought were slow, plus this one has all these extra perks like the space vampire, the robotniks, the digital sentient life 🙂 I’d love to see your review of it.

  3. This is on my wishlist, but I haven’t picked it up yet. Lack of plot sometimes works really well for me, and sometimes falls flat.

  4. I can totally understand why you might be intrigued with this book based purely on the synopsis and background. I personally have always saught non-Western fantasy… but never sci-fi! I honestly never thought about it… But, I guess that’s because I feel like my sci-fi TBR is SO LONG. I’ve got to get to those classics first!

    Did you find that you recognized all the sci-fi references, or did you have to look them up? Sometimes I feel a bit left out when I’m reading books full of references.

    It’s a shame that the plot is basically non-existent. That is one of the biggest challenges I have with sci-fi classics. They are so into the speculative and scientific the plot feels like an afterthought. It makes me really sad when I read books like that, then I find myself avoiding the genre for a while. Shame.

    Is this book a stand alone? Will you be pursuing more works by Tidhar in the future?

    1. Actually, I never sought this one out, I just sort of accidentally found it on Edelweiss, and only as I started reading it I realized it was non Western and thought that’s really cool 😀

      Actually, most of the references went over my head, so I googled what I didn’t know. After finishing it I found someone’s article about them and thought that’s really cool, it really linked it all up for me 🙂 I recognized a few, though.

      I haven’t noticed that sci-fi doesn’t have a plot. Usually it has a lot of plot, I’d even say this one was an exception? At least out of the ones I’ve read. Regrettably, I haven’t read all that much sci-fi :/ although I really enjoyed most I’ve read!

      And yeah, it’s a standalone. Not sure I’ll be looking for any particular books of his though 🙂 didn’t really hook me. Although it was definitely imaginative, but I like having more of a connection with characters in books. I think this is what this one ultimately lacked.

  5. Central Station was wonderful, I need to reread it so I can enjoy it again. You’re 100% right, that nothing really happens. This isn’t so much a novel as it is a bunch of interconnected stories. The author wrote them over the course of I don’t know, maybe 5 years? and when he wrote the first one I don’t know if he knew he was going to write more. So treat it as a collection of short stories that all take place in the same city, rather than a novel with an over arching story line. I loved how characters popped up in different stories, and even through they weren’t the main character, you still learned more about them through how they reacted to things and talked to other people.
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    1. Yeah, as a collection of short stories it’s very different. Thing is, it isn’t presented as a collection… You know, I think if I’d read them separately as short stories, I probably would have immensely enjoyed them 🙂 the whole “what’s going on” and “is anything going on, am I missing something?” thing prevented me from enjoying it more, I guess 😀

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