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Central Station by [Tidhar, Lavie]
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Central Station Kindle Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Kindle Edition, 10 May 2016
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Product Description

An NPR Best Book of 2016
An Amazon Featured Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Book
A Guardian Best SF & Fantasy Book of 2016
Longlist, British Science Fiction Award 2016, Best Novel

2017 Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee

It’s all of science fiction distilled into a single book.”
—Warren Ellis, author of Transmetropolitan and Gun Machine

A worldwide diaspora has left a quarter of a million people at the foot of a space station. Cultures collide in real life and virtual reality. The city is literally a weed, its growth left unchecked. Life is cheap, and data is cheaper.

When Boris Chong returns to Tel Aviv from Mars, much has changed. Boris’s ex-lover is raising a strangely familiar child who can tap into the datastream of a mind with the touch of a finger. His cousin is infatuated with a robotnik—a damaged cyborg soldier who might as well be begging for parts. His father is terminally-ill with a multigenerational mind-plague. And a hunted data-vampire has followed Boris to where she is forbidden to return.

Rising above them is Central Station, the interplanetary hub between all things: the constantly shifting Tel Aviv; a powerful virtual arena, and the space colonies where humanity has gone to escape the ravages of poverty and war. Everything is connected by the Others, powerful alien entities who, through the Conversation—a shifting, flowing stream of consciousness—are just the beginning of irrevocable change.

At Central Station, humans and machines continue to adapt, thrive...and even evolve.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1302 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications (10 May 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #95,508 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a collection of very loosely linked stories set in a interestingly-imagined future, globalized Earth and solar system. Do not expect this to resemble anything like a novel. The author has taken a bunch of short stories they’d written, and retconned a passing mention of characters from some stories into the other stories in order to make them appear that they are linked. I found some of the stories fairly interesting, but others not so much.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.8 out of 5 stars 44 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, Interesting, But Suffers from Lack of Closure 24 May 2016
By Shelly - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like this book but none of the reviewers I see here seemed to have the same reaction I had to the book.

First off, it is very well written. There are various story threads, following various characters, as they end up in the same place - a future Tel Aviv. It mixes recognizable details with future details - firmly letting you know this is the future but it is a future you can envision. It was a bit confusing at first but it settled down and became clearer after a bit. The future it describes is interesting and believable.

However, the book felt very much like it was setting up this world. If I found out this was going to be the first in a series, it would totally make sense. Everything built to an ending and we did get a kind of ending. We see why these people moved together to be there and we see that many of them were manipulated in a way to get there to do what needed to get done to have that scene.

But the end didn't provide closure. I understand now where they were headed and for what. But it isn't "Ok, that is resolved." It doesn't feel that way at all. At the end I felt "ok... so what does that mean? What is going to happen now?"

I am giving it the 4 stars I want to give if we are going to get another book with some more information. But take it with a grain of salt. If this is the end all and be all... it feels unfinished.

Based on the other reviews, maybe it is only me. But I need some closure. Or some direction as to where these people are going from here.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars to call it meandering is both accurate and to miss that it's quite well edited and never runs over it's course or feels like it' 2 July 2016
By Frenetic Pony - Published on
Verified Purchase
Central Station could be called a pulpy meandering Sci-fi genre mash'em up told from the perspective of multiple characters centered around a small community found in a larger city in the far future. And while that's what it is, to call it meandering is both accurate and to miss that it's quite well edited and never runs over it's course or feels like it's ever really getting off track. To call it pulpy is both accurate and to miss that it doesn't obsess over it's own silliness, the ideas herein are fun but they never take over the story unless they're actually part of the story. To call it a genre mashe'em up is accurate, the characters herein spin off on their own lives and while there's a lot of different activities; but Central Station is also one of those rare stories that can keep them all coherent without feeling like it's shifting tone all over the place.

If there's one criticism, and I suppose you could call it a big one, it's merely that the actual central plot feels slight and somewhat unimportant. We never spend enough time with any one character, or really get close enough to them, to become entirely attached to them even though we like them. And the central thread of the story, while interesting in the unfolding, doesn't feel like it offers anything huge in the way of surprise or depth or etc. So that's Central Station, a well written, well thought out, well put together piece who's skill only finds lack in that what it's putting up is passing entertainment instead of something grander.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly imagined future world with a limited plot 5 July 2016
By molevin - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The setting in a future Tel Aviv/Jaffa is amazingly well painted. The melding of human and machine at the core of things is shocking but at the same time sensible given the hints of it we see now. Characters are reasonably well drawn though a bit conventional.
The problem with this novel is the weak plot which, despite huge potential, essentially has no real path. The book reads like a series of short stories (more like prose poems) linked together by the setting. It is the kind of book critics might decide to love but is nearly unreadable. Or maybe the whole thing flew over my head.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good worldbuilding, disjointed fixup 21 April 2017
By John Stults - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This novel is basically a "fix up" with most of the chapters previously published as short stories. The author, I am sure, did some rewriting but often the chapters seem a bit disjointed. One is reminded of attending a school fair where one walks down a hall and can visit each room and see different things the students are doing or learning. The author spends a great deal of time on world building and due to the book construction a lot of this is repetitious. The individual chapters (stories) are good, just often only somewhat connected. The author displays a remarkably good use of language through out the book and reading this is one of the highlights of the book. As for reading some of the authors other work, I am not sure, there is a lot of good literature out there and depending on the time you have to read his might be nearer the bottom on selection. I guess I would rate it as just ok.
5.0 out of 5 stars richly original, poignant, great characterization. Loved it 26 May 2017
By B. Capossere - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I’m a sucker for linked story collections. Sure, at their worst they can feel like a lazy person’s cheap novel—a thrown together bunch of old stories with a few perfunctory transitions/connections. But at their best they mix the concentrated focus and power of a short story with the weight and depth of a longer narrative arc, making for a wonderfully discursive, elliptical, and yet strong-hitting creation. And that’s exactly what we have in Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station, a beautifully constructed and composed linked-story novel/collection.

I come first to Central Station on a day in winter. African refugees sat on the green, expressionless. They were waiting, but for what, I didn’t know. Outside a butchery, two Filipino children played at being airplanes: arms spread wide they zoomed and circled, firing from imaginary underwing machine guns. Behind the butcher’s counter, a Filipino man was hitting a ribcage with his cleaver, separating meat and bones into individual chops. A little farther from it stood the Rosh Ha’ir shawarma stand, twice blown up by suicide bombers in the past but open for business as usual. The smell of lamb fat and cumin wafted across the noisy street and made me hungry.

Here in the opening paragraph you can already see some of Central Station’s strengths, beginning with the vivid, precise details. The imaginary airplanes aren’t just “shooting bullets” but firing from “underwing machine guns.” The butcher isn’t just hitting a clump of meat, but a “ribcage.” The food stand isn’t just a stand but a shawarma stand, and it doesn’t smell simply of “exotic spices” but “lamb fat and cumin.” This level of care to detail runs throughout the book making this world come wholly alive.

Another aspect shown in the opening paragraph is the rich soup that is the world of Central Station, which as the book goes on will turn out to be populated by the aforementioned Africans, Filipinos, shawarma lovers, orthodox Jews, cyborgs, robotniks, visitors from Mars, data vampires, genetic engineers, disembodied artificial intelligences (“Others”), mysterious lab-created children, and more. And these are just the characters. Throw in the science fiction trappings that seem to appear a dozen to a page (only a slight exaggeration) and you have a wonderful panoply of creativity on display—exodus ships, AIs, immersion pods, bioweapons, robot soldiers, wearables, solar buses, and behind it all, the Conversation:
everything was noded. Humans, yes, but also plants robots, appliances, walls, solar panels, nearly everything was connected . . . across that region called the Middle East, across Earth, across trans-solar space and beyond . . . a human was surrounded, every living moment, by the constant hum of other humans, other minds, an endless conversation”

The idea of the Conversation, of connection, is nicely mirrored by Central Station’s structure of linked stories and by the way in which Tidhar weaves the connecting threads amongst them via characters, words, and images. In a nice bit of layering, he as well works in genre allusions, such as a reference to the “nine billion names of God” or “Elronism.” The metafictional aspects appear as well in direct references to lives as stories, as when one character realizes that “life wasn’t like that neat classification system . . . Life was half-completed plots abandoned, heroes dying halfway along their quests . . . “ And later, the narrator tells us, “It is perhaps the prerogative of every man or woman to imagine, and thus force a shape, a meaning onto that wild and meandering narrative of their lives, by choosing genre.”

The imaginative richness, sharpness of detail, and complexity of connections would make this a good book, but it’s the depth of characterization and amount of feeling in their stories that makes it an excellent one. Stories of love and loss and regret and relationships and fathers and sons and mothers and sons and old friends and new friends and once-old-friends-not-new-again. Central Station is a lyrically told, expertly constructed, tale that moves even as it impresses in its craftsmanship. Highly recom
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