Monday 26 June 2017

Central Station

(June 2017)

Central Station is a mid-future cyberpunkesque novel comprised of a dozen or so chapters, many of which were originally published as stand-alone short stories. They’ve obviously been reworked fairly carefully (or, more generously, were originally written with a very clear eye on the big picture), and for all that there is something of a central plot running through the book, its focus is very much on these interlinked vignettes exploring migration and belonging, faith and memory.

Given the plaudits this book has received (including, as I format this for the blog, winning the Campbell Award), I was going to try and do one of my rare ‘proper’ write ups. You know the drill: intro, plot summary, thesis, evidence, conclusion. However, as I sit here, quite apart from the normal angst about what I could possibly add to what’s already been written about this, I’m having a hell of a time just trying to get down any sort of plot summary at all. It’s not that the plot is labyrinthine, exactly, and it’s not that there isn’t one, it’s just that the plot is so very clearly incidental to everything else that’s going on here that it seems almost redundant to even try to capture it.

The default then is to talk about setting or themes, but here too there’s almost too much to fairly relate. As metaphors go, stations are fairly obvious proxies for borders and change, and Tidhar milks this for all it’s worth (I say this as a compliment). He’s clearly of the ‘melting pot’ school of cultural conjunction, and, having thrown in techno-vampires, robo-priests, VR economies, and all and everything else it’s hard to know where to start. I’ve been trying here now for almost three hundred words, in the vain hope that some sort of path would present itself through the writing, but in the absence of anything emerging I’ll merely say that this is very good and leave it at that. You should probably read it.

No comments:

Post a Comment