San Francisco: Tachyon Press, 2016; $15.95 tpb; 240 pages
Lavie Tidhar, an Israeli now living in London, is the author of a number of highly regarded novels, most notably the World Fantasy Award–winning Osama (2011), The Violent Century (2013), and A Man Lies Dreaming (2014). Between 2011 and 2014 he also published a series of short stories about the people who live around and beneath Central Station, a gigantic spaceport that towers over a run-down, far-future Tel Aviv. These appeared in such venues as Analog, Interzone, Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, and various anthologies. Tidhar has now revised these stories, adding a prologue and two new chapters, to turn them into a fascinating mosaic novel. The book has a cyberpunkish feel to it in that most of the characters are augmented in various ways and definitely on the down and out, but it also lacks (quite intentionally, it should be noted) the adrenaline-driven plotting of traditional cyberpunk fiction. Rather, these stories are ruminative, obsessed with memories and what might have been. Each of the book’s ensemble cast is deeply troubled by his, her, or its past, by missed opportunities. Each character is lonely and worried about the future, hoping against hope for some sort of human connection to fill the emptiness in their souls.