Next SFF Author: Cate Tiernan
Previous SFF Author: Karin Tidbeck

SFF Author: Lavie Tidhar

Lavie Tidhar Lavie Tidhar grew up on a kibbutz in Israel and has lived variously in South Africa, the UK, Asia and the remote island-nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. Learn more at Lavie Tidhar’s website.



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The Bookman: A wonderfully clever world

The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar

Lavie Tidhar’s new novel The Bookman is an alternate history of Victorian England that focuses on the authors of the era, as well as many of their fictional creations. For some, this clever premise may strongly recall Alan Moore’s graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Is that a problem? Most will argue not since, like Moore, Tidhar has a great deal of fun stirring up trouble in the Victorian Era and then setting his poets and canonical characters on the trail of a mysterious villain.


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Osama: Ambitious pulp, indeed.

Osama by Lavie Tidhar

From pulp-minded cynics there is the impression that the literati like nothing more than a book which presents fractals of reality impressed upon social and cultural situations — the more politically and historically significant, the better. If you can somehow throw in the values of literature (meta or otherwise), well, that’s just ink for the Nobel. Post-modern the name of the game, numerous are the works of serious literature (no quotes needed) attempting to portray existence as ever deconstructing relativity for critical acclaim. Speculative fiction is not well known for its forays into this realm of literature,


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The Violent Century: A thoughtful exploration of heroes and history

The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar

Thanks to his two most recent novels, Central Station and Unholy Land, Lavie Tidhar has quickly become one of my favorite contemporary novelists, and so when I was given the opportunity to read a re-release of his earlier book, The Violent Century (2013), I leapt right on it. Clearly, the last two books were not evidence of some sudden leap upward in achievement,


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Central Station: A wealth of ideas, a breathtaking vision

Central Station by Lavie Tidhar

Central Station is a thoughtful, poignant, human take on a possible future. For the most part Central Station occurs at the titular port on planet earth. This space resides in what we know today as Tel Aviv, but in the distant future it has gone through many names and many people. Everything seems to begin in earnest when Boris Chong arrives in Central Station after spending a great deal of time away — some of which on Mars. Central Station,


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Neom: You should read this book

Neom by Lavie Tidhar

In Neom, Lavie Tidhar, returns to the universe of Central Station, his wonderful collection of linked short stories, though not to Central Station itself, which is only name-checked a few times. Instead, the setting is the titular city, an extrapolation into the far, far future of a city that today exists mostly as plans and dreams in Saudi Arabia (though you can fly into Neom Airport). Neom is a city “that valued nothing old, and chased the future,” a city that is “ever new,


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Unholy Land: A twisty, mentally challenging story

Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar

I absolutely loved Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station (and was not alone in that), and while his newest, Unholy Land (2018), didn’t blow me away quite to the same extent, it kept me on the couch in “don’t talk to me I’m reading” and “uh-huh, uh-huh, ya don’t say, uh-huh” mode all afternoon while my family just rolled their eyes and gave up, as they know to do when all the signs of being engrossed in a great book are manifest (luckily,


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By Force Alone: King Arthur makes an offer we can’t refuse

By Force Alone by Lavie Tidhar

Lavie Tidhar has been on quite the roll, earning rave 5 out of 5 reviews from me his last three books. Unfortunately, his newest, By Force Alone (2020), didn’t rise to the same level. No, I’m sorry to say I could only see my way to giving it 4.5 stars thanks to being merely “excellent” as opposed to “great.” Slacker.

By Force Alone is an Arthurian tale, though that is a bit deceptive.


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The Escapement: Brilliantly weird (or possibly weirdly brilliant)

The Escapement by Lavie Tidhar

Lavie Tidhar’s The Escapement (2021)is a fantastic and fantastical fever dream of a novel, a Weird Western via Lewis Carroll, Gilgamesh if had been translated and illustrated by Norton Juster and scored by Ennio Morricone, The Searchers if it had starred Buster Keaton, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had it been directed by David Lynch from a screenplay co-written by Steven King, Raymond Carver, and Italo Calvino and storyboarded by Salvador Dali.


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Circumference of the World: I like it

Circumference of the World by Lavie Tidhar

Once upon a time in the ancient era when childhood was about to bleed into pre-adolescence, we used to question if someone “liked” another person or “liked liked” them, our eyes wide in anticipation of the stressed or unstressed response. For the past half-dozen or so novels I’ve read by Lavie Tidhar, the reply each time was a no-brainer: a breathy, intense, “I like like.” With his newest, Circumference of the World,


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Magazine Monday: Theodore Sturgeon Award Nominees

The Theodore Sturgeon Award will be given to one lucky author at next weekend’s Campbell Conference Awards Banquet in Lawrence, Kansas. The banquet caps both the Writers Workshop in Science Fiction and the Novel Writers Workshop in Science fiction, and is the kick-off event for the Intensive English Institute on the Teaching of Science Fiction. Writers mingle with academics, which must make gathering that a studious reader would find pretty lively. I wish I were going to be there myself.

Instead, I’m doing the next best thing and reviewing all of the nominees for the Sturgeon Award.


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Magazine Monday: Interzone 236 (September-October 2011)

Interzone is a periodical I find delightful as much for its excellent nonfiction as its terrific fiction. David Langford’s “Ansible Link,” for instance, reports what’s going on in the speculative fiction community. It also provides information on how that community is viewed from outside in a section entitled, “As Others See Us,” usually pointing to something stupid said in the mainstream media about science fiction, fantasy or horror. My favorite bit has always been the section entitled “Thog’s Masterclass,” pointing out silly sentences in published fiction.

“The Book Zone”


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Magazine Monday: Apex Magazine, Issue 59

The April issue of Apex Magazine opens with Sigrid Ellis’s editorial, in which she explains that the issue is about repair: “It’s an often-broken world we inhabit. Things falter, plans and bodies and hopes go awry. But we, and the world, keep going. Rebuilt, repaired and reformed. The future will not look like the past. It’s out there, waiting for us, anyway.” They are hopeful words, appropriate to the Easter season, and the fiction Ellis gives us this month is equally hopeful.

“Perfect” by Haddayr Copley-Woods doesn’t start out hopefully,


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SHORTS: Tobler, Cadigan, Foster, Tidhar

Merry Christmas from Our column today focuses on Christmas and winter-themed stories. Enjoy!

“Every Winter” by E. Catherine Tobler (2016, free at Apex magazine, $2.99 Kindle magazine issue)

As soon as I finished “Every Winter” I went right back to the top and started re-reading. It wasn’t because I enjoyed the reading experience (though I did) but because I was intrigued by things I’d missed ― all the signs that suggest that the villa in the story is not all it seems.


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SHORTS: Borges, McDermott, Tidhar, Peynado, Larson

Our exploration of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we’ve read that we wanted you to know about. 

“Death and the Compass” by Jorge Luis Borges (1954, free online version)

When Edgar Allen Poe goes in for creating an all-divining detective, you get “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”; when Gene Wolfe does it, you get “The Detective of Dreams”; when Jorge Luis Borges does it, you end up with “Death and the Compass”. No disrespect to Poe or Wolfe,


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Futurdaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction

Futurdaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction edited by Hannah Strom-Martin and Erin Underwood

In their introduction to Futurdaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction, editors Hannah Strom-Martin and Erin Underwood offer up their motivation for the collection:

We hope to inject the short-fiction market . . . with an extra serving of undisguised wonder at the possibilities the future may hold [and] give the next generation of speculative readers and writers a taste . . . of the infinite possibilities inherent in both the science fiction genre and the short story form [and to] represent a wider range of viewpoints than is typically seen in American popular culture.


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The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014: An enjoyable collection

The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014 edited by Rich Horton

I’ve been reading a lot of anthologies lately, including another of the several “Year’s Best” collections (the Jonathan Strahan one). I was pleased to find that, unlike some of the others, this one matched my tastes fairly well for the most part.

I enjoy stories in which capable, likeable or sympathetic characters, confronted by challenges, confront them right back and bring the situation to some sort of meaningful conclusion. I was worried when I read the editor’s introduction and saw him praising Lightspeed and Clarkesworld magazines,


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Old Venus: An over-long, narrowly-themed anthology

Old Venus by Gardner Dozois & George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois’s themed anthologies are some of the most popular on the market these days. Soliciting the genre’s best-known mainstream writers, selecting highly familiar themes, and letting the length run to 500+ pages, RoguesWarriorsDangerous WomenSongs of the Dying EarthOld Mars,


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Next SFF Author: Cate Tiernan
Previous SFF Author: Karin Tidbeck

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    Maybe in the next couple months I'll get the DVDs of the two "Dune" SyFy productions from 2000 and 2003.…

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