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.
My one and only problem with Central Station is that there didn’t seem to be a point to it. It didn’t have an overall story arc. It was more like a series of short stories set in the same world featuring the same characters. It got to the point around 75% of the way through where I still didn’t know what the end game was. The book didn’t feel like it was leading up to something. It was just a series of stories.
But even then each chapter didn’t feel like an individual short story. It was more like a little information about the character, maybe a little backstory and whatever else was going on. But I have to say the characters were interesting. You have one who is basically a Trill from Star Trek. You have a number of robots left begging for parts after the war they were built for ended. And you have what is basically a vampire. Who was infected with a virus which was created as a weapon for said war and makes them want to drink blood and take memories. I really liked the “vampires” in this book, I liked that there was a reason for them being there and it wasn’t just “oh yeah there are vampire in this version of the future”. I would have been happy if the whole book was just about the vampires.
I will say this, the world building was fantastic, it felt like a properly fleshed out world. It’s set in a futuristic Tel Aviv where at some point a spaceport was built allowing travel to Mars and further out into the solar system. The characters you met felt real, they felt like they belonged in the spaceport. But the actual story was boring. And the story is kind of important when it comes to books.
*I received a copy of this book from Tachyon in exchange for an honest review.