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.
There’s a rather surprising number of things wrong with Victoria’s empire, not the least of which is that Victoria and her court are all members of an alien race of lizards, known as “Les Lézards.” Everything is upside down: criminal mastermind Professor Mor... Read More
Lavie TidharLavie 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.
The Bookman — (2010-2012) Publisher: LATE EXTRA! BOMB OUTRAGE IN LONDON! A masked terrorist has brought London to its knees — there are bombs inside books, and nobody knows which ones. On the day of the launch of the first expedition to Mars, by giant cannon, he outdoes himself with an audacious attack. For young poet Orphan, trapped in the screaming audience, it seems his destiny is entwined with that of the shadowy terrorist, but how? His quest to uncover the truth takes him from the hidden catacombs of London on the brink of revolution, through pirate-infested seas, to the mysterious island that may hold the secret to the origin not only of theshadowy Bookman, but of Orphan himself… Like a steam-powered take on V for Vendetta, rich with satire and slashed through with automatons, giant lizards, pirates, airships and wild adventure. The Bookman is the first of a series. File Under: Steampunk [ Alternate History! | Reptilian Royalty! | Diabolical Anarchists! | Extraordinary Adventure! ]
The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar
This steampunk take-off on Jules Verne doesn’t fulfill the promise of its title. The characterization is lacking, and the plot seems to be more an exercise in touching steampunk bases instead of creating anything original. I was disappointed. ~Terry
An Occupation of Angels — (2005) Publisher: After Archangels materialize over the bloodbaths of WWII, they take up residence in most of the world’s major cities. But what would happen if, more than quarter of a century later, something somehow managed to kill these supreme beings? Killarney knows and, as an agent working for the Bureau, a British agency that’s so secret it doesn’t officially exist, she finds herself embroiled in the consequences as, one by one, the Archangels die.
Hebrewpunk — (2007) Publisher: Popular short fiction writer Lavie Tidhar gathers some of his best work in one collection. Stories that are infused with centuries of tradition and painted with Hebrew mythology. We meet the Tzaddik as he faces off against a vengeful angel intent on sending the Fallen to hell. The shapeshifting Rat fights lycanthropic Nazis. The Rabbi takes us on a thoughtful and amusing journey into the possibilities of a Jewish state in the heart of Africa. Finally, all three protagonists appear in an old-fashioned caper story that will leave you breathless. Includes a special introduction from Hugo Award-nominated author Laura Anne Gilman.
Cloud Permutations — (2009) Publisher: The world of Heven was populated, centuries ago, by Melanesian settlers from distant Earth. It is a peaceful, quiet world—yet it harbours ancient secrets. Kal just wants to fly. But flying is the one thing forbidden on Heven — a world dominated by the mysterious, ever present clouds in the skies. What do they hide? For Kal, finding the answer might mean his death — but how far will you go to realise your dreams?
The Tel Aviv Dossier — (2009) With Nir Yaniv. Publisher: The wind picks up even more, pushing me, as if it’s trying to jerk the camera away from my hands. I spin around and the camera pans across the old bus terminal and someone screams… Into the city of Tel Aviv the whirlwinds come, and nothing will ever be the same. Through a city torn apart by a violence they cannot comprehend, three disparate people a documentary film-maker, a yeshiva student, and a psychotic fireman must try to survive, and try to find meaning: even if it means being lost themselves. As Tel Aviv is consumed, a strange mountain rises at the heart of the city, and shows the outline of what may be another, alien world beyond. Can there be redemption there? Can the fevered rumours of a coming messiah be true? As the city loses contact with the outside world and closes in on itself, as the few surviving children play and scavenge in the ruins, can innocence survive, and is it possible for hope to spring amid such chaos? A potent mixture of biblical allusions, Lovecraftian echoes, and contemporary culture, The Tel Aviv Dossier is part supernatural thriller, part meditation on the nature of belief an original and involving novel painted on a vast canvas in which, beneath the despair, humour is never absent. Experience the last days of Tel Aviv…
Gorel and the Pot Bellied God — (2010) Publisher: There is only one truth Gorel of Golirisgunslinger, addict, touched by the Black Kissis interested in: finding a way back home, to the great empire from which he had been stolen as a child and from which he had been flung, by sorcery, far across the World. It started out simple: get to Falang-Et, find the mirror, find what truth it may hold. But nothing is simple for Gorel of Goliris…When Gorel forms an uneasy allianceand ménage à troiswith an Avian spy and a half-Merlangai thief, things only start to get complicated. Add a murdered merchant, the deadly Mothers of the House of Jade, the rivalry of gods and the machinations of a rising Dark Lord bent on conquest, and things start to get out of hand. Only one things for sure: by the time this is over, there will be blood. Not to mention sex and drugs… or guns and sorcery.
Osama — (2011) Publisher: In a alternate world without global terrorism Joe, a private detective, is hired by a mysterious woman to find a man: the obscure author of pulp fiction novels featuring one Osama Bin Laden: Vigilante…Chased by unknown assailants, Joe’s identity slowly fragments as he discovers the shadowy world of the refugees, ghostly entities haunting the world in which he lives. Where do they come from? And what do they want? Lavie Tidhar was in Dar-es-Salaam during the American embassy bombings in 1998, and stayed in the same hotel as the Al Qaeda operatives in Nairobi. Since then he and his now-wife have narrowly avoided both the 2005 London, King’s Cross and 2004 Sinai attacks — experiences that led to the creation of Osama. In a alternate world without global terrorism Joe, a private detective, is hired by a mysterious woman to find a man: the obscure author of pulp fiction novels featuring one Osama Bin Laden: Vigilante… Joe’s quest to find the man takes him across the world, from the backwaters of Asia to the European Capitals of Paris and London, and as the mystery deepens around him there is one question he is trying hard not to ask: who is he, really, and how much of the books are fiction? Chased by unknown assailants, Joe’s identity slowly fragments as he discovers the shadowy world of the refugees, ghostly entities haunting the world in which he lives. Where do they come from? And what do they want? Joe knows how the story should end, but even he is not ready for the truths he’ll find in New York and, finally, on top a quiet hill above Kabul — nor for the choice he will at last have to make… In Osama, Lavie Tidhar brilliantly delves into the post-9/11 global subconscious, mixing together elements of film noir, non-fiction, alternative history and international thriller to create an unsettling — yet utterly compelling — portrayal of our times.
The Violent Century — (2013) Publisher: For seventy years they’d guarded the British Empire. Oblivion and Fogg, inseparable at first, bound together by a shared fate. Until a night in Berlin, in the aftermath of the Second World War, and a secret that tore them apart. But there must always be an account… and the past has a habit of catching up to the present. Recalled to the Retirement Bureau from which no one can retire, Fogg and Oblivion must face up to a past of terrible war and unacknowledged heroism, a life of dusty corridors and secret rooms; of furtive meetings and blood-stained fields, to answer one last, impossible question: What makes a hero?
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. This award is granted to the best science fiction short story, though the length of the “short” story varies widely in this year’s field, from Eleanor Arnason’s “Mammoths of the Great Plains, a long novella, to the tidbit that is Yoon Ha Lee’s “Flower, Mercy, Needle, Cha... Read More