So the news (waaay too early yesterday morning!) came that Central Station is on the shortlist for the Clarke Award. This was very unexpected, and the first time I’ve been nominated for the Clarke. Central Station is, obviously I think, very close to my heart, but it’s such an oddball little book, such a labour of love really, that I was just glad – if surprised! – that it even got published, let alone that people have, so far, seem to like it. So I really wasn’t expecting anything in terms of awards and so on – but I’m delighted all the same!
Yesterday was busy for a variety of reasons that I’d love to talk about but can’t (yet!), so I didn’t even get a chance to mention it!
I started writing Central Station while living back in Israel for a while, all the way back around 2010 or so – inspired by the real life Central Station, a utopian vision turned into a “derelict eight-story behemoth and modern day Tower of Babel, which mirrors much of modern Israeli history, with its grand vision and messy implementation,” as one journalist described it. There’s a good article on the real Central Station – “The White Elephant of Tel Aviv” – here. But my inspiration came equally from the neighbourhood around the station, poor, vibrant, filled with refugees and economic migrants and old timer residents holding on, all set within the faded grandeur of Bauhaus architecture and hemmed in by highways – a sort of busy port and liminal space, somewhere between Arab Jaffa and Jewish Tel Aviv, yet belonging to neither.
It took about five years to write, with individual episodes appearing in magazines like Interzone, Analog and Clarkesworld during that time. It’s a book where nothing much happens, a sort of antithesis to Western SF with its lone hero and exciting adventures. It’s a book about big, extended families with all their dysfunction, and about everyday people going about their everyday lives. I was surprised when it was published, and to be honest, I remain surprised now!