Locus Award Nominee 2023
Machines roam the desert in search of purpose; works of art can be deadlier than weapons, and improbable love transcends the sands of time. From the multiaward-winning universe of Central Station, a complex desert-city of the future’s inhabitants rediscover passion while at the brink of revolution.
The city known as Neom is many things to many beings, human or otherwise. Neom is a tech wonderland for the rich and beautiful; an urban sprawl along the Red Sea; and a port of call between Earth and the stars.
In the desert, young orphan Saleh has joined a caravan, hoping to earn his passage off-world from Central Station. But the desert is full of mechanical artefacts, some unexplained and some unexploded. Recently, a wry, unnamed robot has unearthed one of the region’s biggest mysteries: the vestiges of a golden man.
In Neom, childhood affection is rekindling between loyal shurta-officer Nasir and hardworking flower-seller Mariam. But Nasu, a deadly terrorartist, has come to the city with missing memories and unfinished business.
Just one robot can change a city’s destiny with a single rose—especially when that robot is in search of lost love.
“This is Tidhar at his best: the crazily proliferating imagination, the textures, the ideas, the dazzling storytelling. A brilliant portrait of community and its possibilities.”
—Adam Roberts, author of Purgatory Mount
“Yet again, Lavie Tidhar’s future world of Neom is exciting and distinctive, his characters complex and fascinating, and his themes powerful and thought-provoking. He is the best sort of science fiction.”
—Kij Johnson, author of The River Bank
“Always expect the unexpected with Lavie Tidhar, and this welcome return to the sprawling space-operatic world of Central Station delivers oodles of poetry, action, memorable characters, wonderfully bizarre landscapes and wild imagination. No two books by Tidhar are ever the same, but each is a revelation.”
—Maxim Jakubowski, author of The Piper’s Dance
“Neom is a real place. A completely batshit crazy place. Nonetheless, Lavie Tidhar, standing on the shoulders of Vance, Smith, and Ballard and others, imagines stories set in that place, a city in a wasteland near the Gulf of Suez, in a future filled with robots and AI and terrorartists and young boys and talking jackals and a wonderful, terrible solar system packed with life.”
“Vivid and techno-mythological, Neom infects you with something special that transcends all the incidents and terrors—a shimmering current of guarded optimism.”
—David Brin, author of Existence, Earth and The Postman
“If you haven’t read NEOM or its sister book CENTRAL STATION, you’re missing out. The count of ideas per page, the number of striking images, the beauty of the prose… and all in one SFnal future history. Just great stuff.” – Daryl Gregory, author of Revelator
“Lavie Tidhar’s Neom is a deliciously inventive wild ride through a future Middle East full of unexpected wonders: dutiful jackals, traumatized robots, terrifying terrorartists, caravans of elephants and great slinkying robotic khans, preserves for wild mechas and monasteries that are also singularities. But more than that, the world of Neom is deeply, richly lived in: the past and the present and the future are not just unevenly distributed, they are marbled together—tiny slithering tadpole robots adapted to the fused-glass desert around an ancient crash site, okra and tomatoes frying in a pan, rogue sandworms and grandmothers doing Tai Chi in an urban park, the Oort cloud and milkshakes, Martian soap opera Bedouin actors, a Bazaar of Rare and Exotic Machines equally excited by Atari Pac-Man cartridges and city-obliterating superweapons. It is this eye for detail, this deft touch intermingling now and someday, that makes Neom’s future so vividly real: not just human or gritty or lived-in, but full to bursting with the variety and complexity that characterize life. It is a world anchored by its characters: the bright ambition and yearning of the orphan Saleh, the sensible pragmatism and inexhaustible humanity of the capable housecleaner/flower vendor/receptionist/Tamagotchi shelter volunteer Miriam de la Cruz . . . and the robot, who is obsolete and dangerous, full of grief and mystery and philosophy, and whose obstinate mission beckons us ever forward through Neom’s pages. . . .”
—Benjamin Rosenbaum, author of The Unraveling
WHAT THEY SAY
“Fans of literary sci-fi are sure to be enchanted by the imaginative worldbuilding and tenderly wrought characters.” – Publishers Weekly
“Tidhar is a unique voice in science fiction … [Neom is] an enrapturing conglomeration of philosophy, psychology, and storytelling… Old and new fans alike will adore this fascinating new addition to Tidhar’s future Earth universe, and science fiction buffs would do well to put Tidhar on their radar of must-read authors.” – Library Journal
“Extraordinary and compassionate.” – Foreword (starred review)
“Neom is a treasure, and Tidhar says that there are so many more stories from this complicated world. Every new one is a compelling chapter in this future history that reflects so much about who we are and the basic things we yearn for.”
“Lavie Tidhar’s Neom is a stunning return to his world of Central Station, twinning the fates of humans and robots alike at a futuristic city on the edge of the Red Sea.”
—Green Man Review
“This was superb and I’m in awe of Tidhar’s vision. He’s conjured up a futuristic city that feels simultaneously ultramodern and also run down. The rich histories of the region and its cultures are seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of this fully-realized world.”
—The Speculative Shelf