Posts Tagged: Lavie Tidhar

The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton - Pages: 353 - Buy: Book/eBook
The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar

Lavie Tidhar’s The Violent Century has done for World War II what The Watchmen did for the Cold War (and should have done for the Vietnam War). I make that comparison not because both feature humans with superpowers, but because they offer an opportunity to look at real events through a hyperbolic layer. Tidhar, like Alan Moore, is interrogating real events with the speculative fiction toolkit, looking not at how it happened historically, but at what about the human condition allowed it. The result, in Violent Century’s case isn’t just a great piece of superhero fiction, but a beautiful novel of cultural and literary merit.

[The Violent Century] is the kind of stilted romance built on repressed feelings and unspoken connections.

The jacket copy of the novel reads, “Fogg and Oblivion must face up a past of terrible war and unacknowledged heroism to answer one last, impossible question: what makes a hero” I’m loathe to sum it up so simply. While there are some notions of heroism throughout the novel, the quote describes what a fan reckons a superhero novel ought to be without a sense of the novel’s real themes. In the end, The Violent Century is a love story. Not a tale of heroism or social commentary, although it is those things too, Tidhar’s novel is the kind of stilted romance built on repressed feelings and unspoken connections.

For seventy years Oblivion and Fogg have guarded the British Empire with their abilities as arms of the opaque Retirement Bureau. Divided by a secret from decades past the pair is called back to answer for their actions. Fogg is a child of neglect, exploited for his ability, and asked to do things he finds incongruent with his morality. Oblivion, meanwhile, is more of a cipher, a mystery to solve. There’s also a woman named Klara who sits at the root of the conflict between the novel’s main characters and at the root of how Tidhar’s world is changed from our own. Read More »

As a duo of dual-citizens, we spend a lot of time bounding between the US and UK. Naturally, with every visit, we immediately rush to the bookstore and see what’s changed. The little things always amaze us. When did our neighbourhood Barnes & Noble get such a huge graphic novel section? Why are the Joe Abercrombie covers so different in the US? (And the Daniel Abraham ones so much better in the UK?) Does the American edition Un Lun Dun really have a glossary of British slang?! (It does! And now we have to buy it for the collection…)

Since A Dribble of Ink has a huge American audience, we thought we’d pipe up for a few British talents that might not have been picked up by the US radar… yet.

Osama by Lavie Tidhar

Given that Lavie Tidhar’s breakout hit is called Osama (2011), it is easy to appreciate why it hasn’t stormed USA Today’s bestseller list. But there’s a reason that Mr. Tidhar’s semi-slipstream, semi-meta, all-noir detective-SF-thriller-thing (seriously, that’s the best we can do for a one-line description) has picked up critical attention on both sides of the Atlantic. Osama has been a finalist for the Kitschies, the BSFA and the John W Campbell award, and picked up glowing reviews from damn near everyone.

Osama is currently only available as an eBook in the US – but it is far from being the only worthwhile read from the prolific Mr. Tidhar. Hunting down copies of An Occupation of Angels, HebrewPunk, The Apex Book of World SF (which he edited) or his many, many short stories are all well worth the effort. Read More »