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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The Circumference of the WorldThe Circumference of the World by Lavie Tidhar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great novel that should have been titled The Lodestar. I mean, void, man, sure, it would have sounded like a pulpy SF novel, but it's YOU, Mr. Tidhar, writing it, so it's not only f***ing self-aware and erudite, it's a commentary and it glories in the subject matter while pulling off one hell of a hat-trick of an ACTUAL SF novel all at the same time.

What the hell am I talking about?

The Circumference of the World starts out as one great Noir-type investigation novel featuring the murder of a book seller and the questionable reality of a novel named The Lodestar written by a certain Eugene Charles Hartley who used to bump shoulders with all the late great SF writers like the big three and all the old SF greats. This fictional SF writer seems to be a mash-up between PKD and L. Ron Hubbard, and the missing, even apocryphal book in question seems to have a mathematical equation hidden within it that prevents the Eaters from nibbling away at our holographic universe that is lodged in the great eye of a final black hole at the end of time.

We get sections in this novel from unbelievers, true believers, and the creator, himself. I can't tell you which I love the most. The mystery is absolutely hard-boiled and perfection. The hard SF is fascinating and hard-core, feeling right out of Pohl's best, and the Golden Age SF retrospective brought tears to my eyes, being a huge fan of all these authors and having read them all.

Mr. Tidhar's love of SF is real, ya'll, and the total shift in styles and tone and voice just makes me want to clap with joy. Again, he shows me what a world-class talent he is.

No spoilers, but this novel is truly delicious. Even if the title lacks... um... everything. :)

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