Strange Horizons, October 15, 2012
Reviewed by Louis West
Lavie Tidhar’s “The Lord of Discarded Things” paints an incredibly detailed futuristic world filled with all kinds of angsts—four-armed red-skinned Martian Re-Borns seeking meaning in a resurrected virtual past, abandoned Robotniks who could only offer loyalty in exchange for rescue and repair, discarded Frankensteined animals finding refuge in a vast junkyard, cloned messiahs assassinated by a hope-desperate world, and alte-zachen junk-gypsies peddling lost treasures from the back of their horse-drawn carts. One such gypsy, Ibrahim, himself Other-bonded, human- and digital-minds commingled, discovers an abandoned boy-child, a product of a possible Messiah breeding program that blends vat-grown flesh with the digital genius of the Others.
Rich, exquisite, this story gave me the chills. Not just from the compelling paucity of words that paints the complexity of this world, but from the fervor with which Ibrahim struggles to give this messiah-boy a chance at a normal life.
This story is in keeping with the creative talent Lavie Tidhar has displayed in previous multiple award nominee novels—Osama and Camera Obscura, plus various novellas and short stories.
A great pleasure to read.
Louis West critiques for Critters.org plus Spacecrafts and does volunteer work for the New England ReaderCon conference. His experience includes work in biophysics, medical genetics and international finance, with strong interests in astronomy and sub-atomic physics. He enjoys hard SF, urban fantasy plus select supernatural, and writes in a bio-punk style, focusing on the personal and social impacts of new technologies.