‘This mind-bending metafictional tale from World Fantasy Award winner Tidhar imagines a lost pulp masterpiece that may or may not hold the secrets of the universe and sends an eclectic cast on a whirlwind quest to track the book down. It’s both a love letter to the genre and a wildly entertaining romp.’
THE CIRCUMFERENCE OF THE WORLD is published by Tachyon Publications, and is out now. Here’s the synopsis…
Caught between realities, a mathematician, a book dealer, and a mobster desperately seek a notorious book that disappears upon being read. Only the author, a rakish sci-fi writer, knows whether his popular novel is truthful or a hoax. In a story that is cosmic, inventive, and sly, multi-award-winning author Lavie Tidhar travels from the emergence of life to the very ends of the universe.
Delia Welegtabit discovered two things during her childhood on a South Pacific island: her love for mathematics and a novel that isn’t supposed to exist. But the elusive book proves unexpectedly dangerous. Oskar Lens, a science fiction-obsessed mobster in the midst of an existential crisis, will stop at nothing to find the novel. After Delia’s husband Levi goes missing, she seeks help from Daniel Chase, a young, face-blind book dealer.
The infamous novel Lode Stars was written by the infamous Eugene Charles Hartley: legendary pulp science-fiction writer and founder of the Church of the All-Seeing Eyes. In Hartley’s novel, a doppelganger of Delia searches for her missing father in a strange star system. But is any of Lode Stars real? Was Hartley a cynical conman on a quest for wealth and immortality, creating a religion he did not believe in? Or was he a visionary who truly discovered the secrets of the universe?
Here are just a few of the reviews the novel has received so far…
‘Tidhar wins it all with this magnificently original mind-bender of a novel about a missing husband and a mysterious book that disappears as soon as you read it. THE CIRCUMFERENCE OF THE WORLD is two parts Philip K. Dick, two parts Brothers Strugatsky, and six parts blow your f**king mind.’ — Junot Diaz
‘World Fantasy Award winner Tidhar (Neom) wows with a mind-bending existential adventure that seeks to answer the age-old question of why humanity exists… Toggling between perspectives and the ethereal text of Lode Stars, Tidhar’s slippery metafictional tale lyrically entangles scientific fact, mysticism, and mental illness. This is a knockout.’ — Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
‘Brilliant and bizarre, Lavie Tidhar’s THE CIRCUMFERENCE OF THE WORLD is many things–but fundamentally it is a love letter to the Golden Age of science fiction, whether or not it deserves it (it does), as well as a love letter to its writers, whether or not they deserve it (they don’t. Well, mostly.).’ — Molly Tanzer, author of Vermilion and Creatures of Will and Temper
‘Maybe the universe’s energy really does get recycled, because this eclectic speculative novel manages to be simultaneously contemporary, nostalgic, and retro in a way that wouldn’t be unfamiliar to the SF icons to which it pays tribute…. Tidhar’s rich portrayal of the pulpy golden age of science fiction, distinctive characters, and nimble turns of phrase make for a cool confection.’ — Kirkus
‘Tidhar’s (Neom) novel begins with obsession over an infamous, possibly mythical book that disappears upon reading and leaves death in its wake. The book, Lode Stars, if it even exists, either brings a truth too terrible to bear to an unsuspecting world or is a great hoax perpetrated by an inveterate con man… This novel is one wild ride, combining the purported text of the infamous book itself with a paean to the Golden Age of SF that produced it. Longtime SF readers will easily spot the real-world parallels, but that doesn’t stop Tidhar from telling a compelling story of obsession and greed that will make readers think about the nature of reality… Readers who fell hard into the metafiction of The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge or the you-are-there gossip of Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee will likely be as obsessed with this book as the characters are with Lode Stars.’ — Library Journal
‘Black holes, new religions, and powerful stories ensnare orbiting beings with their intrigue and potentiality in Lavie Tidhar’s science fiction marvel… Inquisitive, daring, and rich with possibilities, THE CIRCUMFERENCE OF THE WORLD is a speculative masterpiece.’ — Foreword (Starred Review)
‘THE CIRCUMFERENCE OF THE WORLD is an ambitious and ambiguous book showing Tidhar at top form, and all the more interesting for how it rejects easy resolutions.’ — Chicago Review of Books
‘Lavie Tidhar’s trippy, metafictional ode to the golden age of science fiction is a book within a book — Lode Stars, the novel that may or may not exist, as it disappears after being read.’ — Literary Hub
‘Tidhar’s melancholy, beautiful and yet improbably light-touch narrative, meanwhile, is structured like a nesting doll…‘ — New Scientist