On the Train by Harry and Rachel Turtledove

on the trainPublished: 2012

Genre: speculative fiction (it’s not really science fiction, nor is it really fantasy, but has elements of both, so I have to go with the more generic term)

Length: 182 pages

Setting: the Train, which endlessly circles the world of the story.

Interest: It was either a Phoenix Pick book, or a free Kindle offer, but it was one of the few books in the cloud that I could put on my new Kindle without hooking it up to a computer.

Summary: The book is actually two separate stories set in the same world. In the first story, Javan sets off on a train trip in third class. In order to stay on the train longer, he starts to cook food for a snack vendor. From there, he starts selling snacks, and takes advantage of a war to start procuring food for the snack sellers. His rise in stature allows him to get married, move up to second class, and have a kid.

In the second story, Eli is a nanny in charge of Rinatta and Willen. They are booked first class, but their mother is arrested for breaking Exile on the Train (punishable by death). Eli and the kids need to hide from the conductors for several days, entering the world of the slinkers, until they get to their stop and Rinatta is announced new Director of the Train.

Final thoughts: Two very enjoyable stories in a unique setting. The book is part of the Stellar Guild series, where an established author creates a world that they and a promising young author both write in. It certainly worked well in this case, with the Train a vehicle for many possible stories. I loved all the variations in the train as it went around the world. Personally, I can’t imagine riding the Train for my life (I like to get outside on a regular basis), but it certainly would be pretty awesome to ride around the world once.

Title comes from: The setting.

Reading challenges: None. Again, I’m catching up on some reviews of books I read over the holidays.


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