A Slipstream Anthology of Railway Stories
Edited by David Rix (Eibonvale Press 2013)
My Real-time Review continued from HERE.
This real-time review will now conclude in the comment stream below.
Not All Trains Crash – Steven Pirie
“She feels the clunk of a million points changing lines.”
A prose threnody on the half-life of ghosts, so utterly touching, so rail-track rhapsodic, with even education being meted out to those who still survive the tunnels of birth or death, factored into by Dickens’ ‘Signalman’ plus a theme and variations upon a collaboration of the words Rustblind and Silverbright.
Here we know.
[Very proud that Steven Pirie’s work once appeared in the ancient Nemonymous anthologies with “Mary’s Gift, The Stars and Frank’s Pisser”].
The Turning Track – Mat Joiner and Rosanne Rabinowitz
“You should collaborate…”
An inspiring story of love become unrequited by death and the tickets we need to reach requital again via the Train, almost, I sense, the Platonic Form of Train, an infinite train like that in the Rhys Hughes story with its ticket’s didcott a leminscate. This is an engaging scene, somewhat theatrical (like Beckett’s Godot?) mingled with an approaching Train toward the station where the protagonists wait, a collaboration of “layers unfold, surfaces invert” with “leys and nerves” as the landscape of this book comes to a final closure with the arrival of the slipstream Train as double-decker or endless snake or a coastal liner or floating in the Silverbright sky…
Signalman Charles Dickens who was trying to finish at last his Mystery of Edwin Drood? The book like leaves on the line, or lines on the page, or tickets to where we can all reach our terminus (I live near a seaside Terminus station).
“But he knew.”
Whichever Train you choose this book is its Holy Grailtrack.
[ Some of my previous reviews of work by Rosanne Rabinowitz: In the Pines, Survivor’s Guilt, The Pearl and the Boil. And I am proud that her story ‘Lambeth North’ has just appeared in ‘Horror Without Victims’.]
I have now read for the first time much of the non-story material in this book, as I promised, and, contrary to what I intended, I will now say a few words about it. I think it appropriate that I used the word ‘theatrical’ regarding the final story, and indeed theatre is the ultimate collaboration or gestalt, with this book being divided into three Acts, starting with an introduction which now gives, for me at least, a very evocative epilogue (for some a prologue) to the magic of the railway and its literary world, the lines of print, the fulfilling anxiety of its travel – and there are some wonderful intermissions, too, along the way, illuminating the track ahead of the wordsteam. A man with a lamp and a flag or the ‘key’ to the single track. Congratulations to that man. (Above wordsteam not a slip for wordstream!)
In hindsight I think I shall entitle this whole real-time review: DIDCOTTS AND LEMINSCATES.
[Four of my own railway stories that were once published are shown HERE and humbly offered as a a sort of coda to ‘Didcotts and Leminscates’.]
From my immediately subsequent RTR HERE (Black Static #35 just issued), i.e. a quote from ‘What Would You Say If I Asked You To Love Me?’ by Jason Gould:
“‘When is it coming? I can’t hear it.’ As if the coming of war was the coming of some great locomotive aboard which he and his mother would be swept or else narrowly avoid direct collision yet still be destined to live life blowing about inside its roaring slipstream and its chaos.”
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