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Devils in Daylight by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki
Gertie's Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley
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This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
The Train to Impossible Places by P.G. Bell
The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden by Karina Yan Glaser
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein
Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

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Road Narrative Update for August 2019

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The Train to Impossible Places: 09/06/19

The Train to Impossible Places

The Train to Impossible Places by P.G. Bell is the first book in a new series about a girl who hitches a ride on a train that happens to take a detour through her family's home in the middle of the night. Like Moist van Lipwig in Going Postal (2004), Suzy suddenly finds herself working for the post, working on the last mail trail in operation.

The Impossible Postal Express is a troll run train that makes deliveries anywhere. When it falls behind schedule, it can take shortcuts, such as through a living room. The effects of laying the rail and running the train through are temporary and no one expects stowaways.

The very first delivery, the one Suzy is put in charge of because no one else is brave enough to ring the doorbell. The recipient is the Lady Crepuscula. The package is a talking snow globe named Frederick. Suzy decides Frederick's story is legit and that he shouldn't be delivered.

So now while the Impossible Postal Express is trying to make its deliveries, it's also running from Crepuscula's wrath. She is hellbent on getting her package and taking out the train and anything else in the process.

While this book is from the UK (English publisher, Welsh author), it does sit in the road narrative spectrum (as an outlier). Suzy, while not an orphan in our world, does chose to hop the train as a solo (or orphan) traveler (FF). Her choice could very well leave her orphaned in the Troll world.

From Suzy's point of view, as she is the protagonist, the places the express goes are impossible and unknown to her. Put another way, the delivery stops are various utopias, or places within a larger utopia (FF). Now one could argue that the places aren't utopia (no places) because during the climax, it's revealed to be taking place on the moon, but with the majority of the novel treating the railway as an impossible one, then the destinations must also be. In the sequel where Suzy has a better understanding of how the Expressway works, her understanding of where she's going will also change, thus shifting the placement on the spectrum.

The route, though, is the interstate / railroad, or more precisely, railway. While the rails can be laid as needed in near real time, anywhere, the train is still required to take the route laid out for it. Thus, the route counts as an interstate — a known, straightforward route (00).

Put all together, The Train to Impossible Places is the tale of an orphan traveler going to and through utopia via the railway.

The second book in the series is The Great Brain Robbery and releases in October.

Five stars

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