Thursday, April 1, 2021

Brainstorm 239: Space Trains

For this week’s Brainstorm I’ve got some unconventional space travel methods. Space trains. You don’t run across trains in space very often, but there are a few intergalactic railroads authors have brought to life. And each is quite unique. If you like imaginative writing and something a little different in your scifi, then hunt down one of these books. Click on the titles for my full review and any content notes.

Railhead (Railhead, #1) by Philip Reeve

Zen Sterling just loves riding the trains of the Network. Such people are called railheads in the empire. The empire is made up of a Network of stations on different planets and moons linked together by K-gates allowing speedy travel across lightyears. Zen is a small time thief trying to help his sister and delusional ma until the day he is recruited by a strange man named Raven. Raven hires him to get on the Noon's train, the imperial family train, and steal a small object from the art collection. After a little training, Zen is put on the train impersonating one of the lesser nephews in the Noon family with a Motorik named Nova to help. And Zen has no clue as to how this mission will change not only his life, but the lives of everyone in the empire.

Reeve exhibits amazing world building skills with this 3 book series that sees Zen, Nova, other characters, and sentient trains trying to figure out a big conspiracy and set things right. (This isn't Reeve's first writing about space trains either. There's an appearance in his middle grade steampunk series Larklight but it has been so long since I read that I can't remember anything about it except that it is there, and book 2 in the series,Starcross, has a train on the cover.)

Target Readers:

Scifi Fans, Excellent World Building Fans, Space Adventure Fans, Mystery Fans, Young Adult Readers


Recruits (Recruits, #1) by Thomas Locke 

Twin brothers Sean and Dillon have shared a common dream of a gallactic train station full of gravity-defying glass trains. No one could be more shocked to find out that their dreams feature a real place and they have the special ability to travel there. Soon, Sean and Dillon have signed up to train as recruits for an intergalactic entity. But someone doesn't want them to pass or even survive their training, and the powers that be refuse to fully believe the kinds of things Sean and Dillon claim to have done in self-defense. Can they find out whose targeting them, pass their training, and prove their skills before an innocent man gets wrongly convicted?

There is one other book in this series.

Target Readers:

Scifi Fans, Alternate Dimension Story Fans, Military Scifi Fans, Twin Story Fans, Superhero Story Fans, Christian Fiction Fans, Young Adult/Adult Readers


The Space Train by Maudie Powell-Tuck, ill. by Karl James Mountford

Jakob and his Granny live in outer space with a chicken, a lazy robot, and a secret stowaway. When Jakob stumbles across an old, broken down object, his Gran informs him it is a space train. She tells him all the wonderful places space trains went in her day, and they decide to fix it up. But fixing it up is hard work and when they face setbacks it is tempting to quit. Will they ever get the space train working, and will it be worth it?

Karl James Mountford’s artwork is utterly enchanting, and there are fun flaps to lift to see what the lazy robot, helpful chicken, and stowaway alien are up to while Jakob and Granny are busy working on the train.

Target Readers:

Grandparent & Grandchild Story Fans, Perseverance Story Fans, Scifi Fans, Art Lovers, Interactive Book Fans, Picture Book Readers

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