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Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen

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Fiction and Excerpts [2]

Where the Trains Turn

Emma Nightingale prefers to remain grounded in reality as much as possible. Yet she’s willing to indulge her nine year-old son Rupert’s fascination with trains, as it brings him closer to his father, Gunnar, from whom she is separated. Once a month, Gunnar and Rupert venture out to follow the rails and watch the trains pass. Their trips have been pleasant, if uneventful, until one afternoon Rupert returns in tears. “The train tried to kill us,” he tells her. Rupert’s terror strikes Emma as merely the product of an overactive imagination. After all, his fears could not be based in reality, could they?

The Rabbit Back Literature Society (Excerpt)

Only nine people have ever been chosen by renowned children’s author Laura White to join the Rabbit Back Literature Society, an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a tenth member has been selected: a young literature teacher named Ella.

Soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual known as “The Game”? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura White’s winter party? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves? Was there once another tenth member, before her?

Slowly, as Ella explores the Society and its history, disturbing secrets that had been buried for years start to come to light…

From Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, author of the Tor.com Original “Where the Trains Turn,” comes a chilling and darkly funny novel, The Rabbit Back Literature Society—the English translation is available January 20th from St. Martin’s Press.

[Read an excerpt]

Where the Trains Turn

I don’t like to think about the past. But I cannot stop remembering my son.

Emma Nightingale prefers to remain grounded in reality as much as possible. Yet she’s willing to indulge her nine year-old son Rupert’s fascination with trains, as it brings him closer to his father, Gunnar, from whom she is separated. Once a month, Gunnar and Rupert venture out to follow the rails and watch the trains pass. Their trips have been pleasant, if uneventful, until one afternoon Rupert returns in tears. “The train tried to kill us,” he tells her.

Rupert’s terror strikes Emma as merely the product of an overactive imagination. After all, his fears could not be based in reality, could they?

Published here for the first time in English, “Where the Trains Turn” won first prize in the Finnish science-fiction magazine Portti’s annual short story competition and then went on to win the Atorox Award for best Finnish science fiction or fantasy short story.

This novella was acquired and edited for Tor.com by Peter Joseph. Translation by Liisa Rantalaiho.

[Read “Where the Trains Turn” by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen]