A Thousand Trains Out of Here
Hey: I’m both happy and proud to present a Dutch writer — a compatriot — on this (supposedly) international stage. I think it’s healthy that English-language SF is increasingly (even if still somewhat slowly) opening up to non-Anglophone writers. In general, I think greater diversity is a good thing.
Atypically, Paul is not among the modern creed of speculative fiction writers who keep the day job for financial security and write for pleasure or for the soul (or both) in their spare time: no, he quit his job to get more writing done. Then — as he told me at the last semi-irregular meet-ups we have with Jurgen Snoeren and Floris Kleijne — his previous employer(s) kept bothering him with requests to work on several IT projects (obviously, his expertise is in demand, and I’m trying to use it for make an iPhone app. of his own story).
No rest for the wicked, as the saying goes.
A saying that is perfectly applicable to “A Thousand Trains Out of Here”, where Jaouad — the main character — tries, very hard, to get at least one certain aspect of his overworked (yet fairly exciting) life in order. To use another saying: should you ‘be careful what you wish for’, or not?
There was always the sudden brightness in their eyes: the lighting up of their faces which was actually, Jaouad thought, a kind of hidden, inverted form of racism. Racism, and thus self-hatred. But they were never aware. How could they be? Moroccan-targeted xenophobia was simply not done. Not in the Netherlands: one does not, after all, bite the hand that feeds.
The blonde girl behind the counter smiled at him as he waved his hand in front of the credit reader. No careful positioning of his fingers over the sensor for him: his implants were always first-class, and registered immediately.
The girl noticed it too, of course, and her starry-eyed “Enjoy your lunch” sounded that much more breathless for it. Continue reading