Train to Nowhere

Adult
Rated 4.43/5 based on 7 reviews
A train--the Orphan world--glides across mountains. Destination? Nowhere. The illegally-born must live inside, for Admin wills it. But young Garland, Orphan musician, seeks a different destination. Freedom. To find it, he struggles against Admin's mind control. His only escape may lie with a mysterious woman who is led by a strange spirit to which he must connect. If he can figure out how.

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Words: 97,190
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452361321
About Gloria Piper

When working in biology, I missed art. When working in art, I missed biology. It took a bout of multiple chemical sensitivities to limit me to writing. At last here was a niche in which I felt old-clothes comfortable. At last I could indulge all my interests, from art and science to nature and spirituality, from reality to fantasy. My most recent awards range from honorable mention to editor's choice for my science fiction and fantasy writing.

I live in Northern California with my husband of late years who thinks I'm the most beautiful lady he's ever met and tells me a hundred times a day in a hundred ways how much he loves me.

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Reviews

Review by: A.J. Stewart on May 08, 2014 :
Train to Nowhere is a wonderfully painted dystopian world, as brightly realized as the styles of the Orphans portrayed within it. It is very much a story of culture shock, and author Piper drops the reader in the middle of it, with no compass or backstory. This is disorienting in the beginning, but feels right as the story goes on as it gives the reader a sense of what Garland and Hedge are going through. The characters are well developed and I think those who enjoy dystopian type stories will find this twist on them an engrossing read.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Dustin Stevens on Feb. 18, 2014 :
For those that enjoy classic literature situations - good vs. evil, pressures of not fitting in, social injustice, class pressures - Train to Nowhere is exactly what they are wanting. For those that like those situations with a twist, Train to Nowhere delivers in a big way.

Train to Nowhere follows two estranged brothers, Garland and Hedge. They begin in opposite worlds and through a series of events stretching back decades are forced to switch places. What ensues is each trying to find a way in their new surroundings, full of all the usual self-doubt and uncertainty that comes with it.

What really sets this book apart though is the world that Ms. Piper has created. These are recognizable and relatable ordeals the characters face, but they are delivered in a manner that keeps the reader wanting more. The settings, from the interior of the Silver Snake to the plains of the Nomads, are relayed with vivid detail and the characters are well-developed and unique.

An enjoyable read from start to finish. Highly recommended.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Norm Hamilton on Oct. 31, 2013 :
"This is your destiny, your world, oh Orphan. You cannot escape."

With this sub-title Gloria Piper sets up a dystopian future where a caste system rules the planet. Admins are at the top of the chain with Landeds and Orphans finding their place respectively. Separate from them all are the Nomads.

The story centers on Garland, an Orphan who is relegated to the Sun Train after being elevated from the Sub Train. At all costs, the Orphans want to stay off the Hive Train. The voice of the Admin, a computer named Mentor, lulls the Orphans into a feeling of safety and security while providing for all their needs; thus leaving no reason to want to leave. Garland is an entertainer with a desire to find his way outside the Train. In the process we meet Little Byte, Dos, Tillman, Hedge and a full cast of characters as he proceeds on his journey.

The language of the Orphans consists of the use of digital technology jargon to describe and name things. One quickly falls into the vernacular and it all makes perfect sense. It all culminates in a duel between Garland and Hedge, after each has experienced a number of harrowing situations.

Piper's rich, descriptive language quickly creates a world and inhabitants that are both believable and palpable. Her narrative is almost poetic in its beauty and elegance. The story arc for the plot and characters is well crafted and developed. This book should be read, even it it is only to experience her ability to use the English language to bring the world she writes about to life.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who has an interest in dystopian works...or just wants to read a beautifully crafted piece of work.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Robert D. Spake on Oct. 01, 2013 :
I thought Train to Nowhere was interesting. I enjoyed the world that the author created and actually I was a little disappointed that it wasn't explored as fully as I thought it could have been. I enjoyed the writing style though, it was clear, straightforward and engaging. I especially liked the terms of slang she peppered throughout the dialogue, it gave the story a lot of authenticity and helped me to immerse myself in the world.

The book is split into three parts. The first two parts I found very interesting but I'm sad to say the third part lost me a little. It felt like there was a more epic story in there somewhere and I would have preferred to read that. I think part of the problem was that I didn't feel particularly invested in the character the story eventually focused on. However, I did enjoy the parallels drawn between Garland and Hedge and I thought the contrast between their characters was well-developed.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Patricia Hamill on July 07, 2013 :
Outstanding!

Train to Nowhere is YA Dystopian at its finest. The story opens with Garland "venting his frustration" in a performance with his partner, Little Byte. The theme: Outside, anywhere outside! The euphoria is short lived, however, when reality snaps him into post-performance depression. His friends, especially the librarian Dos and Little Byte, try to cheer him up. But rumors that his already claustrophobic world will soon shrink even further fill his mind, for Garland is an Orphan, illegally born and fated to live out his entire life on one of the Orphan trains, never to see the sky, feel the wind on his face, or know true freedom. Sure, he can pull them up on the view screen in his room, but it will always be VR (virtual reality).

Most Orphans are content with their lot, but Garland remembers a time when he wasn't on the train: sunshine through a window, a blue quilt, a companion. Unlike the others, Garland remembers the outside. The games, the diversions, and the "jobs" given orphans to placate them are not enough when freedom is all he desires. Then, he learns that his friend Dos has a plan to escape.

Meanwhile, another musician, this one Landed, looks over his domain in utter triumph. Having clawed over his colleagues through guile and deceit, Hedge stands ready to advance in the ranks of the illustrious Golden Performers Guild. Nothing and no one can stand in his way, especially if he has anything to do about it.

The story is riveting, the three castes (Orphan, Landed and Nomad) are fully developed and intriguing, and Admin is terrifying. Admin cares, or does it? The question haunts Garland throughout his adventures and misadventures. Fundamental beliefs about security vs. freedom are explored. Garland's quest to find where he belongs and who he really is under all the programming keeps you guessing until the very end. Enemies, both internal and external, challenge him at every turn.

I loved this book and have to rate it a solid five stars. If I could rate it higher, I wouldn't hesitate to do so. The quirky lingo of the Orphans, the character names derived from old computer terms, the sinister enemies and the unique caste culture hooked me from the start and kept me entranced until the utterly satisfying end.

I would recommend this book to lovers of ya dystopian books, like Hunger Games or Moon Dwellers, as well as sci fi fans who are looking for something different (no spaceships, but the train is pretty close).

I am grateful to have received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest, non-reciprocal review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Dean Johnston on Feb. 02, 2013 :
Train to Nowhere is a very creative sci-fi journey that portrays a strange future society on an Earth ravaged by overpopulation (if I've read the clues correctly). It doesn't provide any straightforward recounting of the history of this new world but lets you learn as you go based on the lives the characters lead. In general I much prefer the subtlety of this style, although I did find it a little difficult to come to a full understanding of this unfamiliar era and could have used maybe just a bit more structural background.

The main characters are set up to be compared and contrasted at every turn and, personally, I was fascinated by the ongoing nature vs nurture undertones. But make no mistake, the two characters, Garland and Hedge, are nothing alike in the end as it builds to a suspenseful conclusion.

All in all, Piper has created a very imaginative world with well-nuanced characters and leads the reader through a captivating story. My only complaint is that in the context of this post-apocalyptic world the characters' story lines, while surely symbolic, seemed a touch mundane considering the epic nature of the changes our world had undergone. I kept expecting things to tie together into a larger narrative that effected everyone we had been introduced to. But regardless, it is an enjoyable, exciting read, and one I can definitely recommend.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Lynn Blackmar on Jan. 14, 2013 :
Train to Nowhere strikes me as a fiction book about culture shock. Once you get into the story, the world of the trains is fascinating, but as the character grapple with their own culture shock, the reader feels the pressure of trying to understand the viewpoints of the characters birthed by these clashing cultures. The two main characters, Garland and Hedge, come from vastly different cultures, and the book switches between their points of view. The world is post-apocalyptic with a strong rule, but I was fascinated that this wasn’t judged as bad, just as different, and that events in the past led to the divisions in the cultures portrayed in the story. So, while this could be considered dystopian, I would regard it more like fantasy or science fiction with a post-apocalyptic twist.

Hedge comes from a Amish-like culture. As a character, he is compelling, with such strong flaws that you can’t help but wonder where his story is going. Garland is from a more science fiction-influenced rave culture, with relaxed boundaries compared to the more moral population of Hedge’s culture. I had a little more trouble becoming enveloped in Garland’s story, because I felt like he was too naive at times. Perhaps that’s my own cynical nature in conflict. There is a third culture, the Nomads, which are styled from tribal societies, but it is awhile in the book before we learn more about them. The three cultures are generally kept separate, and rarely mix, which causes the dramatic sense of culture shock for both of the main characters, and the readers by extension.

The change of points of view was a little startling, but showed the cultures from their own perspectives. There was enough time before each switch to ingrain the reader into the character, which is a weakness of other books I’ve read in a similar style. I do think the culture shock may be too great for some readers, and that might frighten them away. It might have been easier to have Hedge introduce the reader into the book, as his culture is more familiar to modern readers than the cultures of the Orphans.

I didn’t notice any glaring grammatical or spelling mistakes. This book seems well-edited, and the .mobi format worked fine on my Kindle Fire.
(reviewed long after purchase)

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