Theory Train is an online literary magazine specializing in speculative fiction.
on Aug. 28, 2011 :
Theory Train: Issue Two. Now, this one is an interesting collection of some interesting things. And I don't mean that sarcastically. Poetry, short fiction, and flash fiction inhabit this collection of work and I must say, I'm impressed with the content and arrangement thereof.
First, Lucky Streak by Fiona Sinclair is presented. It is a free-verse poem that is wonderfully written to describe a cautious person betting on horses one day at the race track. The word usage is engaging, the tone fits the piece, and the flow is acceptable.
Next, a short story about a practical couple, a pyromaniac, and musings on night workers in factories. I must admit that while this story isn't my usual fare, it was engaging and wonderful to read. Author Kyle Hemmings did good work on Suicide Bird.
Following Suicide Bird is the poem Appliance by John Bromley. I was not, in any way, shape or form, expecting what I read. The author personified the appliances that families use in their morning routines from the first-person-perspective and cleverly gives them calm, casual attitudes towards their work. The stove, the iron, the washing machine. Simple things given simple attitudes that make you wonder if our own appliances are conscious, but simply remain quiet because they have jobs to do?
. . . And Let The Apocalypse Happen by Laura E. Bradford comes next in line and once again, I expected something completely different from what I read. It wasn't a bad surprise, though -- this piece is my favourite of the whole lot. A man who is nearly a victim to a sudden and unexpected zombie apocalypse goes about his day, including an appointment with a dentist who would rather see clean teeth than panic and go for a gun or whatever dentists grab during the apocalypse. Brilliant, highly enjoyable, and I think I've read this story a half dozen times already.
Fear of Letterboxes, another piece of lovely poetry from Fiona Sinclair, pops up next. I was less than impressed with this piece after reading Lucky Streak, but it has its own quaint little charms, I suppose.
We All Blink by Allen Griffin is another less-than-interesting piece in my eyes. A short fictional piece about a dead revolutionary leader about to be restored with a new type of surgery while restless students watch. Not my cup of tea, so to speak, but it had enough to it that I didn't want to skip it and read the next piece.
An Astronaut's Explanation, a poem by John Grey, deserves special mention here. High levels of imagination-provoking imagery and a flawless selection of perfect words make this poem well worth reading.
When I started reading the short fiction Seasonal Affective Disorder by K.W. Taylor, I admit I was a bit confused -- and shortly thereafter, I realized exactly what I was reading. I'm a huge fan of Greek mythology and this updated, modern display of the Persephone myth was amazing to read. Loved it!
And last but not least, as she ushered us in, Fiona Sinclair salutes us as we leave with the poem Coronation Ball. Unlike A Fear of Letterboxes, Coronation Ball was an intriguing poem about pageant life for young ladies and their ever-present mothers. I've never been in a pageant, but reading this poem left me able to imagine it in clear detail.
From start to finish -- some small errors in regards to the paragraph formatting not withstanding -- the second issue of Theory Train is an engaging read and I look forwards to future issues of the magazine.
For best results, drink strongly-brewed fennel tea with a bit of brown sugar, or red rooibus tea with honey while reading this piece -- take your pick. Both complement the curious and odd collection of tastes that the Theory Train offers.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)