The Furthest Station, Ben Aaronovitch (Subterranean 978-1-59606-833-9, $40.00, 146pp, hc) June 2017. Cover by Stephen Walters.
I’m already in the tank for Ben Aaronovitch’s Midnight Riot series of books, which follows the trials of one Peter Grant, a police constable in London’s Metropolitan Police. He’s in a special unit, one that is charged with tracking down crimes that involve magic or, as his non-magical brothers in stab vests say, “weird bollocks.” Every now and again Aaronovitch has a story that fits the universe but that doesn’t quite rise to a full novel. The Furthest Station is one of those. Grant hooks up with Jaget Kumar, a Transport for London investigator. One of the trains on the Metropolitan Line seems to be haunted and it’s their job to figure out how and why. And, most importantly, how to make it stop so that more people don’t come face-to-face with an otherworldly presence.
Grant’s young, precocious cousin Abigail plays an important role – and one of the best things about The Furthest Station is how it advances her story along in ways that will make her presence in any future stories even more interesting. The same is true for Kumar, too, but he seems less likely to play a major role in Grant’s story to come.
While this Subterranean edition is lovely to have and beautifully bound, the moments that the editor has footnoted to explain Britishisms to Americans are oddly chosen. Most of us, I’d argue, have a working knowledge of major soccer stars, but might not know exactly what Nando’s is without a hint. It might be that there is no good way to do this sort of translation, in which case, it might be better to not distract from the narrative by trying.
Adrienne Martini has been reading or writing about science fiction for decades and has had two non-fiction, non-genre books published by Simon and Schuster. She lives in Upstate New York with one husband, two kids, and one corgi. She also runs a lot.
This review and more like it in the August 2017 issue of Locus.