Reviews for Nobody Rides Trains Anymore
Stephanie M. Moore chapter 1 . 8/10/2011
This is a nice piece.

I like the contrasts you set up throughout the story. Old versus young, neat versus messy. The contrast between your young protagonist and the older man is really well done.

I love the Pocketwatch character. Because I think there is a certain time when we learn that time is not limitless, that someday we all die, and that even our breaths (or heartbeats) are numbered. So, I personally connected with that character's dialogue.

Your speaker's voice is great. Very natural. And I do like the final question, though I can't think of any sort of proper answer for it.

I enjoyed this. Good work!
Gilee7 chapter 1 . 7/1/2011
[Someone had stolen the guy's pocket watch.] Nice opening sentence to catch people's attention.

[My eyes traced his movements as he stomped around the compartment, face flushed and teeth clenched] At first this transition seemed unclear. I wasn't sure if "he" referred to the thief or the victim. Perhaps if you wrote, "My eyes traced THE GUY'S movements," since you referred to him as "the guy" in the opening sentence, then there would be less risk of confusion.

[At least, I assumed he was interrogating them from their furrowed eyebrows and frowning faces.] I think the sentence would be more concise if it was worded: "At least, from their furrowed eyebrows and frowning faces, I assumed he was interrogating them."

[Darkness engulfed the train, and when it emerged under the open sky again, I jumped to see that Pocketwatch stood over me. It took me a minute to realize that his soundless, moving mouth was talking to me.] I like the description here; it's very cinematic. I also like that you begin to refer to the man as Pocketwatch.

["What time is it?" He asked before I could press play on my iPod.] You're really good with grammar, so I assume this wasn't meant as a dialogue tag but as a separate sentence. If it's the former, however, "He" should be lowercase.

[Did you know people have around only three billion heartbeats in a lifetime?] It kinda freaks me out that our hearts are like clocks counting down our death. I think about that sometimes, like how every second and every minute I'm closer to dying than I was before.

[Flipping it open, I noticed the clear tick-tock-tick-tock of the second hand. Its tempo matched the thumping of my heart.] I love the correlation here and how it ties back into everything the man was saying.

[If nobody rides trains anymore and nobody has pocket watches anymore, what does that make me?] A relic.

I can definitely relate to the story's sentiment. I'm in my early twenties, but I don't have an Ipod or a cell phone or a Facebook or anything like that. I always enjoyed going to the video store and browsing titles. Now video stores are closing all over the country because of Netflix and online streaming. I still buy and listen to CDs, but hardly any stores sell them anymore. With the increasing popularity of Kindle and other e-book readers, I fear that bookstores are heading toward the same fate as video stores and record stores. I already miss the way things used to be, and I don't like the way everyone and everything is becoming increasingly reliant on technology.

I've never rode on a train, but I'd love to at some point. There's just something about it that seems very romantic. If I have the money someday, I'll take a train ride around the country.

I think Pocketwatch comes across a bit like the clich├ęd old man who rattles on about "the good ol' days" while shaking his head at "these young kids today." His dialogue about the five billion heartbeats is definitely on the nose, but I don't think it's a big deal since the story is so short. Besides, it's all about evoking a feeling/thought, and his dialogue serves as the catalyst. However, I do think you could've helped him come across more like a real person as opposed to just a device that drives the point across.

I'm curious as to why the narrator is riding a train, especially considering that he/she is listening to an Ipod and the fact that she immediately shrugs off the old man. Maybe if the narrator was reading a book or something it wouldn't seem so incongruous. However, I understand that you want emphasize the contrast between Pocketwatch and the younger narrator with his/her technology and mocking attitude. I just feel like something's lacking. The narrator seems exactly like the kind of person who WOULDN'T ride a train just because "no one rides trains anymore."
Dragon made me do it chapter 1 . 6/10/2011
I found myself arguing with the title 'nobody writes trains anymore' with 'you mustn't have ever been to New York City!'... or London, and many other cities in the world.

Growing up in Canberra, Australia, the idea of riding trains was shrouded in an air of mystery which made them very exciting for me. My year of riding the subway in New York City never grew old, no matter how many crazed psychopaths there were, people with bad body odour, packed in like sardines in the middle of summer.

I loved the crazy characters that you got on the trains, and wrote variations on a few into my novel Mycelium(not yet uploaded).

I heard of a study while I was there that showed that people were suffering from ear damage from the subway noise, and that when they used an iPod to drown it out, the damage occurred even faster, so this issue is really quite serious. I also frequently observed old people yelling at young people for putting their iPod up too loud.

I like the idea of a person called Pocketwatch.

'It took me a minute to realize that his soundless, moving mouth was talking to me.' - nice line

'Nobody but this motley crew of three nondescript people and Pocketwatch.' - I think 'motley' and 'nondescript' contradict each other, as Motley implies some kind of quirkiness and heterogeneity.

"Young people these days. They have no concept of time. They have no idea how little of it they have."- I like how this ties in with the pocket watch. Reminds me of Alice in Wonderland - not only the rabbit losing his pocket watch, but also the mad Hatter talking about becoming friends with time so that he could influence it.

... I ripped this quote from it for my novel ... "If you knew Time as well as I do," said the Hatter, "you wouldn't talk about wasting it, it's him. ... Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he'd do almost anything you liked with the clock." ...

Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Dreamers-Requiem chapter 1 . 5/20/2011
I really liked that. I think the narrative voice was strong, and the last line worked really well. The character of Pocketwatch was written really well - very believable, as was their interaction. Great stuff.
YasuRan chapter 1 . 5/15/2011
I thought this an interesting. Despite there being plenty of pieces on similar themes, you've managed to place an original twist on your take on time. I quite like the story title and how it relates to the protagonist's mindset. The ending felt nice and open-minded, as if the protagonist's journey of self-discovery is about to begin (at least, that's what I think it implies ).