Two Trains RunningLucius Shepard
fantasy, short stories
This collection of fact and fiction was inspired by the time science fiction writer Lucius Shepard spent with Missoula Mike, Madcat, and other members of a controversial brotherhood known as the Freight Train Riders of America. Shepard rode the rails throughout the western half of the United States with the disenfranchised, the homeless, the punks, the gangs, and the joy riders for the magazine article "The FTRA Story." That original article is presented here, along with two new hobo novellas, "Over Yonder" and "Jailbait."
In "Over Yonder," alcoholic Billy Long Gone finds himself on an unusual train. As Billy travels his health improves and his thinking clears, and he arrives in Yonder – an unlikely paradise where a few hundred hobos live in apparent peace and tranquility. But every paradise has its price, and in Yonder, peace and tranquility breed complacency and startling deaths.
"Jailbait" is a hardcore tale of deception, lust, revenge, and murder in the seedy underbelly of rail yards and train hopping. Madcat, who functions best in a whiskey-induced haze, must decide between solitude and companionship when he meets up with Grace, an underaged runaway. Grace, in turn, seeks the security of an older man and the life about which only young girls can dream.
- Introduction: The Steel
- The FTRA Story (essay)
- Over Yonder
- Jail Bait
Lucius Shepard (1947–2014) was an American writer. Classified as a science fiction and fantasy writer, he often leaned into other genres, such as magical realism. His work is infused with a political and historical sensibility and an awareness of literary antecedents.
Brief biographies are, like history texts, too organized to be other than orderly misrepresentations of the truth. So when it's written that Lucius Shepard was born in August of 1947 to Lucy and William Shepard in Lynchburg, Virginia, and raised thereafter in Daytona Beach, Florida, it provides a statistical hit and gives you nothing of the difficult childhood from which he frequently attempted to escape, eventually succeeding at the age of