The subway’s an ordinary sort of place–so many use it every day that it is part of the urban landscape. Yet its subterranean nature leads to all sorts of questions and speculation that take the reader down dark and twisty paths. Jonathan Oliver has compiled a collection of such stories.
There were definitely some great stories in this collection! My personal favorites were ones that took the concept of the subway and blurred the lines between reality and fantasy. There is a fantastic ghost story in “The Girl in the Glass” by John L. Probert, and I loved the concepts behind “The Fallen Boy”. I love straight-up ghost stories, and these ones were delightful, playing well with the setting. I also loved the concepts behind “Exit Sounds”, “The Roses That Bloom Underground”, “The Sons of the City”, and “Siding 13”, and “Down”. All of these stories fascinated me through their writing, the indirect commentary, the history woven in, and their usually exhilarating and terrifying conclusions. I would recommend picking up the book just to read these stories.
However, my feelings toward the collection as a whole are lukewarm. While there were still good stories, some of the others did not have much life and seemed more content in being simply surreal, and, as pure commentary on the city, that’s fine. However, two stories–“Bullroarer” and “In the Colosseum”–that were so overtly graphic that they really colored my overall perception of the collection. There was absolutely no reason for some of the descriptions of the sex or sexual violence–I didn’t think that those parts added that much to the story, nor did they really fit into the collection, except in their setting. Therefore, I’d recommend checking the book out of the library if you really feel a need to read those stories that I recommended.