#### _1._

Never respond to reviews, they tell you, in the fiction-writing community, or at least my little part of it. This is probably good prudential advice, but also in its way quite satisfying; self-effacing and self-aggrandizing at once, in a Delphic sort of way.  One adopts a posture of: lo, there it is, the book, it speaks for itself or doesn’t, if there was more to say the book would have said it.  They don’t let you get away with that sort of thing at the day job.  Anyway this is now so ingrained in me that it actually feels vaguely transgressive to write this, like standing up to object at a wedding.


I am of course tremendously grateful to all of these very smart and thoughtful and talented writers for expending so much of their smarts and thoughtfulness on my books about Evil Trains; with particular gratitude to Henry Farrell for putting this together.  There’s more here than I can possibly respond to, and many interesting ideas that I need to spend more time thinking about.


All the posters may well have read these books more recently than I have, certainly the first one, which is now _ancient_ from my perspective; plus, they remember only the books that were actually written, whereas I also have in my head all the things that got cut, or were meant to go in but for one reason or another didn’t, and thousands of changes of mind.  It’s very strange to go back to them.


Spoilers. [click to continue…]