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The Haunting of Tram Car 015

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  822 ratings  ·  204 reviews
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 returns to the alternate Cairo of Clark’s short fiction, where humans live and work alongside otherworldly beings; the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities handles the issues that can arise between the magical and the mundane. Senior Agent Hamed al-Nasr shows his new partner Agent Onsi the ropes of investigation when they ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by
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4.15  · 
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 ·  822 ratings  ·  204 reviews

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Cairo, 1912 or so. There's a ghost in Tram Car 015, although Senior Agent Hamed is fairly certain it isn't a ghost. You see, the world has been opened to the land of the djinn since 1860 or so, and it's more likely that the troublemaker is some kind of lesser djinn. But Inspector and his new sidekick, the enthusiastic and open Agent Onsi will certainly find out. Meanwhile, the women of Egypt are mobilizing, advocating that Parliament give them the right to vote. It makes for a very volatile city ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A pitch-perfect investigative story, characters and worldbuilding I thoroughly enjoyed, and I had a big smile on my face by the end. I love this alternate history version of Cairo! And setting an investigation of a haunted tram car during the lead up to a vote on women's suffrage was immensely and unexpectedly satisfying.

Longer review video:
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
A monster-of-the-week story set in a well worn, beautifully expansive world. It is unique, charming, and deeply magical in a way that only asks for more stories to be told.
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 is a wonderful, atmospheric novella set in an alternate Cairo, featuring haunted steampunk technology.

I already knew I liked P. Djèlí Clark's writing because of The Black God's Drums (...another alt-history, darker novella you should try if you haven't already) and because of A Dead Djinn In Cairo, which is set in the same universe as this book and is also free online (and you should read it). Even though I loved both of these, I was still surprised by how much I lik
K.J. Charles
Absolutely terrific. A fantasy-detective novella set in an alternate early 20th century Cairo, where the emergence of djinn a few decades ago have turned Egypt into the main global power. Our heroes are from the supernatural department of the police, attempting to deal with what looks like a routine haunting of an aerial tram car, which rapidly lurches out of control. Brilliant world building, which manages to be super vivid and detailed without ever feeling overloaded or slowing the story, and ...more
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it

“Wait, your tram is haunted?” The superintendent answered with a dour nod that made his moustache droop. “Tram 015, that runs the line down to the Old City. It’s one of the newer models that came out in 1910. Only two years in service, and we’re already having these troubles. God protect us!” “I didn’t know trams could be haunted,” Onsi murmured, plopping another sudjukh in his mouth."

This is a bizarre and harrowing fast ride on an urban elevated tram system in an “alternate” Cairo, Egypt of a h
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Set in 1912 in the same alt-history story universe as the author’s A Dead Djinn in Cairo, The Haunting of Tram Car 015 excels on multiple fronts: as a [magical] detective yarn, as a chilling, classically structured haunted house story, and as a vehicle for historian Clark’s speculative re-imagining of modern Egyptian civilization. The story follows Hamed Nasr, an agent for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, and his eager but inexperienced new partner Onsi and they i ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Listened to the audio version and I found the story so good! I only wish it had been longer.
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
Read because I much enjoyed A Dead Djinn in Cairo. This is set in the same time and place, although with more "everyday" type characters. I'm expecting that the author has at least one more story planned for Cairo, as some of the details about the side characters, especially Siti, seemed to suggest a larger story.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another solid one from Clark. This novella felt more deeply developed than The Black God's Drum but is equally exquisite. This stories also addressed issues (though tangentially) of feminism and empowerment. I am still out on the epilogue but I am definitely yearning for more stories from this world.
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
An alternate reality, the beginning of the 20th century. Cairo is the center of world culture and technology, magic and the arcane arts are now widespread, so much so that even the conservatives at Harvard and Oxford and finally attempting to include it into the curriculum, and humans are living and working alongside otherworldly creatures on a daily basis. The world is a marvel, but it's not without problems, and that's why Agent Hamed and Agent Onsi have their jobs with the Ministry of Alche ...more
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
Agent Hamed takes his new partner to investigate a haunting in a tram car—except everyone knows there's no such things as ghosts and no one has ever heard of a haunted tram car.

Clark is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorite short story and novella writers. I absolutely love his alternate 1912 Cairo, where djinns appeared, helped sweep away the tide of European imperialism and transformed Egypt into a major world power and Cairo into one of the most predominant metropolitan cities.

The mult
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Delightful characters in an inventive and unusual Middle Eastern fantasy setting, with a light tone I found irresistible. A bit slight, if self aware about it. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a full novel in this world eventually.
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read, fantasy
Actual rating: 4.25

Great worldbuilding in such a short book. I hope the author writes more stories in this universe.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, read-2019
Clark is rapidly becoming one of my favorite fantasy writers. He gets world building and does a great job of presenting difference without it being cloying or didactic. And Carol’s review said it better and first:
Superb! I pre-ordered this follow up to A Dead Djinn in Cairo as soon as it was listed, and hadn't really paid any attention to the blurb, so I hadn't realized Fatma wouldn't be the main character here, and that was a slight adjustment as I started reading. But Agents Hamed and Onsi deliver a satisfying investigation / adventure in Clark's amazing magical steampunk alternate Egypt.

I did miss the queer feel of aDDiC a bit, but Siti is here, though in a very different role, and there is a cameo fr
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I keep trying to figure out what I want to say about The Haunting of Tram Car 015. Is the prose gorgeous? Yes. Are the characters wonderfully alive? Absolutely. Is the world-building astounding? Yes and yes again.

But what sticks to the mind long after marginalia of the book has begun to blur is the idea of it. The stand-out creation here is Cairo as it could have been, Cairo without colonization, Cairo allowed to stand fierce and gorgeous, to grow unobstructed. There are so many lines in the boo
Holly (The Grimdragon)
“Quite dreadful. No one liked desk duty. It often seemed half their job was paperwork as it was. Who joined the Ministry for the thrill of filling out endless reports, in triplicate no less? Then again, he thought dismally, neither did they expect to spend their days haggling with government bureaucrats over haunted tram cars.”

I have yet to read P. Djèlí Clark’s The Black God’s Drum, but it’s high on my TBR list! From what I understand, The Haunting of Tram Car 015 is set within the same world a
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.5

Thoughts: When a simple little investigation after a woman is attacked due to a haunting of Tram Car 015, Senior Agent Hamed al-Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi are in for a ride.

The world building of this alternative Cairo with its magic is one of the things I loved about this novella. I had also enjoyed the women and their fighting for the right to vote happening right in the background, adding to the world.

Most of all, it was the characters. Agent Hamed and Agent Onsi had me r
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This has one of my favorite alternate-history world-building, plus a great mix of magic and technology.
Caleb Masters
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
P. Djèlí Clark returns with another excellent novella bursting with warm characters and a fantastic world that left me craving more. Set in an alternate 1912 Cairo, this steampunk-djinn-noir follows two agents, Hamed and Onsi, in the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities as they investigate a haunted tram car. Clark packs so much story and vibrant detail into his book that I kept wishing for more time with his characters or for him to turn down another back alley of Cairo ...more
While I was sad that this didn’t star Agent Fatma from his short story set in the same world in the same year of 1912 Cairo, I will say I liked this one, but I guess I’m a sucker for female detectives who dress in Englishmen garb. 🤷🏾♀ I thought the story was definitely well thought out and not too overwhelming, I loved the world building. And felt right there in the action with Agents Hamad and Onsi even the conclusion wrapped itself up nicely. But I guess I loved his Black God’s Drum story more ...more
Julie Davis
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this novella and the two partners. I hope this author will write more about these two.
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This world-building! I am in awe and in love! Some years ago, Amal El-Mohtar wrote an essay called “Towards a Steampunk Without Steam,” which called for, essentially, a post-colonial working-over of the genre’s tropes and assumptions. P. Djéli Clarke has taken up that call, whether directly or from a different angle. This world has all the inventiveness of the best steampunk (there were moments in which I was reminded happily of Miéville’s Bas-Lag novels) but with none of the eurocentrism. The c ...more
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-paper
Set in an alternate world Cairo in 1912, The Haunting of Tram Car 015 offers a world in which djinn walk and work freely with humans. Agents Hamed Nasr and Onsi Youssef of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities have been assigned to figure out how to fix a haunted tram car. Superintendent Bashir thinks it's a ghost who attacked a woman on the tram but Hamed doesn't believe in ghosts since in the Ministry's thirty years of operation, none has ever been proven. He thinks w ...more
Barb in Maryland
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very clever and entertaining. Set in an alternate world Cairo in the early 20th century.
It seems like a simple case for the two officers from the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities--a tram car has been taken over by a shrieking being and it must be sent on its way. Agent Hamed Nasr and his young partner Agent Osni Youssef figure this will be a fairly easy task, but boy howdy, are they in for a surprise!
Nicely done novella. I loved Hamed and Osni.
This is a sequel to the
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
A very interesting premise. The world was unique with the djinn but had that historical alternate fiction vibe which was my key interest. I would have loved for it to be longer. An entire novel on this would have been great. My only issue is that at the crux of it, the story was a simple detective plot. If thid has been more complex, the novella would have been more enjoyable. I guess the issue with these Tor novellas is the length.
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, sf-f
As with Dead Djinn in Cairo, the main interest here is the enticing world-building. Again, the plot and characters seem by-the-numbers. I’d love for PDC to expand these stories into novel-length, so we can get a better sense of how this fascinating djinn-soaked world really works. Oh, and the coolest thing here: The titular haunted tram is airborne!
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I love novellas/novelettes and this one broke me out of a rut -- magical early 20th century Cairo ruled by Egyptians with women's suffragettes and Armenian folklore and djinn and Muslims + Copts working together and a wee bit of gender non-conformity.

Part of a series but can easily be read as a standalone.

CW: threat of supernatural violence against pregnant women
I absolutely loved this. It had just a light touch of humor, and the perfect combination of detective style story telling with wonderful world building that brought Cairo to life around the characters and plot. Probably one of my favorite novellas to date.
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Phenderson Djèlí Clark.

P. Djèlí Clark likes creating fantastic, dangerous, and exciting worlds. Usually with heroines & heroes. Almost always with magic & monsters. His short fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Lightspeed, and in print anthologies including Griots, Steamfunk, Myriad Lands and Hidden Youth.