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The Haunting of Tram Car 015

(Fatma el-Sha’arawi)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  3,908 ratings  ·  886 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, 130 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by
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Chris And I'll be the guy that points that although this is a self-contained story, its predecessor A Dead Djinn in Cairo, is just a 45-page novelette worth…moreAnd I'll be the guy that points that although this is a self-contained story, its predecessor A Dead Djinn in Cairo, is just a 45-page novelette worth reading, and it will increase your appreciation and understanding of the references in The Haunting of Tram Car 015.(less)

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Average rating 4.08  · 
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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
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love stories with great world-building, and this one delivers on that front.

This is a fun and well-done fantasy/detective novella set in the 1913 in Cairo — in the alternate version of Egypt where the world of djinn and other supernatural beings has met our reality a few decades prior, making Egypt a world super-power, and two Agents of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities — a seasoned agent Hamed and a rookie Onsi — are tasked with solving a mystery of a haunted ae
Rachel (Kalanadi)
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.
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
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dennis by: Mir
Shelves: fantasy
***2019 Nebula finalist for Best Novella***
***2020 Hugo finalist for Best Novella***

I discovered P. Djèlí Clark when I did my annual reading of Nebula and Hugo nominated stories in 2019. And instantly became a fan of the author. So I was looking forward to this story, which is set in the same world as his novelette A Dead Djinn in Cairo.

This world I’m talking about is an early 20th century alternate Cairo, infused with magic and supernatural creatures, and with moderate steampunk elements. The
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
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any sci-fi, steampunk or fantasy nerd looking for Hella Fresh™ worldbuilding
Recommended to jade by: carol.
“excuse me, kind folk. which one of you ordered an early 1900s multicultural, modern cairo which overthrew british rule in part thanks to the appearance of djinns, alchemy, and magic?

was it you, madaam, the one with the suffragettes’ mottos and colors sewn upon your hijab? or you then, sir, who came here by airship and semi-sentient tram? perhaps the gentleperson in the back with the otherworldly eyes and beautiful horns?

what do you mean, ALL of you? well, luckily there’s more than enough to
Rebecca Roanhorse
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Love this world, love Clark's body of work. I recently finished MASTER OF DJINN which takes places in this same world and it was a full novel so I'm a bit spoiled; I wanted more from this novella. But that's because I'm greedy. This was a solid fun read and I enjoyed it. It only suffers in the comparison to MASTER OF DJINN.
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
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, fantasy
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. ...more
I love this world created by the author! And though we only get to spend a short while with the dapper Agent Fatma, we follow a different investigator, Investigator Nasr, and his trainee as they deal with a haunted tram car and legends, against a backdrop of 1912 Cairo where women are campaigning to get the vote.
The world building is great, and I love this alt-early 1900s Cairo peopled by djinn, spirits, angels, and investigators.
To the author: Please write more in this world; I love these stor
Richard Derus
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindled
The Publisher Says: 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 are called to subdue a dangerous, possessed tram car. What starts off as a simple matter of exorcism, ho ...more
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, fantasy
Synopsis: Djinns helped Egypt to throw the British out of their country, and some 30 years later, Cairo is a beacon of modernity shining out Paris and London in a mixture of djinn driven steampunk - I'd coin that "djinnpunk": djinns enchanted trams to drive intelligently through the city, robots called "boilerplate eunuchs" work for their masters. It is just the time that the suffragette women push for the decision that would let them vote.

In this setting, agents Hamed and his assistant agent On
Skye Kilaen
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 0-genre-fantasy
I adored this steampunk-y alternate 1912 Cairo fantasy novella. Agents from the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities are sent to perform an exorcism of a demon-possessed tram car, but More Is Revealed and the agents must solve a mystery. The worldbuilding is fantastic, and I love the attention to women's suffrage despite both main characters being men. The earlier short story in the same world, A Dead Djinn in Cairo, turned out to be just as good, and I will buy a next wor ...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.
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 Alc ...more
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Set in Cairo circa. 1912, The Haunting of Tram Car 015 is an excellent detective story with imaginative world building, strong writing, ample folklore, and steampunk elements. At its core, it is a haunting of an aerial tram car, which is how residents (Cairenes) move around the Egyptian city. Two agents from the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities are dispatched to resolve the problem, and they are baffled as to the nature of the being (djinn, ifrit or something worse.) C ...more
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.
Allison Hurd
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was very sweet. A story of what it means to be a person, the arbitrariness of the gender binary, freedom, and the mythologies that shape our cultures. An interesting setting, delightful, un-self-conscious men characters, and plucky women carrying the day. Just fun to read.
Matthew Quann
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Man, what a terrific little find this was.

The Haunting of Tram Car 015 follows a fairly straight forward supernatural detective plot, but is embellished with a likeable characters, a genuinely unique fantasy world, and great writing. P. Djèlí Clark's tale of grizzled and grumpy detective Hamed and his fresh new partner, the overly-enthusiastic Onsi, makes for a hell of a good buddy comedy. Not only does Clark do a great job of establishing the tone of this novella, he continues to hit all the r
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, fantasy
I don't usually care for steampunk or alternate history, but positioning this as an urban fantasy that also just happened to take place in the past and changes the course of our history...that works for me.
Now this is what an award-winning novella looks like, and by all that is right and just, it should be sweeping all the book awards instead of that other one.
laurel [the 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
Para (wanderer)
Well, this was fun! A novella about two ministry employees investigating the case of a haunted tram in magical Cairo, around the time when women were campaigning for their right to vote. The setting was very vibrant and immersive, I loved the bureaucratic elements, and it was a lot funnier than I expected. And, best of all, I'd consider it one of the few novellas that felt more or less long enough and well-paced, not too short, not with too much story for the page count - just right. Though I'd ...more
Oleksandr Zholud
This is a steampunk fantasy novella. I read is as a part of monthly reading in December 2019 at SFF Hot from Printers: New Releases group. It is eligible for Hugo/Nebula nomination in 2020. It is set in the same world as A Dead Djinn in Cairo.

The magic and djinns are real. They help Africa not to fall victim of European colonialism and sets Egypt as a young independent state, quite modern in terms of (magic fueled) technology.

Two agents, a veteran and a boy just from Oxford get a case: a tram c
Paul  Perry
I was delighted to return to P. Djeli Clark’s alternative early 20th Century Cairo, a vibrant and powerful city after Egypt had expelled the British in the previous century with the help of native djinn. Two investigators with the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities are called to investigate a violent spirit that has taken up residence in one of the city’s aerial tramcars.

This time, the vivid setting - a multiculural, largely Islamic melange - is set against a backdrop of
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.
ONYX Pages
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the story, but I would have enjoyed it more if the sub-plot it had been the main plot. There was a more intriguing ending Just below the surface that I wish the author had pursued. I fear this was a missed opportunity, but enjoyed the story nonetheless. I would recommend it if you’re interested in a North African ghost story infused with a steam punk aesthetic and feisty women!
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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.

Other books in the series

Fatma el-Sha’arawi (1 books)
  • A Master of Djinn

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