Tall Tales on the Iron Horse

Tall Tales on the Iron Horse... Take a ride on the rails of fantasy as you journey to Titan inside the bowels of the Iron Horse. Witness a terrifying and deadly new game and meet a monster who will love you to death. Spend a little time with alien tourists, visit a real cardboard character, and dine in a restaurant where the food is expensive, but life is cheap.

Inventive and original, heartfelt and just plain funny, you will find nineteen fresh and surprising stories (including three new, never-before published) awaiting you in the first collection of short fiction from Colin P. Davies.

Colin P. Davies is a Building Surveyor from Liverpool, England, and has been writing fiction since the mid ’80s. Most recently his stories have appeared in Bewildering Stories, Spectrum SF, 3SF, Paradox, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and Asimov’s.

His stories have met with a good response, making the Locus Recommended Reading List and the British Science Fiction Association Award nominations, as well as gaining two Honorable Mentions in The Year’s Best SF. His story “The Defenders” was in The Year’s Best SF #22, edited by Gardner Dozois.

Colin has now completed his first novel, The Bookmole, a comic fantasy for Young Adults based upon his short story “Clifford and the Bookmole,” and is currently working on his second novel, Pestworld. For more information visit

What people are saying

Tall Tales on the Iron Horse”: "Clever surrealism and a superb punch line." — Nick Gevers, Locus

"It's one of those stories you can't quite make sense of until the end, and even then you have to think about it. Well worth the ride." — David Soyka, SF Site

Dolls”: “Multiple layers give ‘Dolls’ a weight that will beg you to re-read. — S R Turner, Tangent

The Defenders”: “‘The Defenders’ by Colin P. Davies expertly dissects colonialism in quintessential science-fictional terms.” — Nick Gevers, Locus

“Short, effective, and providing a solid emotional payoff, this is a great short story.” — Jason B Sizemore, Apex Digest

The Girl with the Four-Dimensional Head”: “‘The Girl with the Four-Dimensional Head’ by Colin P. Davies is excellent. This is not another goofy, pulpy tale, but a gritty sci-fi drama with fully drawn characters, outstanding dialog, and an interesting take on the old standby setting of Mars.” — Michael Gabriel Bailey, Tangent

See also Alvaro Zinos-Amaro’s article at The Fix Short Fiction Review

From Tall Tales on the Iron Horse, by Colin P. Davies:

Gillian pulled the ringlets of hair from her eyes. “As I understand it, the train is enfolded in a field wherein the suppression of disbelief charms the pants off all the quarks which, in their excitement, jump about with their tachyons spinning so fast that their watches go backwards and then they party all night until it's time to feed Schrodinger's cat. Makes an odd kind of sense, don't you think?”
I rubbed my forehead. I'd never noticed how the veins stood out before. “Could you stop talking?”
“Unfortunately, no.”

(“Tall Tales on the Iron Horse”)

The rail was so narrow I could only just place both feet side by side across its width. But I knew I could stay on. I was an expert at balancing. After all, I'd been doing this for months now.
I started walking.
After only ten short steps I was above the parapet. The face of the tower fell away below me, sucked downwards in narrowing perspective until it punched through the ocean in a crash of white breakers. I decided it was best not to look down.
Fixing my gaze on the rail ahead, I walked away from the tower.
I stepped into the sky.


When all the shooting and blasting and bludgeoning were finally over and the hairy giant carcass had been hauled onto seven different trucks and the disgusting residue of blood and alien guts had been shovelled from the White House lawn, the twopla relaxed and stretched out its six slender legs across the crisp brown bed of a blade of dead grass.
Washington was beautiful in the Fall, no doubt about it, but the visitor was disappointed. The capital was not on its itinerary. The trip should have been quiet and comfortable. That was before the Grog had decided to have a word with the President -- a naïve decision which had been destined to end in misunderstanding. When the time came to go home, the twopla would have to hitch a new ride.

(“The Thing from the Thing from Another World”)

The bookmole snapped its teeth upon the book. Even though he'd been prepared, Clifford jumped back. The gnawing and rustling of paper and Clifford's harsh breathing were the only sounds in the room. Now for the words. Once again he gave the command, this time without hesitation. Then he sat on the edge of the bed and waited.
A shadow crossed the sun, laying flickering patterns upon the walls. But the shadow was inside the room. Clifford stiffened. The bedsheets were clenched in his fists. In front of the window the air thickened, grew dark, took the shape of a woman. Clifford forgot to breathe.
Zondra Amazon stared at him. Her expression was not entirely one of pleasure.

(“Clifford and the Bookmole”)

Table of contents
Title   Publisher and Date   Additional Information
Tall Tales on the Iron Horse Spectrum SF #8: 2002 Honorable mention in The Year's Best SF
Geraint previously unpublished
The Evangelist Bewildering Stories #183: 2006
A Touch of Earth Beyond Fantasy & Science Fiction #2: 1995
Dolls 3SF #2: 2002
The Defenders Asimov’s Science Fiction Oct-Nov 2004 Included in The Year's Best SF #22
Good and Faithful Servant previously unpublished
The Thing from the Thing
from Another World
Bewildering Stories #181: 2006 The First Bewildering Stories Anthology
Perhaps a Goddess Paradox #3: 2003
Chicken Exuberance #3: 1991
Dust to Dust Bewildering Stories #209: 2006
The Hay Devils, Oct 31st 2006
Rolf and the Volvo Works #6: 1989
The Girl with the Four-Dimensional Head Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #12: 2004 Honorable Mention in The Year's Best SF
Clifford and the Bookmole Threads #7: 1995
Pondlife Substance, Spring 1995 (Revised)
The Man Who Sank, July 28th 2005
All the Right Words previously unpublished
Pestworld Bewildering Stories #233 & #234: 2007

Tall Tales on the Iron Horse was originally published by Bewildering Press.
Cover art by Crystalwizard

The book is out of print. It may be reissued at least in part by another publisher.

Return to the Bewildering Press home page.

All content on this page is copyrighted and may not be used without written permission of the owner.