Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

The Factory World The Factory World
by Joseph Edward Ryan
Steam Press

Supplied for review by Steam Press

Reviewed By: Jacqui Smith

Generally speaking, they tell me, a narrative consists of a plot, some characters and a setting. Most stories are plot-driven, some are character-driven, and just occasionally a novel is setting-driven. The Factory World is one of the latter, all about place. And a strange place it is too, alternately dream-like and nightmarish, brought vividly to life through Ryan’s elegant prose.

There are shades of the Wizard of Oz here – one major character is called the Tin Man; another is a boy who wears a lion costume. There are hints of Phillip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld; of people from different times waking up together in a strange world. Only here a boy wakes up in a drainpipe, and is rescued by a man in a raincoat. They travel across a dying world together looking for the centre seen only in dreams. Where they believe they will find a way home.

It’s a simple plot, but then plot is not what this is about. It’s about a unique and skilfully designed world, that will stick in your memory… and if the ending seemed a little rushed, and the epilogue unnecessary (there are times when questions are best left unanswered) then that is a small criticism. Read this if you’re looking for something truly different.

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