The Factory World by Joseph Edward Ryan, Steam Press, ISBN9780992251109, RRP $30, Available now.
The Factory World is unlike anything you’ve read. Well, that’s not entirely true, it does encompass references to many diverse sources such as The Road, The Illiad and The Wizard of Oz, but delve underneath the surface and we’re dealing with an entirely new fish here, people.
Simon wakes up in a world he doesn’t know, in a rusty pipe behind bars. He’s freed with the help of an older man who becomes his travelling companion, and is given the name The Tin Man. The Tin Man can shoot guns, has the demeanour of a cowboy and can speak Russian. Together they travel this factory world – a world of decrepit, abandoned factories, purple flashes in the night, craters in the ground, pipes under the feet and mysterious, silent mannequins. (Yes, mannequins. No, I don’t know how this all works together, just trust me, it does). They start journeying towards the center, where they hope to find answers, and find their way back home.
The dangers are many and the friends are few. During their journey we get few explanations and even fewer solutions to the mystery of the factory world. Building towards an action-packed climax Ryan doesn’t lose sight of what really makes The Factory World standout – its atmosphere and tone of hidden menace, and its central relationship of Simon and The Tin Man. This story draws you in almost immediately and Ryan’s deft handling of his central characters and the ever-changing landscape around them was crucial to keeping me riveted.
Perhaps I’m just a speculative fiction n00b but I found The Factory World so new and so fresh that it had a real impact on me. I thought a lot about it while reading and after I finished, and at some point I’ll definitely go back and re-read it to pick up more of the layers.
I really, really recommend reading The Factory World. I am stoked to see what Joseph Edward Ryan produces next and even more stoked to see what Steam Press produces next (okay, I already know because I’m lucky but you guys!). Seek this out and read.