Book review: Event Factory

Event factory renee gladman

I’m not sure how far Gladman’s fantastic Ravickian worlding has spread betond smaller literary, artistic, critical conclaves. She reached me by way of Lucy Ives' article on the “weak novel” (after listening to Ives on a BISR’s podcast paneling the same topic). (I’ve since bought almost every book Ives mentions in this article; I’m on a rapid tour of postmodern anti-novels.)

I’m curious who would fancy this book. I loved it. But I love a good ontological drift through space-time. Are we meant to be reading the artifactual record of the protagonist’s survey? Nope. Maybe? This isn’t the same kind of world-inhabiting, context-laden ethnography that frequents the beginnings of book parts and chapters in sci-fi and fantasy volumes. Well, perhaps it is a long opener as the first of many books.

What feels most real is that Gladman’s text is constantly in question.

Dorothy (the publisher) leaves far too much margin.

The story can hardly get going since getting past “Hello” is nearly impossible. It’s some kind of language issue. But also architectural, since the built world is in some kind of crisis or revolution. Something really bad is happening on Ravicka, and we don’t get enough for a complete analysis. What’s maddening is that the locals seem to brush it off. But it’s not a total wash in the yellow. There are wonderfully concrete and vivid moments of the Ravickian world. It’s not simply abstract for abstract’s fancy. There are stakes here for Gladman. That’s what makes this anti-novel of sorts hard to dismiss. We oscillate between a strong foothold and floatation. Personally I find it seductive-enough.

Is Ravicka even a faraway planet at all? Could other worlds be close, not worlds away?

There are also gestures that feel fresh and exciting, partly because they are given so much room. Is this record incomplete? Were parts intentionally left out? Were they lost? Did they never happen? Sex with strangers. Music is important. Underground civilizations. Dancing is important to speak. Writhing to speak. Unlikely inter-species/cultural collaborations. Going to and waking from sleep. Sleep is important. Obvious love lost, longing. A book that de-centers the written and spoken word, somehow, while concerned with it and the slippage of translation; including awkward encounters with native speakers and their disinterest. Gladman’s person is put through tenderness and saddening separation with every encounter.

This is a small book that you cannot breeze through. But it is pleasure book bound.

Reproduced from Bookwyrm