Launch of Safe Mode by Sam Riviere

Sam Riviere Safe Mode cover

Test Centre is delighted to announce the publication of Safe Mode, an ambient novel by Sam Riviere, and his first book-length prose text.

Please join us for the launch of Safe Mode at Burley Fisher Books in Haggerston on Wednesday 12 July.
Sam will be reading from the book, along with special guests Jen Calleja and A K Blakemore. Readings will start at 7.30pm, and the bar will be open all evening.Further details are on the Facebook event page here.

Please RSVP to

Venue: Burley Fisher Books, 400 Kingsland Road, E8 4AA, London

Time: 7pm, for a 7.30pm start.

Join the Facebook event page here.


Safe Mode by Sam Riviere

Safe Mode, a diagnostic tool of a computer operating system, typically takes effect when an installation has a major problem. A parallel, miniature operating system contained by, yet separate from, the main operating system – here, is Safe Mode conceived as an apt metaphor for a literary work’s relation to the author’s life, or an emergency method of recovery?

Framed as an ‘ambient novel’, a term coined by the American writer Tan Lin, Safe Mode abandons the traditional novel’s temporal logic in favour of spatial and atmospheric dispersal, combining intensely personal material with unacknowledged appropriated content to explore the narratives made possible by mood, or the moods made possible by narrative. Which is which? Does it even matter?

Maybe the true 21st century luxury is to always be elsewhere. Stations and bedrooms, names and points of view, dreams and videogames, abandoned and speculative projects, junk emails and love poems, trip reviews and horoscopes – all prove unfixed, able to shift and alternate, vie and repeat, in a text produced by strict formal procedure and conceptual drift – the QWERTY alphabet, a tarot pack.

What kind of information is the most personal or valuable anyway, and to who? The last thing you searched for? Stories told so many times you’re unsure who they happened to? This unsaved document? Or a set of found photographs, saved from destruction on the cusp of the digital era, when things could still really disappear…