The award for most uses of "abyss gaze" in a novella goes to...

I just tore through Warren Ellis' latest online offering, Normal, and my, what a nasty bit of business it is. It's billed as a "smart, tight, provocative techno-thriller" and, I suppose if you squint a little bit, you could call it that. It's pitch black, as its Nietzschean central conceit would indicate. It's very, very funny, although not in the sort of way that would, or at least should, make you laugh out loud. From another angle, it's very much the prequel to Ellis' Transmetropolitan, hinting at the road we might take to arrive in Spider Jerusalem's world.

It's a quick read and I always enjoy it when Ellis plays with a different format. In this case, it's a serialized novella intended ideal for e-readers. No one will ever know for sure if these things will work, commercially and artistically, unless we try them from time to time. I'd call this one a success; I wasn't just turning* the pages, I was eagerly looking forward to heading off to work so I could read it on the train.

The one problem with novellas is that you can't really say much about them without getting deep into spoiler territory. I will say that if you like short reads concerning the implications of trying to figure out what the future will really look like and you find Mr. Ellis' thoroughly disturbing imagination funny, then jump on this one. There's even one passage that makes me think either Mr. Ellis has been reading my diary or my mind, which probably should worry me a good deal more than it does.


I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I'm getting the majority of my banner images from The British Library's archive over on Flickr. A few years ago, the British Library put them in the public domain so I'm pretty sure this is fair use. It's a a ridiculously deep archive and worth your attention if you're looking for a guilt-free source of interesting images. Oh, and the fact that I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before is there reason there's not a search box on my landing page.


Here's a song I'd completely forgotten about. I owned this album back in 1991 when I was eating up anything involving Adrian Sherwood or Keith LeBlanc (or Renegade Soundwave and PWEI, natch). This track is equally thrilling and embarrassing ("Let the carnival begin...".) I think it holds up pretty well over all and the extremely earnest lyrics feel, if not prescient, then at least very "on-point" for American, 2016.

-RK

 

 

 

* And by "turning" I mean "swiping to the side on my phone." For what it's worth, the Android Kindle app is absolutely aces in its current form.