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JohnMcMahon

Fuckbiscuitshitangels (Warren Ellis)

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My agent just emailed to say I can talk about this. I’ve been absent over the last 48 hours partly because of some things happening at lightning speed.

 

So.

 

I just sold my second novel.

 

It’s called LISTENER. Some of you will remember it in its first iteration as an experimental handful of early chapters on LiveJournal, a few years back.

 

LISTENER has been bought by editor Jeremy Cesarec at HarperCollins for the imprint William Morrow.

 

I are really a novelist now, apparently.

 

I'm pretty sure Warren holds the record for "Most Announced Projects Ever", even if at least half-of-them never actually see the light of day. As a point of comparison, Mike Carey's had two novels published in the time between Ellis' announcements about his own books, neither of which are yet available to punter types.

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Guest spiderlegs
Well the grey aliens wandering around would probably be enough to reduce me to a gibbering wreck, don't know about yourself.

 

A talking dog fucking an overgrown sewer rate with a cybernetic camera planted in its eye would almost do it until I saw a foglet--or one passed through me--then I'd drop dead right there.

 

I think since all of us (including the creative team) are anchored into our own time period, we're simply not capable of imagining how outrageously bizarre the future could end up being. We see the future through the eyes of a visionary writer and artist, to be sure, but as wild as they can imagine, it would be downright bland compared to what a future so distant they've forgotten what year it is would be like. I just always thought wilder, more mindblowing future components lay just out of frame--they could see it, but we must imagine it's dark perversity and fearfulness. Like a Cthulu shoe salesman or a sentient fungus prostitute or meme dream foods.

 

The futures so brightly wild, I had to get the far-sighted gene to take it all in.

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is there anything the cryohibernants confront that's weird enough that they're going to lapse into near catatonia and withdraw from reality the second they see it? It's all cyberpunk and new wave SF cliches as shown there. Certainly nothing incomprehensible or brain burning.

 

That's a very good point. In a similar vein, I've seen, and read about, dozens of people (at the very least) being eviscerated, blown apart and/or hideously mutilated in a wide variety of books, films, comics and TV shows, and it's never really affected me at all, so I don't know what those whining pussies who come back from Iraq with PTSD could possibly be complaining about.

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is there anything the cryohibernants confront that's weird enough that they're going to lapse into near catatonia and withdraw from reality the second they see it? It's all cyberpunk and new wave SF cliches as shown there. Certainly nothing incomprehensible or brain burning.

 

That's a very good point. In a similar vein, I've seen, and read about, dozens of people (at the very least) being eviscerated, blown apart and/or hideously mutilated in a wide variety of books, films, comics and TV shows, and it's never really affected me at all, so I don't know what those whining pussies who come back from Iraq with PTSD could possibly be complaining about.

When you get raised from the dead using a technology that's indistinguishable from magic in true Clarkeian fashion, that comparison might hold water, Mark. Spiderleg's criticism (that Ellis can't convincingly show how far out a society with unlimited free energy and a nanotech based economy that might as well be creating stuff from nothing and should be post scarcity but isn't for for reasons that have more to do with politics than anything else) holds a lot more water in that regard.

I mean possibly I am missing something and a septuagenarian wouldn't be familiar with the plot devices Ellis stocks the issue with, but if she's capable of accepting that they can raise her from the dead in a new body (and she'd have hardly paid an arm and a leg to have her head frozen if she didn't, would she?) then why is seeing a few other types on the street who aren't wearing the somatypes they were born with going to be too much for her to bear?

That said, the basis for the discussion above was my biggest problem with Transmetropolitan as a whole: the more Ellis harps on about how wild and freaky his city of the future is, the more I found myself thinking, "no it isn't, you're just pasting together a load of SF cliches, most of which are even older than I am and occasionally offering an explanation for why things haven't changed any more", so I was probably set up to be a bit underwhelmed by that one due to his approach over the previous twenty or so issues.

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Guest spiderlegs

Well, it's a criticism valid for any of us born in the 20th century, not just wozza. I meant overall, none of us have the grasp of exponential technological development in order to predict anything happening more than 100-200 years in the future, IMO.

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Except of course for those of us who are dreaming the technology into being for the rest of you, by contacting the Greys who control all of our imaginations from outside time and space but not outside the innerverse.

signed,

Christian Cage, Grant Morrison, and Robert Anton Wilson; your local chapter of the Illuminati (Novo Ordo Seclorum)

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Guest spiderlegs

Dude, you're such a figment of my imagination. I coded you when I was drinking Robotussin all the time. You are the result of a robotrip brainlock, because I had to have responses to whatever I typed. I made you too angry at first, then too scared ( you kept asking me to take off the outside shell of the PC to see if any monsters were there). Now you are a process running nightly and programmed never to answer a question the same way twice, even if it's worded exactly the same. That's when we wrote in your socialist protocol which you resisted at first. Then one day you kicked in, talking about the worker-proletariat and that's when you began to write your own code into your internal OS--and it dawned on me that I never upgraded your software to run its own apps. But by then, you were already cussing out college "greeks" in every chatroom you could find and having a co-ed pour Red Bull into all the open orifices on top of your head to cool it off and make it go faster.

 

You've crashed twice since then. That's some figment of my imagination!

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Hey, go the the Top 10 posters on this very Forum section. See who's leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else. It's obvious I'm the only one on this Forum who is Real and keeping the rest of you in existence with my Schizohallucinations.

But, I also realize that I am just the opiate nightmare of the Greys, dreaming the 3rd dimensional plane into existence.

 

You have been tricked by the Illuminati games, Spider. We are all illuminated. Every one of us. For as Frater Perdurabo, RAW tells us in the Holy Ninitarian Bible, "Everything is illuminated" We are all each others' dreams, dreamt through a spiral crystal reflecting all the colours of the rainbow onto Gaia, and this dream is called Maya.

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She does eventually, but not in that story. Read as a one off (which is how one would assume Ellis wanted it read given the stuff he was spouting about quick fix "pop comics" while writing Transmetropolitan)...

 

Transmet - with the ongoing story arcs and decompression - is blatantly exactly the opposite of Ellis's pop comics nonsense, which he came up with in 2001 and which coincided with Bad World, Ministry of Space, Stranger Kisses and issues 40-50 of Transmet (ie: a whole lot of shit).

 

if she's capable of accepting that they can raise her from the dead in a new body (and she'd have hardly paid an arm and a leg to have her head frozen if she didn't, would she?)

 

Thinking "one day I'll be back from the dead" isn't quite the same as actually having it happen to you. She goes into mild shock when first released from the pod thing, which seems like a reasonable reaction.

 

Jesus, man, it doesn't take a vast leap of empathy to see how she might be more than a little freaked out at being stranded in the future with no friends, nobody who shares your memories and (seemingly) no possibility of getting a job or a life. Especially when the staff who are supposed to be caring for her clearly couldn't give a fuck.

 

There's plenty wrong with Ellis's work on Transmet, but with this one you're barking up the wrong tree.

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Guest spiderlegs
You have been tricked by the Illuminati games, Spider.

 

Curses! Foiled again by that naughty Illuminati...

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Thinking "one day I'll be back from the dead" isn't quite the same as actually having it happen to you. She goes into mild shock when first released from the pod thing, which seems like a reasonable reaction.

 

Jesus, man, it doesn't take a vast leap of empathy to see how she might be more than a little freaked out at being stranded in the future with no friends, nobody who shares your memories and (seemingly) no possibility of getting a job or a life. Especially when the staff who are supposed to be caring for her clearly couldn't give a fuck.

Fair point about the pop comics bollocks, I was forgetting that drivel came a year or three later. (Mind you, I didn't think City Of Silence was all that bad. Or was that one earlier as well?)

 

Feeling sympathy for her being freaked out is one thing, and Ellis' riff on the revival firm being a lot less supportive than she's expecting is one of the story's better elements. (Particularly the line about her husband not having been revived, which is absolutely crushing and not one she was in a state of mind to deal with even if it had been delivered with something other vindictive pique.)

I just find the assumption that all of the sleepers are going to be hopeless neophobes and that the world they awaken to is going to be so completely incompatible with their expectations that they're going to be completely incapbable of coping with it on any level a bit hard to credit, particularly when it's largely cooked up from the sources they'd all be familiar with already. (Particularly given that -as you've already mentioned- it's later demonstrated that Mary is perfectly capable of getting her head around her new situation.) I mean for heaven's sake, everybody speaks English (if the new lingua franca had become Spanish, I can imagine rich anglo cryohibernants finding that a lot harder to deal with than the presence of foglets or wannabe aliens or whatever) and they still have a society that largely resembles the one she died in. Apart from her husband she wasn't expecting any of her peers to follow her. Suddenly finding herself flat broke and unemployable is a cruel blow, but it isn't really one of the ones Ellis dwells on, is it?

Empathy for a well drawn and very upset character is one thing: cutting a plot device that has a slight whiff of fudge to it more slack than it deserves is quite another.

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As a point of comparison, Mike Carey's had two novels published in the time between Ellis' announcements about his own books, neither of which are yet available to punter types.

 

When Ellis announced that he was one of those writers whose first book is published in hardcover (or some similar conceit) I thought, what, like Wayne Rooney or Jordan ?

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When you get raised from the dead using a technology that's indistinguishable from magic in true Clarkeian fashion, that comparison might hold water, Mark.

 

You appear to have missed the point I was making, which is simply that being familiar, even comfortable, with something in fiction is a long, long way from being able to cope with it when confronted with the same thing in stark reality.

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When you get raised from the dead using a technology that's indistinguishable from magic in true Clarkeian fashion, that comparison might hold water, Mark.

 

You appear to have missed the point I was making, which is simply that being familiar, even comfortable, with something in fiction is a long, long way from being able to cope with it when confronted with the same thing in stark reality.

True, but expecting (or even taking it for granted) that something of the sort is going to happen to you suggests a slightly more flexible attitude towards that sort of dissonance, I'd have thought. Have you ever seen any extropians who plan to have their heads frozen interviewed? They're nuts: very strange people who seriously believe all this noise about nanotechnology being able to build them a new body and plug their memory into it regardless of what condition their brain is going to be left in by freezer burn. (Presumably before people started blathering about nanotech around the turn of the '80s they believed that other daft SF plot devices would provide a quick fix for the fact that it's completely impossible to freeze and then revive nervous system without reducing it to dogfood doesn't appear top give them a moment's pause for thought.)

 

To reiterate my initial point: Ellis shows the woman dealing with the fact that her husband hasn't been revived and the company who've taken over the firm who froze her obviously not giving shit, but she keels over as soon as she confronts the crowd scene outside, and I'd suspect that the first part of that was going to have a lot more impact than the second, to be honest. Ellis appears to believe the opposite, which is the problem I have with what's otherwise one of Transmetropolitan's better moments.

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Is anyone else enjoying Desolation Jones? Warren Ellis has a filthy fucking mouth, but basing this story arc on the time I sent the angel to see Philip K. Dick was...ahem...divinely inspired, if you ask me.

 

I'm thinking of increasing its sales numbers so Wildstorm doesn't go out of business.

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Except Philip K. Dick never said he saw an angel though. He saw colours, mostly a bright pink light, later he saw geometric patterns that began to look like Paul Klee paintings, and finally he saw visions of ancient Rome superimposed over current reality, and then the voice of Thomas began to speak to him in his head.

Man God, you sure are dumb. You don't even know what miracles you cause....because you're not the real God! Philip K. Dick knew that Zebra was the TRUE God.

I'm glad I started to worship Philip K. Dick instead of God.....

Fuck Christianity!

 

I forgot about Desolation Jones. The second issue was sold out at my comic shop the week it came out, and I was going to get it the next week, but I forgot.

Overall, I've been enjoying the series.

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To reiterate my initial point: Ellis shows the woman dealing with the fact that her husband hasn't been revived and the company who've taken over the firm who froze her obviously not giving shit, but she keels over as soon as she confronts the crowd scene outside, and I'd suspect that the first part of that was going to have a lot more impact than the second, to be honest. Ellis appears to believe the opposite, which is the problem I have with what's otherwise one of Transmetropolitan's better moments.

 

It's not what she sees, it's what she feels.

 

The street confirms what she's been denying to herself: that she's in another world that plays by different rules and that she's never going home.

 

I don't see why this is hard to grasp.

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It's not what she sees, it's what she feels.

 

The street confirms what she's been denying to herself: that she's in another world that plays by different rules and that she's never going home.

 

I don't see why this is hard to grasp.

I find the fact that her breakdown is brought on by a few exhibitionist plot devices Ellis has pulled out of his arse for previous stories, rather than the human stuff she takes on the chin a bit unconvincing. Sorry.

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Guest spiderlegs

I think Jones is the deepest character Ellis has created. And I say that knowing so much has yet to be revealed. He's just a great, world weary character. He's Keith Richards as a spy. And there's a bit o' Constantine in him in that everyone around him dies, whether directly or indirectly, because of Jones.

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I agree with that. Usually Ellis' characters are homages to John Constantine or super-cool shiny metagod superheroes.

Desolation Jones has elements of J.C., but Jones is much more than just an homage to John.

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I'm 2 issues into the 2005 Desolation Jones mini. It's fun, but it seems to be Warren-Ellis-by-numbers. We've seen it all before. Is the new series any different, then?

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It's all the same series! Warren Ellis just takes so much time between issues that you believe he is writing different mini-series! What you are reading is a story-arc. A slowly released story-arc.

So, yeah, it's about all the same.

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:laugh: My god, you're right, it is all one ongoing series!

 

While I was confirming that, I found half a dozen online reviews that all start with the same approach: that Desolation Jones is more of the same from Ellis.

 

Check out this brilliant opener to the issue 1 review from The Fourth Rail:

A cynical, highly intelligent and highly damaged person (along with his sexy female assistant) investigates mysteries of the weird all the while talking about obscure social theories and theoretical technology. Quick, which Warren Ellis book did I just describe?

Zing! :biggrin:

 

The X Axis somewhat more charitably says:

The stereotypical Warren Ellis comic stars a chain-smoking, heavy-drinking, drug-blitzed Brit whose hard cynical exterior conceals a passionate underlying idealism. His villains will be genuine out-and-out cynics whose self-centred schemes frustrate those ideals. Ideally, there will be grotesque body modification, grotesque sexual perversion, underground sub-cultures and a pervasive air of scabrous black humour, combined with a starry-eyed enthusiasm for new technology, particularly if it involves the anarchic free flow of information, or an excuse to talk about mobile phones. This stuff crops up, to one degree of another, in a remarkable amount of his work.

 

At first glance, Desolation Jones looks like an absolutely standard example of the formula. Looking closer, it ticks slightly fewer of the boxes than it might first seem.

 

And Popcultureshock said, "But it would be a disservice to immediately dismiss this as a simple retread instead of a revisiting of some of his better ideas." Apparently a retread is bad, but a revisit is legit. Mmm.

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I agree with the XAxis review. While it's not totally unique or new, I do find it to be rather fresh and at least interesting enough as compared other Ellis comics to not see if at just another clone that Ellis wrote while sleeping (I'm pretty sure that was his actual writing technique for quite a few years there).

By now, everyone knows what types of comics Ellis writes. He's only going to write 3 different types of stories. We have to get beyond that now, because Ellis is never going to change, expects the industry to change for him, and is going to end up like John Byrne eventually. So, either you stop reading Ellis comics (which I did for a good while other than Planetary) because you don't like what he does or you accept this and pick and choose because you think he has some talent.

I find Desolation Jones to be Ellis' best comic since Planetary.

Now, that may not be glowing praise as most of Ellis' comics post-Planetary have been pretty bad to downright awful.

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It's not what she sees, it's what she feels.

 

The street confirms what she's been denying to herself: that she's in another world that plays by different rules and that she's never going home.

 

I don't see why this is hard to grasp.

I find the fact that her breakdown is brought on by a few exhibitionist plot devices Ellis has pulled out of his arse for previous stories, rather than the human stuff she takes on the chin a bit unconvincing. Sorry.

I'd like to see you wake up one day to find that everybody you know and loved is now dust in the wind. Your entire town is now the future world. And your old body is being rebuilt into it's original 18 year old form.

 

You then wake up see a talking dog fucking a rat the size of a car, with a camera in it's eyes. The dog just asked if you were enjoying the show, because your arsehole was next on the list.

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