It's a well-worn trope: the obsessive, the stalker, the killer or the cop, pinning photos, maps, mugshots and other detritus to a large board and then joining the dots with bits of colored string: The Crazy Walls Tumblr collects and annotates screengrabs from dozens of movies and TV shows (even a comic from Warren Ellis!) where the trope appears. (via Kottke)
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It's a well-worn trope: the obsessive, the stalker, the killer or the cop, pinning photos, maps, mugshots and other detritus to a large board and then joining the dots with bits of colored string: The Crazy Walls Tumblr collects and annotates screengrabs from dozens of movies and TV shows (even a comic from Warren Ellis!) where the trope appears. (via Kottke) Read the rest
By way of the Daily Grail comes this fascinating bit of Pioneer spacecraft history. Kirby was among the artist asked to submit ideas for the plaques to be flown on the Pioneer 10 and 11 space probes, launched in the early 1970s. Kirby's submission was vastly different than the very literal pictogram designed by Frank Drake, Carl Sagan, and Linda Salzman-Sagan and flown on the missions. Jack was not comfortable with the idea of giving some future Galactus GPS directions to our house.
I would have included no further information than a rough image of the Earth and its one moon. I see no wisdom in the eagerness to be found and approached by any intelligence with the ability to accomplish it from any sector of space. In the meetings between ‘discoverers’ and ‘discoverees,’ history has always given the advantage to the finders. In the case of the Jupiter (Pioneer) plaque, I feel that a tremendous issue was thoughtlessly taken out of the world forum by a few individuals who have marked a clear trail to our door.
My point is, who will come a-knocking – the trader or the tiger?
In describing his approach to the art he submitted, he wrote:
It appears to me that man’s self image has always spoken far more about him than does his reality-figure. My vision of the plaque would have revealed the exuberant, self-confident super visions with which we’ve clothed ourselves since time immemorial. The comic strip super-heroes and heroines, in my belief, personify humanity’s innate idealism and drive
Personally, I don't think we want "underwear perverts" (as Warren Ellis has called spandex supers) representing us, but you've got to love the idea of communicating "exuberant, self-confident super visions" of ourselves. Read the rest
In 2010, Steve Almond started work on a Tea Party-inspired novel called Bucky Dunn Is Running, about a racist demagogue businessman who comes within a whisker of the Republican nomination for their presidential candidate; he'd aimed to have it done for the 2016 election season, but then Trump happened, and his satire seemingly caught up with him. Read the rest
With the classic 1980s Nintendo Entertainment System continuing to rack up extra lives thanks to the retro videogame resurgence, the thirty year-old game Castlevania has been ported to Netflix with a new animated series. Warren Ellis wrote it, which almost guarantees that it will be the best TV program based on a videogame ever, and that includes Hanna-Barbera's Pac-Man.
On the heels of the Daily Grail's new essay anthology Spirits of Place -- featuring Alan Moore, Maria J. Warren Ellis, Gazelle Amber Valentine, and many more writers and thinkers -- the Grail's Greg Taylor conducted a deep interview with Moore about populism, time, language, science, and other heady topics. From the Daily Grail:
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What are your thoughts on the importance, or non-importance, of including consciousness, imagination and subjective experience in any theory of what 'reality' is?
AM: Is it helpful to observe that subjectivity is the only thing that we know is objectively real, or does that just muddy the waters even further, as with so many of the well-intentioned things I say? I mean, we do not experience the universe directly: we experience it only through our limited senses, with our sensory impressions arranged moment by moment into this immersive psychic movie that we agree to call reality. From this point of view, our entire universe can only ever be a subjective neurological phenomenon, at least to us, and a quick glance around will confirm that it’s only us who seem to be much bothered either way about this ontology business. I think Nagel is correct in his criticism of the materialist worldview, and I would further state that even should science ever accomplish its goal of unifying classical and quantum physics, of achieving a grand ‘Theory of Everything’, then if it only describes the physical universe and does not take account of the marvellous, supernatural phenomenon – consciousness – that has arrived at this theory, it is nowhere near a theory of everything, is it?
Published by the fine fringe culture explorers at Daily Grail, the new essay anthology Spirits of Place features stories by the likes of Alan Moore, Maria J. Pérez Cuervo, Warren Ellis, Gazelle Amber Valentine, Iain Sinclair, Mark Pesce, and many other mutant thinkers riffing on how we connect with the locations we inhabit. You can read editor John Reppion's introduction to the collection for free. Here's a description of what lies inside the book:
Stories are embedded in the world around us; in metal, in brick, in concrete, and in wood. In the very earth beneath our feet. Our history surrounds us and the tales we tell, true or otherwise, are always rooted in what has gone before. The spirits of place are the echoes of people, of events, of ideas which have become imprinted upon a location, for better or for worse. They are the genii loci of classical Roman religion, the disquieting atmosphere of a former battlefield, the comfort and familiarity of a childhood home.
Twelve authors take us on a journey; a tour of places where they themselves have encountered, and consulted with, these Spirits of Place.
In Normal, Warren Ellis (previously) sets a technothriller in a kind of rehab center for futurists and foresight specialists who've developed "abyss gaze" -- a kind of special bleak depression that overtakes people who plug themselves into the digital world 24/7 in order to contemplate our precarious days to come. Read the rest
by Warren Ellis (author), Jordie Bellaire (illustrator) and Declan Shalvey (illustrator)
2015, 120 pages, 6.4 x 10 x 0.4 inches
Science meets folklore. It’s a theme that is pervasive throughout literature, from Frankenstein to Dracula to The Dragon Riders of Pern. And like its predecessors, the first volume of Injection also poses the question, what if these two things aren’t as different as we’d like to believe?
Injection reads like a fairytale brought into the modern century, combining the folklore used by its predecessors with new computers and communication systems. The story jumps backwards and forwards in time, telling the chronicle of five brilliant people with different backgrounds who came together and built an artificial consciousness to “make the 21st century more interesting.” As anyone who has seen The Matrix or Terminator films could tell you, this creation doesn’t do what the team was hoping it would. But instead of being straight science fiction, the novel joins science with the fantastic. The creation begins mimicking folklore, and the solution to defeating it seems to lie just as much in magic as it does in science.
The artwork is classically rendered graphic novel illustration, reminding me of the Hellboy series, or Sandman. What strikes me as the most interesting part of the pictures is the range of color used in them; the palette moves from dark greys and greens to brilliant oranges and reds, and some of the scenes are done in such a surreal manner you feel as though you’ve been transported to another plane altogether (which, truth be told, might just be the case). Read the rest
Bruce Sterling's announced the first-ever English publication of his story for 25 minutos en el futuro. Nueva ciencia ficción norteamericana, a Spanish-language sf anthology of translated works by anglophone writers whose work is largely unknown in Mexico. Read the rest
Anyone who's read Hunter S. Thompson's iconic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas knows that the technicolored, bug-eyed, meth-fueled craziness of that narrative is hard to capture in another medium. The Tim Burton movie did an admirable job of conveying the “savage journey” of the book, if sometimes overdosing on the goofballs in the process.
When it comes down to it, the madness of Fear and Loathing is probably best expressed in comic book form (as Ralph Steadman showed in the original illustrations, Gary Trudeau hinted at with Uncle Duke, and Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson's Transmetropolitan paid impressive homage). If Hunter S. Thompson didn't exist, it would be necessary for comics to invent him. And I can't think of anyone better suited to fully render Thompson's warped vision of the American dream (aka 70s Vegas) than Eisner Award-nominated Troy Little. His 176-page comic adaptation manages to effectively distill the roman à clef gonzo masterpiece into a form that feels completely natural, managing to retain and celebrate inspired moments of Thompson's brilliant prose-poetry.
Little's art has the right kind of energy and violence to effectively convey Thompson's unusual subject matter. He knows how to render the drug-amped fear, anger, outrage, and surprise on Raoul Duke's face, his beady eyes forever burning behind gigantic amber-tinted aviator glasses. The book itself is beautifully produced, with a spot varnish hard cover and brilliant, vividly printed interiors that reproduce the colors of crazy in a way that would do Ralph Steadman proud. Read the rest
Warren Ellis ruminates on the the way that the old idea that the Internet was birthing an "attention economy" has been transformed by Facebook, which has literally monetized attention, charging you money to reach the people who've asked to hear from you. Read the rest