Thursday, 15 December 2016
Normal by Warren Ellis Review
Adam Dearden is a burnt-out futurist (someone who thinks professionally about the future) who gets sent to a special facility in an “experimental” Oregon forest (whatever that is) to recuperate: Normal Head. And then an inmate disappears and the place intended to be devoid of any kind of intrusive tech is suddenly swarming with surveillance.
I’ve been a huge fan of Warren Ellis’ comics for years and really enjoyed his first novel, Crooked Little Vein, but his latest foray into fiction, Normal, is absolute pants!
There’s no story. The missing inmate is just a thing that happens - it’s never pursued in any meaningful way let alone resolved. Instead the book is wafer-thin characters acting as mouthpieces for Ellis’ rambling thoughts on surveillance. Nobody says anything interesting. And that’s the whole book!
I’m not going to remember any part of Normal not just because it was so unimpressive and forgettable but because there’s nothing here to begin with. It’s laughably described as a “techno-thriller” but actually it’s just an immensely boring and static pseudo-narrative. Even Warren Ellis fans are gonna struggle to enjoy anything about this drivel.