Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Warren Ellis”

Quorren’s #CBR4 Review #43 Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis

When Joss Whedon gives a blurb for a book, you take notice.  And then you read said book and remember that Whedon’s Midas Touch doesn’t work 10% of the time.  This book and Dollhouse fall into that 10%.

Mihcael McGill, private eye, is tasked by the US Chief of Staff to recover a piece of American history – book written with alien technology by the founding fathers that forces people to read it and abide by its code of conduct.  Nixon paid a hooker with it back in the day and since then it switches hands too frequently for the government to get a chance to seize it.  Before McGill begins his journey, he meets Trix, a sexology student who decides to follow McGill on his journey because McGill is a self-describe “shit magnet” – his cases would make a column in Playboy look on it horror.   His luck continues on the search for the book, that’s been used as currency over the years for different sexual fetishes and perversions.

This book could’ve been amazing, provided Ellis didn’t write it.  The premise is sound, but the execution is piss poor.  Ellis tried to be a modern day Hunter S. Thompson, being the gonzo voice of our counterculture’s generation.  Instead of drugs, we gorge ourselves on sex, so much so that we have to invent new and twisted ways of doing it.  It’s an interesting assessment of our culture, especially with our increasing reliance on the internet and the ever growing amount of pron one can find there.  But instead of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Ellis gives us a scrambled porn channel while someone with a megaphones screams, “SEX! SEX! SEX!”, in our eardrums.  There’s no eloquence to this treatise on modern day sex culture.  In fact, he exchanged his message along the way, and settling instead on the goal to just skeeve the reader out with as many freaky sexploits as he could describe.  I feel that the premis could’ve been handled with more grace by a writer like Chuck Palahnuik, if you wanted to toe the skeevy sex line, or by Christopher Moore if you wanted to go the more humorous route.  I’m all for a more tolerant world to discuss sex in, but let’s not play the “penis game”, where whoever can say penis loudest wins.  Doing something for the sheer shock value is just plain lazy writing.

Same goes for stand-up comedy.

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sevenstories’ #CBR4 Review #33: Planetary Vol. 2 – The Fourth Man by Warren Ellis

“This is Planetary. Three people who walk the world in search of strangeness and wonder, uncovering things others wise were left covered. They are the mystery archaeologists, explorers of the planet’s secret history, charting the unseen borders of a fantastic world.”

I definitely enjoyed this more than the first volume which left me with a vague interest in what happened next, as opposed to here where I’m really keen to read the next volumes. It is hard to keep track of all the different storylines and characters and sometimes big reveals lost impact when I had to go back and check who someone was or when something else had happened before I realised it was in fact a big reveal. But the intriguing back stories that we get and some really interesting storylines being introduced or built on means its a series I’m now committed to.We have mysterious deaths, horrible scientific experiments, more giant insects, alien races, supernatural goddesses as well as time travel and fictional characters within fictional universes. I did find it difficult to keep track of everything, which was compounded by the delay between reading the first volume and this. I think I need to get hold of the next two volumes together so I can make sure I can follow a bit better.

The full review is on my blog.

First Line: “Jack Carter’s dead.”

Why I read it: I was lent Planetary Vol. 1 by a colleague and enjoyed it enough to want to find out what happened in Vol. 2.

Who I would recommend it to: Readers who would like to explore the world of graphic novels or fans of science fiction that tend towards mysteries and character rather than spandex and explosions (although there is some of that very much present).

sevenstories’ #CBR4 Review #22: Planetary Vol. 1 by Warren Ellis

“This first collection stars a team of super-powered mystery archaeologists who have uncovered evidence of super-human activity that spans the centuries. The team includes the ancient and enigmatic Elijah Snow, hot-tempered Jakita Wagner, and the insane techno-expert Drummer, as they deal with a World War II supercomputer that can access other universes, a spectral spirit of vengeance, and more.” 

Ultimately, I did like this but it didn’t leave me desperate to read the next volume. I would be interested to see what happened next but not with any urgency. By the looks of things though, I am not really the person who this is designed to appeal to and fans of the genre will most likely appreciate the nuances that go over my head.

You can read the full review on my blog.

First Line: ‘Coffee tastes like your dog took a leak in it.’

sevenstories’ #CBR4: Transmetropolitan Vol. 1 – Back on the Street by Warren Ellis

“After years of self imposed exile from a civilisation rife with degradation and indecency, cynical journalist Spider Jerusalem is forced to return to a job he hates and a city he loathes. Working as an investigative reporter for the newspaper The Word, Spider attacks the injustices of his surreal 23rd century surroundings. In this first volume, Spider ventures into the dangerous Angels 8 district, home of the Transients – humans who have decided to become aliens through cosmetic surgery. But Spider’s interview with the Transients’ leader gets him a scoop he didn’t bargain for.”

The very first few pages made me laugh a couple of time and therefore I had high hopes for the rest of the volume but unfortunately I felt it lost any subtlety and slipped into coarseness for the sake of coarseness with horrendously unlikeable characters, a plot I didn’t really care about and finale I felt like I was supposed to find triumphant but instead found somewhat dull. I appreciated the art in an abstract way and can also see why other readers enjoy it, but it’s  just so far away from what I find pleasurable to read. I read the whole thing as it was recommended to me by a colleague who normally gives me things I do enjoy and also because it’s short, even for a graphic novel so it only took me twenty minutes to read. For me, it is too coarse and crude and I found the depiction of the city (and Spider) verging on repulsive at times.

You can read the full review on my blog.

First Line: ‘So that ignorant, thick-lipped, evil whorehopping editor phones me up and says, ‘Does the word contract mean anything to you, Jerusalem?’

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