Review: Normal

Warren Ellis has a nice touch with turning an idea into a narrative, transforming it from a polished distant monument into a gritty habitation.  In Normal he takes the idea that thinking to hard about the future will make you crazy.  Literally.

None of the characters from Normal are immortal – they are largely ideas or themes mounted on lively tropes – but the combination makes for a spicy mix.  One gets the feeling that Ellis has laid them down with enough telling detail to make them stand out, but enough room for an actor or comic artist to form them into memorable characters.  As a reader, you can fill in those details, but it’s almost more interesting to see where the gaps are.

Normal was also distributed in an unusual manner. Well for 2016, 1916 still saw some serialized novels. Normal came out in 4 installments spaced a week apart – a serialized novella. It worked well for me. I enjoy many of Ellis’s novellas, and I think he can use the length well.  The weekly reminders to have a look at what he’s done were welcome, and each section had a payoff.  I would absolutely do it again with Ellis, and I’d be curious to see someone else try the mechanism.

Overall, I found Normal  to be snappy and thought-provoking.  Recommended.

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