What can I tell you about Warren Ellis? The mad hermit from the Thames Delta, cranking out magnificent streams of comics scripts, film scripts, books, late-night mixtapes (look up Spektrmodule), and brain-scrambling edicts in his Morning.Computer newletter?
He’s the author of the NYT best-selling novel Gun Machine, the writer behind the graphic novel RED, now also a Bruce Willis/Helen Mirren - starring movie, of award-winning graphic novels like Transmetropolitan, Ministry of Space, and of course the brain behind the beloved Freakangels web-graphic-novel-serial.
But enough about the man - if he isn’t on your radar already then you have some catching up to do!
What can I tell you about this (short) story, called Elektrograd: Rusted Blood?
It is, in first approximation, a Police Procedural, or maybe rather a Detective Story. And whilst the Detectives - old, mind-game playing Inspector Ervin Strauss, his sidekick, the ambitious up-and-coming Sargeant Alia Noton, and rookie Constable Isaac Goldmark - are decidedly human (and so appears the murder victim to have been), the story itself is entirely circling the story of the first robot.
Because Barbel Thaler, the (now) ex-Private Investigator, was found close to the former Meeting-Hall of the Philosophic Society, where in 1939 Dr. Wilhelm Rosetta first presented his Electrical Man. Things went wrong - the Electrical Man had a mind of his own, got out, was shot by Police, and Rosetta died of a Heart Attack in the chaos. Nobody ever found his laboratory, his notes, or the other two robots…
But it is the environment that really makes this story - the events take place in the city of Elektrograd, and are set around the Mekanoplatz, an experimental neighborhood consisting of walking units. And now the buildings, multi-storied tenements, are getting up, shake off their connections, and walk away again. Mekanoplatz is being re-developed.
I won’t spoil more of the story - this is a short eBook, and it’s very much worth reading, experiencing yourself - I actually think that this would make a great film, both from how it is written, but also from the topic and style present. Maybe rendered in retro-B/W? The tropes and memes used would make this the default choice, for me.
Some scenes have more than a little whiff of Cyberpunk about them, whilst other parts are classic Detective Story tropes. I really appreciated the Walking City experiment that surrounds the story - much of Elektrograd had a Berlin-feeling for me - it is not impossible that this is also the case for Warren, I know that he has an affinity for that city himself.
The book is structured into 4 parts - first come s a Minor Glossary, providing you with some of the concepts and items in the story, as some of them differ from what we know them as. This is followed by an Introduction to Elektrograd and the Mekanoplatz, the actual story, and an Afterword, where he describes the (long) genesis of the story, and the original (and still existing) plan of making this the first of a number of stories playing in Elektrograd, each focusing on a different neighborhood or district, which also give additional meaning to the Introduction earlier in the book.
Me, I cannot wait for more!
More Warren Ellis
Title: Elektrograd: Rusted Blood
Series Number: 1
Author: Warren Ellis
Reviewer URL: http://thierstein.net
Publisher: Summon Books, Smashword Edition
Publisher URL: http://www.rogerstrunk.com/#/summon-books/
Publication Date: July 2015
Review Date: 160602
Topic: Science Fiction
Topic: Police Procedural