Originally published in Souciant Magazine on February 4, 2013. Warren Ellis’s latest novel Gun Machine is like a cop thriller set in a fever dream, twisted genre fiction that employs the conventions of a primetime police drama to investigate a series of brutal crimes, but also the bloody history of New York City itself.
The novel starts with a compelling premise — an empty apartment hiding 200 guns, each implicated in a separate unsolved murder — and then plays out the mystery with the familiar elements of a hardboiled detective story or an episode of CSI.
But while Ellis, who is best known as a renowned graphic novelist, toys with the genre’s well worn tropes with glee, the real joy in this book is not in police work itsef, but in the archaeology it makes possible. Read More
Originally posted on mrchair, 10/29/2007. I had to go to trial over that time I got punched in the face with the snapped off car antenna. I never thought it would come to that, and going to court over the whole stupid event seemed ridiculous. But Sara and I decided that annoyance probably wasn't a good enough reason to shirk civic duty. This guy had been in and out of the system (I picked up this lingo from the time spent with the DA. DA, that stands for District Attorney) for years, and had a felony robbery on his record already. He isn't even homeless. The cops told me he lives in Gresham and comes downtown and fucks with people.
Still, I didn't foresee trial. We had to meet in court early Monday morning, the whole time expecting the guy, Matthew, to plea down and call the whole thing off. He didn't. The attorney prepped us, told us Matthew's attorney would goad us on, and that we should not "take the bait." This is stuff of TV. The night before, Sara had said, "It's not going to be like TV." But lo and behold. Read More
Originally posted on mrchair, 6/2/2008. A couple of weekends ago, around midnight, everyone was going home from the bar and I didn't feel like it yet. You know, those moods where you have to stay out in public and can't quite withdraw into your little bunker quite yet. So I walked around the neighborhood and watched folks carouse Capitol Hill on a late Friday night.
I slid into the most obscure bar I could find for a nightcap, which in retrospect I'm 90 percent sure was a gay bar. I sat at the bar next to an unattended drink, and its owner soon returned. He was one of those guys who looks about 10 years older than he probably is, and was missing his top-front four teeth. Read More