Hello from out here on the Thames Delta. My calendar says that today North America goes into Daylight Savings Time, which is going to really screw with the phone conferences I have this coming week that were set two weeks ago — I have to go back and double check as to whether or not they were set in PDT, because we don't go from GMT to British Summer Time until the end of the month.
We should have all switched to Swatch Internet Time. Did you know people are currently deciding whether moon stations should be on UTC or Lunar Time?
The weather has been disgusting all week, high winds, freezing and sleety. On Friday, we got snow, sleet, gales and hailstones all on the same day. This newsletter sends on Sunday, and I'm hoping that, as you receive it, I'll be out in the garden doing the building and sowing I've had to put off. It's basically a dead zone right now, and it's bugging me - and not being able to get outside for long is really starting to screw with my respiratory system. It's that part of the year where I sound like Darth Vader under a fathom of mud when I breathe.
The office, however, is filling up. This week was phone conferences and setting more calls, discussing plans with publishers, working out recording schedules and finishing up scripts. I want to land the first drafts of all of WRITTLE 2 by Sunday night, so I can go into the second tranche of a consulting gig with a clean slate on Monday - that will take me into early April, which should dovetail neatly with DEPARTMENT OF MIDNIGHT recording and new projects. Evenings will be taken up with finishing polishes on DEPT MIDNIGHT final drafts - I was on the phone with Mr. James Callis on Friday talking about it - and developing those new ideas.
Longtime friend of OO, Wayne Chambliss, emailed with a link to his report on:
the logistics of an artwork I would later title A Dress Rehearsal for the Afterlife.
Its premise: that I would be buried alive in a suit of elf armor from The Lord of the Rings, and then 3D visualized using ground penetrating radar. I wanted to work, deliberately, in a xenophenomenological medium for the first time – and had decided to make it easier for the radar to see me by wrapping my water-filled body with a more reflective material that had the additional benefit of making it easier to breathe with the equivalent weight of four or five large men made of dirt stacked on top of me, while also playing with the idea of place sensitivity, insofar as New Zealand has become conflated (uncomfortably so, to some) in the popular imagination with J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth. And while radar has been previously used for archaeological surveys of grave sites, to find illegal burials, even to try to locate people buried alive, I would almost certainly be the first person to have ever laid still belowground for a portrait done with it.
I particularly enjoy the deployment of the word xenophenomenological - meaning, broadly, the study of things as they would be experienced by a non-human intelligence. WETA got involved. It's a whole thing, and quite mad.
Happy to see that Dean Haspiel's COVID COP got funded, but I have to apologise - I missed that the physical editions only ship within the US. The lowest funding tier, however, is a digital edition - and, given the insane dayglo blacklight-poster colour scheme he's gone for, this is going to pop really nicely on screens, so if you're outside the US (like me!) go for that one.
The reprint of THE AUTHORITY arrived this week. I'm told it's in stores on April 25.
There's only one main character in that book who Bryan and I didn't invent. Swift was introduced in the STORMWATCH series by Jeff Mariotte. But Swift was actually created by his then-young daughter. (I actually just checked my memory on this, and sure enough, there's a recent tweet from Mr. Mariotte including his kid's original drawing!) When putting the team together, I found I just loved the idea of a character created by his daughter having a continued life in comics, and hated the idea of her thinking the character she made with her dad might go away. So that's why Swift was in The Authority.
I remember Jeff Mariotte as being a very nice man, too. He's a novelist these days. Go look.
My name is Warren Ellis, and I’m a writer from England. These newsletters are about the work I do and the creative life I try to lead. I send them every Sunday to subscribers. Feel free to send your friends to orbitaloperations.com , where they can read the most recent letters and subscribe for their own.
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“Thank you for being a valued Amazon Kindle Newsstand subscriber. We are writing to inform you that we have made the decision to stop selling Kindle magazine and newspaper subscriptions on Amazon.”
That is bloody annoying. This is how I read the London Review Of Books and the Times Literary Supplement. Sent automatically to a basic Kindle, stripped down to simply formatted uniform text. I've been reading them in this form for many, many years - at night, in bed, with the Kindle backlit screen, which doesn't interfere with anyone else's sleep, giving me many things to think about as I drift off towards slumber. It will stop in September, and I am furious about it. Also, a lot of small genre magazines sold Kindle subscription editions, and I suspect the end of the service will make life perilous for them. Mostly, it just seems like a massive step backwards, to the point where I wonder what's in store for the Kindle itself.
GOT MORE TIME?
WARRENELLIS.LTD is my personal notebook, in which I make new entries several times a day. Think of it as all the things I can't fit into this newsletter, from links and bookmarks to reviews, random thoughts and life notes. If you use a RSS reader, it generates a feed at https://warrenellis.ltd/feed/ .
Okay, I'm off to clean and oil an axe, saw through the last of the nazi wisteria vine and build some mini-greenhouses so I can start spring seeds outside. I am determined that the garden will be fully transformed by summer. Maybe it won't be. But you have to try these things, and at the end of the day it's only really costing me time, seeds and dirt. And it makes me feel better to do it. Do what makes you feel better. You don't have to destroy yourself just because that's what the rest of the world wants. Stretch and breathe and be good to yourself. Hope to write to you next week. Hold on tight and take care of you.