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Normal: Book 1: A Novel

(Normal #1)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  563 ratings  ·  36 reviews
A smart, tight, provocative techno-thriller straight out of the very near future--by an iconic visionary writer

Some people call it "abyss gaze." Gaze into the abyss all day and the abyss will gaze into you.

There are two types of people who think professionally about the future: Foresight strategists are civil futurists who think about geoengineering and smart cities and wa
Published July 12th 2016 by FSG Originals (first published June 2nd 2015)
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  563 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Barron Van Deusen
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Warren Ellis is, to some, a digital messiah. He's tweeted at least once that he is Sexy Internet Jesus and people ran with it. At least one married couple met on one of the many forums Ellis has curated. He's got his fingers sunk into every social media, and he's listening to everyone with new ideas. He's managed to weave himself into the fabric of the Internet, and in Normal he attacks the implications of being swallowed whole by the digital maelstrom and being put back together with none of it ...more
Belinda Lewis
This isn't really a book, but if its sold as such I feel justified in including it in its solo form on Goodreads. I'm going to finish the series before I rate and review though.

(But so far so good).
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A start, things don't seem clear in the life of the protagonist, his surroundings and inhabitants of Normal aren't by any standards normal.

Makes you wanna read more , the next volume and understand more the story and its setting.
Chris Craven
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Uncle Warren has done it again!

The best way to describe this book is that it's a bit like Injection meets One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.

Roll on week 2!
Mari LivTollefsonCarlson
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Normal is anything but. Print novels are not what Warren Ellis normally writes (he’s more known for graphic novels and digital works). The setting for the work is Normal Head, the last safe haven for people who have gone mad thinking about the future for a living. What’s normal at Normal is what amiss.
Adam Dearden is the latest arrival to Normal Head, having had a breakdown while working in Windhoek, a remote town in Namibia. Upon arrival he meets Clough, who finds salvation in Danger Mouse, a
Mar 21, 2017 rated it liked it
For me this was a strange little book, a mere 150 pages and part 1 of a serialised 4 part series - and I’m still not 100% sure of my opinion. In the end I see it as an allegory/satire on the cacophony of privacy intrusion and social media frenzy of current society, and the disconnect between futurists and future planners using statistical models . There is a plot of sorts but I feel the embedded messages in the story carry more weight and, of course there is no plot resolution, probably you need ...more
Janice M. Humphreys

Reading this was like getting hit in the face with a pie when you were expecting a kiss. An absolutely ludicrous and disconnected ending.
Kevin Whittemore
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I liked this book, it's a fairly short novel, probably a novella really. The feel is vaguely William Gibson's later novels crossed with one flew over the cuckoos nest.
Rick Brose
A short introduction to an intriguing world. We barely scratch the surface of the characters and their lives, but it leaves a lot of interesting questions to draw you back for more.
Asher J. Klassen
It took one of my favourite futurist writers releasing a digitally serialised novel about a rehabilitation facility filled with broken futurists for me to take the plunge and install the Kindle app on my phone. I don't do digital books; it's the main reason why moving house is such a pain in the ass these days...but for Warren Ellis, the man with the robot head of Jack Kirby sitting on his desk, I have made an exception. He doesn't waste any time setting up the fractured mindset of his protagoni ...more
Christopher van der Meyden
Warren Ellis tackles a very real problem of modern society: Information Overload. But rather to imagine a technological dystopia he explores it in form of a rehab center for professional information junkies. It is not (or not yet) about a free minded person, who wants to break free from the dystopia, but about rehabilitation and how information overload and the following cold turkey feels for the individual person. I was very intrigued in the first part and eager to read the three other parts in ...more
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Warren Ellis nennt den Band selber „Novella“ – also ein sehr kleines Bändchen, welches im ersten Teil eigentlich nur das Setting aufbaut. Die restlichen drei Bändchen erscheinen als EBook im Wochentakt. Eine Papierausgabe folgt im November.

Das Setting ist aber vielversprechend und durch die Wochen zwischen „Pokémon Go“-Hype und Terroranschläge, bemerkenswert gut getimet: anscheinend eine konsequente Fortschreibung einer Welt mit Gruppenzwängen, App, Quantified Self und „freiwilliger“ Kontrolle.
Bill Williams
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
After looking into the abyss for too long, Adam Dearden has gone a little funny in the head. This fraction of a story is all set up as the futurist is driven to a mental hospital following his recent breakdown. The setting feels real and the characters are engaging. This chapter ends on a mysterious event.

Warren Ellis' new novella is broken into four parts. It should probably be read as a whole for the best effect.
Lars Fischer
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is more of a fist chapter of a novel or a glimpse into a new world, than a novel (or even short story) in its own right. This is underscored by the whole thing being subtitled "Part One".

The setting is near-future science fiction, the subject a study into the lived lives in a world of universal, pervassive connectivity and ditto surveilance. Already in this first, short introduction sharp points are made. The writing is witty and a pleasure to read.

A really good start.
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If this is Normal...

Great start to the new Warren Ellis book. It reads a bit like a "what if" the Injection story was all in your head and now it is time to try to get better.
It is a twisted world inside the head of Mr Ellis, and reading it isn't for everyone. But if Tarantino's your cup of tea, this might be the pill you need.

Having to wait a week for the next installment beats four months until the full bundle edition comes out.
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid start

Picture an asylum for the over connected. People so overwhelmed by the life of constantly being tethered to your phone and computer that they suffer from dangerous mental breakdowns and have to be sent away from it all to a remote area of the Oregon wilderness to reprogram their brains. This is the setting of Ellis' 'Normal ' and at this point in the narrative, it's making for a fairly interesting read. Looking forward to see what happens next.
Dave Smash
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Strong opening chapter with a great ending.

I'm a bit behind on this but thrilled I finally got to read through it. Now I just need money enough to buy the last three chapters. Check it out if you have a couple bucks and a chunk of time. I can't really rank it as a whole yet, obviously, but I expect it'll be a favorite given what I've read so far.
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 27 pages of Warren's new book, which is not due to drop until November, unless I want to pay for the remaining chapters, which I might, because this is awesome, reads like Crooked Little Vein -type Warren, and I'm pretty well hooked.
Scott Vandehey
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classic Warren Ellis. The first quarter is basically Ellis describing a vacation he'd like to take where no one lets him use his devices. Then he sets a classic locked-room mystery in that environment. Very good.
Jon Huff
Although a fan of his comics work, I've never read his books. This seemed like an intriguing gateway. It's harder to rate a book in parts, but I'm intrigued with how this started. I like his writing style and the set up here.
Lee Belbin
Nov 11, 2016 rated it liked it
A quirky very brief introduction to a series about breakdowns of those who's role it is to look into the future. Adam Dearden arrives at an isolated recovery centre Normal Head, that appears not normal.
Ryan Reed
Jul 31, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-books
A Start

I always enjoy Ellis's flavor and tone. I am intrigued by the structure. Fun read. Will buy book two. Great start.
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A book with some new thoughts for the New Year.
Lorraine McCleary
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
A really different techno thriller. Kept me on my toes. Loved it. Am looking fwd to reading more of his works.
Brandon Longstreth
Interesting and weird

Just the kind of enjoyable weirdness I expect when I read something with Warren Ellis on the cover. Can't wait for the next installment...
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good start to a serialized novel by a brilliantly sardonic scifi writer. Looking forward to next sections.
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
#abyssgaze -- Holy hell! I'm terrified and fascinated at what comes next...
Rachel Hill
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was interesting and I really like Ellis's style. Definitely enjoyed it but it didn't really make me want to go out and buy the next instalment.
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing setup. Just the pace I'd expected from the first entry in a series of shorts. Some lovely snippets of description of the world and the self. Looking forward to the next instalment.
Nov 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: have-read
quirky short story was getting into it .then there was a nonsense ending
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Warren Ellis is the award-winning writer of graphic novels like TRANSMETROPOLITAN, FELL, MINISTRY OF SPACE and PLANETARY, and the author of the NYT-bestselling GUN MACHINE and the “underground classic” novel CROOKED LITTLE VEIN. The movie RED is based on his graphic novel of the same name, its sequel having been released in summer 2013. His graphic novel GLOBAL FREQUENCY is in development at Jerry ...more

Other books in the series

Normal (5 books)
  • Normal: Book 2
  • Normal: Book 3
  • Normal: Book 4
  • Normal
“The oaks and firs stood up as they reached the interstate and pushed on through the South West Pacific Highway to the Salmon River Highway, past places with names like Falling Creek, Tualatin, Joe Dancer Park, and Erratic Rock. Places you could walk out into and die and never be found. He could imagine them seared by sun in summer and shrouded in snow in winter. Hammered by hail the size of coins in spring and autumn, pounding flesh and smashing bone, processed to be carried off chunk by speck in the guts of birds.” 1 likes
“He was a futurist. They were all futurists. Everyone here gazed into the abyss for a living. Do it long enough, and the abyss would gaze back into you. If the abyss did that for long enough, the people who paid you for your eyes would send you to Normal Head. The” 0 likes
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