Normal by Warren Ellis

So I recently read Normal a serialised novella by Warren Ellis and published in four parts by FSG.

It is as the blurb says a taught thriller set in the very near future. About 20 seconds in the future I would guess.

It stars a futurist or futures analyst who is sent by his employers to a remote Oregon home for burnt out futurists following a nervous breakdown in Namibia.

It spirals from there and is so short it’s hard to talk about the plot without giving it away.

Suffice to say the reason I’m writing about it is because it is the best Warren Ellis prose work I’ve read so far, and it’s style, brevity, and pace have inspired me to make more effort in my own writing, and have somewhat spoiled the longer works I’ve read immediately afterwards.

I have to say I think that this idea of serialising even a short work will catch on – ebook technology doesn’t just allow it, people who get used to bingeing on Netflix and Hula, are getting more and more impatient. We don’t want to wait six months let alone a year or two for the next book by our favourite authors. We want it NOW!

I’m not convinced the Serial Box model will work long term, though I’ve praised it before, but I do think this one, a single defined work by an author you care about – each chapter or section released on a weekly schedule straight to your e-reader or phone? What’s not to love?

It could also suit the writer – imagine not having to wait a year to see an entire book edited and proofed, and then read by the public. Imagine being able to write, and edit, etc a chapter at a time. Just like a comic book on a regular schedule.

Traditional readers can still wait for the collected edition – but I know if I had a couple of books on the go at once, getting a chapter a week on my phone would suit me down to the ground as a reader.