‘Normal’ by Warren Ellis Paints a Khafkaesque Digital Dystopia
- Who: Adam Dearden and his newfound friends from the mental institution for foresight strategists and strategic forecasters, groups that, despite linguistic cues, are perpetually at odds.
- What: They must figure out what happened to Mr. Mansfield, the shady character who supposedly turned into a pile of insects, before investigators come to turn the place upside down and unearth their past lives.
- Where: Normal Head Research Station, a mental institution hidden deep in the woods of Oregon. It boasts all the amenities of the“off-the-grid” lifestyle, as well as modern comforts like Soylent and horse tranquilizers.
- When: The not so distant future, one where people can animorph into bugs and subsist off of plant-based proteins alone.
- Why: This is a very philosophical question, why does this book exist? Why do any books exist? Maybe for humanity to share its ideas and anxieties on the inescapable meaninglessness of life? Or perhaps, so I can have pretty things to look at when I browse my local bookstore? I don’t really know. But Warren Ellis wanted to manifest this novel, and so he did, and now I feel much less remorse than I usually do when I smash tiny spiders.