Elektrograd: Rusted Blood by Warren Ellis – Review
by John Seedhouse
Warren Ellis is one of those writers that get under your skin. The kind of writer who flies around your subconscious, kicking your neurones when you are absent-mindedly doing life stuff. He wrote the comic book that became the film, RED. He does/did comics quite prolifically. They contained the future AND swearing. Clearly those things are going to score highly on my list of things that are generally good. He wrote Planetary, which was one of the best deconstructions of the pulp comic trope ever written. He also wrote Nextwave which was largely ignored but contained many bleeped profanities of quite joyous construction. Elektrograd: Rusted Blood would fit rather well into the Planetary series.
According to Ellis’ explanation of the concept on Orbital Operations (his email communications channel) Elektrograd: Rusted Blood is a vignette from a greater fictional environment. It doesn’t need to be, but there is some obviously considered world-building in the background.
I happened to get the mailout for this as I was delayed waiting for a flight to Barcelona and a 99p Kindle download seemed a reasonable punt. Ellis has recently (maybe not so recently) started to make the 10,000 word mini essay/story download into a sort of snackable genre – a CD single in the way that in the 90s we consumed dance records. It is an interesting experiment and compared to a $5 comic book, a good ROI.
Elektrograd: Rusted Blood concerns itself with murder and treads a solid jaded-gumshoe character driven route. Where it engages is, in the setting – a world in which futurism has been superceded. Ellis paints a landscape which strikes a chord with anyone living in one of those “new towns” of the 1960s. There is a feeling of Bauhausian modernity that has somehow become a cast off. As someone who grew up near Birmingham and saw this faded architectural hope then the landscape of Elektrograd: Rusted Blood hits a strong dull chord.
It is 10,000 words. It is 99p for Kindle. It made a flight tolerable and it does bounce around your head afterwards.
I have included an affiliate link to the Amazon download below.