Talk Nerdy With Us recently chatted with Warren Ellis, the creative genius behind the new graphic novel Injection. Ellis is an award-winning writer best-known for Trees, Supreme: Blue Rose and Moon Knight. Read our interview below where we discuss Injection #6 which hits stores January 13th.
First off: where did the idea come from for a murderous sandwich?
The “murderous sandwich” is the first new character we’ve created with serious spin-off potential, so I’m not giving the game away here. Buy two, double-bag one. You heard it here first. (laughs).
What kind of person is Headland?
Vivek Headland is, like the other members of the CCCU who form the cast of INJECTION, a genius. He is currently a consulting detective in New York City. He is not deductive, but inductive — deductive reasoning allows him to perceive of an entire case in a manner probably closer to quantum physics than Sherlock Holmes. He is also quite, quite mad. He’s very entertaining to write, and Dec always does great body language with him. Viv is… he’s never quite completely content. He’s very curious. He wants a more interesting life and a more interesting world, and is always in pursuit of it. Focusing Volume 2 on Viv has been very freeing, a real shift in tone from the doom and gloom of Volume 1.
What was the inspiration for creating a “terminal case of weird?”
The ideas of “future shock” and a rise in “novelty” have always interested me. In the case of “future shock” – people terminally alienated or damaged by the onrush of the future — it never really happened? It was a very interesting idea, but I’m not convinced that broad swathes of people experiencing shock from things happening too fast is one that stands up to the test of time. Humans are fundamentally more adaptable than that. We have to invent things that exist only in the potential future to get worked up about, like strong AI.
I should note here that I’m an edge case — I deal with the feeling of things not actually happening fast enough.
So what happens when you put five people like me in a room, with brains a hundred times better than mine, with the space to do something about that?
At the same time: I’ve spent the last few years doing public talks about the relationship between folklore and technology, and science and magic. The magical method is actually the basis of the scientific method — they were substantially the same thing until the time of Newton. And we use folkloric terms to describe our technologies — “daemon” for a program that runs in the background process, for example. Steve Jobs’ central metaphor for the iPad was “magic” — we point at a magic mirror with our finger like a wizard and things just happen. Technology is the aspiration to replicate the condition of magic.
So you roll all these things up together, the magic and the science and the future shock and the fear of AI and the haunted future and the past under our feet and ready to grab our ankles at any moment — and you get five people summoning a terminal case of the weird because they were bored and because they were arrogant and because they could.
And this lets me talk about all these things. The world becomes paranormal and I get an outfacing way to talk about the ties I see between the world of ghosts and spooky action at a distance, and the way we prepare for or try to bring on outbreaks of the future, and also people who put terrible things into sandwiches.
Are there aspects of Injection that you would like to see in our world?
I think we could all do without a haunted and highly energetic rogue strong artificial intelligence in the world — although its presence would probably force Elon Musk to learn exorcism, which I would call an excellent pay-off.
What can you tease about Injection #6?
It’s the first part of Volume 2, and we shift our focus to Vivek Headland, Anglo-Indian consulting detective, living in New York and taking on a case involving money, ghosts, sex and the correct kitchen preparation of human meat. Also… let’s see. Elements of Vivek’s past and formative moments. Secret societies. A menacing butler. The Dalai Lama. I probably had too much fun with his one. INJECTION is conceived of as five five-chapter volumes, so this is a fresh start, and, honestly, I think any reader could come in at issue 6 and come away with an “issue one”-like reading experience.