Book #63: Normal by Warren Ellis

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 geo-engineering and smart cities and ways to evade Our Coming Doom; strategic forecasters are spook futurists, who think about geopolitical upheaval and drone warfare and ways to prepare clients for Our Coming Doom. The former are paid by nonprofits and charities, the latter by global security groups and corporate think tanks.
For both types, if you’re good at it, and you spend your days and nights doing it, then it’s something you can’t do for long. Depression sets in. Mental illness festers. And if the “abyss gaze” takes hold there’s only one place to recover: Normal Head, in the wilds of Oregon, within the secure perimeter of an experimental forest.
When Adam Dearden, a foresight strategist, arrives at Normal Head, he is desperate to unplug and be immersed in sylvan silence. But then a patient goes missing from his locked bedroom, leaving nothing but a pile of insects in his wake. A staff investigation ensues; surveillance becomes total. As the mystery of the disappeared man unravels in Warren Ellis’s Normal, Dearden uncovers a conspiracy that calls into question the core principles of how and why we think about the future—and the past, and the now.

This is one of my Nocturnal Readers box books. It is also a very disappointing read.

The blurb says it all. If you read it, that is the only sense you will get versus reading the book. The book is filled with commentary about surveillance and other things people are paranoid with today. The fact that the book is set in a mental hospital doesn’t surprise me. Are they crazy or is it the author commenting on how crazy people get over their own societal fears?

I have no idea. In fact, the book confused me so much. The mystery involved isn’t really in the forefront. I . . . I just can’t grasp what this book was supposed to be about. I’m so confused, that I don’t think I could write a longer review unless it was with a bunch of random words. Like right now. That’s technically what I’m doing.

So, yeah, not a book for me and I wouldn’t recommend it.

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