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My name’s Warren Ellis. I’m mostly a science fiction writer. I’m sometimes also a crime writer. These are essentially the same thing.Let me try and explain that....
It was HG Wells, in large part, who made science fiction into social fiction. You can trace back the roots of that movement to Mary Shelley and beyond, but it was Wells who both concretised it and gave it common currency. Science fiction is nominally about the novum, the new thing that disrupts the world of the story. But THE INVISIBLE MAN is not about an invisibility process, just as THE TIME MACHINE is not really about a time machine. The great Wells fireworks were novels about the human condition, the sociopolitical space and the way Wells saw life being lived.In crime fiction, of course, the story is nominally about the crime: the disruptive event introduced into the world of the story. But THE BIG SLEEP isn’t about a murder, and FAREWELL MY LOVELY isn’t about a missing person. Chandler’s great leap – and of course there were antecedents and even peers, but it’s Chandler who is indelible – was to make crime fiction fully an expression of social fiction.
But what I’m talking about is money, the acquisition of power, the deals we make in the name of security, the unique soul-killing exhaustion that comes of caring too much for too long, and the faces madness take in our lives.
I just have to trust that the good people at Mulholland Books will catch me when I get confused and give my New York City police detective rocket pants and a ray gun.