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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Jerusalem Syndrome

For a self-confessed conservative, I read some pretty goddamn liberal things. Case in point: Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan.

Meet Spider Jerusalem, the bastard offspring of Hunter S. Thompson and Doonesbury's Uncle Duke, shoved into a futuristic urban blightmare that would make William Gibson's Sprawl Series orgasm. Spider is decidedly not a nice person, preferring instead to live in a haze of drugs and righteous anger. He expresses contempt for all living things, yet within him burns a passion for truth, justice, and journalistic integrity.

He also has a fondness for making his opponents shit themselves.

Meet the bowel disruptor. This little beauty is completely nonlethal and has settings from simple diarrhea to complete rectal prolapse. It also leaves no trace of its use, which means that Spider gets away with using it on the President of the United States.

Yes, you heard right: Spider makes the President shit himself unconscious. Regardless of your political affiliation, I dare you to tell me that isn't the most awesome thing you've ever heard.

In the words of Chris Sims, "You are now FREAKING OUT."

Transmetropolitan is a work of utter genius. The first book of it I ever read was "Year of the Bastard," which is reminiscent of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972. In that book, Spider is instrumental in helping defeat a sitting president (aka The Beast), only to realize he's helped elect an even bigger bastard (aka The Smiler). The following books detail his attempts to ruin the Smiler, and the consequences of having an enemy who can command the resources of an entire government to smash a bothersome arachnid journalist.

Yes, children, this series is about consequences. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Characters die -- sometimes horribly. It's grand and epic and poetic and obscene -- sometimes all at once. And while it may be a satire, its author -- the blisteringly acerbic Warren Eillis -- treats the plot, and his characters, with utter and complete seriousness.

It is one of the the most fucking brilliant things I have ever read.

But don't take my word for it: see for yourself in this self-contained story.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with Spider.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, I believe the top setting is "Fatal Intestinal Maelstrom"...


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