booklist 2013: LOVE IS STRANGE, Bruce Sterling

coverThat is one peculiar fucking book.

You get the strong feeling that Bruce sat down one day and said, “A Paranormal Romance.  People like those.  How can I tear down the term ‘Paranormal Romance’ until it a) turns into something I would like to write b) makes people who like Paranormal Romances cry blood?”

Bruce likes breaking things in his fiction. I often see things his characters love getting ruined somehow. It’s hard to think of anyone else who enjoys the casual harrowing of his characters so much.

It is a romance.  Bruce does in fact have fun playing with old romance-fiction tropes.  There are points where you can almost hear him cackling as he rattles around a LOVE BOAT port of call and scatters poison romances across the sun-kissed trattorias and streets.  There is the paranormal: or, at least, people who think they’re paranormal, and people who call each other paranormal.  It’s also, to some extent, about the delusions around these things.  The female romantic lead is a loon, the male romantic lead is a Silicon Canal alpha-drone, the supporting cast are grotesques and I’ll be surprised if Mr Sterling is ever again invited to a European futurism conference.

“Go to your Futurist Congress,” said Farfalla.  “They are expecting you there.  Your important friends will take good care of you.  Nothing will happen to you there.  Nothing ever happens when important people talk about the future.”

Bruce enjoyably tours the world with his romantic monsters, gleefully showing up the sooty old structures of the romance form while cracking its floorboards with brazen hodloads of science and politics.  It’s a weird, lumpy, sometimes uncomfortable comedy about shitty people.  It is the best and only romance novel you should read this year.  It is fun and evil.

But it really is a peculiar fucking book.

Ebook only: find out more at this page.

FAQ 30jan13: Answers To Random Questions Normal People Wouldn’t Ask

How particular do you think new authors should be about which publishing house they get published through?


New authors should be more particular about how many complimentary copies of the book they get (and what it looks like), because that’s your calling card to other publishers, to show that someone else gambled their money on you.  That’s the trick.  Getting published once is often the biggest, toughest hurdle.

So, having just finished the slipcase/box-set of The Sandman that I got for Christmas… what are the chances Vertigo will do something equally lovely for Transmetropolitan? It definitely deserves the box set treatment.


You have to understand that I’m not the publisher, and I cannot cause these things to happen.  THE SANDMAN was a best-selling, critically-acclaimed work that forms the backbone of the mainstream adult comics canon.  TRANSMETROPOLITAN was a fairly obscure, nicely drawn container for a bunch of swearing.  I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Howdy. I just wanted to clamour about "How to Burn Water". After all, you are the reason why I own and enjoy using a mandoline. And why I always keep a small jar of fresh cow tears in my cupboard. So a proper manly cookbook with a beard that would curbstomp my wife’s namby-pamby jamieolivers would really be appreciated.


No plans for the occasionally joked-about cookbook HOW TO BURN WATER.  But I will give you this:


I had two skinless chicken breasts and no idea what to do with them.  So I did this:

Find a bottle of white wine.  Remember the rule: don’t cook with anything you wouldn’t drink.  So drink some.

Now get a roasting tin.  Throw a large glass of the wine into it.  Squeeze one lemon’s worth of juice into it.  Stir.  Throw some herbs in — I used thyme and chives.  I grab some chives and a pair of scissors and just snip half-inch lengths of chive in to the pan.  Stir it all again.  Lay the chicken breasts in.  Go away for five minutes and drink some more wine.  Come back.  Flip the breasts over.  Wow, that sounds weird.  Put them in the oven at 190 C (do the conversion yourself, you have the internet.)  Every five minutes, open the oven and spoon some of the liquid in the pan over the chicken.  And then drink some more wine. Until 25 minutes have passed.  At which point it is cooked.  It is not only stupidly simply, but you’re well on your way to being drunk.  Excellent.

Hello Mr. Ellis, I apologize if you have already answered this, but what was it that made you want to write comic books?


The riches, the glamour and the seductive charisma such a career supernaturally gifts one with.

However, back in the real world: I love visual narrative media, and comics are the purest kind.