|photo: Ellen Rogers
Warren Ellis is the creator of the graphic novels Fell, Ministry of Space, Planetary and Transmetropolitan, among others, and the author of the novels Crooked Little Vein and Gun Machine (Mulholland Books, January 1, 2013). His graphic novel Red was adapted into the film starring Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren. Ellis lives in London.
On your nightstand now:
This is always a stack. I'm re-reading Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music by Rob Young while partway through Nick Harkaway's Angelmaker at the moment, and stacked up under them are Site Works by Robert Davidson, Embassytown by China Miéville, Backroom Boys by Francis Spufford, The Gift of Stones by Jim Crace.... and about 40 others. Don't judge me.
Favorite book when you were a child:
I am absolutely blanking out on this today, so let's say the Chris Godfrey/UNEXA series of science fiction novels by Hugh Walters.
Your top five authors:
That is an extraordinarily tough one for me, because it tends to switch around between a cloud of about 30 writers, depending on my interests at the time. But, right now, for the hell of it: W.G. Sebald, Thomas Pynchon, Umberto Eco, Nigel Kneale and Doris Lessing. Lessing and Sebald's sentences strike pure notes that I can only dream of hitting. Eco still has revelations in him. Pynchon is basically an alien compound-brain that I just sit and stare at. And Nigel Kneale remains unique, even hip-deep in imitators.
Book you've faked reading:
None that I can think of. I might be lying, though.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Oh, loads. But none with a lower success rate than The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson, one of my favourite things of the century so far and yet so terrifying in its 3,000-page girth that I can't sell it to anybody. I cannot tell you how sad I was to reach this magnificent triple-decker monolith's last page.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Probably too many to count. So I'm going to cheat and say The Cover Art of Blue Note Records, compiled by Graham Marsh, Glyn Callingham and Felix Crowley.
Book that changed your life:
There have been a few, but I think I'll go with On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I was around 14 or 15, I think. Probably the perfect time. But it told me things about writing, and the real world, and writing the real world, that I didn't know.
Favorite line from a book:
Many, but today it's this, from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter Thompson: "Buy the ticket, take the ride."
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind. I could not put that book down. To the point where I was reading it by torchlight in the back of a van on a midnight run to the airport for a flight to Italy.