inkwell.vue.461 : Warren Ellis - Gun Machine
permalink #51 of 57: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 6 Mar 13 16:29
Warren, I loved Gun Machine, from all angles. It was a special treat
to have the early history of NYC blended in such a sensory manner -
could just about taste and smell it. I'll never walk in The Ramble the
same way again.

Did the idea for the book 'drop' all at once? This seems to be one of
those books that you know the end before the beginning, due to the
precision of the plot. 

Any surprises while writing it?
inkwell.vue.461 : Warren Ellis - Gun Machine
permalink #52 of 57: Warren Ellis (warrenellis) Wed 6 Mar 13 18:31
Jon: memory fails.  I honestly can't remember how deeply into GUN
MACHINE I was when I wrote the CoCities Berlin talk.  I do remember
spending a lot of time reading about the Manhattan history -- there's a
perhaps surprisingly rich amount of material online, as well as some
useful maps, especially the Mannahatta Project one, at .
inkwell.vue.461 : Warren Ellis - Gun Machine
permalink #53 of 57: Warren Ellis (warrenellis) Wed 6 Mar 13 18:35
Ted: the "surprises" were mostly incidental stuff along the way, the
spaces between the plot beats that you leave open for serendipity and
inspiration.  Other such things were the sort of thing you get if you
live inside a character for long enough.  The bit where Tallow finds
out he's not invited to a certain event, for instance.  That bit just
happened, unplanned, because in the moment of writing I realised that
of COURSE he wouldn't be invited.

Once I'd built the central conceit, which came in layers -- the
history stuff, a borrowed structure, ideas from John Schoenfelder,
Tallow -- the general shape of the book, top to bottom, dropped pretty
much at once, aside from a few gaps in the middle.  But I like to leave
those for myself anyway, even though I curse myself for an idiot when
I reach them.  It's how I breathe a bit of life into the thing.
inkwell.vue.461 : Warren Ellis - Gun Machine
permalink #54 of 57: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 7 Mar 13 06:20
Thanks, that's the feeling I had reading it, that you had the
structure from the beginning, but there were all these aha moments
along the way, that I thought might even have surprised you. A real
treat. This is one of those books that just envelops the reader as you
enter the 'world'. The hunter's psychosis adds that layer of another
perceived reality which changed how I read the book entirely, as well
as a kind of archaeological understanding of NYC as it actually is.
That was truly a gift. Thanks again.

Was this an entirely different writing experience for you? I like that
you leave gaps to put some flesh on the bones. First time I've heard
an author mention the frustration of doing that. Wonder if you could
talk a bit about how that whole process of moving from an idea to the
life of a book works for you. 

Have you ever abandoned a writing project because it just didn't come
inkwell.vue.461 : Warren Ellis - Gun Machine
permalink #55 of 57: Patrick Di Justo (justpat) Thu 7 Mar 13 08:42
I want to thank everyone who participated in this talk about Warren
Ellis's new book Gun Machine!  A special thanks to Warren himself, for
taking the time to do this!

This conference technically ends at midday today -- which for me is a
few minutes from now, for Warren was several hours ago, and for many of
you is several hours from now. The topic will remain open, but there
probably won't be any more questions answered.

Once again, thanks to everyone for taking part!
inkwell.vue.461 : Warren Ellis - Gun Machine
permalink #56 of 57: David Wilson (dlwilson) Thu 7 Mar 13 09:31
Hi Warren, I'm coming late to the party, just finishing Gun Machine. 
I especially liked the aura of precolonial and colonial Manhattan that
you evoked. Just getting the origin of the street names is worth the
ride.  The poking through the ecology of Central Park was also up
there.  I knew all about the Leni Lenape Indians because I grew up
across the Hudson in New Jersey.  I know people who have vague and
unfocused claims to Indian ancestry and it is important to them.  Also
there were closed off communities of mixed remnant Indian populations
living in the Ramapo Mountains.  They were called "Jackson Whites."

I also really liked your discussion of the "tao of cop shows" and how
you worked that into the narrative.  Everything is morally compromised
so when we see someone fixing a little bit of it, it restores our sense
of order.  Most people don't get to do that if at all.  Your one
reference to Stringer Bell from "The Wire" was a killer well placed

I liked the police procedural part of the novel but I'm a critical
sonofabitch and really didn't like that there were too many
coincidences between the bad guy characters and the cops.

inkwell.vue.461 : Warren Ellis - Gun Machine
permalink #57 of 57: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 7 Mar 13 13:28
Thanks to all who joined our discussion of _Gun Machine_, and thanks
especially to Warren Ellis for making time to hang out with us over the
last couple of weeks. 

Here's a link for _Gun Machine_ at Amazon:

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