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Summary

A smart, tight, provocative techno-thriller straight out of the very near future - by an iconic visionary writer.

Some people call it "abyss gaze". Gaze into the abyss all day and the abyss will gaze into you.

There are two types of people who think professionally about the future: Foresight strategists are civil futurists who think about geoengineering and smart cities and ways to evade Our Coming Doom; strategic forecasters are spook futurists, who think about geopolitical upheaval and drone warfare and ways to prepare clients for Our Coming Doom. The former are paid by nonprofits and charities, the latter by global security groups and corporate think tanks.

For both types, if you're good at it, and you spend your days and nights doing it, then it's something you can't do for long. Depression sets in. Mental illness festers. And if the abyss gaze takes hold there's only one place to recover: Normal Head, in the wilds of Oregon, within the secure perimeter of an experimental forest.

When Adam Dearden, a foresight strategist, arrives at Normal Head, he is desperate to unplug and be immersed in sylvan silence. But then a patient goes missing from his locked bedroom, leaving nothing but a pile of insects in his wake. A staff investigation ensues; surveillance becomes total. As the mystery of the disappeared man unravels in Warren Ellis's Normal, Adam uncovers a conspiracy that calls into question the core principles of how and why we think about the future - and the past, and the now.

©2016 Warren Ellis (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

interesting and convoluted

typical of a Warren Ellis book with great research and well thought out storyline. definitely one to listen to a few more times.

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A peek inside something larger.

A wonderful book, but I found it strangely lacking. It was a glance into something fascinating that I wish I could have spent more time inside. The world needed us to stick around for a bit longer.

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Good but a bit short and unsatisfactory

The narrator is a bit too soft in his voice; makes it hard to hear him when taking the train.
The story is classic Warren Ellis with the usual bunch of weird characters and philosophical monologues.

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Profile Image for M. A. Lewis
  • M. A. Lewis
  • 06-05-17

Delightfully, wickedly fun

Loved it! Great story, great read, will listen again! You should listen. Go now! Go!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for I.G.
  • I.G.
  • 19-04-17

A hint of crazy, dark, foreboding, and funny

Excellent performance, interesting story, with the futurist themes Ellis is best known for. Great read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for D.F. Matthews
  • D.F. Matthews
  • 23-02-17

Meh

This was a struggle and I really wanted to like it more. Nothing engaged me about the story. A collection of good ideas that never cultivated into anything.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-01-17

It's over?!

The story was good, I would have given it four, possibly even five stars, except that it felt like it was just getting started, and it was over! The book feels cut short, when it could have been carried on well beyond the last page. Hope it continues as a series, because this left me hanging.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Beverly Lynn Sterling
  • Beverly Lynn Sterling
  • 21-01-17

Thank you, Warren Ellis...time to disconnect...

As always, his vision of the future is thought provoking, wry, horrific & possible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Ben A
  • Ben A
  • 05-01-17

Great performance, standard Ellis

Any additional comments?

It seems like Ellis wrote this with something gnawing at him. He had a bunch of interesting thoughts clanging around in his skull and had to get them out. What that amounts to is the book "Normal."

Warren Ellis's stories, in particular this book and Crooked Little Vein, feature protagonists encountering characters who expound on various topics of interest. Each of these characters then gives a little TED talk about "how the world works" from their perspective, or something of particular significance to mankind. If you're ready for that, this is entertaining.

However, if you're looking for a lot to happen, you'll most likely be disappointed. For a rather short listen, this book is good enough for me and John Hodgman performs the text admirably.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for D. Kassiday
  • D. Kassiday
  • 08-12-16

Excellent and Disturbing

Normal is an outstanding new novel by Warren Ellis and a superb performance by John Hodgman. Wow. Listen to this now.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Ray Hecht
  • Ray Hecht
  • 30-11-17

Warren Ellis on apocalypsism? Yes please!

I could listen to Warren Ellis riff about End-of-the-World scenarios all day... and I'll take any narrative excuse at all to explore these Big Ideas. In true Ellis fashion, it's mind-boggingly smart and at once too short. Much to ponder. Also, often funny in that fucked up way.

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Profile Image for Matthew Bullock
  • Matthew Bullock
  • 03-08-17

Warren Ellis

"The only God I have is Danger Mouse". Best line in the whole book I say.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Kermit Woodall
  • Kermit Woodall
  • 16-03-17

Warren, please write longer & more complex novels!

I don't think any novel Warren Ellis has written really qualifies as anything other than a novella. They're all surprisingly short. It's especially true here where I feel like the story ends abruptly at what should have been the halfway point where your expectations are turned around leading to you an even niftier ending. I don't regret buying and reading any of them but I know that the same man who wrote Planetary and Transmetropolitan can plot a more complex and involving story.