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Warren Ellis has written around thirty graphic novels, comics, prose fiction, journalism, videogames and screenplays. Sometimes he take photographs. He also creates and co-creates websites, including this one. He has awards and stuff, he's been in big magazines and newspapers, and he's been published in NATURE, which he always mentions because it makes him laugh.

Warren Ellis is represented by agent Angela Cheng Caplan at Writers & Artists and manager Aaron Michiel. He's a consultant to artbomb.net and opi8.com He's on the web at warrenellis.com, strangemachine.com and diepunyhumans.com. He's thirty four and lives in England and he never ever sleeps. Never.

Recent Columns:

Missed a column? Here are links to recent Brainpowered's:

36: Things Online That I Am Sick Of

35: A Foul Collection

34: Monetising The Fringe

33: Walking Camera

32: Microcast

31: All You Need Is Hate

30: Nothing Happened

29: New Spectator Sport

28: While I've Been Gone

27: Webcomics' Second Coming

26: Grey Fog

25: Notes From the Futureground

24: Saving Fantagraphics

23: Manhwa

22: Turning Point - The Anatomy Lesson

21: Planet Artbomb

20: The Ducks

19: Moving Books

18: Searchlight

17: Online

16: Singles

15: "03"

14: Nowhere Girl

13: The Full Head Tingle

12: Alternity

11: NoCal

10: Land of the Lotus Eaters

09: Five Thousand Miles

08: Norway

07: Nearly a Revolution

06: Mists of Time

05: Closing the WEF

04: Speed

03: Haircut Boy

02: The History Man

01: Firing Up


25: Notes From the Futureground

Matt and Kelly Sue have futurephones. So does my friend Lauren. It started when I got an email from Matt reading "my phone is the space phone", with a photo of him and Kelly Sue attached. They're usually called picturephones here in Britain -- mobile phones with camera built in, and a bit of something that lets you email them out. We just call 'em futurephones. Jean Snow in Tokyo has been beaming shots from his futurephone on to his website for a little while. Joi Ito's been doing it a while longer. LA woman Xeni Jardin just started, and is catching some really good stuff -- a mechanic talking to a car computer with a laptop, wardriving with mad geeks stealing wireless access in a car tricked out with weird tech, a rare sighting of Phil Spector out and about wrapped in a black velvet cape.

I have no futurephone. It is very sad. If I could get my handheld computer bit to talk to my wireless modem bit, I could probably fake it, but my bits don't want to talk to each other.

One of the things I like about graphic novels is that they're relatively quick publishing. Sf author Cory Doctorow was marvelling, when I saw him last Sunday, that I wrote the foreword for ORBITER in February and the book saw print in April. "If I'd done this in books, it would have seen print in like 2008."

Futurephones, and wireless computers, are instant publishing. Jean Snow's site is a particular indication of the future, having three streams of publishing, from text diary to hi-res photography to futurephone shots. I think Kelly Sue's looking at something similar, setting up her futurephone to publish to a sidebar on her site, a rolling stream of where she is and what she's seeing.

It's referred to as "moblogging", for mobile weblogs -- hideous bloody word. But as more smart creative people get hold of this technology, the more chance there is of an immense potential being realised.

An awful lot of the creators featured on this site started out photocopying their work into mini-books and selling them the next day. That was as instant as things got, which was really pretty bloody impressive. I remember when photocopiers were the size of a dining table. I also remember when they got down to the size of a packing crate and started appearing in corner shops, where you could use them for, say, five pence a copy. Five minutes later, Eddie Campbell would be down there with his new mini-comic, doing a deal with the old boy behind the counter and banging off two hundred copies. And then spending all night binding them by hand, by agency of firing a small stapler through the spine and into a polystyrene ceiling tile, taking it out and bending the arms of the staples over with his thumbs. At the London comics markets where they were sold by agency of Paul Gravett and Peter Stanley's Fast Fiction stall, there'd be fifty people standing around with grey bruised thumbs, trying not to drop their pints.

(And Alan Moore, in an immaculate white suit and a white silk fedora, buying one of everything and telling everyone to keep going.)

This was creative people taking advantage of a technology that had made it down to consumer level -- the same place futurephones are now.

Web publishing is getting interesting again. It may not prove useful for my particular medium, but the idea of it certainly powers my brain. And there's always the possibility that if you can take an image out of a futurephone and put it on a website, then maybe you can push images off a website and into a futurephone...

-- Warren

Warren Ellis can be reached at brainpowermail@aol.com. BRAINPOWERED is copyright (c) 2002-2004 Warren Ellis. All rights reserved.

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