Reader reviews for Crooked Little Vein

Brilliant; a mystery that defies description and sucks up your life until it's completed. A perfect read for those who need something to tear them away from the computer, but wish their brains, philosophical souls, and their loins stimulated in equal measure. Stop reading my words and start reading Ellis' instead. You'll buy me a bottle of whisky later in thanks for the recommendation. No, I'm serious: buy me the f***ing liquor, you douche bag!
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There's a million reviews out there for this and so I'll make this one short: I've never seen perversion so gleeful.There are a couple of patches where it doesn't work, but overall, Ellis knows how to use his ability to write fantastically tight and sharp short pieces to make an entire novel. It's vignette-y, but it ties together. It's a quick read because it pulls you in and chokes you lovingly until it's done.
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Rating: 3.5* of fiveThe Book Report: How bad can a day get? Mike McGill can tell you, and he'd be right. But he doesn't know *exactly* how bad a day can be until the White House Chief of Staff (bear in mind the book came out in 2007, adjust your mental compass, and go from there) walks into his office with a deal he can't refuse.Hey, after waking up naked in your office chair with a rat pissing in your coffee mug, why would anyone refuse any deal?So Mike gets a half million dollars in expense money, a "handheld computer" that hinges open (nothing ages worse than hi-tech), a phone number to call in case of emergency (555-555-5555, "we invented that, son, and gave it to Hollywood, but it really works for *us*"), and some new clothes, and starts following cold leads into seamy, icky, disgusting corners of the world that I choose to believe the sickfuckopath (© 2011 Stephen Sullivan, used by permission) who dreamt up this horrifying little odyssey invented whole and entire, in search of a magical copy of the United States Constitution that Ben Franklin had bound in the hide of an alien he killed during his embassy to Paris. A copy of the Constitution that Nixon, during his Vice Presidential stint, traded to a Chinese spy for sex.It goes without saying that clearly we're not in 1+1=2 reality any more, and all expectations needs must be recalibrated accordingly.I can't and won't reproduce the course of the hero through the obstacles and labors set in his path, the trickster god making paths smooth and then throwing turmoil into his journey, the monsters and the temptations and the Bright Shining Goal suddenly losing its luster...this is the Hero's Journey. Google it if need be. It's well done, and it's laugh-out-loud funny for 2/3 of its length and it's got the currently fashionable pseudolibertarian underpinnings that have such wide appeal.But Crooked Little Vein winds its way through a very, very old forest on a well-watered course.My Review: Wherein the ding in my rating from 4.5, to 4, to an ending of 3.5 stars of five. It's a lot of fun, and the narrator of this edition (it's not next to me and I'm too damn lazy to get up and see what his name is) does a really really good job with it. But I stopped laughing after the Baby Jesus Butt Plug incident came damn close to getting me hospitalized from lack of oxygen.A Quest has a material purpose, where the Hero's Journey does not. When the Hero goes on a Journey, he's looking for wisdom, he's undergoing a rite of passage, he's serving a cause; and when he's on a Quest, he's looking for an object. Mike does both. That's sloppy storytelling. Yes, of course it's true that all Quests return wisdom as one of their take-aways, but the material object of the Quest remains valuable in and of itself. This book sets up a Quest. It delivers the Hero's Journey.And it's a little too in love with its edgy, wacked-out sensibility. One character Mike meets on a flight from Las Vegas to LA is so extremely over-the-toply A Mouthpiece For A Message that I almost gave up and returned the CDs to the library. He gave away the most gratuitous seeming twist in the ending that I didn't like on aesthetic, moral, or practical grounds, buried in a mound of trash talk that I just didn't like at all because, well, damn.Should I recommend a book I'm so conflicted about? Well...Mike's journey comes to an end with, amazingly, his bank account full, his heart open, and his ya-ya in use for the foreseeable future. Find me a man who doesn't like that ending.
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Warren Ellis proudly dangles his genius in our faces again with this one. If you're from the internet, like me, nothing in this book will be particularly shocking. The imagery is wonderful and you'll be chuckling knowingly as you read his prose.If you aren't from the internet, however, you should probably either avoid this book completely or read alone with the curtains drawn. Not that it's overtly sexual, but you're not going to want the guy next to you on the bus reading over your shoulder.Not recommended for children, children at heart, the childish, or the crotchety.
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A fun, quick read. Like a noir/fetish-porn/snarky-Michael-Moore-documentary triple feature where the projector is very confused about which reel goes next. Ellis hates the American Underground only slightly less than he hates the American Mainstream. I understand how he feels.
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This is a wonderful example of an author adding profanity and sexual fetishes in an attempt to add interest and edge. Elements of the story and the characters seem to not have been fully developed. It seems as if the author was making an attempt to portray a political/social satire, but not achieved. These stereotypical characters make the book tedious. There is some humor in the book that almost makes it bearable.
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I had no prior notion who Warren Ellis is, but many a froth-mouthed fanboy was praising him and his apparently extensive oeuvre of comic books, mostly, but also, among other things, this literary novel, Crooked Little Vein. Therefore I didn't have any preconceptions about what to expect and so by golly was I in for a big surprise! I never could have believed it would be such a snoozefest! Ellis wastes way too much time and effort trying to gross out the reader with irrelevant little sexual vignettes, neglecting plot and characters completely. We get the usual cyberpunkish dark sassy smartass girlfriend-sidekick, combination of the bad girl you jerked off to in high school (and still do; admit it) and your sarcastic best friend. The male hero is your usual thirtyish everyman with an unlucky streak and no discernible qualities. Furthermore, even an outrageously over-the-top story is allowed to make some sense; I would have liked a bit more plot in my holes. Eww, gross.It was a really fast read, on account of it being very short and with a badly rushed ending. I'm sure a less jaded person would have vomited a little in their own mouth, but unfortunately I barely lifted an eyebrow at the Godzilla bukkake and it was all downhill from there. Being a pacifist and all, I still wanted to pound the "witty" narrator's face in many times. Truth be told, I did also let go a guffaw a couple of times. Moderately entertaining, but I couldn't be anything but blasé about it. Weird internet porn and criticism of the Bush regime; yawn, that's so 2007.
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Warren Ellis takes a seed from traditional hardboiled detective stock and germinates it in soil composted from some of the strangest niches of the Internet. The tale reads like Hunter S. Thompson after twenty years on the Fortean Times beat.The McGuffin in the story is a secret, backup Constitution to the United States that was lost decades ago under salacious circumstances, and our hero, Michael McGill, is hired to get it back because he's a natural magnet for bizarre circumstances. The trail leads him through some of the most unusual fleshpots of urban America, and anyone who has followed Ellis' weblog will know that he isn't even making up half of it.I laughed my way through the book because I've exposed my brain to so many disturbing things that this read was just an entertaining way to see them put together. If you aren't already acquainted with some of the more peculiar extremes of human behavior, however, this book may be more than a little unsettling. (I already told my wife she doesn't want to read it, and only had to read a single choice sentence to convince her.)
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A trivial and deeply unserious pseudo-noir. Sex scenes that pretend to be perverted, but are actually conventional and predictable, and at least one of which is stolen directly from Pasolini's Salo. Halfhearted attempts at political relevance end clumsily, and the entire last half of the novel feels highly rushed.
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Crooked Little Vein was disappointing. It's understandable, but disappointing - it's the book you'd write if you wanted to take what makes Ellis Ellis in the comics world, and present it to people who've never come across it before. I'd be interested to see what people who've never read any Ellis before thought of it, but I was glad to be done with it. More than anything else it reads like a fictionalised version of his blogs, with a loose narrative linking together a succession of 'Freaks and Geeks Wot I Did Find on the Internet'. It's remarkably generic and derivative of his own work, which leaves the whole thing feeling stale and unpleasant. He's capable of so much more. The main thing in its favour is that it's so short, light and frothy that it could be read and disposed of in no time at all. Eminently forgettable.There's an entirely unfunny scene with testicles being injected with saline.
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