There's a comic book called _Transmetropolitan_... a book for which
the words "comic book" are insufficient to convey the quality of the
story and writing that its author, Warren Ellis, has put into it. It's
one of those rare books that I can pick up and re-read _any_ time,
although it's difficult to read only part of it. I want to sit down and
absorb the whole story in one throw, every time.
The story is set hundreds of years down the road in The City, which is
an unholy commercial amalgam of every urban excess imaginable.
Everything is for sale, from nanoassembled Moravec life as a 'foglet' (a
cloud of nanomachines imprinted with a human mind) to Long Pig,
artificially vat grown human flesh. It's amazing simply as a
semi-dystopian view of human excess.
But... one issue, issue 8, "One Cold Morning", is a bit of storytelling
so painfully good that I have to force myself to re-read it each time I
indulge in a re-read of Transmetropolitan. It's the story of a
"revival," a 20th/21st century person who has been frozen in the
expectation that science will advance enough to heal their ills and
restore them to life, and it is tragic without pause. I can't convey it
here, because I'm not Warren Ellis, but in the man's own words:
> She was revived out of a sense of begrudging duty.
> She'd been foisted on a future already busy enough with its own
problems by a past that couldn't have cared less.
> She could have told the future what it'd been like to meet Che
Guevara in that old Cuban schoolhouse.
> She could've told them about the last Queen and Albert Einstein and
a million other true stories besides.
> But the future didn't want to know.
> Mary sticks to the alleyways, where the light and noise of the city
is screened out a little.
> And she talks to anyone who will listen. She tells of how she was
Revived: tells it in cold,
> terrible detail. She has a photographer's eye. She's made a little
documentary of her new
> life, up in her chilled head.
> And she tells stories of the past. Great rich warm human stories of
Stephen Hawking mapping
> the universe from a wheelchair, of dancing with children in Zimbabwe
dust and walking through
> Moscow with Mikhail Gorbachev... John Kennedy playing grabass in the
White House. Nelson
> Mandela laughing at dirty jokes on a Jo'Burg street, a kid walking
in front of a Chinese tank...
> The stories that make us great.
> Mary will live for maybe another century. But her story's over.
Because you wouldn't have it
> any other way.