Comicsphere: Doktor Sleepless by Warren Ellis
I have been reading and re-reading this series, checking out the wiki, the talk threads to see whether or not this idea that keeps striking me has turned up anywhere and it hasn’t. Why hasn’t it occured to someone else? Perhaps I missed it or perhaps the idea is totally offbase.
I think Doktor Sleepless might just be about Warren Ellis himself. I think that he is satirising his own position as internet jesus with the ‘science jesus’ of the title. Doktor Sleepless left tools around for the Grinders to do things for themselves and Ellis left around the ideological freeware as he called it for us to do something for ourselves. Ellis is constantly offering people tools as ways to reclaim their culture and take a vital role in shaping their future. He has grinding.be
set up and that is both future spotting and creating its own subculture.
The disappointment of Sleepless is cradled within the very real disappointment with where we are technologically that Ellis sometimes expresses. John Reinhardt possibly has a tulpa called Doktor Sleepless which is off doing the things he wanted done, perhaps operating outside his control. Could this not be a look at how Ellis sometimes see his online personality? Twitter as Clatter is easy. Cafepress as Cafeprint is easy. Online personality as his own personal tulpa gone wild? A thought-form that sometimes appears independent of himself? Not so easy to believe, eh?
People will listen to a cartoon character. Who’s afraid of Doktor Sleepless? No one.
Of course there are elements of the story that have nothing to do with this theory. It would of course be a jump off point for the discussion that the book really wants to get into — how to bring on the future we all deserve. Except does that stray so far from the idea that Sleepless is Ellis? With his websites and by creating a book that shapes how people look and think about the future isn’t Ellis engaging in his own brand of immanentising?
And all the talk of eschaton — is that necessarily death in the sense of a final death or of one followed by rebirth? The first death in the book is DJ Amun, named for a sun god called the creator god who is killed at the thought of his own aborted child worn as jewellery.
Is Doktor Sleepless Ellis own version of Morrison’s supersigil? A way of creating something in our reality by putting it on the page. This span through my head more than once, actually popped into my head again as I woke in the night (oh the irony of being woken by Doktor Sleepless) and it could all be the biggest pile of bollocks I have ever written. But maybe not.