Back in 2020 I found out that Warren Ellis had committed acts of sexual coercion, according to the testimony of several women he had known in his past. Much to his credit, he did come to terms with the women he had had relationships with, mostly facilitated through this website which was launched in 2020. Through a truth-and-reconciliation styled open dialogue, it appears that Ellis was able to sort it all out, although for many I imagine it's hard to forgive and move on.
Since then, I continued to purchase used hardcovers and trades of Ellis' work, secretly hoping for his eventual absolution. (Thankfully, that seems to have happened, generally, in the court of public opinion.) And what I've found is a consistent narrative trend in his work that elevates characters of varying ethnic and cultural backgrounds. While the counter-cultures of LGBTQAI+, Anarchists, Marxists, Punk (Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Raypunk, et al), and others have existed in some niche form or another, I am confident that Ellis involved himself in those circles long before "it was cool" to do so. Of course, I realize that this is suspiciously the equivalent of the "I'm-not-racist-because-I-have-a-black-friend" argument, but credit where credit's due.
I think I enjoy Ellis' style mostly for it's playfulness.
There are other writers out there that are very good at this, like Tom King and Patrick Rothfuss. Even Umberto Eco, on occasion, would have some really funny repartee going on between characters in the midst of a long debate about medieval philosophy. Levity in conversation is its own reward, but when the discussion is high and elevated, the shift in tone is a good reminder that, at the end of the day, we are just reading a story somewhere while the real heroes are out saving lives and making sure our transit systems don't derail (figuratively and literally). Ellis exceeds all expectation when he is doing this. For example, Ignition City features this exchange:
And most of his books feature numerous instances of this.
In general, he strikes me as someone who has "done the reading," so to speak, when it comes to various topics. For example, in FreakAngels, Ellis frequently discusses aspects of engineering and technology at work in a flooded post-apocalyptic London, such as renewable power generation and rooftop greenhouse farming. While I'm mostly certain that he is not a trained scientist and engineer, the ideas he leverages are based on real ideas and theories. It never seems like technobabble, that is.
My only gripe with Ellis is his audacity to start a very good story and ultimately never finish it. Ignition City, Trees, and Injection are both such examples. He also has a tendency to abruptly end stories, which can be traumatizing (in the most hyperbolic sense). However, to his credit, he was able to finish Castlevania, which ended rather wholesomely, despite the breadth of material covered in the show. His novel, Gun Machine also had a rather satisfying ending.
On a whole, despite his past, my appreciation for his unique brand of storytelling has increased. He's consistent and delivers on a regular basis: the dream of all writers and readers.