Philip Sandifer wrote a sharp critique of The Invisibles. Here’s a bit about the role of chaos magic in the book and how it, although as he notes it has been around since the 70s, rose to prominence in the 90s:
Chaos magic is magic for libertarians. It sprung up, unsurprisingly, in the late nineties because it was a flavor particularly suitable for the techno-libertarians who disproportionately dominated the early Internet. And it was, in hindsight, a complete and utter bust. It’s just another flavor of the Heinlein-style science fiction that animated Babylon 5 and space opera in general. It amounts to Robert Heinlein in fetish gear, which is mostly just redundant.
Full Story: TARDIS Eruditorum: Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 52 (The Invisibles)
I’m not sure if he’s referring to chaos magic or The Invisibles as “Robert Heinlein in fetish gear,” but either one seems appropriate. It hits on one of the paradox’s of Morrison’s work, which is that on the one hand he dismisses the idea of individuality as silly Western Thoughts, but simultaneously spouts individualist and libertarian rhetoric.
He adds in the comments:
I thought about dealing with Lord Fanny. But that involves getting into Grant Morrison’s frankly shameful engagement with transgender issues, and that’s really far afield. And just makes me angry. […]
It’s not even that Fanny herself is bad. It’s that she fits into a larger and virulently transphobic context on Morrison’s part in which he casually deploys offensive slurs and appropriates trans experiences. It’s really astonishingly vile, and gets at the almost sociopathic narcissism that I find so infuriating about him. I think it’s very rare that Morrison manages an ounce of humanity in his work.
Sandifer wrote more on what was good and bad about The Invisibles in his piece on Lawrence Miles’ Dead Romance. He also wrote about Grant Morrison’s Doctor Who comics, which also touches on the rivalry between Morrison and Alan Moore.
All of this is part of Sandifer’s massive ongoing critique of Doctor Who, which he promises to follow in a few years with an in-depth look at the Morrison/Moore.
See also: Invisible Sexuality: Lord Fanny and the Gender Question
February 3, 2013 at 4:30 pm
I think it’s unfair to claim Morrison is appropriating trans experiences in his writing, considering he’s talked multiple times about his experiences with transvestism when he was younger (there are pictures around too) – obviously it’s not the same as being transsexual, but it still gives him some license to write about the abuse people who don’t read as fitting into the conventional gender narrative experience. Also, part of the reason minority groups are disadvantaged is because the majority of writers (who are privileged) don’t include anything other than cis white people in their work, leading to under-representation and thus fear of the unknown and the defining of individuals in such groups by their most obvious differences rather than viewing them as complex human beings.