Morning folks, it’s a lovely day and I thought I’d take this brief moment to slap a few words down on the page since it’s been a good, busy month, some cool things have happened and I’m about to embark on a project I’ve been salivating about for quite some time.The Time of Legends continues
Anyway, to begin with I’ve recently had my copies of Empire delivered, and mighty fine they look too. Empire is the second in the Sigmar trilogy, and is in many ways it’s a darker book. I know these days people are contractually bound to make sequels darker, but this one is darker in what I feel is a more necessary way. Looking at the arc of the three books, I look at them as thematically representing the three ages of Man. I know that sounds very pompous, but bear with me. Heldenhammer is the ‘Child’ part of the trilogy, where the characters are bursting with optimism, full of hope for the future and suffused with the immortality of the young. Empire is the ‘Grown Man’ book where the some of the edge of teir optimism has been worn down by life experiences, concerns of family, mortality and the looming threat of age rearing its head. I haven’t written the final book yet – I’m not scheduled to start that until early next year – but I already see that as the ‘Autumn Years’ book, where the characters are staring death in the face (literally), and are looking back over their lives with a sensation of things coming to an end. That makes it sound like the third book is going to be really depressing, and it will be full of darkness, but I also expect it to be uplifting and triumphant.
So, to celebrate the release of Empire, I’m going to be doing a signing in Warhammer World early in August (most likely the 1st, but check back and/or keep an eye on the Black Library website for confirmation and times).A Signing in Bristol
While we’re on the subject of signings, I’m going to be visiting the South West soon. I’ll be appearing at Games Workshop Cribbs Causeway in Bristol on Saturday the 18th of July. I’ll be there from 1pm to 3pm (and possibly a little longer), so I hope to see you there! You can contact the store on 0117 959 2520 for more details.Iron Warrior
But…as I said, Iron Warrior is finished. And what, pray tell, is Iron Warrior, I hear you ask. Well, it’s something of a new venture, and I don’t want to say too much, but I think you’re going to really like it. No prizes for guessing which traitor legion it’s about, but the stuff the design guys have got going on for this book is making my mouth water just thinking about it.
Okay, to give you a little taster of the book, here’s a few lines from Chapter 1.“Only that the Thrice Born is the bane of the Gatekeeper of Zalathras,” said Honsou, letting his frustration show as Moriana crouched beside the purple fire. “And that it would rise again in the Time of Ending to wreak bloody revenge on those who paid homage to his sons.”
There, don’t say I’m not good to you. And as that project sails off into the editorial sunset, my attentions turn to A Thousand Sons, my latest Horus Heresy novel.A Thousand Sons
I’ve written the synopsis for A Thousand Sons, got the characters sorted in my mind, and have planned out the themes and approach I want to take to its style and vibe. So, with the opening monologue written, it’s full speed ahead to get as much done before our first baby arrives. I’ve asked Anita if she can hold onto the little tyke for a couple of weeks, as that would really help me out with my deadlines, but she just gave me a funny look.
As with any Heresy book, I’m really excited about getting into this one, as we’ve had several meetings about this and all things Heresy. The stuff Dan Abnett and I have planned for these books are, even if I do say so, mind-blowing. The story of the Space Wolves and the Thousand Sons you think you know is like catching a fragment of a tv show when you flick onto the channel just before the credits roll. There’s so much more going on that we’ve worked into the story that enhances it, embellishes it, gives it meaning and depths we couldn’t have imagined when we started, but which all fits neatly into the existing storyline. It’s a fragile, finely balanced thing at the moment, existing only as fantastic concepts, and I just hope I can do justice to the amazing things we have planned.
And in a seamless leap from A Thousand Sons to other matters Heresy. If you’ve been reading the blogs of various BL writers or keeping up with events on the BL site, then you’ll know that we had a Horus Heresy meeting a few weeks ago. As usual, it was a fantastic day, with ideas and concepts thrown onto the table that are, no word of a lie, goose-bump moments when I think of what they mean to the background. It all fits, it all makes sense, it doesn’t materially change the Imperium of the 41st Millennium, but boy does it skew your perception of it. Naturally, after such a tease, I can’t actually tell you anything about it, though it’s given me no end of gentle amusement to see how people have reacted to the words: ‘Dark Ages of the Horus Heresy’, deciding that it’s the wrong phrase for something when we’ve given them no clues as to what it is. Trust me, it’s the right phrase and when we get onto that part of the story, you’ll be gasping for air, since we’ll have taken your breath away.WFRP 3
A coupe of weeks ago, our regular roleplaying group was privileged enough to playtest 3rd Edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. The guys from Fantasy Flight Games were over at Games Workshop HQ, and Jay Little very kindly did a show and tell for us over at Alessio Cavatore’s house, where we saw how much the game has changed from its previous incarnation. Our gaming group has been going for some time and we were all interested to see what was new with WFRP, since we’d playtested the previous edition also. It was in interesting evening, and the game was very different to anything I’ve played before, with a lot of table space taken up by character sheets, action and ability cards, dice etc. It felt like a strange hybrid of board game and roleplaying game at first, but once the notions of the new mechanics took hold, it felt very natural. Likewise, the new dice pool system felt odd at first, but once we’d rolled a few dice it immediately became very intuitive, which is surely the holy grail of any roleplaying system.
By the time we’d despatched the goblins and rescued the coachman, we didn’t have much time left to play out the more interpersonal encounters of the intro game, but we’d already gotten our heads around the system and were already looking to develop our characters – which is a good sign in any playtest. Overall, I really liked the changes to the game, and it makes a nice change from sitting with my Players Handbook and a grubby character sheet. I’m liking what Jay has done with the game, and there’s a clear desire to make it fit properly with the Warhammer World, where a lot of the previous edition’s books, with the best will in the world, just didn’t.Romance beckons
As I mentioned in my last post about BookExpo America, the ladies of the Romance Writers of America took a keen interest in the gothic horror of the 40k universe. True to their word, I was sent a book; Sleepless at Midnight by Jacquie D’Allesandro. It looks exactly as I’d imagined, with a winsome heroine wrapped in a gossamer sheet on the front cover, with a big, shirtless guy embracing her on the inner cover. I’ve not read it yet, but I intend to, as it’s only right and proper. The ladies of the RWA were so nice to me that it’s the least I can do to read the book after Jacquie was good enough to send her book across the Atlantic. What ramifications this will have for the worlds of Warhammer of 40k I can’t say, but don’t expect to see a book with the subtitle, “The heat of battle was no match for the heat of their passion…”Random stuff
Anita and I went with some friends to see AC/DC at Wembley Stadium last Friday, and what a great gig that was! The boys rocked the place (though their sound system was a bit crap to begin with) and played a set that, with the exception of a smattering of songs from the new album, was pretty much the same set they’ve played for the last twenty years. And thank the Brazen Gods of Metal for that. We had the fifteen-minute solo from Angus Young, the striptease at The Jack, the finale of Highway to Hell and For Those About to Rock. Just what I’d been looking forward to. Anita fled the final song, as the booming cannons seemed to be upsetting the little one she’s carrying, but I say it’s acclimatisation for the rock it’ll be hearing when it decides to make an appearance.
We also went to see Terminator Salvation, which I’d heard mixed reviews of, but which we went to with an open mind. I have to say, I really enjoyed it and thought it was an excellent kick up the backside of a franchise that had somewhat stalled after T3 (an average movie that simply retreads the ground of T2, and is only saved by its utterly killer ending). I’ve only seen a few episodes of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but wasn’t impressed by it, so it was with real relish that I watched this movie break out of the conventional ‘chase’ structure and become its own movie, with everyone getting to do cool stuff, be it Moon Bloodgood’s fighter pilot, Marcus the Terminator or John Connor himself. And it was nice to see ‘Arnie’ in the movie, albeit as a digitally mapped face on another body. The only bit where I though there was an opportunity missed was the ending. I liked the ending, it was good, it fitted the story and keeps us trundling on to the next movie, but I was left with a lingering sensation that there was a better ending in there…[SPOILER ALERT – DON’T READ ON IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE!]
At the end of the movie, when John Connor and the Arnie Terminator are battling in the Terminator production facility, Connor gets badly skewered by a spike of metal and is close to death. Marcus saves the day and kills the bad guy Terminator. And here was a moment where, had the writer/director/studio had been bold enough they could have done something wonderful. I, and I’m sure others, saw the potential for John Connor dying at this moment and Marcus taking his face for his own. How cool would that be? No-one else was there to see it, and who’d have blinked an eye to see John Connor staggering from the wreckage? The idea that the ‘John Connor’ who goes on to save humanity from the machines was himself a Terminator had me smiling all the way home. It fits perfectly, doesn’t mess with continuity and would have phenomenal dramatic potential in the later movies, leading to real weighty issues, like what it means to be human, the truth of identity and whether a machine can truly evolve.
Now, I heard bits and pieces of a ‘controversial’ ending to the movie before it was even finished, and if this is what it was originally intended to be, then I’m disappointed they didn’t go for it – though I’m not surprised. It smacks of the raging fanboy outcry that derails so many well-intentioned movies. Directors and movie-makers should just ignore the fans and make the movie they want to make. Sounds harsh, but look what happened to Wolverine, Blade Trinity and Spiderman 3 when the fans clamoured for cameos from their favourite characters or studios insisted on the inclusion of villains who didn’t need to be there (or demanded potential for spin offs). Wolverine was hamstrung by the introduction of too many characters who added nothing to the story and were simply introduced as sops to the fans. The result? None of them were served as well as their characters demanded, and the whole movie became a sprawling mess that lost its focus. It’s a Wolverine movie, I want to be about Wolverine. It’s a Blade movie, I want it to be about Blade, not some naff vampire hunting team who may or may not get a spin off. Keep your focus, ignore the fans, stay true to the lore and get on with making the movie that needs to be made.Competition Winner
A while back I ran a competition to give away a copy of Mechanicum signed to ‘The Bob’. Looking at the entries, I’ve decided to give the book to Elenaria, for this response:++Begin transmission++
It would be like sacred oil to the cogitators of Adept Bob, youngest brother-adept of Runepriest Elenaria, to in his archive have the holy tome of Mechanicum signed with his name, by the revered Fabricator General McNeill.
++All praise the Omnissiah++
Elenaria, drop me a line through the website with your address and I’ll get the book and a few other goodies posted out to you.Reader ResponsesAlexander “Scud”:
Thanks for the kind words on The Last Church, it’s a story that seems to have gone down well with folk. And I hadn’t heard about that movie, but it’s one I think I’ll definitely check out.Sam:
We are well indeed, thanks. That was very much the challenge I set myself, to tell an interesting story without any guns blazing or chainswords chopping. Great review too and the site’s looking good.Bastiaan:
Thanks for the congratulations, much appreciated. Glad you liked The Killing Ground, and hope you enjoy the building towards the third book in the arc (Iron Warrior will give you some clues as to what to expect). Hopefully the above post will shed some light on the Heresy (though probably not…) but, trust me, Dan and I have some great things planned, some you’ll never expect, and others that will leave your jaw hanging slackly… And I will do my best to continue with books you enjoy.Steven G:
Yeah, I’ve read a bit of World War Z, when I snuck a read of a few pages when Kirsten Williams left it next to her suitcase on the way back from Games Day Chicago. It looked really interesting, so I guess I should pick up a copy. And as much as I loved Australia, the USA does hold a special place in my heart. I love going over there and there’s something about American cities and American people I really like.Dju:
Really? Scandalous that you don’t have a copy. I’m make sure Matt has one to take back to France after Games Day this year, though I have a chunky French version of the book on my shelf now too. Thanks Natalie!Jeff Hall:
Yeah, great to see you and Jason and the rest of the lads in Baltimore. Looking forward to the next time, as it was a blast chatting at the event and in the bar afterwards.Xhalax:
An Adeptus Mechanicus costume…now that would have been great. Oh, well, just have to spot you with a frog bag/sheep bag or will there be a new animal bag this year?Gav:
It may well have been, but I think I see what books you have in your shelf near where you write. Explains a lot…
On the Reading Stand:
I’ve just finished George Mann’s excellent The Affinity Bridge, which was a thrilling adventure in steampunk Victorian England. Well worth a read, so hustle to your nearest bookstore and procure yourself a copy! With that book finished, I’m hip deep in the collected comics of The Savage Sword of Conan 1, which I borrowed from Alessio a while back and have only now got round to reading.On the Hi-fi:
As I type this, I’m listening to Fear Factory, but Rebel Meets Rebel, Soulfly and Bloodsimple have been getting some good airtime.
Okay, that’s enough bloggage for one day. Talk to you soon, hopefully at one of the signings…so keep your diary free on the 18th of July if you’re anywhere near Cribbs Causeway, the 1st of August if you’re near Warhammer World.