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Strong and weak points of BL authors


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#1
AekoldHelbrass

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Black Library authors are in really bad position, because there are a lot of them and they are writing usually the same things but from different narratives/perspectives. It is hard not to compare them, even on subconcious level. And reading multiple books of the same author thoughts keep coming that strong and weak points of certain authors go through all of their novels.
 
So, is it only me or you noticed the same thing? Here is my short list, plus maybe some advices I would give them as a fanboy and narrow-minded reader (meaning that I'm not reading anything else, only BL novels, for couple of years now).
 
James Swallow. It is very easy to start from him, I haven't seen a single weakness in his novels. That amazing feeling when you can completely forget that you're reading one man's imagination. The main advice I would give him: "Shut up and take my money!"
 
Dan Abnett. His characters are thought-through, easy to read (which I can point out especially, since english is not my native), and usually when you see his name on the novel - you should not have any doubt spending money. The only thing that looks strange to me is that usually he is not interested in writing events on epic scale, most of his novels are ... how to say it... in "adventure" genre, with subgenres of "action-adventure". "Know No Fear" is exception here. And to be honest, I feel grieve that he did not write "A Thousand Sons", I honestly believe that the book would be stunning in his writing.
 
Graham McNeill. I would say that he is the only BL author who mastered epic-scale event, as we can see by Storm of Iron. Unfortunately, in his novels characters are usually plain and hard to distinguish (except for Veneful Spirit, that one is amazing in all aspects). And what is usually the worst in his novels, instead of playing to his strength he tries to overcome his weaknesses. I remember it all so well now, when Aaron Dembski-Bowden wrote on his blog that he hates Dan Abnett for perfect depicture of Horus, in the very next novel which was "A Thousand Sons" McNeill tried to describe the godly being himself, resulting it number of frowns, constantly ressurecting the thought "ah, yes, that's McNeill writing, right...", which is quite unpleasant. So I would really advice him to forget about characters, use them only as story fillers, better show that cool thing you do better than others.
PS: Another issue with his recent works, I cannot get rid of feeling that he drains up the world 40k players have. Introducing number of characters in HH novels, telling the story so it seems there were no other significant characters in whole Iron Warriors Legion, then killing them all for no reason in Honsou novels. I honestly do not understand that, there is no idea I can see behing Honsou story except for killing all the significant Iron Warriors characters, claiming them forever for himself only... Please don't do that again.
 
Aaron Dembski-Bowden. It is hard to say anything about him, his novels are so different I would easily believe they were written by different authors. Talon of Horus (I haven't finished yet, but...) is stunning, Emperor's Gift is THE novel that will turn you from despiting GK to loving them. The First Heretic probably is the hardest of those, he really did the impossible, he was able to describe Word Bearers as positive characters. But Night Lords novels... I will skip my personal opinion about novels themselves, but single constant mistake can now be visible: in all NL novels and in First Heretic there are moments when A D-B wants to describe someone as being really cool. That someone enters the room, kicks someone else, goes out... Or something similar to that, demonstratively useless move to show his superiority. That screams into my ears "I don't know how to describe it properly, but this scene should show you that this guy is really cool.", again constantly reminding that it is a novel written by single author, as was the case with McNeill. Please do not do that. On the other hand, that is not repeated though Talon of Horus, so probably you're not doing it anymore already. In that case, thanx for that.
 
Henry Zou. I admin I read only one of his novels, but it is simply the best CSM book ever. So I have to write this, maybe other authors will hear me out and will experiment with that little bit more... He went very far with description of Blood Gorgons rituals, with the level of what they are doing to themselves and to others. Maybe some of you remember those arts on the pages of Codex CSM 3.5, they were really creepy and disturbing. Both before that and after that Chaos Marines were always just angry marines or spiky marines. And Henry Zou was able to return that disturbing feeling, showing that it is wh40k universe, there is no limit to the world (except for talking about 2 lost legions), and you can write about craziest things and it will be cool. So message to Henry Zou: please write more, maybe about some other Chaos Marines warbands. Message to other authors: do not limit yourselves.
 
Mike Lee. Even after single his novel, he deserves to get to the top part of the list. He somehow managed to save the Dark Angels after "Descent of Angels", which is not a small feat.
 
 
Now we got to the middle of the list.
 
Ben Counter, Anthony Reynolds, Chris Wraight. For some reason I cannot tell any good or bad points. All good read, all nothing really special.
 
 
Bottom of the list is mostly negavie, but I'll try to be constructive.
 
First, common horrible mistake between BL authors I've noticed - bad depiction of primarchs. Better avoid describing them altogether, or do it episodically. With "Scars" Chris Wraight failed miserably with the thing A D-B could portray perfectly: he tried to create a sympathy for Whie Scars and Khan, tried to get the message "they are not savages" through. It all usually failed as soon as the dialog between the Primarch and anyone else occurs, when Primarch says something that should be wise but as a reader you are reminded that it is only a man trying to write about godly being. After Deliverance Lost both Corax and Alpharius seemed to be complete idiots, even after perfect depiction of Alpharius in Legion. So common advice would be: better leave primarch misteious or even miss him out completely than trying to show him often and trying to make him wise.
 
Another common mistake is number of flashbacks. It is ok to put one, maybe two, flashbacks per book. But some books have too much of them, and usually it seems that author uses flashback to describe something his skill does not allow him to describe otherwise. I hope I will not offend anyone by saying this. But my point is, large number of flashbacks looks over-played, instead of doing that you could write a short story describing some event in more details if that matters.
 
Now to authors...
 
Nick Kyme. Strangest thing happened, being a good editor does not automatically makes you a good writer. Trying to depict primarchs got a big hit, plus writing style is very similar to my own: reader has to pay attention to understand what is written, you cannot just read it, plus long monologues not adding anything to the story. But all is not lost, I would still gladly buy and read his next novel.
 
Gav Thorpe. Not a single strong point. Deliverance Lost and limited edition of Soulforge were the worst book-spent money ever. I will not buy anything else written by his hand. And I'm really glad he got 2 legions I do not really like, hopefully he will not destroy other legions for me.

Edited by AekoldHelbrass, 25 October 2014 - 11:02 AM.

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#2
Valkyrion

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ADB is consistently the best. Whilst 'Legion' and possibly 'Mechanicum' trump any of ADB's work so far, his books are always 8 and 9 out of 10. Too many of the other authors hover between the 5 and 7 range, whilst some dip below that.

 

That said, the HH series has brought the best out of many of the authors. The Ultramarines, Blood Angels, and Soul Drinkers books are pretty grim, yet the authors of all those travesties have written some decent stuff in the HH.

 

I've not read a bad book by Abnett or ADB, but I find ADB's work flows easier. I don't need to know the minutiae of a ship or that weapon X fires type Y ammunition. I want to know what the characters are thinking and saying and why they do what they do, and ADB does that better than anyone else.

 

That said, for all the praise ADB deserves, nothing compares to Eisenhorn. 



#3
Loesh

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ADB is consistently the best. Whilst 'Legion' and possibly 'Mechanicum' trump any of ADB's work so far, his books are always 8 and 9 out of 10. Too many of the other authors hover between the 5 and 7 range, whilst some dip below that.

 

That said, the HH series has brought the best out of many of the authors. The Ultramarines, Blood Angels, and Soul Drinkers books are pretty grim, yet the authors of all those travesties have written some decent stuff in the HH.

 

I've not read a bad book by Abnett or ADB, but I find ADB's work flows easier. I don't need to know the minutiae of a ship or that weapon X fires type Y ammunition. I want to know what the characters are thinking and saying and why they do what they do, and ADB does that better than anyone else.

 

That said, for all the praise ADB deserves, nothing compares to Eisenhorn. 

 

Now you see, i'm of the opinion that Graham from what i'v seen so far is better, then again I like the subject matter of Grahams novels(The Emperors Children) a lot more then I care for either the Black Legion or the Night Lords so that likely has no small amount of influence, it'd be hardly fair to say such a thing without mentioning I have rose-colored glasses on after all.

 

I mean I can say I like Grahams characterization and things better, but i'm aware there's also an intense bias at work so of course I like his characters better. It wouldn't really translate into anything but the non-applicable critique of "Don't write about X group/person in a book that revolves around said group."

 

Edit: I should also say, however that I had terrible issues with Grahams novels on the Emperors Children in parts. The key one that stuck out to me that ADB doesn't suffer from is that he clearly writes it from the perspective even internally that they are the bad guys in many parts. Externally of course people should condemn what they are doing, but when you just shove the evil in our face even from within it makes the fall that much less realistic.

 

For example: The Alien organs provided to the EC allowed them to Warp Scream, yes, but we never get to see in more detail how they actually improve on Geneseed. Because why would they undertake all these crazy operations if they didn't get a clear advantage? they couldn't be purely recreational, a good chance to show this would be during the Drop Site Massacre for example, where those augmentations gave them clear advantages over Iron Hands without significant bionic enhancement...which would of also been a great way to explain why they go all out on the cyborg bits by 40k while also providing the Emperors Children with vindication.


Edited by Loesh, 25 October 2014 - 06:57 PM.

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#4
Veteran Sergeant

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Graham McNeill. I would say that he is the only BL author who mastered epic-scale event,

Heh.
 
 

 Vengeful Spirit, that one is amazing in all aspects

*snort*
 
Well, those are two sentences I would not imagine ever hearing.
 
Honestly, I've always thought that McNeill's sole strength was in characterization (for humans). He writes fairly intriguing characters when he's not writing Space Marines. Well, except for Vengeful Spirit's boring, cookie cutter characters and mustache twirling antagonists.

But his battles, while perhaps "epic" are rife with poor attention to detail (characters running out of ammo in one scene, only to have more ammo shortly later, characters losing a hand in one scene, only to have two hands later, etc), and a level of coherency similar to Michael Bay's Transformers (aka, very little). Lots of things happen, and lots of things die and explode, but never with much interrelation. A lot of little events occuring within their own story vacuum for the same of making for exciting vignettes, but never influencing, nor being influenced by, the other events in the story unless necessary for the plot.

Edited by Veteran Sergeant, 26 October 2014 - 04:23 PM.

Marneus Calgar is referred to as "one of the Imperium's greatest tacticians" and he treats the Codex like it's the War Bible. If the Codex is garbage, then how bad is everyone else?

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#5
SteelPaladin

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With "Scars" Chris Wraight failed miserably with the thing A D-B could portray perfectly: he tried to create a sympathy for Whie Scars and Khan, tried to get the message "they are not savages" through. 

This might be the first negative thing I have heard about Scars. Personally, I thought it was fantastic, and absolutely succeeded in everything Wraight set out to accomplish with the book. 

 

And about Henry Zou: don't expect to see any more BL novels from him. Plagiarism kind of ruins careers. 


So it goes.

Steel Paladins- Iron Hands Successors
The Purge- Nurgle Warband

Post Isstvan Sons of Horus
 


#6
Chaeron

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With "Scars" Chris Wraight failed miserably with the thing A D-B could portray perfectly: he tried to create a sympathy for Whie Scars and Khan, tried to get the message "they are not savages" through.

This might be the first negative thing I have heard about Scars. Personally, I thought it was fantastic, and absolutely succeeded in everything Wraight set out to accomplish with the book.
Agree. Wraight is phenomenal. In the top three authors with Abnett and ADB for me.

It's interesting - I don't agree with most of your assertions - but I suppose that's the beauty of interpretation. For instance, Swallow has becomes far better author over the years - but I don't believe his work is as good as say Wraight, as I tend to find his characterisation isn't as strong.

Mike Lee seems a bizarre choice also - but just because it's quite middle of the road.

Reynolds has written some excellent pieces recently as has Kyme - but perhaps overall could also fill this category.

I disagree on elements of Thorpe's work too - as I enjoy his Raven Guard portrayals, yet don't always enjoy his Dark Angels fiction...

Horses for courses!

Edited by Chaeron, 26 October 2014 - 12:14 PM.

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#7
callmeMrBadger

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I'm a die hard space so.f fan, so when I see the Chris Wraight has wrote another. Space all es boom my heart usually sinks. I have to read it, but I know I will spend the next few days getting annoyed as Chris consistently makes mistakes on the organisation and nature of the wolves .
Blood of Asaheim and wolves of Fenris he just completely got the role a rune priest and wolf priest mixed up. Going into great detail how a skywarrior
Dressed all in black and with a wolfs skull for a helm,collected the dead and dying from the snowfall the, to become space wolves yeah but that description and role is a wolf priest. Not. A rune priest

Then how the wolf lords are chooses is described inBlood of Asaheim, saying how Logan choose Ragnar and his company are not liking the choice but accept its Logan's degree. Where every bit of writing about the Wolf Lordsstatesits the Wolf Guard of the company how elect the best amongst them to replace a the fallen wolf Lord.

Prospero burns and thousand sons describe the term Jarl as meaning tribal king, Chris seems to have the used a find and replace tool to have sir and jarl replaced.

Of and don't get mestarted on the whole wolves saluting each other, grey hunters referring themselves as a squad not pack. How a. Wolf guard leader died so the next in line in the squad became the squads wolf guard. A wolf guard is not a sergeant! We have grey hunters running around with runic swords which are our versions of force swords, another grey hunter being a heavy weapons specialist running around with a heavy. Bolter, and a third who has not earnt the right to move onto the long fangs and is now to old so stuck as a grey hunter. Oh but it's ok. He's an iron priest on the side and flys the squads thunderhawk.

That gets me on to why a 6 man pack has there own thunderhawk which has a capacity of thirty. They also had a Cetus assault ram and a frigate, all for the same 6 man pack.

Really a few minor changes and Asaheim and storm caller could be about any chapter.

#8
Jareddm

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And then there's my new favorite, Guy Haley.  Have enjoyed everything he's put out, particularly for the lengths he goes to make it all feel more plausible than most BL authors do, rarely, if ever applying hand-waving of the more technical aspects of 40k.  Baneblade and Death of Integrity were particularly noteworthy for this.  Plus all of his xenos work, Valedor, Engine of Mork, and Evil Sun Rising, are all some of the best representations of their races.  That said, I understand that the BT community would like his head on a spike for his unabashed support of the new codex's interpretation of the Black Templars as God-Emperor worshiping, Astropath respecting, and fewer in number than the Space Wolves.



#9
ElectricPaladin

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Dan Abnett. His characters are thought-through, easy to read (which I can point out especially, since english is not my native), and usually when you see his name on the novel - you should not have any doubt spending money. The only thing that looks strange to me is that usually he is not interested in writing events on epic scale, most of his novels are ... how to say it... in "adventure" genre, with subgenres of "action-adventure". "Know No Fear" is exception here. And to be honest, I feel grieve that he did not write "A Thousand Sons", I honestly believe that the book would be stunning in his writing.
 

 

Heresy! Dan Abnett has no flaws. He is like the Emperor, perfect in all ways, the ideal man. Be wary, Aekold. The Inquisition has its eye out for creatures like you. Turn from this path while you still can.



#10
Jareddm

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He could use a second opinion on most of his endings. tongue.png


Edited by Jareddm, 26 October 2014 - 05:19 PM.


#11
The Red Thirst

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John French, excellent pros and can write psykers, daemons and sorcery like no other... Highly recommend his Ahriman series ;)


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#12
AekoldHelbrass

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Honestly, I've always thought that McNeill's sole strength was in characterization (for humans). He writes fairly intriguing characters when he's not writing Space Marines. Well, except for Vengeful Spirit's boring, cookie cutter characters and mustache twirling antagonists.

Surprisingly, I cannot remember much of his human characters. Maybe second plan characters, but not first. And reading most of his books I'm quickly lost between characters, have to go to "Dramatis Personae" quite regularly. Except for Vengeful Spirit, in that one characters were really different, though I agree that many of them were cliche. I still like the book very much.
 

But his battles, while perhaps "epic" are rife with poor attention to detail (characters running out of ammo in one scene, only to have more ammo shortly later, characters losing a hand in one scene, only to have two hands later, etc), and a level of coherency similar to Michael Bay's Transformers (aka, very little). Lots of things happen, and lots of things die and explode, but never with much interrelation. A lot of little events occuring within their own story vacuum for the same of making for exciting vignettes, but never influencing, nor being influenced by, the other events in the story unless necessary for the plot.

Pretty much every author suffers from that. ADB changing his opinion about Tsalagusa from one book to another, Ragnar shooting las bolts from bolt pistol, in Mark of Chaos one of main characters is killed only to be alive in very next chapter like nothing happened, and so on and on. So I'm quite used to forgiving mistakes like that.
 

Personally, I thought it was fantastic, and absolutely succeeded in everything Wraight set out to accomplish with the book.

It was good, but not that good. Many interesting ideas, interesting plot, but Khan did not stuck me as wise and no warm feelings for scars appeared after the book. Many authors could achieve both goals much better, and it really looked like Wraight tried too.
 

And about Henry Zou: don't expect to see any more BL novels from him. Plagiarism kind of ruins careers.

I honestly cannot understand the issue. I bet less than 1% of all Warhammer fans will ever read any of those war memoirs, yes he was impressed by some interesting scenes and ideas from another book, and yes he wanted to share it with another audience. So, what's the issue? I do believe it is overexaggerated.
 

It's interesting - I don't agree with most of your assertions - but I suppose that's the beauty of interpretation. For instance, Swallow has becomes far better author over the years - but I don't believe his work is as good as say Wraight, as I tend to find his characterisation isn't as strong.

I confess I haven't read anything other than Horus Heresy from Swallow, but every single one of those books is phenomenal, no worse than Abnett.
 

Mike Lee seems a bizarre choice also - but just because it's quite middle of the road.

Hehe, yes I hesitated to include him to this list, mostly because that's the only one of his books I've read.
 

I disagree on elements of Thorpe's work too - as I enjoy his Raven Guard portrayals, yet don't always enjoy his Dark Angels fiction...

Could you describe anything he can do better than others? I could not. Corax acted as simple SM, not as Primarch. Alpharius acted almost as idiot. Horus had the worse description I've encountered so far. Usually no sympathy to the characters appear from his book. With many of his book, and especially short stories, they're like cut out of somthing, like there is some context missing. I've never encountered the same with other authors.
 

And then there's my new favorite, Guy Haley. Have enjoyed everything he's put out, particularly for the lengths he goes to make it all feel more plausible than most BL authors do, rarely, if ever applying hand-waving of the more technical aspects of 40k. Baneblade and Death of Integrity were particularly noteworthy for this. Plus all of his xenos work, Valedor, Engine of Mork, and Evil Sun Rising, are all some of the best representations of their races. That said, I understand that the BT community would like his head on a spike for his unabashed support of the new codex's interpretation of the Black Templars as God-Emperor worshiping, Astropath respecting, and fewer in number than the Space Wolves.

Hm, thanx for suggestion, will definitely try to get something of his works.

 

Heresy! Dan Abnett has no flaws. He is like the Emperor, perfect in all ways, the ideal man.

But that's pretty much what I wrote, no?

 

John French, excellent pros and can write psykers, daemons and sorcery like no other... Highly recommend his Ahriman series msn-wink.gif

Thanx for recommendation. But Exile is the only book from Ahriman series, or I missed something here? Also, what about Fateweaver, is it worthy?


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#13
The Red Thirst

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John French, excellent pros and can write psykers, daemons and sorcery like no other... Highly recommend his Ahriman series msn-wink.gif

Thanx for recommendation. But Exile is the only book from Ahriman series, or I missed something here? Also, what about Fateweaver, is it worthy?

 

There's also a short E-book (The Dead Oracle), an MP3 (The First Prince) and his new book coming up (Sorcerer) happy.png

 

These stories also tie back to the Heresy with Thieves of Revelation and The Eternal Blade (both by Graham McNeill)

 

EDIT: Sorry haven't read Fate Weaver yet


Edited by The Red Thirst, 26 October 2014 - 11:12 PM.

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#14
SteelPaladin

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I honestly cannot understand the issue. I bet less than 1% of all Warhammer fans will ever read any of those war memoirs, yes he was impressed by some interesting scenes and ideas from another book, and yes he wanted to share it with another audience. So, what's the issue? I do believe it is overexaggerated

I'm sorry, but what? You think stealing and profiting off the work from someone else is ok? 


So it goes.

Steel Paladins- Iron Hands Successors
The Purge- Nurgle Warband

Post Isstvan Sons of Horus
 


#15
mc warhammer

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he probably means it more in an "inspired by" kinda way. only issue is that you probably need to acknowledge that source of inspiration publicly

'WHEN WE CONFRONTED THE CORRUPTED, HOMICIDAL HORUS WHO ONCE USED TO SHINE LIKE THE BRIGHTEST STAR, WHO USED TO BE OUR BELOVED FAVOURITE – WHEN THE FATE OF THE GALAXY HUNG BY A THREAD – WERE WE NOT COMPELLED TO EXPEL ALL COMPASSION? ALL LOVE? ALL JOY? THOSE WENT AWAY. HOW ELSE COULD WE HAVE ARMOURED OURSELVES? EXISTENCE IS TORMENT, A TORMENT THAT MUST NOURISH US. EVIDENTLY WE MUST STRIVE TO BE THE FIERCE REDEEMER OF MAN, YET WHAT WILL REDEEM US?’

 

#16
AekoldHelbrass

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he probably means it more in an "inspired by" kinda way. only issue is that you probably need to acknowledge that source of inspiration publicly


Exactly. I bet it mentioned in the preface, which no one reads because every author puts too many names there, and I would not be surprised if he actually contacted the original author of that book I've never read and never will. Because if you will start operating with words like "stealing" there will be very little of warhammer universe left.


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#17
Chaeron

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he probably means it more in an "inspired by" kinda way. only issue is that you probably need to acknowledge that source of inspiration publicly


Exactly. I bet it mentioned in the preface, which no one reads because every author puts too many names there, and I would not be surprised if he actually contacted the original author of that book I've never read and never will. Because if you will start operating with words like "stealing" there will be very little of warhammer universe left.

 

 

No, he doesn't. I've checked all three books: it's mentioned in none of them. It's still plagiarism - especially when it's that close.

 

There's a difference between drawing inspiration, and basically copying it near word for word, or taking an idea like this. This review does an excellent job:

 

"The shocking plagiarism is of course the worst part. Zou has lifted characters and passages wholesale from David Bellavia's excellent Iraq War memoir 'House To House'. The worst example of which can be found on p192 of Flesh And Iron, where we see Colonel Baeder throw a smoke grenade so a dying insurgent can not see his children prior to his death, Sergeant Bellavia does exactly the same thing on p.44 of 'House to House':

Flesh And Iron

"He had done it to deny the father a chance to see his children one last time. The men he lost in Lauzon and all the good soldiers killed under his command had not been given the chance to say goodbye to their loved ones...The last Baeder saw of the dying man...utterly despondent as he tried to find his children through the thickening smoke. Baeder had denied him the last chance to say goodbye. For some reason, Baeder felt a thrill of joy. It was something he had not wanted to become.They had made him this way."

House To House

"...but also to deny their father a chance to say good-bye. My brothers who died in the field got no such opportunity to say good-bye to those they loved, and I will afford none to this man... Their father, utterly despondent..as the white smoke filled the air around him... I robbed him of his final earthly joy. I delighted as I watched his life ebb away..What have I become?"

The central units in both books are also known as 'the Ramrods'. Sergeant Major Pulver from Flesh and Iron, seems copied from Sergeant Major Faulkenberg in House To House - Faulkenberg gives up a superior technology rifle for a lesser one to help another soldier (p.62 Bellavia) and Pulver does too (p.275 Zou), their physical descriptions are near identical (p.211 of Zou and p.163 Bellavia). Depictions of a wounded soldier are also near identical in both books, complete with references to their lives being changed and rolling onto their stomachs (p.306 Zou). Insurgents mimic the voices of the US Army (p.205 Bellavia) and the insurgents do the same to the Imperial Guard (p.222 Zou)."

 

http://www.amazon.co...239&store=books


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#18
SteelPaladin

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he probably means it more in an "inspired by" kinda way. only issue is that you probably need to acknowledge that source of inspiration publicly


Exactly. I bet it mentioned in the preface, which no one reads because every author puts too many names there, and I would not be surprised if he actually contacted the original author of that book I've never read and never will. Because if you will start operating with words like "stealing" there will be very little of warhammer universe left.

 

There is a huge difference between inspiration and plagiarism. The above passage is plagiarism, no question about it. 


So it goes.

Steel Paladins- Iron Hands Successors
The Purge- Nurgle Warband

Post Isstvan Sons of Horus
 


#19
Chaeron

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he probably means it more in an "inspired by" kinda way. only issue is that you probably need to acknowledge that source of inspiration publicly


Exactly. I bet it mentioned in the preface, which no one reads because every author puts too many names there, and I would not be surprised if he actually contacted the original author of that book I've never read and never will. Because if you will start operating with words like "stealing" there will be very little of warhammer universe left.

 

There is a huge difference between inspiration and plagiarism. The above passage is plagiarism, no question about it. 

 

 

Was AekoldHelbrass... Henry Zou? All gone quiet :lol:


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#20
b1soul

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bad depiction of primarchs. Better avoid describing them altogether, or do it episodically. With "Scars" Chris Wraight failed miserably with the thing A D-B could portray perfectly: he tried to create a sympathy for Whie Scars and Khan, tried to get the message "they are not savages" through. It all usually failed as soon as the dialog between the Primarch and anyone else occurs, when Primarch says something that should be wise but as a reader you are reminded that it is only a man trying to write about godly being.

 

The primarchs are deeply flawed. Think Greek gods. 

 

Scars is one of the best novels of the HH series, it's up there with Horus Rising and First Heretic. 



#21
Volt

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I forget, who wrote Siege of Castellax? That was among the most grimdark books I've read in 40k and captured the atmosphere of 40k perfectly.

 

Also, Henry Zou is among the bigger let-downs in the Black Library after Ben Counter. The first book of the Bastion Wars Saga was awesome, but the following two were downright mediocre. The Blood Gorgons are an incredibly unique design, but Zou's treatment of them is poor and fails to actually capture anything interesting of them. It's a common lesson in English Class that you should always ask "what is the most interesting period of your character's life? And if you aren't writing about that, then do." Looking at the Blood Gorgons as a character itself, Blood Gorgons should have been about the rise of Gammadin to power. Not the fairly boring experience in Blood Gorgons that doesn't even pay the Chapter much attention, or develops them much.

 

Probably my biggest grief in Blood Gorgons is how Zou builds up Gammadin as a badass throughout the entire book, except when he finally takes to the stage it's downright anticlimactic. 

 

As for McNeil, he does an awesome job with stuff related to the Admech and DAOT, and did a wonderful book on the Emperor's Children. He should stay with the Emperor's Children and stay the f*** away from the Sons of Horus after False Gods after doing what is probably the most boring, anticlimactic, poorly executed fall of a character ever. Erebus' corruption of Horus seems more like Erebus speaking to a mentally challenged child instead of a several hundred year old demigod warlord. I know multiple Space Marines with far greater depth of thought, competency, and basic logical thought then how Horus was portrayed in that book.

 

Yes, Primarchs are supposed to be immature, spiteful beings similar to the Greek Gods, but reading the Iliad right now not even Achilles, the posterboy for brash warmongers, would see through Erebus' ploy and probably cave his face in for good measure.

 

I mean bloody hell, if Horus is that weak-minded, a mere psyker should have hypnotized Horus at some point and commanded him to beat himself senseless.


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#22
SteelPaladin

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McNeill is such an interesting author. He has done some of my very favorite BL books of all time, and also some of the very worst.

 

Storm of Iron, A Thousand Sons, Mechanicum, Priests of Mars, I rate all of these in the top tier of BL books. Then he goes and writes stuff like the Ultramarines series, False Gods, and Fulgrim... 

 

It almost reminds me of Stephen King, who can be a fantastic author, but who writes so much that not all of it can be gold. 


So it goes.

Steel Paladins- Iron Hands Successors
The Purge- Nurgle Warband

Post Isstvan Sons of Horus
 


#23
Volt

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McNeill is such an interesting author. He has done some of my very favorite BL books of all time, and also some of the very worst.

 

Storm of Iron, A Thousand Sons, Mechanicum, Priests of Mars, I rate all of these in the top tier of BL books. Then he goes and writes stuff like the Ultramarines series, False Gods, and Fulgrim... 

 

It almost reminds me of Stephen King, who can be a fantastic author, but who writes so much that not all of it can be gold. 

What's wrong with Fulgrim? In that book McNeil actually managed to do the fall of a Traitor Primarch fairly well. Till it was fethed up by a different author.


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#24
Jarl Kjaran Coldheart

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I dont see how Fulgrim's fall was handled "fairly well".

 

He got turned by a magic sword. thats it. 

 

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#25
mc warhammer

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it wasn't the idea of the sword, it was the execution. fulgrim and his legion went from shallow character to just...more shallow. i didn't believe any of the struggle McNeill tried to tell us was happening. personally found most of the book insipid.

weirdly enough I actually didn't hate outcast dead

'WHEN WE CONFRONTED THE CORRUPTED, HOMICIDAL HORUS WHO ONCE USED TO SHINE LIKE THE BRIGHTEST STAR, WHO USED TO BE OUR BELOVED FAVOURITE – WHEN THE FATE OF THE GALAXY HUNG BY A THREAD – WERE WE NOT COMPELLED TO EXPEL ALL COMPASSION? ALL LOVE? ALL JOY? THOSE WENT AWAY. HOW ELSE COULD WE HAVE ARMOURED OURSELVES? EXISTENCE IS TORMENT, A TORMENT THAT MUST NOURISH US. EVIDENTLY WE MUST STRIVE TO BE THE FIERCE REDEEMER OF MAN, YET WHAT WILL REDEEM US?’