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In the grim darkness of the far future... [Controversial]


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#1
Hesh Kadesh

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There is only secure interrogation areas which become unlocked should power be lost...

I'm reading the Heresy series again, and I'm at Deathfire, and I'm not sure I can take Kyme much more. I nearly lost it at the part when Curze eluded evasion and I'm not even 50% in.

While I know this is meant to be the part where we praise authors and tell them to keep writing Heresy stories to prove that we're not a dead setting and no GW, Guilliman did NOT actually create Primaris Marines in Imperium Secundus, but it feels like we are being forced to sit through 'minimum page written in a year' contract books from the likes of people like Kyme, and then we get individuals like Dan Abnett and McNeill who seem to swing and miss at not only internal consitency but also consistency with other writers in the team on feel of the setting.

Dan Abnett can't write Astartes, they are fragile and very human in their interactions; for their supposed autism with dealing with other humans, all we have to go off is the authors exposition. And :cussing wet leopard growl... my god. Then we get Mcneill with his Superherobstyle feats of his characters...

Just look at how he writes Primarchs. Angel Exterminatus. Boring, Tropey, Monodimensional, Emo I'm,just misunderstood /downforeffectacrossfroattention... we get the feeling that he'd be much happier writing for Marvel, with unnuanced characters who write themselves but cool explosion action sequences man, whose entire thought process and hero journey can be expounded within a 2 hour film including credits, Stan Lee/other character showing up from his own wider universe in a universe (:cussing Honourable Soulaka???) In a pointless cameo other than to autoeroticise himself, all the while he has a soundtrack tributing to an oldman rock band that appeals cybically to a middle aged crowd, something corny like a Lightning dude with 'Thunderstruck' playing in the background, or a vampire expy going with Bat out of Hell.

This is a slight rant, and while an acknowledgement that the general standard of authorship within the BL is hardly Mann Booker prize winning, it is still generally high, but Sacred Cows like Abnett, McNeill and Kyme are not pleasant reads. We all know that they are much happier writing Sharpe in Space and their own Headcanon of what they believe 40K to be, and want to put in bull:cuss contrivances matched with apparently unedited drivel. So can we let them without slappling a HH label on?

Everyone is allowed to like what they want. As a child I ate dirt for pete sake. Noone judges you for enjoying certain things, but reading Deathfire just really set me off that I thought it time to bring about some criticism for the series that is intent on milking the teat. I'm,a teat, and I'm annoyed at wasting my money on this.

Thoughts? Please tellcme it gets better?


Edited by Slips, 10 March 2018 - 03:39 AM.

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#2
Canadian_F_H

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No clue man. I'm woefully under read because of an extended hiatus that caused me to miss out on the massive output of BL that I have yet to sink my teeth into significantly.

Now in general when digesting and critiqueing anything artistic I think it's a good idea to get some contrast, was there anything at all about this book you did like?

What if any book from the BL comes to mind as being better? how or why was it better to you?

This is how I think about visual art and music a lot when I'm on the fence or even outright don't like it. So my metaphor suits that. But I try to make a positive experiance about it...

Like I hate a band, but their musicanship might be impressive I just don't like what they do with it... or this album sucks to me but I liked three previous albums and the difference is... whatever.

Hope that helps...

Edited by Canadian_F_H, 10 March 2018 - 01:30 AM.

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#3
Qkhitai

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I think there is a problem with consistency, and I think you're probably right to say things are a little rushed sometimes when certain quotas need to be filled. I haven't read any of Kyme's work (because it's 100% Salamanders and I'm 0% interested), but most of my favourite books in the series have been penned by Abnett and McNeil, and in terms of the quality of prose, I'd actually venture that False Gods and Prospero Burns are the best in the series. But they've also produced some of the worst novels too. However, compared to authors like Wraight and Dembski-Bowden - who people regard to have more consistency in their quality - Abnett and McNeil have churned out much more for the series, so the law of averages holds that they'll probably have spawned some of the not-so-good novels too. But of course, you don't have to read every novel by every author, or let them influence your hobby.

 

It's also a little unfair to say McNeil, author of The Last Church, just wants to write Sharpe in space. Even if you don't like it as a story, it was written with the express purpose of being completely the opposite. I think he even said that he was worried BL wouldn't accept it, because it didn't meet the supposed minimum bolter porn requirements, so maybe that gives us some insight into what the authors want to write, and what (they think?) they're being asked to write.


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#4
Reclusiarch Darius

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I'm reading the Heresy series again, and I'm at Deathfire, and I'm not sure I can take Kyme much more. I nearly lost it at the part when Curze eluded evasion and I'm not even 50% in.

 

Salamanders kind of exist in their own parallel universe with Kyme as god. If you don't like his writing, I'd suggest skipping because his stuff has next to no impact on any other plotline in 30k. If you think 'Deathfire' is a struggle, wait till you get to 'Old Earth'.

While I know this is meant to be the part where we praise authors and tell them to keep writing Heresy stories to prove that we're not a dead setting and no GW, Guilliman did NOT actually create Primaris Marines in Imperium Secundus, but it feels like we are being forced to sit through 'minimum page written in a year' contract books from the likes of people like Kyme, and then we get individuals like Dan Abnett and McNeill who seem to swing and miss at not only internal consitency but also consistency with other writers in the team on feel of the setting.

 

I don't see how it's necessary to do that. 30k is just as legit as 40k, in some ways it's actually more interesting. It's fine to critique 30k novels to the same degree.

Abnett gets a lot of leeway because he pays the bills basically (along with a few of the others). 

Dan Abnett can't write Astartes, they are fragile and very human in their interactions; for their supposed autism with dealing with other humans, all we have to go off is the authors exposition. And :cussing wet leopard growl... my god. Then we get Mcneill with his Superherobstyle feats of his characters...

 

Yeah agreed on that point, Abnett needs to stick to humans. I actually like 'Brotherhood of the Snake' and his few other attempts at writing Astartes, but they are too cold/stylised. He never really explores the inhuman aspects of Astartes, or how their psyche is a weird mix of child, adult and living weapon. It basically comes across as crippling autism most of the time, which might be true of Mechanicum or a Tech-Marine, but most Astartes have deeper pathos.

 

McNeill has his favourites, and again I like what he does but I do acknowledge it's a bit much sometimes. To be honest, every writer of Astartes is guilty of this, they want to amp up their team so you get weird disconnects across different writers. In one book, said group of Astartes pull off insane tactics and show actually intelligence/depth, in another they mindlessly charge into gunfire and are cartoon villians/heroes. In a way, you have to sort of headcanon it as 'scholar bias' ie it's a Legion scribe papering over the weaknesses and exemplifying the strengths. Comes with the setting, to some extent.

 

 

Taken as a whole, I love the 30k novel series, and I am interested to see how the Siege plays out (they have a huge number of plot threads to work with, more than they need really, and a lot of characters will die on both sides). There are definite issues however, and some true duds (I think almost everyone agrees that skipping 'Abyss' is a good idea, and if you don't like Kyme you can skip all the Salamander books without any impact to the overall arc).


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#5
Withershadow

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Kyme and Thorpe are very much skippable. The former bores me to tears, the latter makes my eyes roll into the back of my head.

Abbett I feel has been riding on his Eisenhorn laurels for a while now, but his Guilliman (and to lesser extent Legion) stuff was overall pretty good (by HH standards). McNeil is definitely inconsistent in timeline and scale of feats, but he gets a lifetime pass for Honsou. Thousand Sons was good too.

Overall, the only consistently good writing you will see is from ADB. He never fails to entertain even when I don’t like his ideas. French is... eh, loves his silly-OP characters, which works better in 40K stuff than 30K. Chris Wright I haven’t read too much from except Scars, but he’s quite good as well.

But yeah, Kyme’s Salamander books are the only ones I straight up skipped, and I was able to at least wade through the Caliban half of the second Dark Angels book, so you know I’m a glutton for tedium.

Edited by Withershadow, 10 March 2018 - 06:38 AM.


#6
Canadian_F_H

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Unfortunatly for me then, apparently... I only have kymes salamander series available to start reading. I'm 50% thru the 1st one.

Got em as freebies when scoring rulebooks of editions past...
What signature?

#7
Theredknight

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How about damnation of pythos?
I literally no word of a lie could not get past the first chapter, it was all about brooding captains and I just had to keep putting it down. Until I put it down the last time and it’s in a box, not even on a shelf!

#8
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I understand Hesh' sentiment very well. Fully agree on Abnett, though I must admitt that a recent thread on BL forum "forced me" to reread Know no Fear and I quite enjoyed it (but yes, his astartes-astartes dialogues sometimes/80% make me cringe).
As for McNeill...hm. I certainly not like his Fulgrim arc, the way 3rd fell into corruption and how easily their primarch ascended to demonhood is just... simple. Thousand Sons were very decent and I really liked his portrayal of IW and Perturabo in Angel Exterminatus (even with the plot being terrible).
Thorpe is just plain bad, I hate everything he wrote about DA.

On the other hand everything Chris Wraight did is awesome ;-)
ADB is my second though I'd prefere to read his book about loyalist Legion. I just can't bring myself to symphatize with sadistic NL or devil worshipping WB no matter how well written.

When a Great Beast marauds, the warriors of the keep do not seek terms with it, they do not ride out and ask for it to accommodate their feelings. They set forth with shocklance and power sword, and all the courage and determination they can muster. They find the beast and they lay their blades upon it until it is dead, or they are.


#9
bluntblade

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The only time I've had issues with Abnett's writing of Astartes is in Legion. Otherwise he manages to make them feel "other" without succumbing to the simplistic autism approach (aside from the issues around super-intelligent post-humans being made to talk like teens with learning disabilities, my brother has autism and the effects on how someone talks can be much more nuanced than culture often makes it). I think Wraight and French nail that pretty well too.

On the subject of fragility, I've seen his characters take shots straight through the body and chop their own mangled hands off without missing a beat.

I make no attempt to defend the leopard growl: once was evocative, sixteen times was begging for an editor to give him a clip round the ear.

McNeill's prose underwhelms me, and Kyme's and Thorpe's put me off entirely. So I just leave their work alone.

#10
Hellrender

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Im in similar position.. I stopped readin somewhere around mark of calth. Cant remember exactly.

I do think abnett writes humans by far the best. Few other writers can captivatr me as much as he fid with gaunts ghost for example. I liked know no fear for the most part, except the instant plot device. But i think he portrayed astarted fairly decent, but certainly not his best.

I have a love hate relation ship with mcneills work. I enjoy most of it. But i have never read any of his books twice (unlike gaunts ghost and almost all books of my favorite).

Speaking of which. Adb. Love. Everything. He writes. Because of that you will rarely cet an unbiased opinion from me. If adb write it, i reaf it and i love it. Standouts are the NL series (love septimus), legion, betrayer and the emperors gift. Oh.. And ragnar blackmane. All awesome.

I hated blood of asaheim, which made me avoid wraight for a long time. But last year i picked up a few books by him (leman russ and one other) and devoured them. His depictions of the wolves are interesting and appreciable.

Now the bad stuff. Kyme, thorpe and swallow. I just cant stand any of it. I hated those books. And still do.

Kymes books tend to be way to mythical, fantastical and just wrong. Wrong in the sense that they just dont make sense. I never feel like his books sit in the same universe as gaunts ghosts or soul hunter. There is a disconnect i cant overcome. I can normally read past minor influences of authors interpretations but not here.

Thorpe ruined the lion for me. When i read the angels books, the lion got descriped as if a random brat got super powers, and smashed heads whenever people disagreed. Luckily the leman russ book by wraight has redeemed the lion for me, but i will not pick up an astartes book by thorpe ever again.

Swallow. I just dislike his way of writing. I find it hard to follow and often have to reread parts in order to fully understand what actually happens. It doesnt help that his stories are just uninteresting at times, because, lile kyme, he tries to make the heroes interesting by putting them in grandiose scenes. Like librarian part and sanguunis in fear to thread, or the main character and plot in his 40k ba books.

In general i like adb because his heroes are heroes (of sorts) because of how they handle "normal" situations. His characters rarely require a world shattering event to be interesting.

In night lords i liked first claw and found the stpry captivating, because of the characters interacting with each other, and dealing with regular missions. Not because the fate of the world was in their hands. And that is exactly where kyme and swallow go way off. Kyme with his salamander novels where individual heroes are way to importany to galaxy spanning events. Swallow those the same.

So yeh thats my 2 cents.

#11
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Hellrender, have you read AD-B's Lion? It's only a shirt but he characterised him really well

#12
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Nop. But please do send me a pm with it :)

#13
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:-)

Edited by rendingon1+, 10 March 2018 - 05:01 PM.

When a Great Beast marauds, the warriors of the keep do not seek terms with it, they do not ride out and ask for it to accommodate their feelings. They set forth with shocklance and power sword, and all the courage and determination they can muster. They find the beast and they lay their blades upon it until it is dead, or they are.


#14
bluntblade

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https://www.blacklib...pons-ebook.html

#15
rendingon1+

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Hellrender, have you read AD-B's Lion? It's only a shirt but he characterised him really well

Would you care to elaborate why do you think so? I often see people saying that but afer reading it a few times I really fail to see why ADB's Lion is so "well characterised" as you put it.

When a Great Beast marauds, the warriors of the keep do not seek terms with it, they do not ride out and ask for it to accommodate their feelings. They set forth with shocklance and power sword, and all the courage and determination they can muster. They find the beast and they lay their blades upon it until it is dead, or they are.


#16
bluntblade

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It captures him as austere rather than unreasonable. It's hard to quantify exactly what the special thing is, the story being a rather small piece, but I definitely think it's there.

#17
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Kymes books tend to be way to mythical, fantastical and just wrong. Wrong in the sense that they just dont make sense. I never feel like his books sit in the same universe as gaunts ghosts or soul hunter. There is a disconnect i cant overcome. I can normally read past minor influences of authors interpretations but not here.
 

Yeah, this pretty much fits my experience too. I'm reading 'Sons of the Forge' at the moment and the Salamanders feel a lot more like 40k Astartes rather than 30k Legionaries. I understand that the XVIIIth Legion has the Promethian Cult so have always had a certain something that the more orthodox Legions and their belief in the Imperial Truth wouldn't countenance, but the level of faith/mysticism in Kyme's characters just seemed to push things a bit too far. It definitely feels more 40k than 30k.

 

I also agree re ADB. I've never read anything by him that 'broke' my 'immersion' in the setting. This doesn't necessarily mean that his understanding of the setting is more correct/complete than any other author's, only that it is the closest fit to my personal 'head-cannon'/appreciation of the setting.


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#18
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I think Abnett has at least an idea that he writes normal humans better than Marines. Figure the last big book he wrote for the HH, Prospero Burns, had it through the eyes of a normal human, rather than say, Bjorn or another Space Wolf.

 

To me, it's not that he can't write Marines, just that he does humans better.


Edited by Jamafore, 11 March 2018 - 07:06 PM.

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#19
Hesh Kadesh

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Update of Deathfire: Salamanders have Void Shields, Death Guard Moustache Twirler is surprised that a major fortress complex on a Primarch's homeworld is protected by them.

*flips table*
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#20
Plasmablasts

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I think Abnett has at least an idea that he writes normal humans better than Marines. Figure the last big book he wrote for the HH, Prospero Burns, had it through the eyes of a normal human, rather than say, Bjorn or another Space Wolf.

To me, it's not that he can't write Marines, just that he does humans better.


I’m inclined to agree. Both Prospero Burns and Legion approached the Astartes from human perspectives (Hawser and Grammaticus respectively), and maintained a certain mystery and awe around those Legions. Horus Rising on the other hand worked due to Abnett’s other great strength: evocation of place and atmosphere. The impact of that book on me was the clear sense that you were no longer in the 41st millennium that we all know and, well, know.

#21
Brother Heinrich

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The quality of a book is predicated on the number of times "Vulkan Lives" is written, right?

 

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#22
Lord_Caerolion

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I really wanted to like Angel Exterminatus, as I love Perturabo, but the book was basically just crammed with as many references to Storm of Iron as McNeil could possibly fit. We get it, Storm of Iron was really popular, and people liked Honsou. Still, in one of the largest Legions, could we please hear about some characters who aren't just the guys you had in your last Iron Warriors book?

 

Also McNeil didn't want to write Sharpe in space when he wrote Last Church. He wanted to write the God Delusion in Space (as narrated by the Emperor), as that's pretty much all he did. He read Dawkins, thought "hey, this guy sounds like the Emperor", and rewrote it to be a dialogue between the Emperor and a priest, rather than Dawkins saying religion is evil.

 

As for Abnett, I don't think it's a stretch to argue that at times he seems to set his novels in an alternate canon. He's had some awesome books, he's had others that seem entirely detached. Everything else ever, Curze is only able to see the worst possibly futures, and is wracked by horrible seizures as he has his visions. Abnett's books? Curze is constantly seeing the most useful information, and can do so in the middle of a fight, using the visions to try to win. The visions are meant to be a curse that the Night Haunter loathes, but Abnett turned him into a stereotypical "psychic". Plus, I don't think anyone can forget the amount of "wet leopard growls" in Prospero Burns.


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#23
depthcharge12

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Abnett never truly fails to disappoint me tbh but I can agree on the marines acting more like actual humans than roided up feudal warrior world brats. I presume they’d grow up eventually, but I can imagine that living in such an isolated world full of other brats would cultivate a behavior not dissimilar to that of the emperor’s children across all the legions.

Wraight is my new literary mistress. He does things with the White Scars we’ve only been dreaming about. I’m sure he’ll trip at some point like any other human...I hope...or else he’ll ascend to 30k literary godhood :P

ADB never fails to exceed expectations and give us our lore crack. My only niggle with his writing is his character cast has become recycled (main character is an outcast/opposite of the legion, strong independent woman character who is besties with the main character) to a degree. Still love his writing and want him to continue, but I just feel like I keep seeing the same two characters pop up in all his novels.


Kyme is...well you should’ve known that going in. I see him always pop up as an editor or sidebar in other BL stuff, so I’m always curious how much he actually contributes on those ends. I don’t find the Salamanders too interesting other than their humanitarian aspect and the humorous hijincks of Warboss Vulkan in Emperor TTS on YT :P (boop the snoot) so I can understand why I don’t latch onto them or find them hard to read. They have become a bit too one dimensional in the way that World Eaters outisde of ADB have been historically. Replace Kill, maim, burn with save, flame, burn. Perhaps it would be interesting to see them do suicidial last stands on the edge of the Heresy front and show off their darker side (pun not intended :rolleyes: )


McNeil...I have a love hate relationship with. One of my favorite novels of the Heresy is Fulgrim (ok you can stop laughing now) as it shows off one of my favorite legions in their prime and not being the one dimensional BDSM freaks everyone else likes to portray them as. They’ll get there, but a few authors such as McNeil and Wraight were able to keep some of the martial prowess of the legion intact post Isstvaan. Thousand sons was phenomenal right up until the end where the council is like “hey, traitors/chaos maybs? Aiight.” Angel Exterminatus was a thrill for the first 1/3 of the book to read and really delved into some of the cool parts of a previously monolithic legion...and then proceeded to be absolutely silly for the rest of the book.


I think most of the authors have their time in the sun but are not safe from writing the occasional hiccup. Abnett, ADB, and Wraight are the closest to sacred cows we have lol. I’m about to write up a piece for BL for the open submissions so I can’t wait for them to read this and then tear me a new one on my 500 words :::)
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#24
Withershadow

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It's true, ADB sure loves his Drizzt Do'Urdens, but it's still so head and shoulders above most of the rest, that it's easily overlooked. Plus, given how often he writes traitors, who otherwise are pretty rote mustache-twirlers, outsider characters are almost inevitable if they are to be interesting.


Edited by Withershadow, 12 March 2018 - 08:35 AM.

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#25
Lord_Caerolion

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He's written before it's more that he wants to have a more realistic gender portrayal. The main character in Emperors Spears will be female too. He also has a lot of non-white characters too. My only real criticism of his comes from Helsreach, in that apparently every Ork can be described as "piggish".


"And then Horus landed on the Moon, which looked like the moon. Funny that, isn't it?"


You're hired.





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