A friend once described his former love of "Fulgrim" as a case of mistaken identity.
It was restrained enough that you could infer things about it that might or might not have been present in the text, evocative enough but without being precise enough to break the idea.
Then you get "The Reflection Crack'd", "Angel Exterminatus", "Vengeful Spirit", "The Crimson King" and you could see that all those wonderful things in "Fulgrim" weren't subtle allusions, they were crude structures haphazardly, 'provocatively' placed that just managed to gel well with unintended tricks of the light at that time of day you read the thing.
If McNeill intend them to be there, and to give the effect it seemed to give, it's difficult to think he just decided not to bother with that sort of nice detail in the later books on not dissimilar explorations of such topics. (Contrast Mechanicus with his Nouns of Mars Trilogy. The former good but patchy, the latter a genuinely deeper and more intriguing exploration of similar, related and other ideas through other characters and other stories. They're genuinely grand books, in my esteem.)
Instead, for the Heresy and the ECs it was more delving into caricatures a la Fututama's Hedonismbot, but with less wryly self-aware commentary. (And there's not that much of it with Hedonismbot.)
And that's what I love about 'Path of Heaven', aside from the entire bloody novel and every related detail.
With Wraight's work, it's not an accident that he's alluding to themes, to dealing with complicated ideas in simple sketches, but without simplifying the ideas. He manages to breath credibility into the Emperor's Children as both being true to themselves, and true to the meta-concept of themselves, yet *ALSO* being poetic and beautiful and tragic and funny and whimsical and boundary-breaking.
Seeing a character be astonishingly arrogant and overconfident, but also *actually competeny* as well. (Not necessarily in pace with their ego, but enough to not just be "arrogance = incompetent".)
Yeah, that's a hell of a thing to enjoy.
Edited by Xisor, 11 July 2019 - 05:19 PM.