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Warhammer Crime


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#1
grailkeeper

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Warhammer Crime was announced at the black library weekender. I'm a practising criminal lawyer so this is something that particularly interests me.

 

What do we know about it so far? Its described as "Discover hard-bitten detectives, deadly mysteries and more in a new imprint from Black Library,"The first book is called Blood Lines By Chris Wraight. 

 

It'll probably be a 40kified take on normal crime books. I'd like to give a crack at writing this myself, based on my own experiences. I think I might try and write about a Marine playing detective- if only because they seem so unsuited to it. (40k marines, 30k marines would probably be better at it).


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#2
Mazer Rackham

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An interesting premise - I have just read your detective astartes post, I must say it is very good.

 

I think it could work - back in RT Era days there was actually a paint scheme for "Military Police" Space Marines.  I think something like that would be an excellent entry point - perhaps Special Investigation Branch style.  I think the fact you have chosen Dark Angels is also quite clever, what with their proclivity to paranoia.  Perhaps a  fallen  totally loyal brother is at work somewhere....perhaps not!

 

MR.


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#3
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I'm interested in seeing what an actual trial looks like in 40K (if you are high enough up to get a trial). Is it an inquisitorial  or adversarial  systems? What vestiges of the legal systems of old earth survived into the 40 Millenia? Do the judges wear those silly black caps the old British judges wore when issuing a death sentence? 



#4
Jareddm

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An interesting premise - I have just read your detective astartes post, I must say it is very good.

I think it could work - back in RT Era days there was actually a paint scheme for "Military Police" Space Marines. I think something like that would be an excellent entry point - perhaps Special Investigation Branch style. I think the fact you have chosen Dark Angels is also quite clever, what with their proclivity to paranoia. Perhaps a fallen totally loyal brother is at work somewhere....perhaps not!

MR.

. They're still a thing in modern Horus Heresy lore: https://wh40k.lexica...nsul-Opsequiari

I'm sure they were present in all legions, especially before their primarch was discovered.

#5
Felix Antipodes

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This could be a good way of consolidating exactly what the Arbites do and how. There have been plenty of snippets (and even the Calpurnia book series) that have expounded on them without really giving their full structure, organisation, or even reason for existence. A lot of authors mix them up with planetary enforcement groups for instance rather than the Imperium level they are supposed to operate on.
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#6
Knockagh

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I'm interested in seeing what an actual trial looks like in 40K (if you are high enough up to get a trial). Is it an inquisitorial or adversarial systems? What vestiges of the legal systems of old earth survived into the 40 Millenia? Do the judges wear those silly black caps the old British judges wore when issuing a death sentence?


Trials have, at least to my recollection been largely ignored in favour of, what look like, arbitrary decisions made after a vicious and cruel interrogation. Judgment being carried out immediately.
I doubt how well, given how marines have developed, an SM investigative book would work. It has been done to a degree. In Eminence Sanguis Guy Haley does an internal Blood Angles thing and it works well but it’s much more of a fraternal chat than a formal investigation and even here the chapter being investigated don’t respond well. Marines are too wrapped up in pride to respond well in any way to a questioning of their integrity, even if it has some basis. Their response is usually a Bolter which would kind of destroy the whole idea of Warhammer crime for me.
I hope the crime books will be another chance to explore the wider 40k galaxy, away from marines and bolters. People who live on agri worlds stealing food supplies for the black market, high spire families bumping off rivals in their pursuit of power, dealers in illegal alien tech or some 1984 style thought crime would be more my wishes for the series. The thought police agent in the little antique shop in 1984 is so very 40k.
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#7
Laughingman

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I'm interested in seeing what an actual trial looks like in 40K (if you are high enough up to get a trial). Is it an inquisitorial or adversarial systems? What vestiges of the legal systems of old earth survived into the 40 Millenia? Do the judges wear those silly black caps the old British judges wore when issuing a death sentence?

Trials have, at least to my recollection been largely ignored in favour of, what look like, arbitrary decisions made after a vicious and cruel interrogation. Judgment being carried out immediately.
I doubt how well, given how marines have developed, an SM investigative book would work. It has been done to a degree. In Eminence Sanguis Guy Haley does an internal Blood Angles thing and it works well but it’s much more of a fraternal chat than a formal investigation and even here the chapter being investigated don’t respond well. Marines are too wrapped up in pride to respond well in any way to a questioning of their integrity, even if it has some basis. Their response is usually a Bolter which would kind of destroy the whole idea of Warhammer crime for me.
I hope the crime books will be another chance to explore the wider 40k galaxy, away from marines and bolters. People who live on agri worlds stealing food supplies for the black market, high spire families bumping off rivals in their pursuit of power, dealers in illegal alien tech or some 1984 style thought crime would be more my wishes for the series. The thought police agent in the little antique shop in 1984 is so very 40k.

 

 

 

In the old Badab War books, they did describe the surviving members of the astral claws and friends getting a trial by military commission (quasi-court marshal), with a jury of peers (chapter masters), so my guess is there's a legal precedent in the Codex Astartes for conducting such commission. 

 

but I otherwise agree with your ascertain...

 

I still wonder about the black cap thing though... 


Edited by Laughingman, 17 November 2019 - 04:44 AM.


#8
grailkeeper

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As a lawyer Id be particularly interested in trials. Till now the criminal process seems largely taken from Judge Dredd, perhaps with more 40k religious overtones added.

Arbites will need to carve a niche for themselves. Since enforcers took the "40k cop" role and inquisitors took the "interplanetary detective" type role it'd hard to see them having a unique role. If something can be carved out it should be pretty interesting.

Edited by grailkeeper, 17 November 2019 - 02:41 PM.


#9
DukeLeto69

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This could be a good way of consolidating exactly what the Arbites do and how. There have been plenty of snippets (and even the Calpurnia book series) that have expounded on them without really giving their full structure, organisation, or even reason for existence. A lot of authors mix them up with planetary enforcement groups for instance rather than the Imperium level they are supposed to operate on.

 

I have always thoought of the Arbites as being responsible for solving/sorting out inter-planetary, inter-sector and pan-Imperial crime. A kind of FBI vs the normal city/county Police.

 

I hope the WH Crime imprint focuses on those "city police" more than Arbites level. I want it to be about normal crime and investigation with, perhaps, the ever-present threat of the Arbites getting involved if things are being resolved etc.


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#10
DukeLeto69

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I hope the crime books will be another chance to explore the wider 40k galaxy, away from marines and bolters. People who live on agri worlds stealing food supplies for the black market, high spire families bumping off rivals in their pursuit of power, dealers in illegal alien tech or some 1984 style thought crime would be more my wishes for the series. The thought police agent in the little antique shop in 1984 is so very 40k.

 

 

Totally with you on this.

 

WH Crime (and WH Horror) are a great opportunity to enrich the setting away from the battlefield and away from the main factions. Let's see life for the little guy and how horrendous that must be for most. Let's see normal planetary cops coming up against the big boys (Adeptus of whatever stripe) and having their investigations overruled or taken away from them. Let's feel the paranoid threat that the Arbites or (God Emperor forbid) an acolyte of an Inquisitor might take an interest in our little serial killer problem. 

 

And let's not forget, there are supposedly only 1,000 Astartes Chapters with up to 1,000 Marines. That means one per planet! 99.9% of the population of the Imperium will never see an Asartes!



#11
Xisor

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On the Arbites front, they're more of an FBI sort of operation - they look at what threatens the operation of the Imperium, not "petty" law breaking - e.g. Murder.

Insurrection that threatens the Tithe: Arbites.

Inserrection that threatens the ruling House, but looks otherwise competent: Enforcers.

Insurrection that threatens the soul of humanity: Inquisition.

---

In terms of 40k, my inclination is more puzzle/mystery solving than strict notions of justice. But it's an old trope in crime fiction: solving the case isn't the same as making sure the perps are punished.

Uncovering the truth and unravelling the mystery is, perhaps, more what the Arbites judgements may come down to.

Highly dramatic, tense, bloody... But ultimately ends in "case dismissed" because its irrelevant at the Imperial scale. Everyone involved gets referred back to their own organisations with the suggestion of severe punishment for wasting His Divine Imperial Majesty's Servant's time.

---

I'm reminded, vaguely, why I lived the Calpurnia books so much - "Legacy" in particular.

In terms of lawyerly, legal, trial stuff, it's not a traditional guilt/innocence sort of substantiation, as much as settling in an agreed official interpretation of events. (And appropriate, multi-institutional response.)

Bloody heck though. I'm excited for it.

---

I'm also intrigued for the AoS part of the matter. I just recently listened to Hammerhal and I can imagine Josh doing a very delightful switch from sword and sorcery fiendishness into CJ Sansom-y, Age of Sigmar wonders. Untangling the jurisdiction of the gods, determining who a soul actually belongs to.

---

Outside Warhammer - did anyone ever read Aliette de Bodard's Aztec-noir detective trilogy - Obsidian & Blood?

Not only were they brilliant, they show a wonderful way of doing high-concept fantasy wonders right alongside serious history and pretty damn compelling crime fiction.

If WHC has even a hint of a similarity, we're in for a treat.
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#12
Marshal Rohr

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I’m interested to see how the execute this because crimes in 40k often blur the line with the recently released horror series.

Edited by Marshal Rohr, 20 November 2019 - 12:51 PM.

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#13
bluntblade

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Based on Wraight's previous work, I feel like we're more likely to get a procedural than courtroom drama.
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#14
DarkChaplain

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I think one big factor that differentiates the Crime and Horror imprints would be whether or not the investigator/enforcer/criminal/etc, who we get to follow is in a frail mental state or involved with darker powers. If the protagonist's sanity is slipping throughout the narrative due to internal or external forces, it'd probably be a better fit for horror, if not, and the focus is more on the crime or case itself, without the investigator being too personally involved in it (including through projection of his own personality or past history), it'd probably fit more into the Crime section.

 

Obviously, there are clear points that move the story firmly into Horror, but generally, the less overtly spiritual the case, the better it fits into Crime. The detective, if a story has one, needs to be more detached. You'd immediately be able to place Holmes into Crime whereas investigator-type characters in Lovecraft's or Poe's stories would be an easy horror fit. Carnacki, too, would fit more into Horror, although the overlap to Crime is there, simply due to the subject matter and way the character is presented.

 

Crime can deal with Chaos just fine, I believe, so long as the influence of the case's Chaos presence doesn't reach too deeply into them.

 

I think French's Covenant-related audio dramas would be a good fit for Crime, too. It wouldn't surprise me if they were getting a Crime-labeled Ianthe anthology once they got enough of those out.


Edited by DarkChaplain, 20 November 2019 - 01:46 PM.

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#15
b1soul

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I always thought Enforcers were synonymous with Arbites

#16
Knockagh

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I always thought Enforcers were synonymous with Arbites


I was of the same opinion and hadn’t read anything to change my mind until the necromunda supplement aptly titled ‘ The Book of Judgement’ came out recently. I haven’t finished it all but enforcers are most certainly a long way down the chain from arbites. A different beast altogether. The CIA/MI5 to local cops comparison is pretty good.

Edited by Knockagh, 22 November 2019 - 10:13 AM.


#17
Xisor

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I always thought Enforcers were synonymous with Arbites


Much the same way as Space Marines and Sisters of Battle. Or Knights and Titans. Or Titans and Sisters of Battle.

They're all Imperial human soldiers in variations of fancy armour, right?

(Was exact same for me, albeit a few years earlier: It took me a ages to understand why Arbites cared about gangs in the Underhive. [Spoiler for you ung Xisor: they don't, that's still Enforcers. And makes it doubly egregious that they named the Shira omnibus "Enforcer".])

#18
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Gotta say, as a distinct series this seems really strange to me. Cue a bunch of stories centered on the inquisition, which we already have anyway. Warhammer Horror, I understood. Next will be Warhammer Romance? Cooking and travel books to come in 2021.
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#19
Kelborn

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Gotta say, as a distinct series this seems really strange to me. Cue a bunch of stories centered on the inquisition, which we already have anyway. Warhammer Horror, I understood. Next will be Warhammer Romance? Cooking and travel books to come in 2021.


Crime will not only about the Inquisition. Think it's more about diving into the all day life on Imperial worlds, which only touched upon in certain novels.
It's a great way to give us another take on mortal life in general, be it via an Inquisitor revealing a murdering cult or an Arbiter, who discovers a Genestealer smuggler cartell or whatever. Imho, I'm more interested in this than in horror as it has more potential to add new stuff and insights.

Let's just wait and see before we make fun of it, eh?


Edited by Kelborn, 24 November 2019 - 07:51 AM.
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#20
DukeLeto69

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Gotta say, as a distinct series this seems really strange to me. Cue a bunch of stories centered on the inquisition, which we already have anyway. Warhammer Horror, I understood. Next will be Warhammer Romance? Cooking and travel books to come in 2021.


I have seen a few “complaints” and think folks are missing the point and only looking at this through a single established reader lens.

BL want to widen readership and get their books to appear outside of SFF (and specifically military SF) sections. They want horror fans to pick up their books and now crime fans. They hope someone who does might then be intrigued to further explore the setting and buy more books. This is a marketing exercise to enter new markets with revised product.

Will it work? No idea because a horror fan or crime fan needs to be happy with crossover into a SFF setting.

For BL fans it does allow folks to know what to better expect. If you want smaller scale character studies in domestic settings then Horror and Crime have got you. However if you want warfare then the mainline books are where you go.

Going forward if Horror and Crime are successful it does open up some branding challenges for future books that are similar to Eisenhorn and Calpurnia but at present this is about breaking new ground.

What REALLY matters TO ME is that BL are publishing these kinds of stories as well as warfare books cos I want all types of stories set in 40k universe and want to explore the domestic side just as much as the battlefield.
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#21
Knockagh

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I’m not a fan of horror because I dislike everything about the modern horror genre ad want nothing to do with it. But that’s a personal thing and plenty seem to be enjoying the books and it not impacting at all on the main thrust of books. A happy side effect for me, it has seen the disappearance of Annandale from mainstream BL fiction!

But I’m all up for a good crime novel. Wraight is definitely the man for the task. I’m currently reading hollow mountain and he is getting right in there with descriptions of the arbites hq on Terra and skimming over their organisations impact on the 40k world. CW world building is beautiful and I can see him doing wonders with the arbites and enforcers.

#22
grailkeeper

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I could see it being like Child 42 (which is a great book). The criminal process and how investigations are carried out by coppers in 40k could be a lot like those carried out in the soviet union. The presumption of guilt means things are very different to us. The cops have to follow up on things our cops wouldnt, for example if someone appears innocent every possible avenue of guilt must be explored. They also have to tread more delicately as, officially, there are no murders in the soviet union.

Edited by grailkeeper, 25 November 2019 - 12:23 PM.

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#23
Xisor

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I’m not a fan of horror because I dislike everything about the modern horror genre ad want nothing to do with it.


I know you said it's a personal thing, but deriving at first from my pedantic foolishness ("how do you even know everything about the modern horror genre!?"), I wondered if you'd expand on that?

Not to pick apart, but to understand where you're coming from better.

I know almost nothing about modern horror, practically, nor historical horror - so my orientation on all of it is near zero.

(I imagine some similarity with Crime you've also got a massive "genre" encompassing radically different sorts of stories & tastes. I mean, just look at Agatha Christie and Ian Rankin, sat cheerfully side by side.)

#24
Knockagh

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I cannot stand modern horror. My experience of it is a genre without much or any depth. It seems to be based on sinking to the vilest and lowest level possible. It over relys on jump scares and ignores suspense.
I’ve no problem with violence in a story or even cruel acts. But they shouldn’t (in my opinion) be the story. The test should be that the story should be able to survive and still be a story without the violence or cruelty. They can add to a story or complement a story, adding depth of feeling or emotion to it, but the story should be complete in itself without it.
For example 1984 is a love story set in a dystopian society. It shows the desire for love and freedom that drive people and how those strong emotions can be devastated. The elements of torture and cruelty from the party add massively to the atmosphere and suspense created in the story but without them the story would still be there and complete. If the book focused on the torture, the blood and cruelty it would just be nasty and horrid.
My experience of modern horror isn’t that wide because what I’ve seen of it, it’s a race to the bottom so I dont watch it. Maybe it’s bigger and more diverse than I think but a quick scan of dvd boxes around halloween tells me I’m at least partially right.
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#25
cheywood

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I cannot stand modern horror. My experience of it is a genre without much or any depth. It seems to be based on sinking to the vilest and lowest level possible. It over relys on jump scares and ignores suspense.
I’ve no problem with violence in a story or even cruel acts. But they shouldn’t (in my opinion) be the story. The test should be that the story should be able to survive and still be a story without the violence or cruelty. They can add to a story or complement a story, adding depth of feeling or emotion to it, but the story should be complete in itself without it.
For example 1984 is a love story set in a dystopian society. It shows the desire for love and freedom that drive people and how those strong emotions can be devastated. The elements of torture and cruelty from the party add massively to the atmosphere and suspense created in the story but without them the story would still be there and complete. If the book focused on the torture, the blood and cruelty it would just be nasty and horrid.
My experience of modern horror isn’t that wide because what I’ve seen of it, it’s a race to the bottom so I dont watch it. Maybe it’s bigger and more diverse than I think but a quick scan of dvd boxes around halloween tells me I’m at least partially right.


I’m far from an expert, but lowest-common-denominator jump scares/gross out horror (which has always turned me off from the genre as well) seems more a movie/tv issue than a literary one.
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