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Warhammer Crime


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#26
Xisor

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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 discussed this with a friend recently, and it's pertinent here: how do you even do a jump scare in a book?

Also: am I right in reading your opinion is constrained to tv/film modern horror, and not from books you might find under the label "horror" in a bookshop?
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#27
grailkeeper

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I discussed this with a friend recently, and it's pertinent here: how do you even do a jump scare in a book?




Pop up book
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#28
fire golem

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I discussed this with a friend recently, and it's pertinent here: how do you even do a jump scare in a book?


The closest I can think is some graphic novels (Junji Ito is the main one I can think of) where you turn the page and it’s not far off a jump scare.
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#29
bluntblade

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😅

I'm sure I've seen some jump scares of the "-

A meter-long chitin spike erupted from Gaius' chest" variety in BL books.

Casual reminder that jump scares aren't inherently bad. Films as diverse as Aliens, Jurassic Park and The Raid have effective examples.

#30
DukeLeto69

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I discussed this with a friend recently, and it's pertinent here: how do you even do a jump scare in a book?



Pop up book

Totally made me LOL
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#31
DukeLeto69

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@knockagh is right that over last decade or so there has been a resurgence of splatter/gore horror in movies. This was, I think, driven by the success of films like Saw, Cabin Fever and Hostel (Eli Roth driving this clearly).

I think there is room for all but films in general are faster paced and, arguably, dumbed down these days.

I have no idea if that trend also applies to horror novels as rarely read them.

Saying all that the mainline W40k novels often have a lot of gore, viscera and shock!
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#32
DukeLeto69

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Back on WH Crime... I hope they don’t only focus on “good guys” POV stories (ie the cop). Some of the best crime movies/books have been focused on the criminals themselves...

The Godfather, Goodfellas, Carlitos Way, The Italian Job (Michael Caine version), Lock Stock, Layer Cake, Scarface, Pulp Fiction, etc

Am hoping for crime syndicates, bank jobs, drug smuggling, protection rackets, hitmen/women, bent cops, corrupt officials, honest man/woman against the system.
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#33
Xisor

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Scene: the depths of Craftworld Biel-tan, 5th Arc of the Dreaming Song. A Tuesday.

Enter: the high priestess of Khaine.

She approaches the slab, casting her eyes across the bundle before her, blood seeped from the edges.

She smiled, pleased that another day proceeded without variation - the rites would flow freely, she could indulge in scrying the entrails anew.

There was a gasp. She followed with a gasp of her own.

Beneath the knapsack of Veiled Endings, the sacrifice still lived.

She collapsed to the floor, and with her hands invoked a sigil of alarm to the Shrines of the Aspects around the world.

Truly, it was the deepest & most blasphemous of crimes.

"Exarch Taggertha, hear me now," she said, her voice rough with shock and urgency.

She hesitated. She watched limbs, bloodied but hearty and hale - alive and ultimately well - rise from the altar of Khaine.

She resolved to report the horror - "There hasn't been a murder."

---

Roll intro credits!
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#34
Knockagh

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Pop up! Brilliant well done grailkeeper.

A jump scare in a book is a scene designed to deliberately shock by graphically describing a vile or horrific act. I admit to not reading horror so this is just my interpretation. DukeLeto mentions hostel, this is the only horror film I’ve watched in years and it disgusted me. It’s vile and I would go as far to say it’s not helpful for stuff like that to exist in society. I can’t understand how someone could get pleasure from that. Using my marker the story wouldn’t exist without the torture, the story is the torture. I think that’s too much.

Anyways....crime. My wife’s a big crime novel reader and I notice that much of her reading involves private investigators not actual cops. Could we have room for a 40k miss marple?? Crime books can cross into thriller territory. Chris Wraights vaults books have been the closest we’ve had in a long time to crime/thriller books.
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#35
fire golem

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Pop up! Brilliant well done grailkeeper.

A jump scare in a book is a scene designed to deliberately shock by graphically describing a vile or horrific act. I admit to not reading horror so this is just my interpretation. DukeLeto mentions hostel, this is the only horror film I’ve watched in years and it disgusted me. It’s vile and I would go as far to say it’s not helpful for stuff like that to exist in society. I can’t understand how someone could get pleasure from that. Using my marker the story wouldn’t exist without the torture, the story is the torture. I think that’s too much.

Anyways....crime. My wife’s a big crime novel reader and I notice that much of her reading involves private investigators not actual cops. Could we have room for a 40k miss marple?? Crime books can cross into thriller territory. Chris Wraights vaults books have been the closest we’ve had in a long time to crime/thriller books.


‘I don’t read horror and have watched one recent horror film and I have decided modern horror is bad.’

Lots of modern horror is rubbish. Some is excellent. I imagine it’s been that way forever in every media. The really good stuff is the minority.
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#36
Xisor

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I get ya.

Incidentally, "Rites of Passage" has an edge of Christie to it - I think it could be read as very close to a crime novel, albeit lighter on a few of the tropes.

It's concerned with the cosy elite, it's predominately cloistered away from everyday concerns of war and mundane existence, yet many of the driving forces behind the people in the novel are proper crime motivators: wealth, power, love/passion, family.

There's a lot to love in it.

It's also helpful that Chetta has that cool & harassed demeanour of a PI - she cannot be having with this foolishness, but has the wherewithal to actually see the mystery *resolved* rather than merely endured.

It's quite compelling actually.

Edited by Xisor, 26 November 2019 - 09:21 AM.

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#37
Sandlemad

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I don't read a huge amount of horror but I'd agree with the sentiment that gore-porn and jump-scares are modern-ish developments that seem restricted to cinema rather than horror prose fiction as such. John Langan, Thomas Ligotti, Nathan Ballingrud, Caitlín R. Kiernan and Laird Barron are all pretty prominent modern horror authors who get a lot of attention in the horror-reading community but place a premium on atmosphere and mood over cheap scares/blood n' guts. Some of them even have tv series on the go.

 

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.

 

I think your distinction here is probably going to be accurate in terms of how BL will approach stories under their crime imprint but I'm not sure it hold up all that well in practice. Completely agree on French's inquisition audio dramas fitting crime, for example, but then his novels are... not horror but certainly bigger and dealing with cosmic menaces at least in part. Same author, same bunch of characters but there's a sort of in-universe division here based on the scale as well as the darkness of the situation, which probably will keep big inquisitorial stuff outside of this new imprint. It'll be interesting to see how the BL editors manage this.

Otherwise the Aliette de Bodard 'Obsidian and Blood' books that Xizor mentions are also (excellent) works which are clearly crime novels but also have their darker powers and slipping sanity. Thats where my tastes run and if they can get that across with lots of psychological tension and interiority, the small scale character studies rather than just doing palette-changes on well-worn honest cop/noir tropes, then I'm in. Not entirely convinced that's how it will pan out but we have so little info yet, so we'll see. I'll probably still try out a few of them but it would most likely be with an eye towards simply getting more 'domestic' 40k fiction regardless of specific genre, as vague as that term is becoming.



#38
DukeLeto69

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@Sandlemad you say gore-porn is a “modern-ish development” and yes I agree depending on what we class as modern-ish.

I am prob older than many in here but I remember when VCRs came out and there were video shops on every high street. Film certification was slow to react and it was easy to pick up awful films like I Spit On Your Grave or Zombie Apocalypse as a young teen. These tended to have nudity (a teen boy tick) and gore soaked violence in extreme (as a parent now I wince at what younger me saw). Strangely a lot of these “films” were Italian made?

Anyway I agree we dont need splatter gore in WH Horror or WH Crime we need great characters, sharp dialogue, intriguing plots and suspense! Actually, perhaps unlike the mainline W40k warfare books we need violence to be rare and as a result all the more shocking!
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#39
Sandlemad

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That's true, you can draw a line from Italian giallo films through to later stuff, so by modern we can't reasonably mean just the slashers of the early 2000s or even the early 90's, this is something that comes in waves.

 

In literature rather than film though, I think you could look at authors like Clive Barker in the mid-80's for real gory stuff (probably others since, I think?) but that approach doesn't seem to be in the ascendency at the moment. Regardless this isn't something that BL seems to go in for, either in Horror, Crime or otherwise, and I don't think we're greatly losing out because of it.


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#40
cheywood

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https://www.warhamme...0-has-in-store/

BL Manager Neil Coombe’s words: ‘In July 2020 we’re launching another new imprint, this time focusing on the seedy underbelly of Warhammer 40,000. We’ve created a new setting for all of this nefarious activity to take place in, the fantastically titled Varangantua. Stay connected to the Warhammer Community site and Black Library social media for more updates on this soon.‘

It seems like all Warhammer Crime stories will be set within the same hive city.

On first thought that seems like a missed opportunity given the breadth of the Imperium, but maybe building up a specific hive city as a setting makes sense? Necromunda novels don’t seem to suffer from focusing on a single underhive.

Edited by cheywood, 01 January 2020 - 03:02 PM.


#41
DarkChaplain

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Amazon has a blurb for Bloodlines by Wraight:

 

The first title in the new "Warhammer Crime" imprint. Try to unravel the secrets lurking in the sprawling city of Varangantua.

In the immense city of Varangantua, life is cheap but mistakes are expensive. When Probator Agusto Zidarov of the city’s enforcers is charged with locating the missing scion of a wealthy family, he knows full well that the chances of finding him alive are slight. The people demanding answers, though, are powerful and ruthless, and he is soon immersed in a world of criminal cartels and corporate warfare where even an enforcer’s survival is far from guaranteed. As he follows the evidence deeper into the city’s dark underbelly, he discovers secrets that have been kept hidden by powerful hands. As the net closes in on both him and his quarry, he is forced to confront just what measures some people are willing to take in order to stay alive…


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#42
DukeLeto69

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Blurb sounds good to me thanks @DC

At first a bit surprised/disappointed to have a single setting in Varangantua but as @cheywood says it works for Necromunda.
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#43
Jareddm

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I'm not in love with the name Varangantua. Doesn't roll off the tongue like Vervunhive or Necromunda.

#44
Knockagh

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Agree the names a bit of a tongue twister but the whole thing sounds brilliant.

I hadn’t thought of them putting the series into one setting at all. But like cheywood on reflection I think it’s a great idea. Delving into a new setting in a ton of detail will be great. Can’t wait
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#45
Fedor

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I'm not so sure about this imprint at all. I don't actually read or watch any modern Crime fiction, but i did get that mafia tv series The Supranos as a christmas gift and the thing was just full of nasty, bigoted men swearing, extorting and killing people. A race to the bottom with no condemnation in sight!. It compels me to write off the entire crime genre.


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#46
theSpirea

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I was hoping it would be similar to the way they've done the Warhammer Horror. I'm little bit worried this might limit the diversity of the stories, and this way we won't get any AoS Crime.



#47
aa.logan

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Im hoping Josh Reynolds gets back on board fully with BL and we get his take on McBain’s 57th precinct series, but 40k.

#48
Knockagh

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I'm not so sure about this imprint at all. I don't actually read or watch any modern Crime fiction, but i did get that mafia tv series The Supranos as a christmas gift and the thing was just full of nasty, bigoted men swearing, extorting and killing people. A race to the bottom with no condemnation in sight!. It compels me to write off the entire crime genre.

Not sure if we have been reading the same books but the entire Imperium is built by nasty xenophobic little men and women who despise pretty much everyone who is even marginally different from them. They do an awful lot of killing and plenty of extortion when the mood is right. Condemning the extortionists or the bigots usually will earn you a one way trip to the emperor.
What you say you dislike is pretty much 40k. I’m confused.
I do love a chink of decency in any fiction no matter how dark and a good author will always work in some grace or hope into a story. It’s what makes ADB night lords so good, you see decency among the crazy badness. Or the ghosts stories are utterly hopeless but they have all the human emotions good and bad floating about. The Supranos has good deeds done (that usually backfire!).
But if your looking for a group of social reformers fighting for woke ideals you won’t find it in the 41st millennium.
Maybe Mike Brooks wants to write a 41st millennium Greta Thunberg series about her campaigning against the mechanicum pollution criminals. Or Gav Thorpe will write a book for abhuman rights and better social housing for mutants. A kindly old ork who only wants peace with the humans and is kind to the grots?
Eldar fiction is the closest to this you will get and few people seem to buy it, which is a massive pitty.

Edited by Knockagh, 02 January 2020 - 10:17 AM.


#49
DukeLeto69

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I was hoping it would be similar to the way they've done the Warhammer Horror. I'm little bit worried this might limit the diversity of the stories, and this way we won't get any AoS Crime.


Personally am totally happy WHC is 40k only and actually (selfishly) wish WHH was only 40k as well as no interest in AoS.

I agree and also hoped WHC would embrace stories set anywhere within the IoM like WHH but will remain open-minded and see what we get.

#50
DarkChaplain

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I'm on the other side when it comes to Warhammer Horror, the AoS stories so far have been very refreshing, with Castle of Blood being a nice surprise after Werner's previous entry for Maledictions.

 

As for Crime, I just think that 40k is more interesting as a setting by default, due to the widespread technology. Sure, AoS has magic, but that makes for really boring crimes when it comes to the details. On top of that, AoS, while it has definitely improved since 2nd Edition, is still badly defined, and even the major capital of Hammerhal, which has been the setting of a bunch of stories and the Warhammer Quest: Shadows Over Hammerhal board game, is still convoluted and not particularly evocative to me. It's not so relatable a world, especially when a Varangantua (or whatever it is called) equivalent in AoS would be limited to one or two realms at best, cut out the bulk of factions, and still remain oddly specific in how it describes its races.

 

A hive city in 40k seems much more convenient as a stage, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if we got some stories about dudes trying to escape into the wastes for some reason or other. It's also much easier to make somebody visualize a spaceship than what AoS got going, using silly names. As a result, I think Crime can focus more on the actual crimes and ongoings, rather than getting bogged down in describing arcana.

 

Honestly though, I could see a hive city like that turn into BL's Gotham, in a sense. I mean, Necromunda is one thing, but that's still about gang wars. An entirely new setting for Crime, though? We could have a psyker supervillain acting as the Macharius of Crime!


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