Welcome to the Xisor Waffles About Matt Farrer & Rob Sanders Hour, strap in.
I don't know to what or to whom they're referring or riffing or homaging in these, but they seem particularly specific structures that I'm quite possibly just ignorant of the other end of the link, so will outlay them here for you all.
I'm not sure what the homages would be, if there are any, but on purely stylistic points two(...) of my absolute favourite bits of BL
not only break the mould, but pop it in a blast furnace and fire it out of reality via a rocket composed of interpretive dance.
That might be overselling them a little, but relative to "bold" novels that go off the beaten BL
path, like Prospero Burns, these two are my vivid favourites.
Which is to say:
- Atlas Infernal, by Rob Sanders
- Seven Views of Uhlguth's Passing, by Matthew Farrer
(- Archaon: Everchosen, by Rob Sanders. Being a WHFB novel, I'd hate to break the forum's server or whatever it is that motivates such insltensity in not discussing directly, tangibly related BL
topics when relevant, but as such chitchat is diabolical heresy of the most egregious, cruel and disreputable order - even when prominently involving a 40k character - talking about forbidden lore is still forbidden, so you'll all have to linger in tantalising ignorance of whatever tedious pearls of wisdom I could drum up.)
The former sets up the whole novel as a dubious tale - not only in the authenticity of its narrator, but in the very structure of the novel. Is the "real" story the story, or the interstitial chapters? Is any of it real? Is it all allegory? Is - because of the nature of the Harlequins and psychic-mythic-lore intrinsic to the webway, the Black Library and the titular Atlas, is it in fact all allegorical and all real, a paradoxical total mix of both?
Atlas Infernal is one that's not easily unpicked, and I utterly adore it.
In terms of framing devices, it's about as meta-thematical as it's possible to get, short of an author rogue self-publishing "real" BL
stories as a commentary on heresy and institutional suppression of information or something.
It's also wonderful. Not only in as much as I adore the sheer vividness of Rob's prose, but also the weird spread of characters and relatively coherent trippiness of the whole thing.
It's not a light, breezy, pacy thriller, but it is bonkers and more packed with evocative notions than most of the novels I read. (And for that reason it's stood out firmly in my experience of BL
books, and indeed all books.)
In contrast, "Seven Views..." is a somewhat straighter tale, told from seven successive perspectives on the same story, with each perspective having a fairly fundamentally different take on proceedings.
I won't go into too much detail, as its a short story, so if you're not familiar with it but notionally interested - I'd strongly suggest just hopping off to go read it. (Not least: I'd love to hear thoughts on it - even negative ones - as it rarely gets mentioned.)
But, like Rob Sanders', Matt's prose is a more decidedly descriptive style of writing. It paints a rich, detailed universe, and I utterly adore it.
(I used to quip that a sentence of Farrer's usually had more to it than a paragraph [or even a chapter's] of more pedestrian writers. But that's needlessly critical, and likely not actually true, except with the caveat "for my tastes". Given what I enjoy, Matt's prose is THE way I'd like to view 40k. Some vivid characters having tense, pacy plots with tight drama is neither here nor there for me, if all the supporting words don't tickle me. Hence why I took so long to come round to Dan Abnett - he writes excellently, but a lot of his time is spend on stuff not to my tastes. But when he touches on stuff that I do like, then my eyes were opened to him, and the rest became well worth it.)
Though even saying that, I'm happy to read "not to my tastes". And goodness me, it's quite clear my tastes are universally shared either - so with Rob & Matt, I've spoken to a lot of people who just find their prose too much hassle to bother with.
Which is a damn shame to my ears, but I'd not want people to be slogging through something they don't enjoy "just because they should".
That said, everyone should at least give "Seven Views..." a shot, as it's short and pretty peculiar. And my favourite short. Second favourite.
Bonus content because I won't shut up:
"The Masters, Bidding" is another short, probably my favourite "normal, many people might like this as it's not too wrird" BL
short story - though about 70-80pages long, if memory serves, so really a small book in its own right.
TM,B, however, uses a very different stylistic story device, a sort of recursive story, in which the characters of the story are themselves compelled to retell their own sub-stories for actually quite neat (I thought!) plot reasons.
It's long, and a bit meandering, but if memory serves (as I've not read it in a few years) it encompasses a few varied stories, from various Chaos warbands of quite starkly different natures and philosophies, and tells it all in much more confined, distinctive voices.
It makes for a really neat and varied take on modern 40k's Chaos, I thought it pretty damn awesome.