Under the benevolent leadership of the Emperor the Imperium has stretched across the galaxy in a golden age…
Whoa there – Golden age? Benevolent leadership? Isn’t this Warhammer 40K, the most brutal SF franchise known to man and home of the universes toughest homosexual icons, the Space Marines?
The new series from the Black Library has rolled back the clock on the Games Workshop universe ten millennium to the most famed event in the 40K mythos – the Horus Heresy. Penned by Dan Abnett, the godfather of Games Workshop novelisations, Horus Rising promises to bring a new level of sophistication to a franchise occasionally accused of being as flat as the table top games it is based on.
Warmaster Horus, favoured son of the Emperor, is left in charge of conquering the universe when the old man decides he has had enough of the whole war thing. Horus slowly develops a bitter hatred for daddy which, exacerbated by some ill advised Chaos abuse, drives him to rebellion. This is the first part of the story arc, told through the eyes of Captain Loken, but leaves the reader in no doubt that this rebellion is for more than a hike in Horus pocket money.
Abnett understands his audience, killing daddy is a common fantasy amongst Games Workshops adolescent male fanbase. Horus Rising hits all the expected marks, with some of Abnett’s grimmest and most visceral battle scenes ever that should satisfy fan’s appetite for carnage. But despite Abnett’s efforts at characterisation he struggles to inject depth into a cast of resolutely two dimensional characters. Horus Rising is an exciting romp, perhaps the next volume will fulfil the trilogy’s early promise.
A political alignment test has incited some debate at the Asimov’s web forum under ‘Being a villain to the left and right’:
And the test itself at:
Its quite simplistic but at least raised the issue that not all liberals are communists, which seems to be a common miscoception among American conservatives.
Seems I just can’t give up crusading.
I’ve been working up a few ideas as an essay entitled ‘The Psycho-Geography of the Mystic City’ over the last couple of days. Hopefuly I’ll post it up on the blog at some point when it is finished. I think it might be the basis of of a serial fiction.
I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a serial fiction for a while now. I like the idea of telling a story in an episodic way. There have been a great spate of TV shows with fantastic ensemble writing this year and episodic structures really play to that. It also seems like a good opportunity for promoting a story, given the potential of rss and podcasting thats opening up. Mostly though it plays well against the urban magic ideas I’ve been working on and the group of characters that strem of thought is coming up with. It seems like the most well rounded of the different ideas I’m chipping away at at the moment.
I’ve also just run into some info on the Dogtown Features, which were a set of photo-journalistic articles written in the 70’s about the Zephyr skate team. Skating is very similar to the metaphor I’m trying to build around magick – finding meaning in urban watseleands etc etc. The articles captured a really cool format for capturing that kind of urban ennui. I might try using elements of their journalitoc style to shape some of the telling of the mystic city tales when I next sit down to work on them.
You know how it is. Or at least you do if you spend some small part of your time on web forums as I do. You find repeating themes in the posts you are reading, and in your answers to them. Ideas begin sparking in the tiny mind you (and I) have access to and then sometime later that idea reaches some kind fruition. So what do you do? Well, if your anything like me you splurge it out in a couple of posts with tenuous connection to the actual thread of the ongoing conversation and hope for the best. Excatly as I have done here –
So is SF really a genre at all? The thought that it isn’t has been entertaining me recently. Sure…there are some genres in SF – space opera, dying earth, high fantasy, cyberpunk. These have recognisable character archetypes, tropes, plot structures etc, all the toys a writer can play with within a genre. But SF is much bigger than these genres alone. SF, I would argue is more of a mode of writing than a genre.
A mode tells you something about the writer / reader relationship that a story is developing. The SF mode is all about taking the reader into their own imagination (by way of yours) and giving them an experience beyond reality. I’m sure every writer and reader has their own way of phrasing that sentiment, but I feel that the sense of taking the reader beyond the realms of their own experience is what glues all the otherwise diverse types of SF together into a whole.
Light – M John Harrison
Spaceships, magicians, anorexics, London, deep space, virtual worlds, gritty realities. If Harrison were a chef he’d have just invented the first dish known to man to contain every majour ingredient. And within this riotous cocktail are the strange shapes of the quantumn world as it intersects with the mysteries of the human soul. And foam, lots and lots of fuzzy white foam….
Buy Light by M John Harrison on Amazon
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Book reviews coming soon!