Posts Tagged ‘Games Workshop’

I’ll be at Games Day tomorrow, signing some books and hobnobbing with anyone who would like their hobs nobbled. Come and say hi. I don’t know if I’m appearing on any seminars; I was originally down for one, but I asked to be taken off it. Not because I’m scared of crowds or was having a prima donna fit or anything, it’s just that it was about the Horus Heresy. Having written precisely two and a half short pieces of fiction for that setting, and having been to none of the planning meetings, I didn’t feel I’d have much to add (which is exactly what happened the last two times I was on HH seminars). And I couldn’t sit there being a pretty face, as I ain’t that pretty.
But I’ll be there at the tables, and when I’m not I’ll be wandering about, trying very hard not spend all my money on toy soldiers like everyone else. My wife would be most displeased in a “What do you mean? Magic beans?” kind of manner if I blew my cash. Only in this case, if I tossed a handful of Space Marines into the garden, they’d not grown into a giant money tree.
Still, it’s Games Day! I’ve got to get something, haven’t I? I’m getting the nerd sweats thinking about what toys to buy…

No posts forever, what can I say? I’ve been backed up to the wazoo (I have no idea what that really means, except I do, but it’s not very British so I’ll say I don’t) with work, hence no posts for quite some time. I have a few I really want to write, but you know, these posts are free. People pay me monies for other words, bills mean I have to take the monetised scribblings first, second, and third every single time. Sorry ’bout that.

This post is not a long one – I come here briefly to say that my Space Marine Battles book, Death of Integrity, is out now to buy. It’ll even be in GW’s shops from tomorrow. As, in fact, will I. Not for sale, but signing my Black Library novels. I’ll be in the Bath Games Workshop between 11.00 am and 1.00pm. so if you’re in the area and want a chat, please come along.

I should also mention that Black Library have re-released “The Rite of Holos” as a digital short, which appeared in Hammer and Bolter last year. This is a prequel to Death of Integrity featuring the Blood Drinkers.

I finished my fourth Black Library novel last week, and have been asked to do plenty more stories of all kinds. If you’re a Warhammer or Warhammer 40,000 fan, you’ll be seeing a lot of me over the next 12 months.

Criminy, another new year, my 40th to be precise. I’m halfway through my life, or thereabouts. Now that’s something to chew on. Once more the terrifying brevity of human existence troubles my thoughts.

Happy New Year!

I don’t celebrate New Year much. This year (I suppose “last year”) I watched Predators on telly, which was better than expected, then went to bed at 11.30. I’ve always found New Year’s Eve a bit of an anti-climax, unless you can find a good house party. And I always get maudlin about my mortal span (see above). In any case, now my son Benny is four, there’s no going anywhere on days like that. So, onto 2013, it’s a busy one. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening in the Guyniverse come the next twelve months (all provisional, naturally).


My first story for Interzone will be published in issue 244. Hurrah!


I’ll be at Black Library Live in Nottingham on 3rd March, then the day after at The Scifi Weekender in Pwllheli. See you there?


I am also going to be at Salute with BL, on 20th April in London. I’ll be at several other events with the Black Library this year, and I’ll be posting details of those nearer the time.


Baneblade, my first published novel for The Black Library, is out on 7th May. Expect a linked story in Hammer and Bolter before the book comes out.


The Crash is out on the 25th. My second original novel for Solaris, it’s about a colony expedition that goes horribly wrong.


Skarsnik is out, my second BL book. This hits the shelves on 19th July. There’ll be a tie-in story about another famous Greenskin warlord in Hammer and Bolter. If you’re seeing a pattern here, that’s because there is one.


My Horus Heresy-era short story will appear in the Mark of Calth anthology, out on 13th. I actually just finished this today, and will tell you the title when I am one hundred per cent sure I won’t get into hot water for it (meaning, I’ll ask my editor).


My third novel for The Black Library/Games Workshop is released 3rd September. Space Marines galore, Genestealers, and a twist.

And that’s about it for the time being. I’ve got several other projects bubbling away, and as I said I will be appearing at other events. As for this blog,  I’ve made my one and only New Year resolution to get all my Death Ray work online. And then I’ve  a four-year backlog of SFX material; and that’s just the stuff I’ve got permission to publish. FYI, the blog got 25000 views in 2012, nowhere near the likes of John Scalzi’s eight million but not bad, I think. Things I’m hoping for this year? Less rain.

Look, look! Artwork for my book Baneblade! This atmospheric piece of the eponymous tanks in action was created by Adam Tooby, and a fine job he’s done too. I first saw this some time ago, and have been itching to show you ever since, now I can! I’ve also been given permission to reveal a little of the plot of the book, hooray! Here goes:

Imperial Guard fight Blood Axe Orks across a treacherous world!

Colaron Bannick is a young officer of noble birth. Posted to hostile Kalidar – a place wracked by deadly storms, covered in choking dust and troubled by bizarre psychic phenomenon – his heroic actions in his first engagement see him seconded to join the crew of the ancient Baneblade, Mars Triumphant, where he faces a terrifying enemy…

Although the story is set at the time of the Macharian Crusade, the war on Kalidar is not a part of this grand campaign (read Bill King’s Angel of Fire for that), instead the book shows an army group stretched to the limit as resources are siphoned off to fuel the Warmaster’s conquests.

In a parallel story depicted in a series of flashbacks, we also see why Bannick fled his comfortable existence as a privileged nobleman for a hard life in the Guard.

Expect big tanks, big battles and the will of the Emperor and the Omnissiah done by man and machine against terrible odds.

Baneblade will be released in April next year. In fact, you can preorder it on Amazon already.

At last! I can tell you about some of the very exciting things that I know about and that you don’t, or rather didn’t know until now!

Today I can finally reveal not one, but two of my Black Library novels. In case the picture above doesn’t give it away, one is Skarsnik, about the infamous night goblin warlord.

I’m a big Warhammer fan, as you might know. I started playing in 1984 with the first edition of the fantasy game. That’s right, when there was none of this new fangled Warhammer 40,000 business and Toughness values were represented by letters. I was 11. I’m now 39, so I’ve been playing for 28 years. And I still play. I love it. (Playing for so long puts on odd perspective on things – I bought myself a little birthday gift on Wednesday, a box of plastic bikers for my 40k ork army. I’ve wanted these for ages. To me they are “new models”. They came out five years ago).

I’ve always been a massive greenskin fan, leading orcs and goblins since day one. For years they lost, but the last half decade has been kind to my green minions and they now win more often than not. It helps that Skarsnik himself is my army general. Want to see my army list? Here it is.

Skarsnik’s Stabbas

(I date all my army lists when I draw them up. This is the most recent variation on Skarsnik’s army, but it really doesn’t change that much. The last game I played with this was 7/5/2012. It represents but a small proportion of my greater goblin horde. No, I don’t have any orcs in my army, although I have Ruglud’s Armoured Orcs prepped for painting because they are very cool. Other orcs can go feed my squigs. Literally).

Naturally I was well up for it when Nick Kyme at The Black Library suggested I write a novel about Skarsnik. Nick worked for me when I edited White Dwarf magazine, now I kind of work for him. A strange reversal, but a fruitful one. Our earlier association means he knows full well how much I like my goblins.

I’ve put up a page on Skarsnik here with a brief breakdown of the plot, so I won’t repeat myself, but I will tell you some of what I am trying to do with the story. A lot of people see goblins as funny, comic relief characters (why, just check out The Black Library’s own blog post to see how prevalent this attitude is). Granted, they are funny, but they are also vicious, wicked, baby-eating horrors of the first degree. “Ooh! Look at the funny goblins”, gamers say. Yeah well, you wouldn’t want to be bound to spiky stick in a stinky cave with a lot of them standing around you. They’d have knives, and they’d be laughing. Not so funny now, are they?

Come to think of it, you probably don’t want to face mine on the battlefield either.

So, I wanted to capture both sides of this character. You’ll see how amusing and horrifying goblins are as we watch Skarsnik trick, wheedle and stab his way from sporeling to king of Karak Eight Peaks. For non-goblin fanatics there is plenty of skaven and dwarf action, with a little bit of the Empire thrown in. Truly, Skarsnik is a cornucopic fantasy delight.

Now to the other project. Sharp eyes might have seen this on Amazon. Yes, I’ve also written a Warhammer 40,000 novel called Baneblade. It’s about the tank of the same name. Although I wrote this book quite a while ago, and it is actually out some time before Skarsnik, the arcane nature of publishing dictates that I can say only that it’s about a young lieutenant of a noble house who joins a veteran baneblade crew. And that’s your lot.

By the Emperor, there’s more! I’m also writing another book for BL called [REDACTED] about the [REDACTED] and the [REDACTED] who must [REDACTED] before [REDACTED] and the [REDACTED] is [REDACTED]! I’ve not finished writing that yet but I’m having a lot of fun with it. More later when I am free to talk.

Of course, none of this is out for a while, so why not (blatant plug time! Please forgive me, I have to eat) check out my Richards & Klein books. A buddy-cop adventure series set in the 22nd century that pairs a dour, ex-military German cyborg with a wiseass super computer in a trenchcoat. Click here for more on both books, and free R&K short stories “The Nemesis Worm” and “Ghost”. You may also like Champion of Mars, an epic tale spanning millennia from the next century to the far, far future of the Red Planet.

There are further free short stories here on the site (of varying vintage, so perhaps not me at my best, but still interesting). There are some others you can buy if you wish at The Angry Robot Trading Company.

Right, you’ve been good and read my pleading for you to buy my books. In return, please feel free to ask me anything about anything – including these hot, newly announced BL titles – in the comments. Games, journalism, GW, Mantic, SFX, White Dwarf, whatever. I will answer what I am allowed to. Think of it as an interview by you, if you like.

If you’re into wargaming, you might want to follow me on this blog and/or on twitter, as there will be another announcement on the little toy men front soon. Plus there’s all the SF/Fantasy/Horror reviews, interviews, features and so forth you get regularly on this site. On twitter you might have to put up with a bunch of stuff about dogs, beer, social issues, the environment and children, but I do talk about gaming, SF and writing sometimes.

Thank you for your attention. Guy out.

This feature, written for SFX 213, is a primer for Black Library’s best-selling Horus Heresy series, and includes some nice quotes from two of its authors, Dan Abnett and Graham McNeill.

Heretical Texts

Intricately detailed universes are not the sole province of lone authors. They can also come from games.

After 30 years in business, Games Workshop’s toy soldiers are now a part of many people’s childhood; the motifs of its Warhammer 40,000 (or “40K”) have imprinted themselves upon the public conscience, not least in the shape of those multi-coloured guardians of humanity, the Space Marines.

The worlds of GW began as disparate scraps, concepts dreamt up or borrowed in isolation to provide backstory to a model or rule. But by the cumulative efforts of many creative minds over many years, these elements have grown together into something vibrant. Publisher The Black Library was set up to explore these rich worlds in novel form, it was only a matter of time before they turned their attention to the Horus Heresy, one of 40K’s most important events.

“The weight of responsibility is huge,” says Dan Abnett, one of the series authors. “This is the mythology of the 40K Universe (although Horus Heresy is set 10,000 years earlier, so we refer to it as ‘30K’). It’s been mentioned in background text for more than two decades, sometimes in quite contradictory ways. We’ve got to make sense of the facts and weave a story that doesn’t disappoint anyone. The rules are very different to mainstream 40K novels, there’s a lot more to invent, and the scale is bigger: these are galaxy-changing events, not ‘just’ big space wars. Plus, it’s a team effort. Authors, who are solitary beasts by nature, have to work with other authors. It’s great fun, but you have to leave your ego at the door and come to the table in collaboration mode.”

With several of the books entering The New York Times bestseller list, the series’ appeal has reached far beyond the gaming fraternity. Author Graham McNeill maintains this is an SF epic the equal of anything. “The Heresy novels are exciting, chock full of interesting characters, high stakes and a plot that offers as many inventive twists and turns as any other series out there. In fact, when you think you know it back to front, that’s when you’re more likely to get surprised.”

Senior range editor Nick Kyme sums it up. “The worlds of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 have a certain rigour and identity that our fans clearly love. In worlds that are so utterly bleak, the heroes shine that much more brightly, their deeds are more heroic, the conflicts greater and tragedies more cutting. There’s depth to them, a gravitas brought about by a weight of imagination and creativity over thirty years. The Horus Heresy is the seminal event that sets up what comes after it in the Warhammer 40,000 ‘now’. That has resonance.”

In fact, it’s all that and more. It’s nigh on impossible to get across the complexity of a universe like Warhammer 40,000 here. It truly is one of the richest collaborative worlds out there – Star Trek and Star Wars are frankly simplistic in comparison. And the Horus Heresy is its greatest story.

“Imagine a science fiction Paradise Lost,” says Abnett. “It’s a HUGE scale, epic story of the fight to control a massive empire. It’s set in a gothic universe that’s brilliantly realised. And despite the fact that there’s a large amount of thunking action going on, it’s pretty clever stuff with great characters and ideas. You don’t have to be a fan or player of Warhammer 40,000 to get into it.”

Future Imperfect

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.

In the 41st Millennium mankind stands upon the brink of utter destruction.

In these dying days, the human Imperium is beset by aliens, but the greatest threat is that of Chaos. A second universe of energy exists alongside our own. Travel and communication through this “warp” allows interstellar civilisation, but it is not empty. The warp’s energy is moulded by the emotions of sentient beings, aggregating into four powerful consciousnesses – the Chaos Gods.

The Imperium’s Emperor is a psyker of godlike power, but he is near death, his shattered body trapped in stasis for 10,000 years. His multitudinous servants try to interpret his will as best they can, but without his direct guidance, mankind is doomed.

It was not always so. The Emperor once walked among men. In the 31st Millennium, a time when the wonders of the Dark Age of technology were millennia past, and humanity was deep in an age of barbarism, the Emperor revealed himself. From where he came, no one knows, although some say he was an ancient immortal and had been manipulating history for long ages. The Emperor resolved to save mankind, creating twenty superhuman sons from his own genetic material to aid him.

As these “Primarchs” grew, the powers of Chaos stole them away, scattering them across the galaxy. Thinking his sons lost, the Emperor proceeded with his plans. From the genetic templates of the Primarchs, he made legions of super soldiers, the Space Marines. With these he conquered Earth, and headed into the heavens on his Great Crusade.

As his armies advanced, The Emperor rediscovered the Primarchs one after another, and appointed them leaders of the legions. Returning to Earth, the Emperor left his most favoured son Horus to lead the reconquest of the galaxy.

Terrified of the Emperor, the Chaos gods set a conspiracy underway to seduce Horus. The Primarchs had not been untouched by Chaos during their childhood transit through the warp, and under Horus’ influence half of them renounced their oaths, turned on their brothers, and plunged the galaxy into civil war.

The Horus Heresy had begun.

Forbidden Knowledge

The novels of the Horus Heresy

Horus Rising (2006, Dan Abnett)

The seeds of heresy are sown

Horus is appointed “Warmaster”, and leads the Emperor’s armies to victory.

False Gods (2006, Graham McNeill)

The heresy takes root

Horus is wounded by a Chaos-tainted weapon. His fate is sealed.

Galaxy in Flames (2006, Ben Counter)

The heresy revealed

Horus, corrupted, becomes brutal, destroying the planet of Istvaan IV with virus bombs. The Luna Wolves, World Eaters and the Death Guard legions turn traitor, but loyalists within their ranks stage a desperate fight back.

Flight of the Eisenstein (2007, James Swallow)

The heresy unfolds

Captain Garro of the Death Guard witnesses Horus’ betrayal and flees in the frigate Eisenstein to warn the Emperor.

Fulgrim (2007, Graham McNeill)

Visions of treachery

Fulgrim, Primarch of the Emperor’s Children is perverted by Chaos. The book is also the first to detail the dropsite massacres of Istvaan V, a pivotal event in Warhammer 40,000 history.

Descent of Angels (2007, Michael Scanlon)

Loyalty and honour

The early life of the Primarch Lion El’Jonson is revealed as a future schism in his legion, the Dark Angels, is hinted at.

Legion (2008, Dan Abnett)

Secrets and lies

The twin Primarchs of the Alpha Legion, Alpharius-Omegon, join the Warmaster but their motivations are perhaps not what they seem.

Battle for the Abyss (2008, Ben Counter)

My brother, my enemy

The loyal Ultramarines attempt to stop the Word Bearers assaulting their homeworld of Ultramar.

Mechanicum (2008, Graham McNeill)

War comes to Mars

Horus tries to subvert the Techpriests of Mars to his cause.

Tales of Heresy (2009, edited by Lindsey Priestley and Nick Kyme)

A collection of short stories providing background to the Horus Heresy, the Great Crusade and The Imperium.

Fallen Angels (2009, Mike Lee)

Deceit and betrayal

As Lion El’Jonson tries to prevent Horus seizing control of an important world, the Dark Angels’ homeworld of Caliban is riven with strife.

A Thousand Sons  (2010, Graham McNeill)

All is dust…

Magnus, cyclopean Primarch of the Thousand Sons, has a thirst for arcane knowledge. Despite being forbidden him, Magnus uses magic to warn the Emperor of Horus’ perfidy, but only succeeds in enraging him…

Nemesis (2010, James Swallow)

War within the shadows

Treason in high places is revealed as super-assassins clash.

The First Heretic (2010, Aaron Dembski-Bowden)

Fall to Chaos

Lorgar, Primarch of the Word Bearers, turns to Chaos when the Emperor rebukes him for worshipping him as a god.

Prospero Burns (2011, Dan Abnett)

The wolves unleashed

Much is revealed of how the Chaos plot came to be, leading up to and covering the destruction of the Thousand Sons’ homeworld by the Space Wolves legion.

Age of Darkness (2011, edited by Christian Done)

Short stories covering the seven years between the Istvaan V massacre and the campaign to seize Terra.