Archive for July, 2013

By golly, it’s a good one – four stars, no less, written by Damien G Walter (you may know of him; he writes a column on SF, the other “weird fiction” genres and general matters literary for The Guardian). Here is the review in a PDF reconstruction of its natural environment:

SFX238 crash review

And here are just the words:

The title of Guy Haley’s new science fiction novel is loaded with a triple meaning. The crash of the ESS Adam Mickiewicz on an alien planet. The crash of civilisation as the human colonists aboard the ship turn on one another. And the crash of an economic system, much like the troubled capitalist system most of us are trapped inside today. Crash has something to say about all of these, and Haley is an author with a growing voice.

Last year’s Champion of Mars showcased Haley’s love of pulp-era SF, but here we have a much harder edged, conceptually driven sci-fi vision. It concerns Dariusz, a washed-up engineer at the end of his career, and Cassandra, a rebellious space pilot hungry for adventure. Along with a half-million other humans, they’re on the cutting edge of space exploration. But in Haley’s world humans aren’t boldly going for any higher purpose than profit. The “Pointers”, the 0.01 per cent of humans who control virtually all wealth, are desperate to maintain their dominance, but must escape Earth’s limited resources to do so.

Science fiction is never a genre to shy away from politics, but in Crash Haley manages an up-to-the-minute critique of the contemporary political and economic situation, wrapped inside a tense survival story; he’s emerging as one of the bright stars of SF writing. Damien Walter

I found this on Goodreads right here, an enthusiastic review by Dark Chaplain of Skarsnik. I hadn’t noticed it before as, for some reason, my Goodreads page didn’t note the review as a review. Which is kind of silly. Anyway, I’ve taken the immense liberty of reproducing it here. Here’s Dark Chaplain’s twitter handle: @TheDarkChaplain. Follow him.

Skarsnik, as it turns out, was a much needed breath of fresh air for me.

Its narrative style, the gobliny wit, wrapped in humorous banter, and the stunning competence of Skarsnik, Warlord of the Eight Peaks, but also the incredible amount of detail put into describing the world under the mountains and greenskin society, make this novel one of my personal favorites of 2013.

The story is wrapped in multiple layers, from the overall point of view of the Doktor Wollendorp, who interviews a mad playwright in an asylum, to said madman’s retelling of his experience in Skarsnik’s realm, and the things the Goblin Warlord told him. Despite this, the book flows very nicely from one point of view and scene to the next.

Being a book about the life of Skarsnik at the core, this made sure that minor pieces in the story would not need to drag on unnecessarily, while still allowing for the creative freedom of the playwright. In the end, it serves to blur the line between fact and fantasy, making Skarsnik appear like a real threat to be reckoned with, but also made sure to leave things ambiguous and leave room for interpretation.

Multiple times throughout the novel Wollendorp and his companion would discuss the veracity of the madman’s tale, and agree that it must be truthful in some regard, yet is undoubtedly embellished by the poet’s vivid mind, and not everything should be taken at face value.

This should very well please those people who voiced concerns over the Warhammer Heroes series demystifying the special characters they portray, by taking away from the tabletop players’ own interpretation of the hero. It feels to me that Guy Haley did a fantastic job at disspelling those concerns by telling his story in this particular way.

This quote from the book frames the whole novel very accurately:

“‘Make sure you tell all those humies, humie, make sure you tell ’em good, make sure you tell ’em about the king in da mountain. Tell ’em all about me, Skarsnik, tell ’em all about my life, leave nuffink out.’
[…]
‘And then, when you’ve told them all that,’ he whispered, his eyes blazing with menace, ‘tell all the other humies that I’m coming for them too.’”

That being out of the way, it is safe to say that Skarsnik’s life was more than just eventful. It was a joy to read, to see the runt develop into a warlord to rival Grom the Fat, and follow in his footsteps. There have been many occassions when I just could not help but laugh about the suitably mean presentation of the goblin race, and can do nothing but applaud Guy Haley for his spot-on representation of the greenskins.

As with Baneblade, Guy Haley impressed me once more. His in-depth take on the Warhammer universe is so well put, I cannot come up with a good reason not to pick this book up if you have any interest in Black Library’s Fantasy range.

In clear greenskin fashion, I give this book lots of stars. Purchase recommendation!

Morning, another quick one today. I’ve had a couple of mostly pleasing reviews for “Engine of Mork”, my ork digital short written and released to celebrate the new Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse.

Here’s one by Stuart Edney, on his blog, The Collect Call of Cthulhu (made me chuckle that). Thanks.

This one on Fifty Shades of Geek is also very nice. However, I take issue with one point. The review (and editor’s coda) say they’re surprised that BL did an ork story, surprised it worked so well, surprised I fitted a three act structure into a short, surprised by the way I had the orks speaking and the editor is surprised at his own reaction to the story, which is that he’d now happily read an ork novel. And yet, the tale is very gently criticised for the narrative not being surprising enough! You want all that, and, what, twists?! in 10,000 words…? I’m only human. Sheesh. ; )

Alright, alright. Twists next time. I promise.

Further commentary on my work: a review of “The Shards of Erebus” within the context of a review for Mark of Calth, also on Fifty Shades, and a review for “Iron Harvest”, the Baneblade follow-up short on… Fifty Shades of Geek! Thanks for reviewing like, all my stuff guys, it really is tremendously helpful, and what you write is well-considered.

Lastly, and in a change from BL fiction, another positive review of Crash on Upcoming4.me. It’s a good week, really.

To tie-in with Warhammer 40,000 Apocalypse (out now!), I was asked to write two short stories and they’ve both been released. The first, “Iron Harvest”, is a follow up to Baneblade, and follows Honoured Lieutenant Bannick as he leaves Kalidar to take command of his own super-heavy tank, Cortein’s Honour. It was great fun to continue Bannick’s adventures, and I got quite carried away, so it’s a pretty long short story. Um, by which I mean twice the commissioned length… So it’s a bargain for you!

The second is “Engine of Mork”, which is hot off the presses today! (Metaphorically speaking, as you know, it’s a digital story). I love orks, and I loved writing this tale of a mekboy mob down on its luck on a backwater world. A nascent Waaagh, Death Skull thievery, mek boy ingenuity and very big guns all feature prominently. Crump!

The first reviews for Crash are in, and they’re positive. Here are some links.

From Starburst magazine.

And from the blog Between Books.

As usual, my blogging’s dropped off as I’m midway through a book — my fourth for The Black Library, it’s got Eldar in it, and my eighth in three years. Cripes!. When I get five minutes, I’ll write up my experiences at Games Workshop’s Enter the Citadel this weekend. Lots of fun, really nice to meet everyone there. There were some great questions, especially one on writing non-human characters in BL fiction that will make a good blog post.