Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mr Abnett has left the building.

Dan has taken the day off, it being his birthday and all, to play with his all-singing, all-dancing Millennium Falcon (and his family). Regular service will resume after a bit more food and a good sleep.

46 comments:

Stephen S said...

Zing!

Happy Birthday Dan! Have a good one!

Xhalax said...

In true and pure Disney style.

Happy happy birthday, from all of us to you.
We wish it was our birthday so we could party too.

big said...

Happy birthday mate ,and i celebrated ur birthday in style by reading Iron Star yyyyyaaahhhh

Happy birthday to u,
Happy birthday to u,

thanks guys ,it had me all choked up.I had to listen to Dire Straits after;-)

Xhalax said...

Argh!

I just spent 20 minutes writing up a review of Titanicus on the Black Library forums....and I clicked post and got some error message.

I went back a page and the whole review was gone.

I am not amused!

Nik said...

Xhalax - Always type everything up in a word file (or equivalent) save it, and then upload it. This sort of thing has happened to me far too often, but, thankfully, it is easily fixed.

I'll read that review when it finally appears :-)

Turain said...

Happy Birthday Mr Abnett, sir! May great fortune, happiness and fortuity be bestowed upon you and those close to you. May we have the privilege of enjoying your work for decades to come. =D

PS: Finished reading Titanicus today. It is one of the best books I have read for a long time, very well made. It gave me a whole new view on the Mechanicus and a greater respect for the Legio Titans. I cannot wait for what will be created for Gaunt's Ghosts and the Horus Heresy.

Dju said...

Happy birthDan !!

big said...

Dan u ready to have a disscussion about some of the finer points in Titanicus! ....an the rest of u guys! and its not just Dan ,Graham Mcneil as well.
When it comes to writing about Titans the Authors seem to overlook
Airpower
Spacepower ie. Fleetpower
At least Dan included these Grahams Storm of Iron didnt (Graham if ur reading this still a top book though)and the tactics used to defeat them eg.Hugging building (Hives),avoiding locks by keeping on the move, not bunching up keeping well spaced and thats just Anti fleet drills.I would have like to have seen more anti aircraft stuff ,how does a Titan deal with a bunch of wasps,Moblile anti air?
Hopefully there will be a nextime
still my fav book at the moment!

Hurrah for the Hussar said...

Additional Generic Birthday Wish!

How do the clones celebrate? Simultaneous handclaps to music?

Not a fan of you getting older however Dan, that implies you are in fact 'mortal' :)

Xhalax said...

Nik - It crapped out on me as it appears that the Black Library forum doesn't like Mozilla at the moment, which is what i use at home.

I should have done what you suggested, I ususally do on things that are more than 50 words, but since I've been putting off the review for nearly three weeks now due to Malus Darkblade and general laziness and something close to despair over the responses to the Cain's Last Stand review I posted....I just sat and did it to get it done.

Will type up another and then sneak onto my mum's computer to post it and then laugh a hearty laugh of triumph over my genius of using another computer that actually allowed Internet Explorer to work to post it!

Muahahahahahahahahahaha!

Xhalax said...

Big - Don't forget, Storm of Iron wasn't so much a Titan based book, and the Imperial Titans were purely there to defend the citadel rather than attack the bad guys.

Plus you had the ages old foe to contend with in the shape of the Dies Irae....which tends to make Loyalist do stupid, stupi things!

sredni vashtar said...

big: carapace multi-lasers. don't leave your hangar without 'em.

and why am I unsurprised that the date of Mr Abnett's birthday is a 13...?

Anonymous said...

Grattis pÄ födelsedagen!!...as we say it ("it" meaning Happy birthday) in Sweden...

cor said...

happy b'day dan have a good one

Xhalax said...

I think I went a bit overboard with my Titanicus review.

Swhoops!

Xhalax said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Xhalax said...

Now, I have to admit that when I first heard the rumours about Dan Abnett writing a Titan based book, I can’t say that I was all aflutter like the vast majority of people were when they heard that exact same news, but I wasn’t all doom and gloom about it either. In truth, I was fairly non-plused and just generally pretty much forgot about the news until Titanicus was officially announced to us all…..and even then I still wasn’t turning hand springs either.

Why was I not beside myself over the thought of a Titan based book written by Dan Abnett? Simple really, I had little or no thoughts or feelings on the Titan Legions themselves, having never really delved all that much into the Legions in any real way. True I knew what they were and most of the different classes (Forge World did help a lot and I so so so so so want a Warhound or two), how they functioned and all the usual, surface and anatomical stuff, but I’d never really gone into their background. And yes, I’d come across some books with Titans in them such as Storm of Iron, Dark Disciple and, of course there’s the Cruor Vult, but these were just side characters in a bigger story that focused on the more ‘normal’ branches of the Imperium…..so weren’t all that representative of the Titan Legions themselves…..though that’s not to say I’m panning anyone else’s take on Titans either.

So overall, I was generally lacking in enthusiasm for Titanicus as its release drew near……thought that’s not to say I didn’t intend to read it in time, if/when I ever got to the bottom of my ‘to be read’ pile and once it was in paperback. However, through unforeseen circumstances that caught me completely by surprise, I found myself in possession of a copy that I hadn’t expected to procure (don’t ask) so I thought ‘What the hell!’ and decided I should at least read it at the first opportune moment, but of course, Cain came first.

Needless to say…..I’m glad that I got the chance to read it now rather than kicking myself stupid over waiting at least a year for the paperback copy (which I feel will happen with The Killing Ground….and I’m not a glutton for punishment either with waiting for two).

Honestly, I’m not sure that I can praise this book enough…..thought that’s not to say it was perfect either.

Negative stuff first.

I have to admit that, especially with Mr. Abnett’s Imperial Guard based books, I find them a little jumpy and disjointed, mainly because his books have such a wide character base, who are all experiencing things at the same time in different places and so need to be covered during the course of the book itself, which necessitates the need to cut from one scene to another group elsewhere, even though their actions can and do have ramifications on other parts of the overall story. With means, on a personal level, there were sections that I read simply so I could get back to the story arcs that I was enjoying the most (which isn’t as bad as it sounds and I liked all of the story arcs, I just liked some more than others). I found this happened with Titanicus, as there were technically a sack load of characters that were covered over the course of the book itself.

However, this large character base is also what I love about Mr. Abnett’s work. Everyone fits into the world and adds an extra depth and richness that has been created, regardless on whether or not that have a bigger part to play in the main storyline….because sometimes characters that are introduced that do little or nothing to further the plot but give glimpse into the other side of Imperial life, to see those who aren’t soldiers and how they live and cope with what’s going on around them…….which, if memory serves, is something he said he liked to do with the Ravenor trilogy.

So characters like Zink, the ex-moderati turned gardener and Zember, the toy maker with his tin titans were such wonderful characters within this story because of the perspectives they gave, what it’s like on not quite on the ground. Looking at what was happening through the eyes of a business man and someone who doesn’t really know what was going on but felt it in his bones (no pun intended)….and I found I had a lot of empathy for these characters because they were victims of circumstance and, with the exception of Zink, or at least what he once was, relatively normal characters.

This is something that was somewhat shadowed with Cally and the Activated Twenty-six. Normal people put into extraordinary situations and being left to basically sink or swim, although I think they had more of an impact on the storyline than the above characters did, but once again, they were people that could be related too on a personal level because they weren’t career soldiers.

I must admit that I was surprised by the Titan Legions themselves. They weren’t as I expected of them, all mechanical, clean and efficient, like their ties to the Mechanicus made me think might happen. In fact I thought they’d be quite snobby too, a bit like the Imperial Navy are. But the camaraderie and loyalty that the Titan crews had for each other and their Legio was highly commendable to say the least. I enjoyed the banter between Moderati Tarses and the bridge crew on Dominatus Victrix and there was a great sense of care given off from the Titan crews for themselves, their crews and the Titans themselves, who I saw as characters in themselves as the book progressed. Despite the fact they never really spoke, a sense of sentience was given to the individual Titans through it all, which was quite creepy but well worth it. But I can’t say I had any love for the Executors though…..they seem too slimy to me, eager to please but it seems only to be lip-service to keep people happy since they answer to their Legio and no one else, despite being liaisons.

What also impressed me was what was done with Gearhart (though seeing all the dead Princeps from the past was a little at odds with everything, in my opinion), and the thought of loosing my mind to a Titan doesn’t make me feel any more comfortable than he felt, especially since we, as reader were pretty much privy to what was going on inside his head, and it felt like an argument I’ve had with myself on a number of occasions over the uncomfortable feeling of losing my mind to some outside influence…..or mainly just me fretting over the thought of getting old and getting some sort of neurological disease that robs me of my mind.

And I have to also admit that I’ve grown somewhat less hard-hearted about all the members of the Adeptus Mechanicus though the use of some of the more less exposed members via the Analyticae and the Enginseers. Those that are a little bit more human that the Magos that seem to get all the airtime. However, there were individuals that seemed to embody the exact reasons why I hate the Mechanicus too, for their greedy, back-stabbing ways.

And the Legio’s Skitarii…….YIKES! Nothing like I’d image them to be, and definitely not like the skitarii I’ve come across that are linked to the Mechanicus.

The pace of the book was perfect and I was sucked into what was going on from the very beginning with Gorland and his men, and the usual range of emotions was running high with what went on in various story arcs and characters, and needless to say there was a few tears by the end of the book over what had happened.

And there was a truly jaw-dropping moment with the sheer audacity of what was unsuspectedly dropped into our laps right in the middle of the book when things already had me on the very edge of my seat. And what was ever more flabbergasting was that there was a very real possibility that what had been discovered was true and could have spelt the end of everything, not just the battle for Orestes…..wasn’t sure how this one was going to play out at all, so that aided in the page-turning-fist-in-my-mouth-
reading-into-the-early-hoursness of the book too (and why I finished it so quickly).

But, as always, there were questions that were left unanswered, albeit pretty minor ones that have simply piqued my curiosity over the smaller picture rather than being pivotal to the bigger picture.

Questions such as: Did Golla and Iconis get together? What happened to Gentrian? What happened to the Princeps of the Teratos Titanicus? Does he even have a name? Why was Stefan Stemstag such a burke? Why oh why did Koder drive that truck? What happened to the other, blind and deaf engineseer that Varco and his mob lost through self-presevation?

Favourite Character(s): Engineseer Koder, Golla Uldana, Moderati Tarses, Adept Feist
Favourite Titan: Morbius Sire

All in all…I have to give Titanicus 9.8 out of 10……almost a ‘Malleus’ perfect 10, but not quite.

OscarP said...

Happy Birthday Dan!!! Now back to work.

Rory said...

Happpy Birthday!!!!!!!!

HiWayRobry said...

Let me also extend Happy Birthday wishes to you, Mr. Abnett.
May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, and may you be an hour in Heaven afore the Devil knows you're dead!

the-seventh-son said...

happy birthday Dan
sorry its late, no one let me know... and i busy busy reading titanicus and eating pizza...

hope you had a great day

the-seventh-son said...

oh and to all those who want to know

i had a really interesting conversation on the train the other day, i was sitting there reading Titanicus and the guy opposite me started asking me if it was good, turned out he was a bit of a Black Library fan as well, so we were discussing all of Mr Abnett's work and others etc etc when the guy adjacent to us started talking about the topic as well cause he was also a fan

and we decided that Eisenhorn must be made onto a film, as it is so bloody amazing, and that with the right cast and director it would be much better than Lord of the Rings as it is more suited to a film than that trilogy was

so Dan when are we gonna see Xenos, Mallues and Hereticus the Eisenhorn series

i say Michael Wincott should play one of the bad guys, possibly Quixos

enough of my ramblings the men in white coats are back...

Xhalax said...

the-seventh-son - No no no no no.

Don't ruin Eisenhorn! I'd rather tear my eyes out.

big said...

Xhalax-what im saying is that whenever i have come across people writing about Titans they never write about the effect that the Imperial Navy and its airpower would have on Titans,or of the tactics devised to counter what is a considerable threat.To Dans credit he is the only guy i know to have hinted on these things!
but still not enough!
As a friend of mine said "u get x amount of Titans appear in a desert with an enemy fleet above,thats a lot of dead Titans"
but like i said there are ways of dealing with this and they should be included in this type of book.Its an easy thing to do especially for our fav 40k authors to do . An oversite perhaps,or a puposfull thing not to distract u from The Gods of War!

big said...

All this from a man who could'nt spell beer properly!

james said...

Happy Birthday Dan!

the-seventh-son said...

potential spoiler alert

xhalax - notice how i said done properly by a good director and the right cast

it would be amazing if it was pulled off, i mean just imagine Cherubael and Prophaniti in cinematic form...

Xhalax said...

A thought has just occured to me, since I'm reading Malus......since Dark Elves seem to enjoy living in perpetual twilight, how come they don't all have rickets?

And Big - that's understandable.

Xhalax said...

the-seventh-son - Yes I did.....but that still wouldn't make me any less than utterly sour about the idea.

the-seventh-son said...

hmmm each to their own i suppose

Xhalax said...

the-seventh-son - Indude.

The Blue Raven said...

Happy (now belated) birthday!

Pack_master said...

Dang, I'm always missing the news. Isn't there a possibility to get a memo when you're doing a new blog entry? I only see the message for new answers after I made one myself...

Well, uh, Happy Birthday... bit late, but better late then never methinks.

Got Iron Star finally. Really hard stuff.


Big: Dan forgets thiese things too. Nearly every story left out the power of the fleet, so did Titanicus too. Only in Death for example would have been much easier in my mind if the fleet had simply blasted the BP camps to oblivion. Sabbat Martyr was one of the few that described the power of the fleet, even if it was the chaos one which shot the Navy from orbit. But in most novels, I think Dan (and all other authors) simply forget the Almight of the fleet, to simply annihilate anything from orbit the Guard can't deal with in two weeks' time, as long as there isn't an objective to be taken intact (which, mostly when the Guard (means artillery) is deployed, means collateral damage as mayor use).
Double agle for example. It would have taken the fleet only a few hours to locate the land carriers, and blast them. The Navy had complete control over the orbit of Enothis, but only used it to redeploy flyers and cargo.


I hope this is some critic you can work with. I know many a guy which is really grumpy about you ignoring the fleet elements.

Rob said...

Happy Birthday Dan.

Big and Pack_Master:

Though you're both right about the lack of ship-to-surface bombardment that appears in the Black Library books, but I'd like to bring up two things...

1. Even in the real world, bombardment isn't usually as effective as people assume. If you get underground it's a moot point, and it's notoriously inaccurate. Throw in the fact that it's highly destructive to whatever infrastructure you want to capture, and it doesn't always make a great solution on a tactical level. Besides, fleet resources aren't inexhaustible. Knowing what a Tomahawk missile costs, I shake my head in wonderment at how many credits fleet-based weaponry must expend. (Plus the cost of re-building whatever factories, hives, or agriculture they flatten in the process.)

2. It's way more fun and dramatic to write (and read) about infantry and armored battles! Orbital bombardment is a cool plot point when it's used to destroy a world or create vivid terrain (imagine the Ghosts fighting in a plain dotted by craters the size of stadiums) but otherwise it's usually too momentous an event to have as a side plot.

Xhalax-

Indude: I like it. A marvelous solution for those times when I don't have the time to say, "Indeed, dude."

And of course, good little Dark Elves don't get Rickets because they drink their milk.

Hurrah for the Hussar said...

I was going to say a similar thing to Rob really, Bombardment really has been effective for our history (75% of all casualties in WW1 apparently)
But for the 40k universe I do agree with Big, some of the reasons behind not bombarding from orbit are left out, I do agree with Rob that Orbital bombardment is simply an ‘I win’ button for writers and as such is a very poor story method. However there are other reasons that are never developed, to expand and continue from Rob’s here are some of my own

3) Orbital Bombardment as Rob says destroys everything, therefore when used on an Allied world the indiscriminate effect is particularly morale sapping, refugees and citizens see homes and livelihood's destroyed. Not to mention the ground troops are at a significant risk, viewing from orbit it is much harder to distinguish troops and armour groups, black crosses are far more likely during bombardment.

4) Most armed forces are conveyed to a world via a troop transit, a mass conveyance or a mechanicum ship with a supporting patrol and/or convoy guard. These supporting ships of the convoy are normally occupied picketing these ships and guarding against the enemy and can't be spared to bombard surface targets.

5) Surface bombardment is extremely hazardous, the ship in question will need to move into low orbit over the world to initiate the attack. At such low orbit they have little option for manoeuvre and are an easy target for orbital defences and ships. Therefore this can normally only be performed where the world in question is almost completely subdued and no remaining enemy ships are in the system, or when the potential loss of the ship outweighs the destruction of the ground target.

6) Sometimes the blood and sweat of ground forces IS needed to pacify an enemy world, as with General Sturm key targets need to be confirmed. Enemy ground forces that would only re-emerge after a supposed ‘Victory’ need to be killed, routed or captured. Sometimes ripping the heart from an enemies most prized fortress is greater than turning it into a plain of fused glass.

Feel free to add your own all!

big said...

Lovin this conversation!
some people are right in away to suggest cost effectivness to fleet bombardment,which is the reason i only bring it up now,infantry battles would probably be dealt with by the Fleet Air Arm,
but a group of bunched up static Titans would be worth an area bombardment!Remember Titans are so big u could get lucky ,1 shot 1 kill,!
I suppose what im am saying show us the tactics in action of how such a threat is dealt with!
Ie Keep moving to prevent a lock
dont buch up ,keep ur spaceing
Electronic Counter measures to increase or decrease your size on a sensor screen,false images
Hugging valuble buildings where the risk of a shot is to high
Chaff works! belive me.
As for air craft,make the titan a porcupine of multi lasers,missles
Phalanx guns etc ,makeit real hard (almost suicidal) to attack this land walking battle ship.To Dans credit he did included these other elements ,i havent read a other authors do so.

big said...

Oh and of course the quik way to deal with fleet issues is.....to put an enemy fleet in space=no fleet cover!

Hurrah for the Hussar said...

I think the reason Big is more like-for-like really. If you look at most of the engagements in the past BL novels you’ll see that infantry takes on infantry and Tanks on Tanks etc etc, when it comes to strengths, deploy them where they’ll make most use.

For instance, in general, tank beats infantry, air beats tanks, titans beat tanks, titans beat air, titans beat titans etc. Because each side knows each divisions weaknesses there is a heck of a lot of precise manoeuvring in the battlegroups to ensure these imbalanced fights don’t occur.

Oh and I do mean that, Titans beat all, from the impression of power in Titanicus there’s not much that Titans can’t do, I bet a few Vulcan mega-bolter shots would end even the happiest Red-Arrows-Of-Chaos flying formation, Reaver missiles probably would swat a Fury out of the air no trouble and princeps can play ‘I spy’ with the enemy air attackers.

Back to my main point, like would fight like, so air would fight air and then go after the titans, most armies seem pretty chocka with all army divisions so I can’t really imagine a Titan Battlegroup going into combat without air cover, error shunt abort that for cogs sake! Fleet on fleet, infantry on infantry (Gaunt praise that plot mechanism) tank on tank (ditto-Grey Venger uberness!) air on air (By the claws he flies!) and finally Titan on Titan (manifold error-too many brackets). The main one we’re missing from Dan is fleet on fleet, but I’m sure there’s something in the works…

teknohed said...

Happy Birthday to a fellow Libran!!!

Are the brits as big on Astrology as the yanks? Don't know...but if so may the scales tip in favor of drunken birthday hijinks for you today!

big said...

HoH-hopefully will have some Fleet on Fleet action in his upcoming H.H. installment ,The Wolves have a tremendous fleet.
BTW The Ghosts have fought in every enviroment exept space, ship to ship ,boarding partys?!
That would put them out of there comfort zone!

Along side some 40k Wolves maybe!
probably pushing my luck with that one!

Kevin Hines said...

Just read the latest Guardians of the Galaxy. When I read in the previous issue that Drax was sneaking off I hoped it was to look for a certain Cammi. I love Cammi, and find her the best part of the new Drax.

Thank you for not forgetting about her!

All your books are rocking right now!

Xhalax said...

Well it is done.

The Malus Darkblade Chronicals Volume 1 is read. Three books in just under three weeks and I think I need to sit down now that I've finished it.

Rarely have I pulled so many facial expressions while reading.

AdeptusNymphic said...

Zing! Happy birthday dude. Hope you enjoy the Falcon.

sredni vashtar said...

re: the orbital bombardment thing, you're also overlooking Imperial policy. not the individual military policies of the Munitorum concerning any particular warzone, but the overall Imperial policy traditionally favoured by the Adeptus Terra and the High Lords.

the institutions and culture of the Imperium are quite literally founded on the wholesale expenditure of human life; in fact by the 41st millennium the Imperium has become so completely dependent on the continued attrition of warfare to justify its existence that its rulers literally can't allow anything that might reduce the overall casualty rate. a local military victory is no use to the Adeptus Terra if its consequences serve to destabilise or invalidate any of the monolithic authorities that actually define and hold together the Imperium as a whole. Imperial propaganda requires sustained, massive death tolls with which to threaten planetary governors, drum up xenophobia and enforce unity between human cultures that would otherwise be too disparate to ever cooperate. the Imperium isn't just struggling to survive in a purely material/territorial sense, it's also continually devouring and regurgitating itself at the most basic level (human lives) merely in order to continue existing as a concept.

without the terror of a common foe being constantly reinforced by unbelievably bloody wars, the modern Imperium would simply disintegrate. so given the choice between orbital bombardment and sending in the guard (and with all else being equal), any high-ranking Munitorum official will favour the latter option, because orbital bombardment does not produce any Imperial martyrs or any turnover of Imperial lives - and those are the 'victories' that the Imperium truly needs.

Prue said...

Good words.

Hull said...

I think the reason Big is more like-for-like really. If you look at most of the engagements in the past BL novels you’ll see that infantry takes on infantry and Tanks on Tanks etc etc, when it comes to strengths, deploy them where they’ll make most use. For instance, in general, tank beats infantry, air beats tanks, titans beat tanks, titans beat air, titans beat titans etc. Because each side knows each divisions weaknesses there is a heck of a lot of precise manoeuvring in the battlegroups to ensure these imbalanced fights don’t occur. Oh and I do mean that, Titans beat all, from the impression of power in Titanicus there’s not much that Titans can’t do, I bet a few Vulcan mega-bolter shots would end even the happiest Red-Arrows-Of-Chaos flying formation, Reaver missiles probably would swat a Fury out of the air no trouble and princeps can play ‘I spy’ with the enemy air attackers. Back to my main point, like would fight like, so air would fight air and then go after the titans, most armies seem pretty chocka with all army divisions so I can’t really imagine a Titan Battlegroup going into combat without air cover, error shunt abort that for cogs sake! Fleet on fleet, infantry on infantry (Gaunt praise that plot mechanism) tank on tank (ditto-Grey Venger uberness!) air on air (By the claws he flies!) and finally Titan on Titan (manifold error-too many brackets). The main one we’re missing from Dan is fleet on fleet, but I’m sure there’s something in the works…