Thursday, March 15, 2007

In other news


Yup, I think I’ve met the Lucky Break Fairy once or twice. She has a nice smile and sweet hips.

Thank you for the quote, Toy Machine.

Tip for beating writer’s block? Uh, keep fething writing til it breaks? (sorry to be blunt, but I try to stay honest).

Iron Snakes? Well, if you think Space Marines have bland personalities, try Brothers of the Snake. If you STILL think they do afterwards, I will take some kind of ritual penance (Graham might too, as he writes the finest space marines I know of).

Robert- best post EVER. I will absolutely check out the books you recommended. Ask me some specific questions about writing and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Riders of the Dead: II (This Time It’s Hussars)
I do have a plot, and I’d love to write it. Trouble is, it’s set twenty years on, and I'm not allowed to accelerate my timeline beyond the GW studio’s timeline of events. One day, maybe...

Matt- good Ravenor goose bumps. Kudos!

Adriana - I take your point. Science will explain everything, eventually. It won’t make it any LESS weird.

Cec - I’d hang onto him if I were you (wait a minute, this has somehow become an agony column). On the subject of a 'feeling behind you', I also refer you back to my infrasound comment (would readers like me to be more forthcoming on that subject?)

Yes, I use a MAC. I love my MAC. You got a problem with that, PC boy?

Jesse, you win (sorry, Robert). THAT was the best post ever. Tell ‘G’ I’m ever so sorry. “In hindsight I should have realised he was going to have nightmares when, after finishing "Guns of Tanith," he stomped into our room and threw the book at my head.” I wish could write lines like that. Are you still out in Iraq? Where are you now?

Toy Machine: Shoggy lives! Except, oops... (just kidding... or AM I?)

Well, what an interesting can of worms I seem to have opened up. Huge thanks to all who bared their souls and talked about the odd things that had intercepted their lives. Most interesting to me were the folks who wrote about explicable odd things that were still odd.

It’s a funny old world.

To keep you all in the loop... things have been getting a little bit odder here. My wife and I woke up on Tuesday morning with the worst mindsets. Totally depressed and forlorn, both of us, for no reason. And... get this... all the clocks in the house were suddenly telling the wrong time.

Seriously... not just my wind-up watch, or my wife’s, but our computer clocks, the electronic clock on the cooker, the digital display on our massive fuck-off fridge, and the brass clock on my workroom wall.

I was a little bit freaked. Then my wife said “you’ve heard the moaning, I suppose?”

Turns out, twice, she’s been upstairs and heard a voice moaning down the hall while she was busy editing. She’s called out, presuming it was me or one of the kids.

It wasn’t.

You know, it’s actually quite fun living in a place that’s haunted.

Hey? What was that?


Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen what ever haunts you or do you only catch it out of the corner of your eye?

One more question: I recently went to my local library for the first time in years and found Arthur C. Clark's Childhood's End and wanted to know if you ever read it and what your thoughts were on it?

Unknown said...

Doing a followup, any progress on the followup to Double Eagle? Trying to remember if it was scheduled or not.

A friend got Aeronautica Imperialis, and was disappointed to find that they didn't include the stats for the Chaos, Phantine and PDF craft from GoT and DE. Not even the aerie or drogue info.

Now that would be cool duel to write, a war drogue vs. aerie throwdown...

Bodjo said...

For the record, it was me, not Toy Machine, who wrote that Shoggy had better live through the next book (I am aware my handle doesn't really stick to one's memory). From the very beginning of the series, it seems impossible not to like Domor. He's a solid soldier, his some funny lines, has that great nickname that adds to his character, and never gets involved in regimental politics.

That said, if it's between him and Gaunt, goodbye Shoggy. I'll miss you.

By the way, I do agree that McNeill does excellent Space Marines. I have the Omnibus for the Ultramarines, and I'm trying to locate the Iron Warriors one for a reasonable price. He's the only other writer in the Black Library I'd put in your class.

My "Eisenhorn" volume should be arriving soon, fulfilling my Abnett-writing fix. I'm told by some it's better than the Ghosts books, which would be hard, but either way I'm looking forward to finally getting around to reading the Eisenhorn stories.

On a semi-related note, it's really annoying to have to wait longer for Abnett books to arrive in the US of A. Is a clone going to make an appearance in the States anytime soon?

Oh...and I'm still wondering if there's a tentative date set for Only In Death?

Bodjo said...

Oops, sorry, Toy Machine did also say that Shoggy rocks. In this, he is quite correct.

lordy said...


Storm of Iron (the Iron Warriors one) is supposed to be reprinted in April.

According to the BL site, Only in Death is to be released Nov 07.
I don't check that site religiously. Honest.

Jesse said...

Nope, I'm home from Iraq now and celebrating (as of Friday the 9th) the birth of my second son, Gareth Leonidas. Yes, he was born on the U.S. premier date of '300.' No, that did not factor into his middle name, it would have been Leonidas anyway.

Another short anecdote on 'G' if I may. . . The job we do for the U.S. Army requires us to go 'outside the wire' for long stretches of time. When we returned to base we would find ourselves buried beneath a crushing avalanche of fatigue. On days when one of us looked particularly like hell, the other would inform him that his wounds were too grave and ask if he desired 'the Emperor's peace.' Gallows humor, I know, but consider the context.

I hope you will also be pleased to know that thanks to our rave reviews and multiple loan-outs of my precious first edition Ghost books, 'G' and I succeeded in founding several small genestealer cults of ravening Abnett fans in the sandbox.

I know that you are not military, but you should know that you write soldiers better than most soldiers could. I'll have 'G' write in and he'll second me on this: We have all had our Phantine moments when we were ordered into the hostile unkown, underequipped, and lacking any real reconnaisance to turn out a cornered, determined adversary.

We also have all lost a congenial Bragg, an inspirational Corbec, or if we are truly unfortunate, a Caffran who did everything right only to be killed by those he came to protect.

Our struggle today is a mirror of Gereon, in which we attempt to liberate a people who no longer have any meaningful concept of what to do with the freedoms we bleed to provide. Was that intentional?

I realize that I have now written a soapbox novella when all I intended was to give a lighthearted anectode about my goofy ex-roommate. I will close by offering you my deep apology for rambling and my sincerest thanks for the justice you do to soldiers.

Jesse said...

Oh, and you're house isn't haunted. It's you. You're leading an Edward Norton/Brad Pitt "Fight Club"-esque double life as Ueber Aemos. Think about it. Waking up in a bad mood, clocks malfunctioning, and I'll bet the moaning is just the psyker residue of Cherubael's insidious whisperings. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings.

Anonymous said...

You should try challenging whatever it is to a game of chess.

You never know that might be all it wants to do.

Anonymous said...

if y'all are looking for space marines with attitude, might I just point out that Ben Counter's excellent Soul Drinkers series is already on the shelves? yes, I think I might indeed!

as for the noisy ghost ... uhhh ... leave some biscuits out? do ghosts even eat biscuits? maybe you'd need to stomp a packet of biscuits to death, so that they'd leave ghost biscuits to haunt the site of their demise? catering has never been my forté I'm afraid

Frank Sidebottom said...

Dan - not only are you The Man where it comes to writing, but i am loving your attitude towards these strange happenings.

Personally, i would be whimpering like a little sissy girl by now.

On the subject of the coincidence fairy, a while ago i was talking with my wife and parents.
We were discussing how it seems to happen alot that you could be walking through town and think "Oh, there's such & such".
It turns out it isn't, but you then think "i wish it had been because i haven't seen such & such in ages".
You walk around the next corner, straight into such & such!

We were talking about possible untapped rescources of the human brain. At this point i mentioned that one of my mates - Wattsy - would never experience this, because he just doesn't think that way.
Just as i finished saying it the door opened and my brother walked in with, of course, Wattsy.

Not the greatest coincidence, but we were roaring with laughter.

Keep up the great work Dan.

Bodjo said...

@ sredni vashtar

Thanks for mentioning the Soul Drinkers. For whatever reason people praise Counter, I'm not sure I see why. He's not that good IMO, though I'm sure they're people who disagee with me and like his books.

Toymachine said...


I just got the awful feeling Gaunt will execute somebody we really like in Only in Death.

No wait, Its gone now.

Does anyone in your family agree that the house is haunted? If not, You better ask the black librarians for shorter working hours. Not that I think your crazy or anything.

Well. Mabye a little.

Bodjo said...

Gaunt already executed Larkin's foot.

Maybe he and Hark will execute each other. (gasp)

Toymachine said...

What WAS the deal with that renegade tank, anyway?

Bodjo said...

The one in AoC?

Froggie said...

hmmm.... possibly it is the ghost of Cuu haunting your house.... he is angry that he was eliminated in such a fashion its him all right, sure as sure

Anonymous said...

My Friend said he heard Moaning down a Hall in his house a few times. he said he shouted "Hey there? Fancie a Cookie?" and it never Botherd him again. i say you Give it ago.. worth a Try... PS... Any News on the New Gaunts Ghost Book? ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh Forgot to say. I bet its Caff, he didnt like they way he was shot by a kid. Give him justice!

Anonymous said...

Feth me sideways. I just found out about this blog a week ago and as a big GG fan, I was definitly happy to see my favourite author had a blog- but I should have been more cautious with these comments.

I was reading Jesse's post and got AOC spoiled for me... I stopped reading there simply because I figured other posts are going to have spoilers too.

Lesson learned: Stay on top of GG. Just recently finished HLC and was heading out for AOC this week.

Big spoiler too, biggest for me since I heard who died in the bible.

Well, just saying hi, I'll be reading your blog. :)


Rob Rath said...

I don't mind coming in second to a post that begins: "I thought we'd been rocketed while I was asleep so I grabbed my med-kit and rolled out of bed..."

Actually, it occurred to me the other day that I DO have a coincidence story to tell.

I was in a playwriting workshop... God, back in high school, nearly nine years ago, when I was writing a comedy that dealt with a teenaged boy who was obsessed with the idea that the small former Soviet country of Latvia was a brooding, fanatical power plotting the downfall of the United States.

I picked Latvia by basically opening an atlas and stabbing my finger down the the former Eastern Bloc. Soon I was scripting monologues which, in summation, said that Latvia was (glances at script) "the most evil, most vile, most insidious nation on the planet," and planned to sink the US Navy, take the Panama canal hostage, and go out of their way to drop napalm on Church Socials.

Well, as luck would have it, one of the most active and talented members of this class was half-Latvian. So the poor girl had to sit through several months of endless readings where her countrymen were called pretty much every horrible thing I was allowed to put in a play designed for intermediate school audiences.

She was a good sport, though.

However, the weirdest coincidence was still to come: on the day of auditions, an international incident occurred when a Latvian jet got lost and violated the sovereign airspace of several countries. The ineptness of the Latvian's decaying air force of five MiG 29s, and the brief international panic over what turned out to be instrument error, were perfect compliments to the script, and we included them in the performance.

Of course, that play can't be performed now since the idea of a superpower like the US being attacked without warning by a small, fanatical nation isn't seen as a funny, if harmless, conspiracy theory anymore. Back in '99 we had hundreds of students laughing about it.

It's an odd world.

As for the ghost, if you were in Hawai'i I'd suggest ti leaves and scattering salt blessed by a kahuna– don't think that'll clear an English beastie though. When a building is consecrated here, usually a Christian priest, a Japanese odaisan, a Hawaiian kahuna, and a Buddhist priest all do blessing ceremonies in order. If the company is Chinese there's a lion dance afterward to bring luck. We like having our bases covered out here.

Not that I REALLY believe in this stuff... not in the daytime, anyway.

Jackwraith said...

Sorry. Have to be the rogue vote on McNeill's Ultramarines work. The first one was decent; the second was a bit trite; the third one (Black Sun) was just godawful for the first 100 pages (anyone ever played an RPG where the DM sets up a huge background conflict going on in which the characters seem to be bit players, so they get slung around the galaxy for no reason other than to kick-start the story/adventure? There ya go.) and then shifted into a semi-decent action story. I don't think I'll be picking up any more.

OTOH, I'm quite interested to see Brothers of the Snake, since I enjoy all of your other 40K work, Dan. And let me second Bill on the inquiry about the follow-up to Double Eagle. A friend and I recently played a few games of Aeronautica and both of us harked back to DE a few times.

Anonymous said...

Well, I got Ravenor Rogue finally. Kay, got it last thursday, and by the time I had to sleep because of an exam the next day, I finished it (don't ask me when I went to bed, please).

Spoiler, maybe. Attention.

In summery... sometimes I think you're crying for some fatal beatings, Dan ;). You seem to enjoy the dramatic and tragic endings, and I repeat the wishings of the wife of a fan, who wrote here some blogs ago: please, a good end to some stories, please, even when it's a closed arc. Sometimes I would like my favourite characters to get out of it whole - body and soul.

Greetings from germany, Dan :)

Anonymous said...

hey dan.

just a quick message...finally got around to buying Ravenor Rogue on sunday...finished it at 10am this morning (monday)

yes, I read freakishly fast, woulda finished it yesterday if I hadn't been playing FF12 and it being Mothers Day and all....

but anyway...liked the Ghostmaker Cameo. in fact I liked the whole book. Twas excellent. Wish I could write as well as you.

Looking forward to Only in Death.

Thanks again for the fantastic books,


Toymachine said...

@ saberrox

Yeah, thats the one. How many other monsterous tanks have the ghosts met that can move / feel / act of their own accord?

Sorry for the latness of this reply. Got hammered Paddies day (Being Irish 'n' all).

lordy said...


I know what you mean about the Ultramarine books. The writing isn't bad, but the plot is pretty awful.

A squad of Marines fighting off the Nightbringer? Two companies of Marines fighting off half of Hive Fleet Leviathon? Two marines on a daemon world?

I mean - come on.

Bodjo said...

@ Toymachine

Well, it was supposed to some kind of Chaos creation; half tank, half some creature. Personally, it sounds like something that I'd like to have on my side. ;)

@ lordy & jack

Do you guys play the tabletop game? Just wondering. It seems like people who are attracted the sci-fi fiction of the WH40K universe rather than playing the game first sometimes have an easier time suspending disbelief.

That said, maybe the plots are unrealistic, but so is a billion-star empire ruled by a psychic dead man.

I found nothing unsatisfactory about McNeill's plots, and that is of course only my own opinion. However, the reason I like McNeill's books is that he's the only other writer in the BL who can pull an Abnettesque dark-setting-with-good-characters combo.

IMHO, Mr. Abnett, your plots are better, and you're the better writer overall as I'm hard-pressed to think of another sci-fi with as many good characters, but McNeill is pretty good too.

Anonymous said...

I've never called him a "rubber fingered dick" in exactly the same way as he's never called me a "git finger" or a "spanner barb".

I would have the house exorcised except I'm more afraid of the exorcist than I am of the "ghost".

Oh, and by the way, Dan, you rock... I'm your biggest fan!


Anonymous said...

what's the matter, you guys never seen a possessed tank before?! you should try parking at a supermarket in the Eye of Terror, pal - those bitches are a friggin menace.

concerning the Riders of the Dead sequel and timelines, I do wish GW would advance them a little from time to time. they HAVE managed it a little in WH fantasy - albeit by about 15 Warhammer years in, what, 25 real ones? - but it's been 999.M41 in the Imperium of Man for an awful long time now.

lordy said...


Yes, I do play the game, but I don't think that's why. If it was that, then there wouldn't be any good BL novels - they'd all have to be unpredicatable.

The Nightbringer is supposed to be an ancient star-god, and the most powerful entity in existance, yet a single squad of marines put it down. Fluff-wise, and rules wise that just wouldn't happen.

First time I read Warriors of Ultarmar (I think that's what it's called), I did enjoy it. In that it was implied they only fought off a mere splinter fleet of Hive Leviathon. Then, when the new edition came out, the battle is exactly mentioned in the new codex, and instead it is half of Leviathon, as opposed to one fleet.

I don't dislike his writing in general though - Storm of Iron (for instance) was great.

Toymachine said...

But that's the subtle brilliance of it! In my second or so game of warhammer i took on my brothers necrons - he spent a month modeling / painting a heavy destroyer and my lone raptor cut it apart.

As for the night bringer, Thats such a class model. Lordy must have some lucky spacemarines. (lightning arc hurts. Its like what, S9 ordanance? Can kill a squad of space marines in one shot).

@ saberrox:
I knew what the tank was! No wait, i dont. Its a weird, weird universe.

Bodjo said...

I suppose since I didn't have as much background info on the Nightbringer, it seemed like a fine action-movie ending to the book. And if recall correctly it killed a bunch of people and that Inquisitor Wossisname.

Toymachine: For some reason, I pictured the tank as an Ankylosaurus crossed with a big gun and some plated armor. :P

Jesse said...

Terribly sorry, John. Didn't mean to leave an unannounced spoiler in there. Won't happen again.

My two cents on the whole McNeill Ultramarines issue: I agree with Lordy. In the 40k universe, Nightbringer would have nostril-raped the entire Ultramarines chapter, Marneus Calgar included without breaking a sweat. Thus endeth Ventris, Pasanius et al. I do, however, enjoy the characters themselves. I like the 'never say die' attitude of Ventris and the 'well, shit. . . I'll just set (X) on fire and see if THAT will kill it' pragmatism of Pasanius. I hope Snow Dog winds up as a hormagaunt pellet.

Anonymous said...

Power surge strong enough to disrupt your watch, aliens, the lost city of Atlantis?

All of the above or none?

Or you could have a haunted house. I remain undecided.

And a WHAT fridge?

Swearing stunts your vocabulary....and you told us not to swear so it's not fair if you can and we can't.

And I find myself once again saying 'DAMN YOU DAN ABNETT!'

Been mincing through Gaunt's Ghost looking up this and that. And one line for Ban in Amour of Contempt and only two appearences. I was less than pleased.

And started Ravenor yesterday, 100 pages in thanks to REALLY bad traffic coz of the weather and my 'I hate Gideon Ravenor coz I think he's a git' feeling is quickly starting to fade.
I'm not impressed.....well I am with the book, but still! He's a git, I'm not supposed to be starting to like him.

Jackwraith said...


Yeah. Been playing the game for 'nigh on ten years now. Lordy and I were talking about somewhat different things.

I didn't really have a problem with the endings of the first two books. Fine, the heroes take on the Nightbringer. Given the same quantity of highly-improbable die rolls in the game, you could get the same result. But I'm not so concerned about the books hewing step-for-step to the game. If I was, I'd be outraged at Mkoll taking down a Chaos Dread in Ghostmaker, but I liked that story and loved Ghostmaker overall. That's standard adventure fiction ('hero succeeds against seemingly impossible odds.')

What bothers me about McNeill's writing and especially about the downward spiral of the Ultramarine books is that, first off, all of his SM characters are ciphers. They're stock Space Marines. If they have emotions other than battle rage, they hide them pretty well, unlike James Swallow's excellent Nathaniel Garro in Flight of the Eisenstein, for example. Dan's characters don't exclusively follow the typical Sgt. Rock pattern of nerd, jock, hero, troublemaker, heroic captain and Rusty, the redhead, so there's really no excuse for presenting all Space Marines as either emotionless killers, like the Mortifactors, or barely emotional and utterly angst-ridden latter-day X-Men like Uriel Ventris.

Secondly, and this deals largely with Dead Sky, Black Sun, you can't enable your entire plot by a single device. It's amateurish. The book wouldn't have even been able to get started without the mysterious Chaos Space Train sweeping up the Ultramarines and dumping them on a Chaos world in the vain hope that they would survive (against all odds...) and enable the Space Train to come to grips with its true nemesis. The main characters are secondary to the function of the plot. It's only consequential that they reach the boss enemy at the end for the purpose of someone ELSE fighting him. If you want to present your characters as simply tools in the vast edifice that is the galaxy, fine, but couldn't you have involved the Eldar or the Inquisition or something a little more involved than the Chaos Space Train plucking them out of thin air and dropping them light years away?

Contrary to some other posters, I LIKE the idea of things being somewhat different in the novels. I LIKE all of the creations (and insights into Chaos) that Dan has introduced in the Sabbat Worlds. I still want things to stay inside the framework as a whole (i.e. no Ian Watson, thanks.) but I'd also like to have some decent character development (or ANY) and better plotting to go with it.

Sorry about the threadjack about Graham on Dan's blog. Ravenor Rogue should be here in the next week or so and I'm really looking forward to it...

Anonymous said...

regarding the Ultramarines vs the Nightbringer, bear in mind that in the story, the Nightbringer has just woken up from a 60 million-year coma, during which he has been starved of energy owing to the mishap that occurred at his entombment (described, as I recall, at the start of the book). imagine how you feel in the morning before your first mug of coffee, then multiply that feeling by approximately two hundred and twenty billion and you've got some idea of what kinda shape the Nightbringer is in when Uriel Ventris et al confront him.

Toymachine said...

OH OH!!!
Speaking of the puny VS the mighty, did any one read Fire Warrior? Good book (Very good book) but o'kais blasted his way through too many space marines in it to be beleivable. Oh and Adrias was cool too.

Anonymous said...

It's alright Jesse, lol - It's not as bad as when I made the mistake of reading Straight Silver before Guns of Tanith (Spoilers: Why is Gol like this!? He did WHAT to Try!?)

I'm still egar to go buy it. I'll just be sad there wont be (spoilers for HLC) Novobasky in AOC.

All this fiction of 40k talk makes me realize I should get my hands on more.


Bodjo said...

@ jack

I don't remember the plot of Dead Sky, Black Sun being so contrived. I admit it's been awhile since I read it. I kind of thought the whole setting was pretty cool so perhaps it's just a matter of opinion.

Re: Mkoll's Chaos Dreadnought kill.

Oan Mkoll is just 'the man.' He's one of those guys that it seems even Dan Abnett can't kill (*looks nervously towards clone*).

I read the sample portion on the BL Library site of Ravenor Rogue, and I cannot wait 'til the book comes out stateside. It's release will coincide with my April Vacation. Happy happy joy joy.

Anonymous said...

No, Ven is the one that can't be killed.

Or so I'd like to think.

Either him or Daur. The man get shot quite a few times, has walls fall on him and all sorts and he still keep on living.

Bodjo said...

Haha, well, it's implicit in any Gaunt's Ghosts discussion that nothing in the galaxy has the stones to kill 'Ven. :) You're right that Daur survives a lot of wounds, too, but at this point Larkin might have him matched in terms of scars.

Corbec gets shot in every book, I'm pretty sure.

Anonymous said...

You really love your Mac? Well, there's no accounting for taste...

(yeah, like us PC boys can really talk given that we have our machines systematically raped by one Mr. Gates.)