Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Life after (Only in) Death

So OiD is done. Well, it’s gone to Lindsey at BL, and her word will be final, but I finished it at the weekend, and I’m feeling pretty happy with it. “Are you feeling pretty happy with it because it has a happy ending?” I hear you ask. Well...

... that would be telling. And defeating the purpose of writing a book designed to intrigue and surprise. Oddly, I haven’t heard a peep out of my ‘ghost’ since I finished. Maybe it was a creatively generated poltergeist. I’ll let you know.

No rest for me. Nova, Annihilation: Conquest and - hey hey! - Superman awaits, along with my next Horus novel, plus a special little thing Graham McNeill and I are working on for Games Day. Oh, and yet another Secret Project I can’t blog about just yet. Busy busy busy.

Games Day Paris awaits, the weekend after Easter. Both Graham and I will be there, so if you’re around, come along and say ‘bonjour’.

Let me, once again, thank you for the ongoing comments and remarks - great stuff as usual (Jesse’s turn of phrase once again made me laugh, and Toymachine’s list of Gaunt’s previous ‘demises’ was truly funny), and I’ll just take on the chin any less than glowing remarks about AoC (which I’m very proud of, and which was deliberately written to show a view of 40K combat quite different to the other Ghosts books). For those purists out there (Xhalax?), OiD is a return to the ‘all the Ghosts together in one hell of a bad situation’ format. So I hope that’ll make you happy.

Making me happy was the movie Stranger Than Fiction. It’s a sort of Adaptation lite, but extremely entertaining (plus Will Ferrell in bearable lead role shock). Like Adaptation (which I also recommend), it’s a story-within-a-story story about writers and their characters. Can’t imagine why it appealed to me.

Oh, my Torchwood novel just came out on audio, read by Eve Myles. Which was nice.

Right, which notebook did I write those ideas about Alpha Legion in..?


Toymachine said...

Since when have all the Ghosts ever been in a good position?


Et le Legion du Alpha? What are you up to, Mr.Abnett?

Rob Rath said...

So I'd promised myself I wouldn't weigh in on the Gaunt-toe tag debate, but...

I've always had the feeling that to create a sense of dramatic symmetry Gaunt has to die in combat which in some way gives the Ghosts a new home.

The dramatic question of the series has always been "Will the Tanith win a new world for themselves?" and the irony is that the only one who can give it to them is the man who denied them the chance to fight for their home in the first place.

I see Gaunt as a sort of Moses figure, who leads the Tanith through a period of trial and exile only to die right before they get to the home they seek. He's the sacrifice that atones for the loss of Tanith. His duty (restoring their world) ends only in his death. And after all, he's an Imperial hero, it would be unseemly for him to retire to a life of senility, chasing kids away from his flower beds by waving the sword of Sondar. He's gotta die in some way that creates meaning.

As for Ludd, one of the most interesting themes of series for me has been how the Tanith recreate their homeworld in the regiment by rebuilding a sense of community and culture. What's really cool about it is you can actually see this culture go through "generations" within the unit. Criid, for example, was just a foreign kid in Necropolis, but she was gradually initiated and is now part of the established order. There's a sort of torch-passing that goes on. I mention it because it seems like the 3rd generation Ghosts like Ludd and Dalin are coming into their own. Gaunt said it all in Dalin's welcome toast, "First and next!" Tanith culture is getting continued within the 1st and Only. Dalin especially represents the new culture created since it's really his only point of reference. In short: its torch-passing time.

Man... you can tell I've been writing papers lately, can't you?

Anonymous said...

Love your Horus Rising - but just one question: WHEN DO YOU SLEEP?

And most importantly, with this massive workload you seem to have, how on earth do you keep the standard of your writing+ so high?

It's a rare skill. Keep on keepin' on, Mr Abnett.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan,
Can't wait to have you at GD Paris. I started working again on my alphabet, just so I can spell out properly all these French funny names for the signings.
See you there,


Boom said...

I agree with you Rob. The series is basically driven by the idea that eventually they'll win a world. But I don't think Gaunt has the power give them a world...

Anyways...Is there going to be any way for people who can't go to GD(like me) to get that Horus Heresy booklet? Can we expect it to be in the actual books? Also when can we expect to find out what your next HH books will be about? I just finished FotE and am eagerly awaiting more news about it. Even a title would help.

Anonymous said...

Robert: not to mention Yoncy...

Dju: Hello! Look foreward to seeing you. Counting the days.

Toymachine said...

Whats this? Not little Yoncy too? Oh well. War is the only way there is. No? The anti... Oh forget it.

Toymachine said...

Oh, and your welcome, Mr.Dan. I enjoyed typing them as much as you did reading them. There were some i forgot and was kicking myself over forgetting, but was too lazy to enter them in afterwards. Take the meat monster in Sondars throne room, for example. It claimed 1 commisar, and guess which one!!!


Anonymous said...

"it would be unseemly for him to retire to a life of senility, chasing kids away from his flower beds by waving the sword of Sondar."
:D Oh boy, that really hurts when laughing! Don't give me any more funny ideas like that *g*

You know I'm german, and in that way it's really funny to see words like "Poltergeist", ant for example "Wunderkind" and "Kindergarten" used nearly unchanged in english. Heheh.

I too think Gaunt hast to die in the end. *sniff* It's his dedication in life to see his Ghosts grounded, settled down, and dying for it is his purpose. His meanig of life an death, I think.

Alpha Legion, eh? Damn you two to hell and back! Why are such things only for those few lucky? I fell violated that way.
Oh, don't forget to deliver my greetings, when you're down there, I'm sure a warm welcome's granted to you. ;)

Bad joke, I know. Couldn't resist.

When Dan's sleeping actually? Well, virtually never. One or another clone's always working doens't it?

Yeah, AoC was a nice novel about general IG. Violate, no meaning to a single life, a single trooper... and flying battle-tanks, of course. That was cool!

Best wishes. aiting to see you somedeay in Germany, Games Day Cologne. I'm dying too.

Anonymous said...

Oh feth! Now I'm sure you feel violated... never had that much mis-spellings in a single posting...

Anonymous said...

Well I wouldn't say I was a purist. I just want more Ban!

I need my fix of hansome fictional men...through at present on the subject, and since I've only got 99 pages left of Ravenor Returned it just makes me want to shout:

Very almost Star Trek...but DAMN! The things you put me through with your books. Needless to say, my knuckles have teeth marks in them coz of Mr. Thonius.

Damn me and my liking for Blonde Interrogators......speaking of which....when ARE we going to find out about the freshingingly witting and darn good yearn based in and around the planet of Elvara Cardinel featuring about Interrogator with blonde hair that has links with a certain Inquisitor.

Just wondering.....

Anonymous said...


Stupid comments page, not letting me scream out Carl's name in a suitable long winded and dramatic way.


Anonymous said...

Hehe, I really think they should Make a Gaunts Ghost Movie.. it would be an amazing Movie!! I Bought RAVENOR the other day, and ive fairly stuck my teeth into it. I love it!, And well said Toy machine... there Never in a Good Decision.. =] Maybe the ghost went because you made it out that Caff isnt really dead? *Prays that its True* and that you made his Ghost happy? =]

Boom said...

You couldn't do a Gaunt's Ghost movie. There's not enough room or time to tell the story as it should be. Now an anime would totally work. Not the crappy kiddy type of anime but the good serious kind. Kind of like Star Wars: Clone Wars. They aired it on Cartoon Network and it tied episodes 2 and 3 together quite well. They could do it in that style or one of the more "grown up" styles(there are many good ones). That way whoever was working on it would actually be able to tell the entire story. A movie would have to leave out or change way to much of the original work to make a it a great movie. Plus it's not like you could do a movie for each book. It would take forever and be probably the longest running series since James Bond.

Bodjo said...

To each his own, but I for one would scream in horror if someone made a Gaunt's Ghost anime movie/series.

I do think the GG series is good enough to be made into movies, but I'm not sure they'd do the books justice.

Inquisitor S. said...

I really, really hope that people like me who can't go to GD will be able to read your and Graham's Horus heresy text, too... Any idea if it will be available later on in some of the future HH novels or in any other printed form? It would be a pity to miss such things :(

With regard to the Alpha Legion: despite being a staunch Imperial I would really like to read something about them, there has not been much stuff on them at all till now.

By the way, I just read a commentary (don't know if that's the correct term in English, being German myself) on your Gaunts series in Vector magazine:
"The core of the book's appeal is surely soldiering's black and timeless glamour: Marc says that Abnett's original brief was 'Sharpe in space', but Gaunt has grown into a war-set Band of Brothers soap opera"
Just having finished the Sharpe TV series and being a fan of BoB I could do nothing else than wholeheartedly agree to this.

With best regards
Inquisitor S.

Anonymous said...

Will Ferrel as a bearable leading man? Surely such a thing is impossible!

Note to self: must actually get around to buying AoC at some point.

Jackwraith said...

My only note about AoC is that I felt it lacked sufficient 'sci-fi' elements. Apart from the 'ghost tank', it was quite mundane and not at all what I expected from a return to Gereon (Traitor General being one of my favorites of the GG series, if only for its depiction of a Chaos-occupied world.

Toss in my vote for another way to get the Horus Heresy booklet, since I can't afford to make it to any GDs this year ($%#@ mortgage!)

Also, I picked up Ravenor Rogue on Saturday... and finished it on Monday. Excellent work, Dan. The ending was a little predictable, but the series had been leading to that point the whole way, so... But I really enjoyed all of the events leading up to that point, including the Wych House, which is very reminiscent of some other concepts I've read over the years (anyone remember Torg?)

And discovering that Brothers of the Snake is going to follow the same theme from Tactica Imperialis? Coolness. My first 40K army was Dark E- uh, primuls, so it will be interesting to see them depicted at length.

BTW, ever known of a book that you've been meaning to buy for some 20 years and you've finally gotten when you walk by it in a bookstore? That happened to me yesterday with David Kaplan and Alec Dubro's Yakuza. Meant to get it in 1986 and somehow never got around to it...

Jeff said...

Hey Dan,

First, a good morning belly-laugh:

And 8 year old Irish girl is making prank calls. Brilliant!

Second, will you be attending GenCon this year?
My wife and I were so excited and suprised when we saw you there last year (we had you sign a few novels for us).

Keep up the marvelous work, you remain one of mine, AND my wife's favorite authors!


Toymachine said...

Thank you, Rory. :)

You liked Clone wars, Boom? I've both disks. Grevious looked sooooo cool in it.

Xhalax? In "guns of Tanith", dan says Gaunt is straw blonde. Yet you "liked traitor general despite the amount of gaunt in it".

Anonymous said...

perhaps she only likes blonde members of the inquistion...

personally, when it comes down to liking characters of the opposite sex, then I'm a Banda Fan for the Ghosts series, and a Kys fan for the Ravenor series. There is something about a woman who A) knows how to make a rifle blow a guy's head off at extremely long ranges and B) really knows how to use her mind :D.

hmm...bad pun.

anyway....DAMN YOU DAN!! you and your secret projects...I'm going to be wondering on that every waking moment I have.

random thing here, but ghosts related...I have yet to come across someone using a Ghosts name on Battlefield 2142, and I've played over 60 hours so far. I think that this is something that definately needs to be remedied...anyone up for possibly making a Ghosts clan? anyone?

Anonymous said...

Oh Xhalax, you won't be happy when you see what Carl's done with his hair in Rogue...


Anonymous said...

Matt, that wasn't nice ;)

][ S.: hellooo, buddy :) Found the way, finally?

Anonymous said...

Yup...I'm definitely more a fan of the I than anything else. With the exception of those damn Witch Hunters!

Commissars do little for me. Except Cain, but that's coz he's a coward and he makes fun of all the gung-ho Gaunt.

And from what's happening in Ravenor Returned right now....things can and probably will only get worse.

Toymachine said...

Your righter then you'll ever know, Xhalax. (Wheve come full circle! This time last year Dan invented the word wronger. Curious, that)

Irish? Elaborate, Jeff... (laughs like a leprachaun).

Boom said...

Yeah, I have both disks too, Toy. Grievous was definetly kick ass. Man, I could totally see Gaunt's Ghost working as a series. Just imagine Mkoll destroying the dreadnought or Mkvenner taking out some Blood Pact or any one of the other countless actions in the books. It would be awesome.

Anonymous said...

Of course I'm right. I'm always right....even when I'm wrong.

Toymachine said...

@ Boom: Grevious did kick-ass. He was 10 times cooler in the cartoon and got to kill more jedi (Way Hey!! Im a sith fan. I like dark gods in general). The train scene was soooo cool.

Which makes me think... Mr.Abnett could both draw the comic and write the story. Your life must rock, Dan.

Toymachine said...

Oh and Stephen S?

Muril was my favorite shemale.

Thats the only thing I hold against Mr.Abnett.

Lets hope banda's "big part" doesn't involve major "I love to hate you" Rawne.

Bodjo said...

I thought Banda was sticking with Meryn since he actually stood up to Rawne.

Grievous was the best actor in that movie by far.

Toymachine said...

Despite being Compter animated!

In clone wars hes taller, cooler and more imposing. He gets to slaughter jedi, rob them of their sabers and tear clones limb from limb. Tasty!

Jesse said...

Dan, I have to thank you. I just got Ravenor Rogue the other day (finished it 10 bleary-eyed hours later) and it PERFECTLY resolved a crisis that has been ravaging my family.

Last week we were repelled to find that virtually all the food in our refrigerator had spoiled. Naturally, since all the electronic clocks were also blinking 12:00, I assumed we had suffered a long-term power outage. After reading Ravenor Rogue and gaining the insight of Zygmunt "How Does He Do That Flick Thing?" Molotch however, I realize that the gibberish my 1 1/2 year old son continually spouts must have contained the name of one of the ruinous powers, or at least a phrase in Enuncia (that would also explain the runny nose and crying. . .).

Also, I realize that you must follow the creative flow as your muse dictactes, but I have to tell that more than any other group in all of 40K, I DESPISE the Alpha Legion. I despise their backstory and their tactics. Space terrorists? Great. Like we don't have enough down here on Earth. Don't get me wrong, I loves me some anti-heroes (a la Malus "I Hope He Binds Tz'arkan Forever into an Owl Pellet" Darkblade), but terrorism leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe it's just a soldier thing. . . I just hope whatever you are working on involves the Alpha Legion being sprayed liberally with catnip and thrown into a room full of cougars.

lordy said...

Actually Jesse - I'd say Nightlords were the real terrorists of the 41st millenium.

Personally I'm quite looking forwards to a novel on them - I haven't read much fluff on them at all. Not as much as I want to read Fulgrim though - Emperor's Children FTW.

Jesse said...

Ah! Well said, Lordy, you have struck upon the fundamental difference between people who create terror and "terrorists."

The Night Lords are without peer in their ability to inflict fear as an emotion. But that is as far as they go. Terror to them is the desired end-state. Terror-inspired madness just prior to the victim's death is the goal.

To the Alpha Legion, and terrorists in general, fear (usually of specific consequences) is the means by which an entirely different goal is met.

In actuality, the Night Lords are more closely akin to a herd of sociopathic serial-killers with a preferred modus operandi than actual terrorists.

The Alpha Legion exhibits classic insurgency and terrorist techniques. They do not operate on a company or even squad level, but rather in small cells, each capable of independent action. They seldom engage in actual combat, preferring to keep a low profile and and sow chaos and terror through third-parties in the form of support networks of grass-roots cultists.

They do not follow any particular god of the Chaos pantheon, but use the warp to facilitate their own agendas. Thus, of all the Traitor Legions, they strike me as the least idealistic and most focussed, and therefor the most dangerous. The World Eaters, Death Guard, Thousand Sons (actually 978 sons after my last tabletop skirmish with them!) and Emperor's Children are no different than conventional armies. They follow conventional strategies or at least predictable compulsions. The Alpha Legion never show their hand before the end of the game. They are difficult to track; more difficult to force into a decisive engagement; and, without a centralized leadership structure, nearly impossible to destroy.

When Alpharius was killed by Roboute Guilliman on Eskrador, it should have been the end of the Alpha Legion. Killing a general reduces the effectiveness of an army (hence why snipers shoot officers first). Since the Alpha Legion, and terrorists in general, operate as independent cells, the destruction of one man or one cell produces very little effect on the other units.

Thus endeth "Counterterrorism and You: An Operator's Guide. Lesson 1."

How was that, Dan? Sound about right?

inquis122 said...

hey, thought some of you guys might be interested in this, it is the Dan Abnett facebook group:

Might I also add, that the end of Ravenor Rogue was soooo delicious, although I really hope you do some sort of follow up telling us what happens to him.

Anonymous said...

Jesse - ever thought of writing a memoir? You have a way with words (and I should know). Added to which, your sense of humour is... well I'm not sure what it is, but it works.

Toymachine said...

Yes, because its really easy to sneak about in bulky, noisy power armor!

lordy said...

Well, I'll take your word for it Jesse - you obviously have more experience/knowledge about terrorists than myself.

Jesse said...

I thought about writing a memoir of my experiences in Iraq, but most of the things I did I'm not allowed to talk about. I'm pretty sure that after I got my manuscript back from the army (to whom I would have to send it since I am still a soldier) it would be entirely blacked out and re-written as a technical manual for the proper maintenance of a 9-70.

Still. . . to be a published author. How cool would that be?

Anonymous said...

Jesse - so, write it as fiction and publish it in the UK, under a pseudonym if necessary... where there's a will... Or just give Dan the best bits, in the interest of research, and see what he does with it :-)

Publish and be damned!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, giving Dan some bites of it could make real funny stories - or rather exciting. I'd like to see something of that.

Dan Abnett said...


I found your remarks on the Alpha Legion especially compelling. It's their cunning and secrecy that I'm interested in exploring. Of course, they are terrorists when you put it like that. I hadn't quite closed the circle creatively (it's early days yet). I hope you'll enjoy where I go with the HH book...

It begs the question what do you make of the Fremen in Dune?

Anonymous said...

Hoooo, that was a very awkward one, Dan. But I like it. :D Heheheh, oh, I've to write that one down...

Jackwraith said...

Just FYI: Anyone interested in a book about at least one of the Night Lords should look up the BL's Lord of the Night. One of the best BL releases EVER, IMO, if only for the way it gets you thinking at the end about the Heresy.

Anonymous said...

Jesse said: "...When Alpharius was killed by Roboute Guilliman on Eskrador..."

Who can say that the Alpha Legion Roboute Guilliman faced is the same as the Alpha Legion 10,000yrs on?

With a cellular following like that, it is likely to be poorly led and have little or no communication with its various parts (imagine one cell being part of a greater bopdy), because of security reasons and paranoia.

Also, because it is less traditional than other Chaos Space Marines, it is more likely to have undergone some sort of modernisation. Perhaps it is likely that the Alpha Legion were responsible for the Age of Apostasy, but since then they have been in decline, if this decline can be proven and explained then the Alpha Legion can be erradicated.

I am sure that many Iquisitors have already tried following this lead into chaos, and what ensues can only be another predictable fall (or corruption) of a mighty Imperial Hero.