Sunday, September 23, 2007

Post girding

Well, hands were shaken, books were signed, queues were queued, loins were girded, and jam was defended. That, my lords ladies and gentlemen, was Games Day UK 2007, and I hope you all had as much fun as Nik and I did.

In a day literally jam packed, many fun moments stand out, but I would particularly like to thank:

1) Xhalax, for the jam of course (real, defendable jam, everyone). (NB - Xhalax is a she, Steve)

2) Rachel, for the thank you gift - the dedication was my pleasure.

3) Anybody who came on behalf of someone else and queued in the mammoth queue (it was long, I don’t mean it had extinct ice age elephants in it). Great examples of this would be kampfhamster who came and said hi on Packmaster’s behalf, and Matthew Churchill’s mate, who stood in line on Matt’s behest and casually handed me a cell phone with Matt at the other end of it when he reached me, which was, frankly, very jet set.

4) My fellow Black Library creative types: Graham (and Rebecca), Nathan Long, Jim Swallow, Alex Stewart, Ben Counter, Neil Roberts, Mitchel Scanlon, Ian Edginton, Steve Parker (great to meet you at last!), Jonathan Green and everyone else. It was great to see everyone and a shame there wasn’t time to chat more.

5) B.P. Steve and Claire. Hope you liked the book.

6) Mat, Dju and Leonidas from the Bibliotheque Interdite for being such great company on Saturday night.

7) Marco, Lindsey and the entire staff of BL for working so hard to make it all happen. There were a lot of tired faces in VIP by the end, so I hope the evening in Bugman’s afterwards recharged your batteries. Thanks very much for a great day, Black Library.

8) And everyone else (think that covers it).

There are, as regular readers can tell, some ‘follow up issues’ regarding the casting suggestions. Glad that stirred things up, and I will go back and sort the wheat from the chaff at some point (not now). But I would like to follow up on rfox’s question about the Games Day exclusive and the ship is sinking’s about the OID collector’s edition: I am reliably informed that both are now available via the BL mail order (while stocks last). So, uh, HURRY is all I can say.

And finally, I’d like to share the follow words with you (in no particular order): loins, gird, defend, pumpernickel (Saberrox is right, that’s great to type).

I ate all the jam.

I’m Alpharius, goodnight!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Event Horizon/In the Defence of Jam

First of all, as we all know, it's Games Day UK this weekend. Nik and I had this idea. Nik's gonna bring her spiffy digital camera to record the event, so that we can post photos on the blog, like you do. If you're a regular poster to this blog, and you're gonna be in Brum on Sunday, make yourselves known to us (sorry, but you're more likely to recognise us, than us you) on the signing line, and we'll take a snap, and create a Dan's blog rogues gallery of familiar (or not so familiar) faces. And Xhalax we all ready know what you look like, so don't try to hide. Is that an idea or not? You can always wear a mask or pull your T shirt over your head.

Any other business?

Saberrox - Though I'd never cast Damien Lewis as Gaunt, he certainly has the leanness of face and the right physique. More importantly, his portrayal of Winters is exactly how I see Gaunt behaving. It was a little odd, several books down the line, to see Gaunt personified in a war drama. Gaunt, however, is not a ginga. If Mr Lewis could be persuaded to bleach his hair blond, he'd make a great Gaunt and would probably oust my first choice, Denzel Washington, out of the pole position.

Yeah, don't get me started on the Denzel Washington thing. Can o' worms. It's all about the voice and the presence.

While we're on the subject of casting, can I just say Denis Leary as Sinister, and Wil Johnson from 'Waking the Dead' as Dexter. (We're talking the 2000AD strip 'Sinister Dexter' now, of course, for all you 40Kers). In 40K terms, who do you fancy best for Larkin? Rhys Ifans or Gary Oldman? And for Hark, Oliver Platt? Actually, in that last choice, there is no alternative.

We'll come back to this casting issue later in the blog.

Saberrox - Just to come back to what you were saying, thanks for trying to convert your family to the works of Abnett, and of course I didn't read anything into your comments about Prozac. What a man does in the comfort of his own drop-pod...

rfox - I don't know when the Games Day special that Graham and I did will be available. Stay tuned.

Jesse - I'm so glad you have a soft spot for Feygor. I do too. And I hope that 'G' comes home safe. As Marco posted, if you have photos of 'G' reading the Gaunt books in combat, please send them. Legion is dedicated to you, and I'd be very interested to know why you don't talk to the airfoce, although I can probably guess. I'm very flattered that the people you talk to believe that I am a veteran. Sadly, with my fallen arches and bad eyesight, I'm 4F. Tell the SEAL that, of course, I'm ex-SAS. And I am a lunatic. This will undoubtedly add to my karma. I can pretend. That's what I do for a living.

I can' believe that I know someone who is going to be a Ranger. I say 'know', but we talk regularly, and I always look foreward to your posts. Special Ops, Airborne, Ranger and Special Forces. It sounds like the sort of character progression I would give to one of my Ghosts. Funnily enough, I call my privates Nuggets too. There's a switch. I love the fact that they have imbibed the Fell Cargo lingo.

Shredni Vashtar. No, I'M Alpharius, and I have the pictures to prove it. (In a refined English/West Indian accent).

Matthew Churchill - Hi Matt. Now I can't stop singing the 'Who ate all the Jam' song.

Matt and others - Love all the Churchill stories.

To everybody in general - Do we all know what 'tmesis' means? Fan-fucking-tastic (Xhalax-that's a shilling in the swearbox).

To some guy called Dan Abnett - Look, when I talked about the Dire Straits song 'Brothers in Arms', it sounded like it was some obscure track that nobody had ever heard. Of course, it is a world famous song that everybody knows. That's the point I was failing to make. You hear it and you say 'Oh, that's Dire Straits'. I was merely trying to point out that a mournful, world famous anthem ideally suits Gaunt and his men. The words become invisible to casual listeners because the song is heard so often, but if you listen, if you really listen, they take on a power of their own. I think Big Steve properly appreciated this fact. It might be a popular track, but I'd love to have it as the end credit music for a Gaunt movie.

Robert - Save Our Shoggy is properly funny and poignant.

Colonel Tempest - the irony of you having a mate called Samuel Fisher is made doubly ironic because I've just finished writing the atmosphere chatter for the next Tom Clancy video game.

the ship is sinking - just wait. No really, just wait.

Pack master - I'll sign anything your friend brings along.

Anonymous - of course Tokar was deafened in Straight Silver. You never heard of augmetics? Some of them still rely on sign language, like Nessa, because they like the quiet in the depths of war. Others get their ears repaired.

Pack master (2) - I'm glad you appreciated the Children of the Khorne gag. I'm surprised Black Library let me get away with it.

Saberrox - Pumpernickel. Yes, I like typing it too. Although on this occasion, Nik is typing my ramblings for me.

BP Steve - Yaaay! How's it all going? Are you sure you want to bring your 8 months pregnant wife to the horror show that is Games Day? The upside is that the lady's loos are always free. Bring her over to the Black Library VIP area and Nik will look after her. And come and find me, (before you buy anything) because I have a gift for you. 8 months pregnant and prepared to come to Games Day. I'd hang on to her if I were you. Are your loins girded (and thanks to Nik for the explanation). I am, of course, as you point out, the master of the well girded loin, and my loins have now switched into overdrive.

Tempest - Sorry to hear about your foot. Suggest girding your loins.

the ship is sinking (2) - Of course there's going to be a collectors edition of OID. I don't know what to suggest. The Black Ships await.

John - Going back to what i was saying about 'Band of Brothers', the second and third episodes are truly wonderful. I think of them all the time when I'm trying to envisage infantry combat.

BP Claire - I love the fact that you sign on as BP Claire.

Xhalax - I'm writing a book of short stories about Eisenhorn and Ravenor and all their hangers-on. I think one of the stories is going to be called 'Nathun Inshabel on Elvara Cardinal'. In the meantime, defend the jam for all you are worth. There is, as Tempest suggests, an ancient jam factory buried under the Necropolis. It will awake. It will.

Robert - Perhaps you can bring one of your grandmother's martinis.

Okay, back to casting. Annette Benning as Ana Curth. Ian Hom as Dorden. Kevin Bacon (ten years ago) or Ray Winstone as Varl. Tori from Kymera sandwich house as Kara Swole (now that's the kinda waitress you want). Famke Janson as Patience Kyss. For those in an addled and receptive kind of mood, Lawrence Lewellyn Bowen as Carl Thonius. Ron Silver as Orfeo Culzean. Ben Affleck as Ban Daur. Brian Glover as Agun Soric. Gerard Depardieu as Gol Kolea. Chrissie Hyndes in 1975 as Tona Criid. Matt Damon as Caffran. Megan Mulally, or Pam St Clements as Cynia Preest. Nik Vincent-Abnett as Alizabeth Bequin (news to to me - Nik). Vin Diesel as Horus. Amaure Nolasco (Prison Break) as Alpharius (you'll see what I mean. And while we're at it, in Prison Break mode...) Wentworth Miller as Ludd, Robert Knepper as Cuu or an alternate Larkin,and Sarah Wayne Callies as an alternate Bequin or Curth.

And while we're on a roll, Anthony Hopkins as Pontius Glaw, Gene Hackman as Corbec. Billy Connelly as Corbec. Robbie Coltrane as Corbec. The young Alan Rickman as Rawne. Vigo Mortenstern as Rawne. Elijah Wood as Milo. Al Pacino or Dustin Hoffman as Sholto Unwerth (doing a southern accent). Warwick Davis as Unwerth. Haley Mills as Cynia Preest. Iggy Popp as Rawne. George Burns as Zweil, or John Geilgud. Dudley Moore as Ravenor, because he'd fit in the chair, but James Earl Jones as his psy voice. Stone cold Steve Austen as Nayl. Alan Bennet as Aemos. Haley Joel Osment as Zayl. Prince as Midas Betancore and Eva Mendes as Medea. Jerry from ER (Abraham Benrubi), or Brendan Fraser as Bragg.

Any suggestion for Dalin, gratefully received.

Answers on a postcard to...

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Proper bloggage to follow, with answers to and comments on that mahoosive previous post.

But this is just a quick word to say, hey, it's Games Day UK in Birmingham this weekend, and I look forward to seeing some or all of you there!

May the jam be defended.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Behold! The man himself appears from behind the curtain!

I feel I have to apologise for the lag in blog posts. Legion and a few other projects are pressing on my time.

Matthew - I think a campaigning-in-parliament-square-for-a-homeworld-for-the-Tanith might be the best way to get one. You know how cruel I can be.

Philth - Yeah, I wish gencon was in Milwaukee too.

Xhalax - Yeah, I ate all the jam.

Richard - There ain't no such thing as Dan Abnett proof boxes.

Colonel Tempest - I'd be happy to do an interview for

Saberreox - No one presumed for a moment that you were abusing prescription drugs.

Laurie - The Sindemann scene rocks. I'm very impressed.

b.p. Steve - I loved Cuu too. Maybe his loss will be ameliorated by the fact that Only in Death is dedicated to you. Blood pact! Hunhh Hunhh!

Robert - Hawaii sounds nice. I just have to persuade Nik.

Jesse - I'm really pleased, in a strange way, that you appreciated the loss of Feygor. Coming from a person in your situation, that response means a lot. Your take on Feygor's demise really meshes with mine, and I'm glad that I seem to be grasping something that people who do this for real recognise. Airbourne! (Come back to us, all right?)

Jeff - Band of Brothers is one of my favourite series.

Saberrox - I often see Gaunt as Winters.

John - You said that the only people you look at as safe are Gaunt and Rawne. You'd better read Only in Death. And, even that's not the end.

Drew - Shoggy lives... or does he? I haven't been doing this for ten years without understanding the knack of titillating my audience. However, a 'save our Shoggy' campaign would be splendidly entertaining. Still, Ludd and Hark die. Or is that just a spoiler?

The enormous event that is Games Day UK looms above us like an enormous looming thing. It's a week away and I am girding my loins. When I'm not busy girding my loins, Nik is girding my loins for me. My loins are fully girded. Chicago Games Day, let me tell you, was a three pen convention. I don't know if you're accustomed to this scale of measurement, but by a three pen convention I mean a convention where I wore out three pens signing copies of my books. So, it's as well my loins are girded. I'm bringing four pens.

Legion is almost finished, but I can't believe how nefarious the characters I've created have become. Every time I look away, they backslide and cheat on one another. And the Alpha Legion are the biggest liars of all. A black dawn will come and wash everything away. I know, I was there.

I'm Alpharius!

Defend the jam!

Nik vamps until ready

Do you know, I've been reminding Dan all week that he needs to blog, but he's been so bogged down in shooty death kill that he just hasn't found the time. Bear with me, he's using the facilities, but now that I'm on line (it never hurt to know your husband's favourite passwords) he's bound to want to say something, rather than let me ramble on...