Saturday, November 17, 2007

Since I'm on the subject...

...Went to GW Cambridge today and had a fabulous time. Hats off to Andy and his crew, George, Alex and, of course, Big Steve. I think Big Steve will become a character in Sinister Dexter before too long, and Alex has become my go-to guy on all things Titanic. Fantastic burgers, also! Thanks to all for a really good afternoon and especially for the Gaunt miniature. It will sit on my desk and look at me. I wish I could share some of the stories that were told, but I feel some of them are too much for public consumption, which is not to say that you won't have the chance to read them in some format or other. If Sinister or Dexter don't end up with luminous splinters in their arses soon, I'd be very surprised. Thanks also to Kampfhamster, chocolate not-with-standing, who turned up on his own and his friend's behalf and did something that has happened to me only twice before, which is to say that he got his friend on the phone to talk to me. This happened to me in Indianapolis, and at Birmingham last year, where I ended up talking to somebody who couldn't be there, but wished they had been. In Cambridge I spoke to Packmaster in Dortmund. It's a funny old world.

On a site like this, you receive e-mails regularly, some of which take you aback. I love getting e-mail responses, either praise or criticism, it's great to know that people care enough to want to write. Below, I repeat in full, without comment, the e-mail I received yesterday. It's one of the all-time classics and I hope you enjoy it.

"Dear Dan

     I don't know where to begin... You used to be my favorite writer up until this book. I loved the Ravenor series. Double Eagle was one of the best books I ever read... But what happened when you wrote this book? Ever since Double Eagle I was dreaming that you would write a book about the Dark Eldar which is the team I play with. When I saw the book I almost crapped in my pants I was so excited... and then within the first chapter I was certain that someone else wrote this book and used your name to sell it because the writing isn't your style at all! Seeing as the book is all about space marines I knew the DE would get the shaft from the start but I was hoping that you would at least give some credit to them, and I cannot believe what you did. Droning on for chapters about how weak the DE are. I thought that if you would write about an army, you'd at least buy their codex and read their stats and study their weaponry to give credit where credit is due. Clearly you didn't even bother to learn anything about the DE. Because if you did, you would know why the Dark Eldar motto is "speed is our armor" the DE have almost nothing for armor, but they are incredibly fast, much faster than space marines, and yet, many times you go on about how much faster the "brothers" are in comparison. The DE also have outstanding anti-armor weapons, Blasters and Dark lances are better at busting up heavily armor tanks/people than lascannons with their special rules. But never once did you mention any other weapons than splinter riles/pistols. The DE also are a "Raiding" army, they rush in on Raiders and Ravagers, never did you include that in this book, which I think is funny, you write about the DE invading a city, and then your "brothers" come in, and the DE are fleeing the city on foot... So did the DE fly to this planet, and park all their vehicles in the jungle some 10 miles away just for kicks? or did they just run across space to this planet?

   There are so many awesome things about the DE that you could have wrote about and make an awesome book (even if the DE didn't win) All I was hoping for was that you would have done justice for the DE. Give them credit where credit is due, just like any other army, and all you did was insult them. For what? do you just hate them? There aren't many of us DE players but we are still around and we love our armies. We're all praying that Games Workshop will give us a new codex and update our models and such. But because we are so unpopular, I doubt we ever will, and you just made it so much worst for us... Why go to such great lengths just to insult all DE players? and not just us, you also insulted all Ork players as well... I believe at one point in the book it was just 50 of your brothers vs. thousands of orks, and not one single brother fell... do you actually play 40k? have you ever seen orks in action? they are unreal in close combat, and you sold them down the river just to rave about how awesome the space marines are... all I want to know is why? the space marines are the favored sons of Games Workshop and one of the most common armies played, and you outright insult several armies and thousands of players, just to praise the already over-praised? Well, you can be sure that you've lost quite a few fans because of this god awful book.

     But, even though I was furious when I finished your book, all I wanted to do is to write to you and scream my head off about how you could do such a thing as create this book. But after thinking about it... I could never insult you more than how much you have embarrassed yourself. The only part of the book that I liked was when you spent about 3-4 pages raving about how invincible your brothers are, enough to claim that they could "destroy the gods themselves"... and in the same chapter, wasn't it 2 of your brothers that were killed by farmers? and 1 was wounded or something like that. You didn't even make an excuse about why they died at the hands of farmers... you didn't rave about how the powers of chaos possessed these people and made them god-like (and that was why they managed to kill some of your brothers) so... the Dark Eldar and the Orks are no match for the space marines.... but pitch fork wielding farmers are their kryptonite? I sure hope that Games Workshop creates that army for the game because I would totally play them.

   So to sum up, you know nothing about the DE or the Orks but you write about them anyway. You completely insult thousands of players around the world. You've embarrassed yourself to no extent because of the terrible writing and god awful story plot, and you have surely lost fans... was it worth it? Seeing as this email is not praising your work, I'm sure you will never see it, but someone needed to try and open your eyes. BTW playing with the DE, I have won many more games than I've lost, and most of my victims have been space marines. I suggest, that if your going to write about a game, you should try to understand at least some of the game, and its armies."

So, it's goodnight from me, and, it's goodnight from him. Goodnight.


Anonymous said...

Erm, so what was the book?

mellowshade said...

That would be Brothers of the Snake.

I shall say I loved the portrayel of the Dark Eldar in BotS. The description of their movement was exquisetly done. The brutal nature of the Orks came over rather well also. My only complaint is that I wanted more!

It has been explained that it is very difficult to write a book from the alien perspective as they are not the easiest characters to relate too, them being alien. The best way to approach eldar, orks and tyranids is to see them through human eyes. Rather than nerfing the aliens we get a juicey taste of what we could be getting if Dan writes a book where the foes are xeno rather than chaos. But that's something to look forward too.

So in short, loved the DE and the Orcs in BotS, definately on par with the Hotmagants (wink) in Ravenor Rogue.


PS: Just finised reading Only in Death, that bit near the end brought tears to my eyes. Bravo.

Pack_master said...

Heh, hope you enjoyed the phone. Later thousands of questions entered my mind, but what the hell... ;)

I'm afraid I must take side with the mail. I was clearly disappointed with BotS. The Space Marines... they were TOO strong. 30 Space Marines killing a thousandfold storming, attacking orcs... sorry, that not it. Orcs are nearly as strong as Space Marines in Power armour, and they nearly take as much beating before going down. Sure, the discipline is much better, but I don't think they could take more than 200 Orcs when they're in full charge like in the book. They would have been simply swept away by the wave.

The DE thing's the same. The Description in "Xenology" about the Eldar is one thing that centrers all in one sentence, what has ever been said about Eldar:
"Even their normal moving is nearly faster than the human eye can follow" (quoted out of memory). And their weapons are hell, that's for sure. Shuriken weapons are making shreds out of a flak or armaplast armour, and can even punctuate Power armour. Splinter guns are not as capable in going though armour, but the DE poison their ammo. And yes - because of their little drug things the De are even faster than Craftworld Eldar. Their outdance a Chapter Master, that's for sure (they have difficulties to hurt him, but he cannot hit them). And you know... an Aspect Exarch is making kebab out of an Space Marine Chapter Master. In the moment you need to blink.

Eldar are completely inhuman. Even one Dark Eldar Warrior is a match for an Astartes. Not in Power, but in speed, and so they are nearly equal, I would say.

Sorry to say that, but my feelings about BotS were, that you are much, much better with normal humans. You made the Snakes far too tough, andlthe aliens too weak. You are much better with IG and chaos cults. And, well, Eisenhorn was the best I read ever, I loved the 1st person perspective, because I didn't knew what would come next, and was thinking. Kinda Edgar Wallace, only better.

Well, I hope I'm not offending. You asked for critics, and I'm good at that. :)

Love your stuff still. OiD will be due this week in germany, I think. Need something to read, Munitorum Manual is nearly at the end...

Kampfhamster said...

I have to give the credit to the DE player. I once played against them an... Yeah, I had the first turn, I shot a lot of them but I still lost the match. It was really, really embarrasing. It still haunts me. But I still think that DE look silly. *g* Whatever, I had a great time today,it was a great day! I killed a Baneblade with a Chaos Titan!(how cool does that sound?!) And I was the commander, because I had a Cap. *g* And at the End we've even won the match! (Blood Pact rocks, even if Dan and Big Steven got killed...)Ah, yeah, Angry Bob kicks ass! I'm glad that you, Steve and Nik loved the Chocolate, it's one of Swizerlands best! I hope to see you again soon.

Kampfhamster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Guys i have to disagree .And what im am about to tell u is a fact
Space marines have been completely toned down for the game so that u could actually play them and have some sort of fun!
seriously next time ur in a g,w. ask the staff about the " movie marines stat line" this was basically a supplement an game which represented a "realistic space marine squad" 10 marines could take on armies! when i find the sheet with stats an the special rules on it i will post it for u an we can disscuss it.Honestly i thought Dan did show the weakness of the snakes (and any chapter) in the way they got cut of in the first place.Seriously as a g.w. staff member we had to tell all the kids how toned down they were just so that u can have a game.but this dosent just go for space marines other individual peices an characters are toned down to just so that u can play them . so dont look at stat lines as a representation of of what should be written in a book after all did not Ragnar BlackMane kill a war boss and his entire body guard, in the game that would be really hard! (btw a warboss is won of those toned down stat lines in the game that im talking about) a DE should be able to lord it over ur average PDF but they would find it hard to deal with some rock hard Guard regiments but ur average space marine would be way way out of their league

Kampfhamster said...

Yeah, I've played those marines too. I killed with 10 Marines a 1500 point Space Wolfe army... (And only lost 1 or 2) But I can't Imagine Space Marine, Dark Eldar, Eldar, Orks, Tau or any other Alien/Genetically improoved army. I only know how the Imperial Army would fight. So, guys. It's just a game. We'll never know how hard an individual really is. Everyone who played Warhammer 40k long enough knows that you can destroy with 2000 points an 4000 point army and the other way around. Lets just have some fun. (I had mine today *g*)

T. Ryan Arnold said...

I think that the one thing that I took away from this email is that Double Eagle was a Fething GREAT BOOK.

It sounds cliched, but I could not put that book down.

Forget the Dark Eldar...when do the Phantine take to the skies again?

lordy said...

I'm also going to have to admit I was disappointed with BotS. I wouldn't critise it as harshly as the emailer did, or would it come anywhere near losing me as a fan of your work, but as a Dark Eldar player I was very disappointed.

You mention movie marines, and how marines are toned down for the game. Everything is toned down, not just marines. Eldar (and DE in particular, as they're even faster) are meant to be fast enough to dodge bullets for instance.

I also felt the DE scheme - what they were doing with the orc relic and such - seemed much more Tzeentchian than anything else. If there was a Marine homeworld where the DE were trying to raid, they'd just go somewhere else, rather than try and manipulate a Waagh.

As I said - the book disappointed me. But one bad book doesn't come close to outweighting all the other work you've done Dan, and I'm going to keep on reading everything you publish.

Still a fan,

Unknown said...

I think the trouble with said e-mail isn't that it criticises Dan (Because everyone puts out duds, Dan is no exception) but it did it in a rather pompous, self-righteous way. Like Dan had purposely plotted to write the entire book solely to spite this one person.

I enjoyed BotS. It was, however, A Marine Book and there's very little you can do with those. It was certainly a fun read, and probably one of the more readable Marine Books from BL, but still, the basic idea has been done a fair few times before. Difference is, Dan is a competent author and chaps like Johnathan "Iron Hands" Green aren't.

I mean, the portrayal of Orks wasn't the best that's ever happened (That would be Deff Skwadrun!) but I'm certainly not going to smoulder with impotent rage.

Still, I enjoyed OiD (And have spent a while pondering the nature of the Fortress World and its former inhabitants), and do look forward to more from the Sabbat Worlds.

Anonymous said...

I think what was mostly forgotten by the author of that letter was that it was written more from the Space Marines objective rather than the Dark Eldar's.

And putting it nicely...the Imperium isn't exactly know for it's unbiased views. Because they view themselves and the bestest thing since sliced bread and everything else is lower than the muck scrapped off the bottom of a power armoured boot after 50 years of fighting.

No doubt, had it been written from the Dark Eldar's perspective, the Space Marines would have been blundering about, hardly capable for finding the right end of their bolters to shoot with.

Everyone usually think they're the best and the enemy is slow and stupid and bested witht he greatest of ease.

And as BP Steve and Lordy said, EVERYTHING is toned down for the game and I see it as being part of the reason why there are novels....since there are so many things that these races are actually capable of that can't accurately be represented in such a static medium as table-top gaming.

Prespective, eh? Does it just make you want to vomit sometimes?

Anonymous said...

uh, folks ... IT'S A STORY. not a friggin WD battle report. I mean, y'all do realize why we HAVE a distinction between "fiction" and "non-fiction", yes?

stories - none more so than heroic epics like BotS - are primarily intended to be fun and exciting to read. they are not textbook studies of their subjects. yes, they are grounded to an extent in a comprehensible milieu (most of them, anyways), but the author devises exceptional events and extraordinary characters to present a transportive, romantic reading experience.

that is FICTION, as in, wouldn't-happen-in-the-Real-World - which, may i remind you, the 40K universe ISN'T to begin with! it's depressing enough to read about someone criticizing a STORY on the basis of GAME MECHANICS - but the extent to which, in order to do so, the author must take the GAME ITSELF seriously ... just psychotic.

I enjoyed BotS a great deal. probably because when i picked it up, i looked at a story, rather than a 40k-army-penis-extension.

I like 40k, and i like Dan's stories. I manage to enjoy them both without attempting to make either into the basis of a personal cosmology. I suspect it's actually more enjoyable this way :P

Taylor said...

.... Why are... why are people disputing what Dan wrote?

At the end of the day, the Warhammer 40K universe is FICTIONAL people! So therefore, Dan could write about pretty much anything he wanted! His writing is awesome as it is, he could make a book about one space marine taking on the eye of fething terror and it would be awesome!

The DE in BoTS are outclassed, so what? That email in Dan's post was beyond rude and its little s**ts like that that ruin your day!

Its was an awesome book that left me shivering in anticipation at points! Dan's knack for character development is almost unrivalled so he makes you believe that the Astartes could win!

Taylor said...

.... Why are... why are people disputing what Dan wrote?

At the end of the day, the Warhammer 40K universe is FICTIONAL people! So therefore, Dan could write about pretty much anything he wanted! His writing is awesome as it is, he could make a book about one space marine taking on the eye of fething terror and it would be awesome!

The DE in BoTS are outclassed, so what? That email in Dan's post was beyond rude and its little s**ts like that that ruin your day!

Its was an awesome book that left me shivering in anticipation at points! Dan's knack for character development is almost unrivalled so he makes you believe that the Astartes could win!

Anonymous said...

Being slightly biases about BoTS my comments may come across as being pro marine.

I agree that the 40K universe is fiction, and that as fiction the author has the ability to weave their stocy as they see fit.

One thing that the original author of the email forgot was that the DE ship had crashed onto an alien planet, and then they proceeded to masacre any humans they came across. One space marine with a land speeder, a human adjunct, and a slightly deranged dog managed to take them down one by one because they were smart, lucky, and... well Dan intended it to be that way.

The final sequence in the book gives a very accurate background look at the DE's speed and cruelty, and again Dan meant for them to be beaten, so he came up with a plausible way for them to be beaten.

Before anyone moans how hard the marines are, he also kills off quite a few in the book, and their deaths range from the futile (like when they attack the village and get overwhelmed) to the heroic. War is cruel and brutal by nature, and luck, which Dan is very good at writing, plays a crucial part.

By the way, the reason I am biased... check out the dedication for BoTS - I am extremely happy and proud that Dan dedicated it to me, and it is an honour to have my name in such a worthy book.

Rory said...

Oh my god! Dark Eldar! lol.

Ive played against only one dark eldar force. It was a Large dark eldar force Vs My Imperial guard and my friends space marines. Yes, they are bloody fast, and have quite alot of firepower. There a good army. but i wouldnt get so passionate about them, to insult a writer i mean, i would Never be able to write a book even if my life Depended on it. id like to see him do better.

three cheers for Dan!

Anonymous said...

I really liked the Iron Snakes and I am looking forward to see many more DE killed by righteous bolter fire or by bare fists :) .... Seriously though the mali was so pompous it made me smile ironically...So the author of the mail would want to see 30 marines go down by 60 DE as it happens sometime in the game...Not a chance to see it in any 40k novel...The 40k as a game tones down the marines in order to have a game in the first place... If 30 were killed by 60 DE or by 100 Orcs in reality then no marine would be alive after 1 month of action in the galaxy...Too many enemies...Some people seem to confuse the game with the fluff...Game is to entertain...fluff is to inspire...Dan keep up the good work!!! (Long live the Iron Snakes!!!)

Anonymous said...

Sredni mate i think the only other person to have taken this subject as seriously as u is the guy who sent the email in the first place.i for one love disscussing my hobby with all u guys theirs no arguing here my friend, loads a luv to u all

by the way sredni i am playing with my 40k army right now which i seriously think needs to be bigger!
vnhfyf jfujdfyur ud dudff ooops got something in my eye and im finding it hard to see its either that or im going blind.Probably to much playing 40k i say.

Anonymous said...

comments on cambridge coming next i havent forgotten Dan ,Nik

Anonymous said...

I can't believe this chap wrote this email! He claims Dan will lose many fans over his book, in fact the chap is more likely to lose friends after the publication of his email! I won't go on, as many people have made intelligent responses to his claims and some I agree with, I will however say that obviously you can't compare game mechanics with novels, even the Gaunts Ghosts character stats written a while ago now for 40K could never perform as well as they have been written by Dan. The idea a lot of these novels is they tell a tale of heroic individuals who stand above the crowd. This harks back to tales of Arthur, or Beowulf or Aragorn. These individuals were just men, yet performed heroic feats above the ability of a stat line human. Anyway enough of my rant.

Anonymous said...

Don't sweat it Dan. BotS was true to the spirit and fluff of the Astartes.

Which is what fictional books should be based on. Not game-balanced stat lines.

Rob Rath said...

If the fictional "truth" of the 40k universe was derived from the game, the novels would be horrible.

Would it be any fun to see a Chaplain killed in a swirling melee by Ratlings? Or Dark Eldar skimmers getting shot down by bolt pistols? Or how about Gaunt getting killed by an Orc Nob without being able to strike back, like in my Apocalypse game Friday?

I always find it funny when people say, "Nurglings wouldn't be vulnerable to blasts in real life." Gee, that's funny, because I don't think we've done a lot of lab testing on Nurglings. It's probably because they're fictional.

If you're looking for realism in 40k, you're shopping at the wrong store. The game is all about what works on the tabletop and the novels are all about what works within the story.

I'll withhold judgment on BotS because I've not read it, but I believe Eddie Murphy once said, "I'm not a tough guy, but if you fight me in a movie where I'm the star, I'll kick your ass."

Protagonist > Antagonist

Nothing too new here.

Tijmen said...

First of all, I want to give a standing ovation for OiD. In short a real page turner, ace combinations of thriller elements, warfare and the Wh40K universe. Please more!

As for BotS I can only say that I have enjoyed it a lot. The background on the snakes was fleshed out very nicely indeed. Although I must admit, to rather be reading about set SM chapters.

As for the DE comment, seeing your favourite race getting slaughtered is never funny, maybe that upset him more then anything else.

However, on the notion of Spacemarines:

Superhuman strength is only "relative" for, there is no official measuring stick. So any novel on the subject "super humans wearing battle armour" can only be considered an attempt to describe a fictitious recollection of super humans wearing battle armour.

And isn’t that what these books are for.

Probably this is also the same reason the gaunt series appeals to most readers, for the characters and behaviours are much easier to relate to. And those elements will make fictitious worlds appear more realistic, at least in my opinion.

Dan, keep it up, I am looking forward to reading Legion

Anonymous said...

Love it! You you think that letter was written by comic book guy from the Simpsons? "WORST Dark Eldar story, EVER!"
-Captain Haddock

Anonymous said...

It's prating fools like the writer of this email that make the rest of the world snigger at wargaming. I'm not a wargamer but I do love my SF and comics so I know how judgemental society can be on things about which it knows nothing.

Luckily most of you guys seem to be grounded thinkers able to discern between the fundaments of the game and the requirements of storytelling. But it only takes one idiot to spoil it for everyone else.

Dan showed remarkable restraint in offering the email up without comment.

Taylor said...

Yeh I think Docker basically said what I meant to say, but In shorter context.
I'm no longer a wargamer, but I am also heavily into SF and Fantasy.

Kudos on your post

Keep up the good/amazing work Dan!

Anonymous said...

While I wouldn't disagree with anything you lot have said - and some of you have really hit the nail on the head - I am starting to feel a little sorry for our poor friend the e-mailer. One opinion is as valid as another.

Pack_master said...

Ah, well, we take it kinda personal, I think. I admit I didn't like BotS and partly agree with the mail, but it's a good book nontheless. Just mostly not my kind of stuff ;)

Hope the greetings were delivered, Nik ;)

Anonymous said...

Pack - Greetings and chocolate gratefully received.

Kampfhamster said...

Yeah Blood Pact Chocolate *g* I'm sure I've won because of it. Glad you all liked it.

Warhammer Fan said...

Hi Dan,

Its bigred here from Bell of Lost Souls, and contrary to your above listed emailer, our writing staff loves your books.

In case you haven't seen it, we have put together a Heresy-Era Campaign Book that is dedicated you you. Thank you so much for opening up the Horus Heresy in a fun exciting way for all the 40k fans; even grizzled old dogs like us.

You can get the book at:
click on the " Warhammer 30,000: Age of Heresy" link and download it.

It was truly a labor of love, and if you like, please email us at the blog email as we would like to send you a snazzy printed copy of it.

Once again, a thousand thanks!

Anonymous said...

Ok, so BotS wasn't Horus Rising. But, damn! This guy is going off a bit too much over a fething book. Every time you read a book, you are taking a risk that said book is going to suck. I felt that way with Double Eagle. The only use I have for that book is having something to throw at my cat when he starts digging around in the garbage, but I didn't think that Dan was intentionally insulting me by putting out a story where I was actually cheering for the bad guys to keep killing off characters that I found annoying at best.
If I wanted to read something that actually depicted how an army actually behaves on the tabletop, I'll read a fething battle report.
Keep up the good work, dude. Can't wait to read Legion.

Anonymous said...

Kampfhamster u are the man, im seriously looking at u as a rival Eto Gaur .Thanks for the choclate brother it was the dogs bollocks!
Dan Nik thanks for coming, down not just for the signings but to spend Quality time with us that was great!
Dan did mention he would be posting this guys letter for disscusion but in true Dan style never slagged the guy off .i think Dans glad the guys reading and writing and not looking to pop a new arse hole in the middle of his own forehead (or someone else s for that matter).

The Blood Pact certanly did kick ass . Nurgle took a real pasteing from Khorne that day!
Also word has spread the day was a hit and people a getting geared up in hope that u could do another when Legion is released (hint hint)
Even gonna start getting 2000ad again !

Guys gotta tell u that i am unashamadly a sci fi nut and love disscussing all aspects of it eg who would win a fight between Primarchs or Vader vs Maul u know. Never tone down the passion for things u love .The hardest thing in this world is to be yourself when the rest of the world wants u to be someone different.
But dont take my advice im a fucking nut job!

Shi no Megami said...

What I find amusing about said e-mail is that the story, to me, was an epic grecian style battle where it doesn't matter what the odds are, the Good Guys are going to win. It's not about everything being balanced and things coming out as per the dice. It's about telling a story.

I enjoyed the book, but then, I enjoy most things that are over the top and stylized to match. I wasn't reading a historical recounting so much as a piece of mythology.

Anonymous said...

BP Steve...Vader would have totally pwned Maul into next week!

lordy said...

BP - How about a Primarch verses Vader?

Anonymous said...

steve - i wasn't suggesting that we should tone down our passion for our hobbies at all. on the contrary, i myself spend way more time converting figures on my own than i do playing games with other people! and i have nothing but admiration for people like yourself who invest so much love and skill in their hobby purely for it's own sake. someone who'd never painted a figure or even heard of the Ghosts books would still look at your Blood Pact army and say, "wow, that kicks ass." I think something like that is FAR more worthwhile than any amount of the boring, prosaic "achievements" many people spend their lives chasing. in my opinion, an imagination is much more valuable than many so-called "life skills" and i agree with you that we should all celebrate that as much as possible.


the problem i have with folks like the email author is that they are not content to celebrate imagination for its own sake. you and i might love our hobbies, but we don't make them into self-esteem issues. the guy takes 40k so seriously that he can't really enjoy it - he twists his knickers and writes angry ranting emails about how "his" fictional army features in a work of fiction. his hobby has become a source of distress to him, because he can't separate it from his own insecurities. and that's just fucked up, i'm afraid. it's one thing for him to make a fool of himself - it's another entirely to lash out at other folks, especially folks like Dan whose art actually enriches the 40k universe so much, because they don't share the guy's anally-retentive approach to what should be an IMAGINATIVE hobby.

also, i type too much

Anonymous said...


Poor Vader wouldn't stand a chance.

Rob Rath said...

I want to revise my position.

While I still believe what I said above, it really got me thinking about our connections to fictional worlds as readers and writers. When it comes down to it, EVERYONE has the right to interpret or imagine 40k in his or her own way, and there's nothing wrong with thinking about it in-depth. After all, not only is it fun to do so but as writers, readers, and modelers within that universe, taking it seriously as "real," is to some degree a necessity.

The problem here comes when you take it so seriously as to be actually offended by a misrepresentation of a fictional race. As Sredni V said, such speculation ceases to be fun at this point. What has happened is that (let's call him "Chuck") is so wrapped up in his own conception of the DE that he hasn't stopped to consider why Dan would choose to portray them as he did.

Now I don't think Chuck is a bad person, or that he's stupid or lame or something. I can't count the number of times I've gotten irritated at an author for throwing cheap shots or cutting corners or totally destroying my suspension of disbelief, but here's the thing: I didn't write them point-by-point letters about how they were wrong, I just stopped reading their books and learned from their mistakes.

There's some sort of feeling out there that reading is a passive activity: it's not. When you read, not only is your imagination actively participating, but your reaction to the book in your own life is an active event. I am myself writing a book (very slowly since school comes first) and as a result everything I read is very quickly evaluated with respect to my own sensibilities. I'll see things and think, "Hey, I like that, I can learn something here," or alternately, "Christ, that's horrible. I can learn something here." In this case the book spurs me to an active, positive response, and one day my answer to these authors will be found in a paperback. (Then they'll see how I'D do it differently, and can learn from all my successes and mistakes.)

The thing here is that Chuck seems to think the author's views are being forced on him, and so he has decided to argue. This is an active response, but not a useful one. (I say it's not useful because I don't see much usable feedback in what he sent Dan– then it would be different.) What would be a useful response? WRITING HIS OWN 40K FICTION! I say this in caps to emphasize the excitement and possibility of that statement.

Go ahead Chuck, throw your hat in the ring. If you have a vision that you don't see represented, then WRITE your vision, or make a comic, or create an army like Steve. Use that passion to create something.

Sorry this is so long... I really mean it when I say I thought about this all day.

Anonymous said...

Robert - HUZZAH!

Anonymous said...

Sredni _Robert
U guys can never write to much and u do it so well .i on the other hand, have barely 2 uncorrupted braincells to rub together and their stored nicely away in a box saying "f**k off an leave us alone "

Dan does have a funny way of killing of marines though do u remember Lord Uexhull strutting his stuff on Gereon with no helmet(a shame that he hade the making of a good bady)and in Bots ,Farmers !?!

Xhalax ,Lordy i always thought of jedis as on the same sort of level as Inquisitors .Eisenhorn vs Vader
Obiwan vs Quixos

deputyarbites said...

i thought the BoTS was very good. I have read all of Mr. Abnett's books and must say that he is my favorite writer of all time. The Snakes were as true to the "holy" Astartes as you can get. The idea of Mr. Abnett having to write his books so they conform to a table top war game's rules is just silly. When i read his books i want to feel im in the armor myself or in a filthy foxhole with my trusty lasgun and a few good Tanith with me. I don't concern myself if the book sounds like it fits the game. Once agin Dan good job.

Anonymous said...

Arrrgh guys youve got me now .i spent the latter half of last night trying to disscus with claire who would win a vs match bewtween Vader an Primarch /Maul
she happily put up with it though as the conversation was more with myself bas she has no real idea what i am talking about......we do .Also i earnt a few brownie points lately so i am in credit!

Anonymous said...

Robert, I think that's extremely wise advice. 'Chuck' clearly has passion and, indeed, some writing ability, as demonstrated by the logical progression of his letter. Okay it was a bit repetitive but editing and practice could sort that out.

I hope he reads all these posts and takes them in the spirit they are intended, which is essentially that his opinions are his own and therefore beyond reproach, and his energy is to be praised but perhaps redirected.

Rob Rath said...

Oh, and Sredni...

As a Religion major I award you 10 points for your use of the word "cosmology."

Welcome to Blog Scrabble. Who can use the biggest words to express their thoughts?

To help my own score, and since I'm also a History major, I'm going to say that Brothers of the Snake looks like it's an exercise in hagiographical historiography.

Am I right? (Yeah, I'm right.)

Anonymous said...

Robert - I suspect you're a New World man, as you obviously meant Hagiographic historiography. Deduct 50 points if this makes a 7 letter word and a 5 letter word, or 100 points if it makes 2 six letter words.

I apologise if that was either pedantic or patronising, and you can deduct points if it was both.

Anonymous said...

*points and laughs at BP Steve*

And Vader would win against Eisenhorn. True, neither could use their Will or the Force to influence the other to do stupid stuff.

But Vader could still drop something desperately heavy on Gregor and squash him into paste.

Anonymous said...

Xhalax i think u have something there Gregor was no Telekinetic .Also i think Vader used the force in a precognitive fashion? and certainly he used the force to sense other things all the time.
Gregor was still Nails though!

deputyarbites said...

In regards to this battle between vader and eisenhorn hmmmm does eisonhorn get to use cherabeal?

Anonymous said...

No. Use of daemons is cheating.

I think Vader would have him. His mind powers are probably better, not to mention telekinesis as well. Then there's the light sabre, which would go straight through even power armour - which would come in handy for primarch killing.

Plus, Vader wears black. And turns good at the end. You just know that makes him harder than Eisenhorn.

Rob Rath said...


So I came home 33 hours sleep deprived and STILL couldn't go to sleep until I figured out if I was right or wrong.

I checked the OED Online.

It can go both ways. I'll still stick with "hagiographical" because it's longer and worth more points. I didn't find it pedantic or patronizing and will award 14 points for your use of them.

But deduct 3 for calling me a New World man! I'm kama'aina, an islander born 2,400 miles from the New World.

Which begs the question if foreign words count...

If there are more disputes, we might have to switch to playing Bloggle.

Anonymous said...

Robert - words are words: they all count.

Just promise me you'll never use ironical!

IC and AL together are a pet hate of mine, but then I did go to school a million years ago, before it became popular to use them that way.

Sarcastical will be acceptable in the next edition - the Emperor help us all.

Anonymous said...

Lordy those are the best reasons to put forward in a sci fi disscussion! its even made me think twice

Anonymous said...

just wondering what Dan and everyone else thought of the Major Rawne minature on the BL website i thought it was awesome not exactly what i imagined him too look like but still awesome

Edward Kaye said...

Wow, that is one angry reader. i like the fact that he says he enjoyed all the books beforehand, but that one book he did not enjoy inspired him to actually email in and insult you. He must have extremely high standards.

I particularly like the fact that he doesn't really insult the quality of the writing, but more the accuracy of the ploy within the game framework. I must be really hard to write this sort of book, as you can't really take liberties with the characters when most of your readers know the game inside and out.

"I could never insult you more than how much you have embarrassed yourself" - This is golden, I can imagine the self-satisfied smug grin on his face too, it sounds like he is chastising a child :)

Dan Abnett said...

Hi Steve

Great to see you today, and thanks for the loan of the old rule books etc. I will take good care of them. Always good to have a proper chat too. And Gregor could so take Vader. Two bolt rounds to the skull while Vader was still igniting his lightsabre and composing a suitable 'the force is strong in this one' remark.

Enter Vader.
VADER: Hmm, I have not felt this presense since-
FX: Kchoom! Kchoom!
GREGOR: You're womp rat chow, heretic.


Pack_master said...

Hehehe, I really like that one. :D

Anonymous said...

Ah, but Mr. are forgetting that Han unloaded a few rounds at Vader and hit....nada.

Ok, they were blaster rounds, but I bet Vader could stop bullets too. Then use the force to remove said bolt pistol. Then he could just choke Gregor to death without having to resort to drawing his lightsabre.

Plus, since the Jedi and I'd image the Sith seem to sense what's coming/see the future (hence Anakin being able to podrace)....he'd know what Gregor was planning....and if I were Vader and saw that coming in the future, I'd probably bust in on Gregor when he least expected it and just whack him while he was 'indisposed'.

Though the Force might work of Gregor...since the Alpha Level psykers had no problem making him almost shoot him, and he would have succeeded if it wasn't for those meddling old folk!

All that being said...I'm still very much Vader for Teh Win!

And he has offspring to avenge his death should he fail anyway.

Rob Rath said...


IC-AL is extremely ugly and barbaric, I have to agree, but it's also how I write at 3 AM after 11 pages of a paper on the John Frum Society.


You'll like the link above if you've never heard of John Frum, maybe something for a future Horus Heresy novel?

My friend and I were discussing Eisenhorn vs. Vader last night at our local bar's singles night.

We figured that Vader would win in a stand up, gladiatorial fight but that if all the resources are taken into account Eisenhorn would take him out.

We left still single, go figure.

Anonymous said...

Robert - thanks for the link, it made for very interesting reading, and, I suspect, all grist to the mill, Dan-wise.

Churlish of me to forget that you were Hawaiian. I apologise, unreservedly.

Anonymous said...

Robert - dont worry mate it actually worked for me belive it or not ,talking about stuff like that softend me some what ,made me approchable.But failing that loadsa money helps to !
Dan i just hope the books help
mate .Theirs some great stuff in them "Old School G.W. stuff" u know.
The thing is that Gregors greatest strength is that he always found a way .Wether by strengh or guile he would /could always prevail.But Lordy did have a point Vader wears black.
Would u put Gregor against a Chaos space marine sorcerer with a power weapon(very akin to vader) i would and if memory serves me (which forgive me Gregor but its been a long time my friend)but hasnt he already.
Heard some news today Aparrently...Vader has already beaten D.Maul .The Emperor cloned him ,and tasked Vader to defeat him as a test of skill!...Damn he was cool

Unknown said...

All I have to say is that post made my night. Some people are ridiculous.

I don't Gaunt's Ghosts either, I mean, come on... they never have to take cover saves and somehow lasguns aren't flashlights that sting a bit? What in the name of the Emperor is this!?

Rory said...

I agree with Xhalax. he could see it coming, BUT i rekon vader wouldn't have a Hope in hell against Ravenor. i mean, hes like an armoured brain.. a lightsaber couldn't get near it because Ravenor would just use his psypowers to blast it back at vader, decapitating him in the process. Job done!

Imperium - 1
Vader -0


Anonymous said...

But I dislike Ravnor. He's a git!

Dan Abnett said...


Yeah, but he's MY git.

Vader - nil
Gideon - score.

lordy said...

Trouble is, we're assuming the Force works in a similar way to psychic powers. I mean, I can't really remember an incident in the films where two Force-users were directly trying to dispell each others powers - it was always counteracting them by doing the opposite.

Potentially you could even argue that in that case, both of their powers would work perfectly, and they'd just kill each other.

Either way, I still like Ravenor and Vader.

Btw Dan - I just found out that my new comic store since going to uni is apparently the one you used to use. Whatever Comics.

Anonymous said...

Lordy - Oh lordy, Lordy, are you at Canterbury by any chance?

Rory said...

Indeed, Ravenor isnt just any git.... hes THE git. =D

Rob Rath said...

No need to apologize. As a six-foot honey-blonde, people mistake me for a mainlander a lot.

In other news–
The other day my friends and I figured out that Lovecraft stuff doesn't hold up to the character vs. character thing. Just too powerful.

Azathoth vs. Galactus? Azathoth wins.

The whole Godzilla crew vs. Cthulhu? That would be Big Daddy C in a heartbeat. He may end up getting vaporized a few times, but he'll put himself back together and give it another go.

And if any Hollywood producers are looking for script ideas to fill time during WGA strike, I'd TOTALLY see that movie. Twice. Though don't kill Mothra, 'cause I'd feel stupid crying in a theater over a giant moth.

lordy said...

@Nik - that's right. CCCU

Anonymous said...

Lordy - it's a small world.

Anonymous said...

Lordy and Nik
Thanks for the tip. I'm at CCCU on Tuesday and was going to make a beeline for Incognito Comics first. I'll get there earlier and go to both now. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Abnett....that does not make him or me like him any better.

Git, git, git, git, git!

You lose!

Rory said...


Larkin vs Vader..

Hotshot round through the brain!.

Vader - "You dont know the power of the dark si-"

Larkin - "Booomph"

Gutted to be vaders mutilated brain...

Anonymous said...

Rory....I get the feeling Larkin would probably be turning backfips upon Vader's command

Kampfhamster said...

I suddendly had the disturbing picture of Vader vs Cuu in my head. I'm pretty sure that our sneaky basdard would win.

Sure as sure.

Anonymous said...

U know it !

sure as sure

eeerrrr am recovering with sevre hangover..

Rory said...

I guess. it depends on the distance. i mean, if it was a quarter of a mile away.. then he would have a chance...

But Cuu, i hate that guy.. :O

lordy said...

Personally, I thought Cuu was an awesome character. Sure, we all hated him, but we loved to hate him. And yes, he went around killing off all our favourite characters, but still - he was the one guy you could always count on to be truely evil, after Rawne started going soft. Not that I'd ever call Rawne soft that is.

Anonymous said...

Nah, I didn't love to hate him....I just hated him hated him!

Rory said...

When Cuu killed Bragg... i died alittle inside.. i still say the saint should bring them back.. yunno, Reunite the ghosts? =]

Anonymous said...

Im sure that if Cuu were still around he would happily grant that wish without the need for saints an what not.Funnily enough the Blood Pact are still here looking to reunite all the ghosts perminatly!
For free .......Honestly

Rory said...

i guess. but i mean Reunited In life. so they were Living Ghosts.... =D

Anonymous said...

OH well we cant please everyone

Anonymous said...

i can see it now
VADER: "Cuu, Gaunt never told u what happend to your father did he ..."

Rob Rath said...

CUU: You killed him, you killed my father sure as sure!
VADER: Cuu, Sergeant Hakeswill is your father!
CUU: No... that's IMPOSSIBLE!

Technology notwithstanding I think I'd lay money on Hakeswill if the two ever fought... after all, he cannot die! (But just for insurance, I wouldn't bet a lot. Cuu's a shifty one.)

Sorry about the hangover, B.P., I'm still recovering from the Univ. of Hawai'i vs. Boise State game myself. No big hangover (they sold out of beer), but I half lost my voice from shouting when we won the WAC Championship. You know a game is going well when SWAT shows up to guard parts of the field.

lordy said...

Nah, Cuu would take Hakeswill, sure as sure. I mean, yes, it takes a lot to kill him, but Sharpe manages it in the end.

Cuu has the better training, better equipment, and a better class of craziness. No contest.

Anonymous said...

Robert ,now if theirs something i know about its losing ur voice at a footie match mate.We know a little bit about crowd violence over here mate, so i hear u brother!
SGT. Hakeswill now thats a name i havent heard of in a long time.
"I kant die me Sharpie"
"I meanz to ave ur wives teets Clayton"
"yes muvar i do "

glad he got shot.

Anonymous said...

In the same vein then... Rawne vs. Vader? Gaunt vs. Luke 'I-need-the-force-to-be-special' Skywalker (The real hero of the Star Wars films/books etc... was Wedge Antilles, how many other pilots do you know that have TWO Death Stars painted on the sides of their fighters?), Eisenhorn vs anyone you think that could take him on? Dude's a badass, how could he possibly lose?

Anonymous said...

hey bp steve. i couldnt agree more. hakeswill always gave me the creeps. although after being a policeman for a decade ive been known to talk to my hat too......whats that my darling hat oh ill stop typing and take you for a walk.GABBY POYNTER

Allandaros said...

Vader versus any non-psyker/Force wielder is probably going to go to him, even if it's Major Rawne. I'm sorry, Elim!

Same thing in a Luke versus Gaunt, although if it became sans Force, things would be different very quickly.

Anonymous said...

force user or not Gaunt would batter Luke s. Gaunt would be all over him like a rash.Gaunt would actually break off his own foot up lukes arse .If George lukas even had a dream one night that that Luke was kicking Gaunts arse, he should wake up and apoligize

Anonymous said...


I have just finished Only In Death.

Considering that I when I started it I thought you had gone slightly gaga with all the hauntings (or had been watching too many Dark Castle films), I warmed to the book.

Now I have finished the book, with a lump in my throat so big it could be mistaken for a pineapple, I have ot congratulate you on possibly the best thing you have written bar Malone.

You dealt with the denoument in such a way that I will call anybody who says that they saw it coming a big fat liar from the tallest building in Nottingham!

Here's to the next book!


Bodjo said...

*crawls out of hole*

Only another week until OiD arrives! Really, my Mom is the best person I know and all, but my head almost exploded when she said she pre-ordered it on amazon for my b-day instead of ordering it from England. MOM!!!! WHY?!?!!?! Are you trying to KILL me with the suspense!?!!?!

Anyways, in terms of Eisenhorn versus Vader, I'm thinking it's a close match-up. However, if Gregor could beat Pontius Glaw and Vader lost to Luke...advantage Gregor.

Xhalax - Just wondering mate...what event(s) caused you to label Ravenor as a git? I mean, he's obviously not as personable as Eisenhorn is, but living in a box will do that to you. I think his massive physical disability makes him easy to feel sorry for.

And one more thing...who seriously thinks Gaunt can lose to Skywalker? Luke lost what...a hand? Someone pull up Gaunt's injury list. Quien es mas macho? Gaunt es mas macho!

By the way, another friend was converted to the Ghosts today. Lent him Necropolis, and he IMed me an hour ago. "DUUUUUUDE!" the IM begins, "this book is sick!"

That's how us Americans tell people we like things. The "DUUUUUUDE" can start a lot of sentences, though. Example:

DUUUUUUUUDE! Dan! What that guy wrote about "Brothers of the Snake" was sooooo TOTALLY unfair!!!111

lordy said...

Well, you could argue that Luke has taken less injuries than Gaunt because he's better? You know, having lots of people stab and shoot you doesn't actually mean you're a better fighter. :P

And Vader beats Luke constantly. He only lost the final battle because he wanted to lose. Which means it doesn't really count, as he got what he wanted.

Bodjo said...

Whoa whoa whoa, Vader was NOT beating Luke (someone please check my nerd meter)! Palpatine intervened and started frying Luke AFTER Skywalker refused to finish his father off. Get your facts straight. :P

Your other point is a good one, but see, I was illustrating good ol' Gaunt's durability. After OiD, that's a ridiculous 11 books where Gaunt's played hero. Luke's got three movies. I just can't see Skywalker having the stones to finish Ibram off, and as long Gaunt's breathing, he's winning. If Dercius's chainsword couldn't kill Der Kommissar, it's going to take something reeeeeeeeealy special. Mark Hamill? Please.

Allandaros said...

My comments about Luke beating Gaunt weren't in any way intended to say that Gaunt is somehow less badass than Luke, just that a lightsabre performs darn well against things which are not lightsabres. Like chainswords.

Bodjo said...

Gaunt hasn't used a chainsword since Necropolis...

Rory said...

eh, Gaunt doesnt use a chain sword.... and i think a Power weapon should be able to break through a lightsabre.. i mean, its just a beam of Uber light.

Pack_master said...

# 100! Strike! :D359

Rory said...

Ding ding ding! we have a winner!

Anonymous said...

How can anyone take seriously any comments from someone who cannot construct a coherent sentence (notwithstanding they may be a tad irritated)?

Bodjo said...


Who is that directed at, Pedant?

lordy said...


Ok, by constantly, I meant once, in their first fight. My point was that in the third film, Vader wanted to lose.

And what do you mean Luke only has three films? Have you not seen the dozens (estimated)of books he features in, in addition to the films?

And I still think a lightsaber pwns a powersword.

Anonymous said...

nhz....absolutely nothing I can define or quanitfy into words.

Just from the very second he showed up I disliked him and can't say I warmed to him at all.

Ok....maybe a tad of sympathy kept in during one event in Ravenor Rogue but that's it.

Rob Rath said...

Oh come on guys... Gaunt vs. Luke?

We've all seen this movie before. They have an epic, all-out world-shattering duel until they realize that their bosses have double-crossed them and they join forces against the common foe.

Bodjo said...

lordy - I really don't know. It seems to a power sword is lightsaber with an actual chewy metal center. =P

And you're right. There are a ton of Star Wars books. My bad, for sure but I can't help it if I generally find them unreadable. Still, Gaunt for the win...Star Wars is nice, but has always been a little too cheesy for my tastes.

xhalax - I think a lot of the reviews of the Ravenor books note that Ravenor, since he's completely physically crippled, is a hard protagonist to identify with. Sometimes it seems that his more humanized agents do all the work, I suppose, so I can see where you're coming from. I'm just downright giddy that Gideon made it through three books without succumbing to Chaos, given his statements about how all Inquisitors will eventually get too close to the warp.

robert - that's probably exactly what would happen. Maybe they could team up with Captain Planet and Underdog and save the universe from Pokemon and Michael Myers.

Anonymous said...

Xhalax - you really must learn to appreciate a man for his intellect. Looks ain't everything. Ravenor for President! Or something. I'd have lunch with him, and that's always my criterion for judging a character. Anyone fancy having lunch with Cuu? You take my point.

Rory said...

Ravenor can eat?

lordy said...


Oh, I agree completely that Gaunt it far cooler, and the Star Wars book border on cheese. I was just arguing Luke/Vader's side for the sake of it.

Maybe he has some form of liquid protein snack?

Incidently, we need to get to 129 posts, just so we can beat the last record.

Rory said...

yea.. or powdered food snacks.. like in futurama.

Anonymous said...

Ravenor doesn't have to eat; he only has to watch me eat. In my experience the best lunches aren't about the food, which brings me back to the intellect riff. Lunch is about talking, surely.

Pack_master said...

Well, you have a point there, but a good talk at lunch is always better when there IS a good lunch. You have the best talks at a fancy restaurant with good food and wine.

Anonymous said...

lol Dark Eldar players. The silliest bunch of fruitcakes I've ever seen. Emphasised by the "Dark Eldar is the team I play with." need I say more

You are pretty much the only consistently good author GW currently has in their employ besides maybe Sandy Mitchell(for entirely different reasons), so don't let haters get you down. I suspect you get more laughs out of things like that than anything, though.

Rob Rath said...

Nik and Xhalax–

I totally agree about having lunch with someone not being about looks or food.

For example, I had lunch the other day with a knockout of a sorority girl... and wanted to slap her every time she opened her mouth.

Of course, lunch with Ravenor would be a little tense since I'd be afraid he'd jump my brain and make me do things I'd never do under normal circumstances.

Of course, I've had that date too...

Bodjo said...

"Next on 'Lunch With An Inquisitor'..."

I think that would be a hell of a TV show.

Anonymous said...

The DE players will leave you in droves. All 6 of them!
Seriously DE is the most inane, boring faction this side of the Tau. Regular Eldar are more entertaining and the Harlequins are absolutely fascinating.
The fluff will never match the tabletop game. It wouldn't be fun that way. Orks are as strong as Guardsmen in the tabletop for example. Can you imagine a 40k novel with weak Orks?