Friday, May 15, 2009


To GWs Manchester and Liverpool, I want to belatedly record what a fun time I had at both of your stores. Thank you for throwing on the events at such short notice, and huge thanks to the readers and acolytes who turned out in force to meet with me. For the record, my trip to Blackpool was as sublime as last year: Lily acquitted herself splendidly in the formation teams of the ballroom, and I drew ever closer to the core of an idea that Blackpool is the setting for the most significant and troubling novel of my career.

Back home, I am working hard to produce Marvel’s Cosmic scripts on a week by week basis, while I finish up the slaughterhouse that is Blood Pact. Every time I finish a chapter, I feel I need to be hosed down. It’s wet work. I’m not sure who’s going to survive on either side. Novels like this scare me. The characters are in charge.

In the meantime, I got up at 6am and drove to Nottingham, yesterday, and sat in Bugman’s with Nick Kyme and the mighty Graham McNeill. When it comes to Graham McNeill, I think it’s obligatory for everyone to preface his name with an italic “mighty”. Graham is one of the few creatives I’ve had the pleasure of coming into contact with who can match my ideas and raise me. Not only did we thrash out some amazing things for Prospero Burns/Thousand Sons, but we came up with a transcendent idea for what we are all calling “The Dark Ages” of the Horus Heresy. This was so cool, it simply took our mutual breath away.

Of course, you’re all going to have to just wait and see, and wait and see, even for Prospero Burns. I am Space Wolves up the YingYang. There are two things I can promise you: You have never seen Space Wolves like this, and, these will be the mothers and fathers of all Space Wolves. Nik’s scared: she doesn’t get Space Wolves, and she doesn’t get what all the fuss is about. It’s going to get nasty, and it may never get nice again.

It’s getting windy here, and the rain has started. I’ve been seeing the Hussar a lot these last few weeks: in the summer house, and in the kitchen, in the corner of my eye. The fact that we’ve bought a porcelain effigy of him at an antiques fair, doesn’t seem to have slowed him down. I sometimes hear his footsteps, his breathing, his keys dropping onto the floor. I think I am better off with him than without him.

To conclude this evening, a joke:
Last night I dreamt I was in the middle of the Lord of the Rings. When I woke up, Nik said, “You were Tolkien in your sleep, again.”

Try the veal. Remember your waitress.


Anonymous said...

Good to hear you've grand plans for the sons of Russ.
Looking forward to Blood Pact too.
Oh yeah - the zing is dead, long live the zing.

Craig said...

You've got my drooling again Mr Abnett. Thanks for that.

I met the mighty Graham McNeill today and i must admit, the 'mighty' prefix is very much appropriate.

He even managed to squeeze his signature onto the same page of Tales of Heresey as you did. Was quite shocked you had written 'The Emperor Must die' too.

ocko said...

Dan, i grew up in Blackpool. If you want significant and troubling, try going there on Glasgow weekend (first May Bank Holiday, if memory serves).

Didn't get to see you in Manchester due to hangover commitments, hope you make it up this way again soonly.

JC said...

Mister Abnett, I just read War of Kings 3--you have a gift, Sir. A gift.

Unknown said...

Im litterally gagging to read Blood Pact, ive been re-reading my favourite GG books, and i have to say im very excited for the next one.

Ive just found out that i need to submit some creative writing for my coursework next year. Any tips on starting?

And i have a question, where do you get your inspiration for planet and place names? or are they supplied to you by the guys at GW?

Come to scotland!

Xhalax said...

"You have never seen Space Wolves like this, and, these will be the mothers and fathers of all Space Wolves."

Best. News. EVER!

This makes me even happier than Blood Pact, and Blood Pact makes me HAPPY.

And since you've mentioned that your Hussar is uping his ante in terms of activity, makes me wonder if I should spoil my little surprise or just keep quiet and reveal all at Games Day (no pun intented....ever).

All in all....I'm over the moon right now so I'm off to ancient China to cane lots of people (see above).

And LoTR dreams are fun. I had one where the whole of Helms Deep happen in my street, with my garden wall being The Deeping Wall. It was fun, until the Spanish Rohirrim started cutting up Haldir to get him off the wall.

Nik said...

Rory, and anyone else who's interested - our mate Adelie is coming round to shoot some video interviews with Dan for Youtube, so, hopefully, all your questions will be answered there. I'll let you know when it's available, and post a link to it.

Benjamin said...

I'm a SW fan since 10 years but i'm now even more fan of the Alpha Légion (Your book was magnifiscente). The story of Propspero alway upsed me as a Sw fan. Yes the Sw can be Brutal and stupid but they're leader like Logan, Ragnar or Buleye are much more cleaver than that, so wath, Leman Russ is not like this tree ? Can wait to see your interpretation.
Ps : escuse the poor english of one of your french fan

Adelie High said...

To All - I am making some documentary film with Dan Abnett, to appear, at a later date on YouTube. I was hoping that the whole thing could be livened up a bit with some of your questions.

If you have something you'd like to ask Dan, please post questions here, and I'll do what I can to persuade him to answer them.


Unknown said...

I'd love it if you asked my question Adelie :)

The question was :- Where do you get your inspiration for the names of the planets and places you write about? (e.g. Ouranberg or Fortis Binary)

:D Cheers!

And Xhalax... How big is your Garden wall?!

Xhalax said...

Rory - The wall is HUGE (for HUGE see normal/average size for a garden wall).

Unknown said...

Aha, and were you part of this dream? or just onlooking?

Pack_master said...

Asking Question? Huh, why not, but questions mostly appear out of nowhere, or are created by former statements in this blog. Like this one:

Dan, will Leman Russ look in "Pospero Burns" like he did in the "Collected Visions"? There's a pic of him there, with a mane of unruly red hair and the like.

And damn, i still don't know when GD Germany will be this year. I hope it won't be on the same weekend like my club meeting...

big said...

Now this is all getting really exciting, Blood Pact is on its way
and Prospero Burns is a reality.
I personally feel the next year or so are going to be golden times i've waited over twenty years for a book dedicated to "The Russ"
ive was a fan of his before he was a primarch and since he wore an osmotic gill.
Cant wait to read about new characters and old, and see the way the earth Wolves get along with the Fenrisian ones! .

Hurrah for the Hussar said...

Huzzah! I'm loving the mothers and fathers line, bring on Freya and the like, SW for me havent been as brutish as they should be in the past, lets have some fur and fury :)

Blackpool always reminds me of the cities of Enothis from Double Eagle, or vice versa, old town, battered by the sea.

Ok ok, enough procrastination, my question without hope is....



Dukeleto said...

Sounds good Dan, very excited about Blood Pact and Prospero Burns.

Much as I approve of the mighty Grahams homeric epithet, surely you deserve one yourself?? Perhaps we should come up with one... Swift-fingered, perhaps, if that doesn't bring to mind a very accomplished shoplifter.

Who will survive on either side? That rather suggests we'll see some recurring characters in the service of the Archon. I'd love to see Desolane again! Surely old demons never really die??

Are the appearances of the Hussar accompanied by visions of a valley full of skulls, with all the tops sawn off? Maybe someone is trying to tell you something?

cor said...

i was really intrigued by triumff before the you tube interview now i know i have to read this book at all costs, any idea when itll be released?

big said...

When are you on youtube ooooo when , when , when he he!
shit i shoudlve asked something wolfy...ahhh i can wait....

Big said...

Just seen it You done really well in front of the camera, loved some of the history you brought up,especially about Action Force (Which is what we Brits called G.I.Joe originally) Thundercats, Ghostbusters even Care Bears which i got for my sister, I collected all these and i never knew you wrote them! Youve written for all those titles along with 2000AD i cant belive it!
You do know that this means i have been with you since the beginingand not realised it!from a young man saving his pocket money to a BIG man who works for it!
From comics to G.W. these things have all played a big part of and as an Author so have you.
Thinkin about it i had inspiration for my Blood Pact not only from G.G. but from Cobras Crimson Guard...mad world!

Xhalax said...

Rory - Was leading the fight, armed only with a rather large bread saw.

Unknown said...

I have to say, thats ace. I laughed quite a few times. It was really good to see you infront of the camera, alittle gutted my question didnt come up though.

Come to Scotland!

Rob Rath said...

Oh dear, I missed my question chance! Enjoyed the video though. Good job Adelie.

If you're planning to do another video, here's a question I always wanted to know:

I've always wondered how Dan goes about writing action scenes. Does he just write them from the hip or does he visualize the fight in advance and mentally block it out like stage directions before it's written? Either way, are there are any books that influenced his action writing?

big said...

Just read my post, just to clarify
we Brits called GI Joe, Action force Originally!

Will Wright said...

I just love that you and Mighty M are the speartip for the Heresy series and the Dark age of Heresy has me drooling to whether that means Unification Wars or Scouring.
I am really rooting for the former.
But with all this on your plate are you ever going to get to Eisenhorn/Ravenors swan song?

Marco @ Angry Robot said...

Cor > The really rather sensational Triumff: Her Majesty's Hero will be in bookstores in the UK, US and Oz from the start of October, 2009. B-format paperback, all swashes buckled.

Find out more on our website or via Dan's YouTube video:

Unknown said...

I watched the other two videos, im assuming there are more to come.

I have to say, it was intresting hearing how you pronounce some of the names, it might just be the fact that i pronounce it once in my head, sometimes wrongly, then carry it through the book. I mean, ive been pronouncing Cuu as Cue, for no reason.

And finally, What does your T-shirt say Dan? "Nothing short of a...." im curious!

cor said...

rory - i do exactly the same thing with characters names and once ive decided how there pronounced thats how they stay no matter how wrong they are :)

Unknown said...

Hehe, least im not the only one. I just rediscovered twitter. Its very strange.

Xhalax - you have a Bread SAW? how big is the bread you have in your house?!

Xhalax said...

Rory - This is when I used to work...elsewhere.

And after watching all the videos so question has emerged in my mind.

Do any of those subs happen to have an island itinerary?

Matthew Churchill said...

Rory - the secrets of the t-shirt have at last been revealed...

Really enjoying the videos, Dan. On the issue of pronunciation, I can't believe I never noticed that 'Kolea' was a 'collier'. And I grew up in a mining village!

If there's room in the short story collection for a flounce of Carl Thonius I'd be very happy.


Unknown said...

Nothin but a total war.

Fantastic. I love it how you let the story take control, as if your living the moment rather than sitting down and pilling it all togeather. I think they should make an Eisenhorn movie.. that would be fantastic..

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan,

Just saw your interviews on YouTube. It was really fun to hear you talk about your characters. What I most enjoy are your character dynamics, especially in GG. I went to your most recent signing in Maidstone and I mentioned to you that my favourite one at the moment is between Ludd and Hark. If Ludd had a girlfriend, I see Hark as being the disapproving father. As the series has progressed the character dynamics have only got better, especially the one between Rawne and Gaunt. I recall from Dordon’s short story in Ghostmaker that he and Mkoll are meant to be friends, but I haven’t seen any more into that since. I like those kinds of subtle relationships. I’m also wondering what happened to Sergeant Bray? He’s had a few important moments in the first few books, like Necropolis, and in The Guns of Tanith I think I’m right in saying that he’s described as being in charge of one of the top five crack squads in the whole regiment and I can’t remember him dying (this is all rather revealing of my knowledge of your books!). I suppose you’ve got so many characters that there is only so much you can fit into a book.

At Maidstone I forgot to mention that His Last Command is my favourite GG book. I loved the way the characters had developed and I was really looking forward to seeing how you’d get Gaunt and Wilder to meet. I liked Wilder, it’s a shame he couldn’t be around for long. I also forgot to ask why you decided to kill off so many Ghosts? There are probably only 1500 left!

You’ve mentioned before who you think your characters resemble. In Ravenor I’ve always imagined Gisele Bundchen as Patience and Lara Croft as Kara Swole, I think it’s because your female protagonists are always rather striking.

Anyway, cheers for all your books


Dukeleto said...

I always mentally cast Maura Tierney as Kara Swole, although I suppose she might need a stunt double (as well as a wonderbra)

I hadn't heard of this Gisele Bündchen, she certainly looks the part, but maybe someone who's badass as well as gorgeous, like Rebecca Romijn or Tricia Helfer?

Xhalax said...

*runs around waving her arms in the air and screaming with delight*

Also.....staple a baby to your hat everyone morning....I'm still LOLing at that one.

Rob Rath said...

Oh dear, casting calls have started, here we go again.

This seems like a good time to mention that the last time a live action 40k movie got made, it looked like this:

Make sure to watch Part 4, that has the previews for "Hive Infestation," a Space Hulk spin off, and "Blood for the Blood God," which has to be seen to be believed.

I particularly dig the Khorne Marine at the end, who walks into frame carrying his ax in a totally chill manner, looks around like he's admiring the wallpaper then says, "Blood for the Blood God," in the flat tone usually reserved for ordering coffee after a late night at the bar. No babies stapled to his hat either.

The Tyranids are a trip too. If you had asked me an hour ago how I'd react to seeing live action genestealers for the first time, I doubt I would have guessed uncontrollable gigglefit.I give them an A for effort though, since it was audacious to even try to produce a film, and the sheer camp value makes me really glad it got made. Especially when the Dark Angels squad splits up like the crew from Scooby Doo.

Unknown said...

Just saw the last video. Gutted my question didnt make it. Perhaps next time?

Either way, the videos were fantastic i got a real insight into how your mind works.

Dukeleto said...

I agree about the Eldar being difficult protagonists, but I think if anyone can do it, it's Dan!

Beltayn said...

"while I finish up the slaughterhouse that is Blood Pact."

This scares the daylights out of me. Honestly I'm terrified of reading Blood Pact.

With Only in Death, I made my wife read it first and then got her to tell me if any of the major characters died, before I even started. It's the only way I could start reading it.

I have this checklist when we get a new Gaunt book and she's finished reading it.

I'll start with: "Ok, so Larkin survives?" Then I'll move on down the list, feeling better as I get more affirmatives.

My list starts out with Larkin. I'm really scared of him dying. Beltayn is next for some reason. Beltayn just makes everything ok. Mkoll and Bonin after that, although I'm not too worried about Bonin, he's too lucky to die.

I almost want Dorden to die because I feel sorry for the guy. He's lost everything and all he has left is to sit by and get older as the last of his kinsmen die. He's probably one of the most tragic characters and I get a lump in my throat nearly every time he's in a scene.

Seriously, if they weren't so damned riveting, I'd have stopped reading them long ago and just bought them to put on the shelf.