Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Caution: Unexpected honking"

So I’m sitting here, writing this, watching the finals of the Over 35 Bronze Man-Lady. I assume that’s hyphenated. It could be, at a pinch, a slash. And before you go all taste and decency on me, it’s a ballroom dancing competition, and Man-Lady is a category that simply denotes a man dancing with a lady. Unnecessary clarity, I feel, unless there are categories I don’t know about like Man-Rotary Washing Line or Gnu-Lady.

Daughter B is taking part - she just won her third trophy. I’m sitting on the folding chairs with one eye on the dancefloor and my lap top in my lap. Outside in the park, thanks to the weekend storms, it looks like someone went bug-funt with an industrial leaf-blower.

I mention all of this simply for colour. It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon. Thanks for all the messages of encouragement and support, I’ve really appreciated them. I did indeed break the MRI machine - this was just after they had scanned me to establish I have no cats in me. It’s probably their fault for not including the question “Are you an omega-level telekine scheduled for termination by the Ordo Hereticus?” on the pre-MRI checklist (between, presumably, “Have you got any metal plates, pins or stents?” and “Are you wearing tattooed eye-liner?”).

Anyway, it broke, and I had to come back later. In fact, when I say broke, it actually had the MRI equivalent of a paper jam, which, if you’ve ever had an MRI, you’ll be able to picture. Curious thing: they warn you about the odd loud noises, the banging, the necessity to stay still, and the potential claustrophobia (you’re inside a metal tube - now I know what an individually-vended King Edward cigar feels like), but they don’t warn that about halfway through, the MRI machine will stop banging like a pneumatic drill and starting making a noise like... Well, you know those horns that kids have on their bikes? A squeezy rubber bulb attached to a chrome horn? The sort of thing a seal would use in a circus? A honking thing? A sound most commonly experienced in Looney Tunes cartoons and Benny Hill sketches?

A noise like that. Behind my head. Over and over and over again.

Odd. Anyway, I didn’t break it this time, and the doctors and technicians were all smiley, and in a week or so, I’ll get the final results - “I’m sorry, Mr Abnett, but we’ve scanned your head and we can’t find any trace of a brain at all.” Equally odd is the fact that I choose this week to watch the final few episodes of the fourth season of Bones. I don’t want to spoil things for anyone who hasn't seen it, but odd, that’s what I’m saying. Odd.

Still, I’m getting a lot of reading done. More news as it happens. We’re off home, where there’s a dumpling with my name on it (note to self: stop labeling things).


Graham McNeill said...

Because I've never managed to. Zing! And yes, that was an odd episode. Though not as jarring as the ending that saw Zack (SPOILER)...well, you know it if you've seen it...

the-seventh-son said...

i'm glad to here you have no cats in you, and more fool them for not asking the obvious ordo hereticus questions...

Unknown said...

Good to hear your okay.

Did you see Dr.Who?! Dan. It was fantastic, get yourself a job writing for them? PLEASE?!

Anonymous said...

Glad everything was okay!

Take care!

frieslander said...

I no I shouldn't of, but I couldn't help but laugh at that blog (only at one or two statments, not the whole thing),
I hope your brain has done well in it's tests and gets some decent results, lest just hope the examiners don't move the goal posts. (lol)
Now that I have more than 140 characters, I ame over half way through Blood Pact, and after a bloody briliamt opening chapter it has continued to go well. The Blood Pact centered chapters make great short stories in them selve (see sentece on oppening chapter).
Can't wait to see what happens to Rawne and the other (now former) prisoners. Or how those other characters up to their collective necks fare.
One question though, the Inquisitors henchmen. All named Sirkle. Is the name surposed to have a hidden meaning.
If the is such a meaning for Rime, then I might already get that one.

Xhalax said...

My friend has one of those horns in her bike and I'm exceptionally jealous of it as it always makes me laugh to hear it.

I love being such a child, despite the fact I'm not.

Unknown said...

I'm glad you managed to restrain your considerable psychic powers this time to allow the doctors to get their work done. I hope they don't find anything, though.

I have a question, though: In the forward to one of the omnibuses, you mentioned that fans regularly ask you to kill them off in Gaunt's at signings, and that you put their names on a list for this purpose. Do you only do this at signings, or do you take petitions over the internet as well?

Rob Rath said...

Glad to hear everything seems to be alright. I'm enjoying Triumff very much, and though I try not to pass judgment on a book until I'm finished, it's shaping up to be my favorite of your novels. I hope there are more on your docket.

What floors me about this post is: the British are familiar with Garrison Keillor? That rules. I've stated before that A Prairie Home Companion would be one of the best examples of American culture to export overseas. (As opposed to, say, Baywatch.) I had no idea it was known internationally.

Phillip said...

Glad to hear you've had the MRI without breaking it this time :) I hope the results signal the all clear! On a very different topic I have now finished reading Triumff and in a few words, I loved it! Fantastic overall though a little slow to get started. I sincerely hope you don't leave it at that, I eagerly await the your own good time of course Milord. You are my favourite author bar none.

the-seventh-son said...

Whoa Freislander what with the spoilers man, especially seen as Blood Pact has only just come out...

Asen Tsvetkov said...

Then probably you should go on to the next season of Bones ASAP. It was an odd ending of season 4 and you will see the follow up in season 5 :-)

suneokun said...

Dan, glad to hear that a felinious infestation is abated...

I too am British and know well the Kellior... why is this so incredible?

I believe the 'in Lake Wobegon' is such a phrase in (some) British minds is thanks to the spectacular readings he did that were all bradcast on Radio4 on the BBC.

His dry laconic style was delicious.

Dan, met you once at Warhammer World about 10 years back. My twin brother and I were on a UK friend-visiting tour post University and dropped into WW as a laugh (we hadn't touched 40k for years) ... and you were the only other adult there...

You looked slightly put out when we said we hadn't read your stuff... have since, a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it too.

Apologies for the historical blank and momentarily embaressing moment.

Rob Rath said...

I didn't rule out the idea that Brits would know Keillor, I just never ruled it in. It's fair to say I've never given the matter much thought before now. I think the shock comes from the fact that I don't generally consider Minnesota Public Radio as an international distributor.

I'm glad you get him though! Maybe National Public Radio traded programs for the wonderful BBC world service and "World Have Your Say" programs we get.

frieslander said...

Sorry the-seventh-son, I bought the book soon after it came out and am a fast reader, also I forgot I'm not on twitter now and any one can read what I writing. I'll try to be more careful in future.
Incidental to my fast reading, I have one and a half chapters and an epilogue left to read. :)

Kromvolt said...

Dan, Bloodpact was outstanding!

Thank you for providing such a good read!

Wish you all the best with the scan results!

Looking forward to your vision on the sons of Russ! (and Russ himself ofcourse!)

Shane said...

Mr. Abnett,

Here's hoping that all of the tests come back alright. Best of luck to your daughter on the dancing, too! My own is just starting to dance (in the "wiggling when she hears music" phase), so my ever-present interest in dance is growing.

For the record, I too was surprised by the Keillor reference, though I now realize that perhaps I shouldn't have been. For another good read (albeit a much simpler one), try Mr. Keillor's 'Daddy's Girl.' It's a tear-jerker, but if you have daughters and enjoy his stuff it's a must!

CMDante said...

No cats is good....but did they check for dogs?

Glad to hear your doing better and well done to your daughter on her trophy.

Boom said...

Dan, finished Blood Pact in one sitting and let me say well done! I enjoyed it immensely...only I have to wait a bloody long time for the next installment to come out haha.

And if I had to say there was a particular high point for me it would definitely be the conversation between Criid and Gaunt concerning what would have been. It fits so well and makes "The Boy"(or whatever prequel title you were thinking) sequence all the more exciting!

Hope the Black Ships don't come looking for you lol

Christopher Meyer said...

Ah, randomness from ours truely after a month or so hietous (is that even spelled right?). Look forward to more great fiction from The more Malus Darkblade fiction *cough cough* *wink wink*

kev713 said...

Dan, first time poster long time reader, of blog and books.

Slightly off topic on your current post but I've just seen your "interview" on you tube via the black library facebook post. I can only say that thought of you writing the script for the first 40k film has blown me away, I'm so excited, maybe just a little too much for a 35year old plod should be. Much to the disgust of the other half.
Just one question if your able to answer, why were the Ultramarines chosen and not one of the other chapters? Is it just down to the fact they are more "recognisable" in the 40k world?

cor said...

am i the only one whose only just heard of this 40k movie? i must admit to been out of the loop slightly having given up the gaming side of the hobby a few years ago but still im sure id have heard mention of this before now

Anonymous said...

Guys could someone tell me anout the screenplay for Ultramarines the movie - its about chaos? I really hope thats not about stupid borring orcs!

And the blood pact is real good, but with very premature ending! Could somebody explain me - what it all means? What they learn from prisoner, what mission? I hope Dan Abnett explain that in the next book, because he has a bad habit to forget what he writing sometimes! As example - read Inferno magazine #8 - The Hollows of Hell - its about battling on Caligula in Ghostmaker! And the question - where is mister Tagore!!!!!! So i want that Dan Abnett sometimes remember about what he is writing!

Anonymous said...

I writing that in hope (maybe false) that Dan Abnett really would read this!
1) So mister Abnett - are you really forget about Tagore in Hollows of Hell and what he sad to Gaunt! Thats one of many things (i have them all) that you forget sometimes!
(Its inferno #8)
2) And i pray that in your next book - where will be orbital battle with ghost in it. Everyone of your books, except @Sabbat martyr@ begins with the landing operation, but what about the chaos fleet defense forces over that planets. You always skeep that part!
3) The Ghost serie is really fantastic, but i have to pray for you - make the real Chaos Marines - - write a battle between guard and Chaos Marines as it should be - 7 marines against 100 guard. Guard wins with heavy weapons team but lost 50 men for 7 marines - that as it should be and not 9 guards kills all chaos space marines without loses, you know what i means! Luck sometimes (especially in the end and very soon) runs out!

big said...

Great news on a film FANTASTIC NEWS
that you have written the screen play Three Cheers for Dan everybody!

Now for the Bad news.........And i do feel like someone has just pissed in me Cornflakes...

Hoplites this Far up?
And now for a few apologys
i realise this may have a few people up in arms and i understand this ....
But arent Ultramarines boring? only in comparrison to other Chapters of Course they still kick ass... im even building a desendant chapter .....but Ultramarines? of all the bloody Chapters you could have chosen! I suppose their ok for Traffic wardens and Health and Safety Officers, and quoting a friend.."Daily Mail Readers!"
Mind you saying that there will be an age certificate given and it will have to be a "U" i suppose "The Smurfs",
"Care Bears" and "My Little Pony" are quite simmilar and i suppose it goes with all the other merchandising....Oh well lets hope Story is a Battle against the Nids so they can show some of the Characters hatred !

Signed at truly Devastated

Anonymous said...

Big - Watch this space. I hope we can un-devastate you in due course. Has Dan ever let you down before?


frieslander said...

I am also hear to talk about the 40K Movie, (I hope you blog more about this as time goes by), other than saying what a good idea, and it's about time seeing as how Special Effects have now caught up. I would also like to respond to big.
Ultramarines were for a long time considered the most bland of the bland, how ever, then came along Graham McNiell and his Ultramarines series in which he made them a bloody sight more interesting. Yes there are allot of "Vanilla" chapters out there (mostly in short stories) who are just Codex adhering automatons. With Uriel Ventris and other characters of said McNiell series, there are made allot more interesting through their drives, ambitions and flaws. Which are flesh out over a novel, and beyond. Which is how the Ultramarines in fiction differ from the Ultramarines in the game. You can get more characterization across in a novel, than in a Codex. In the game they will always be more boring than your own chapter or any of the non Codex chapters GW produce. Thank god that the novelist we all follow hear comes from out side the company and has great reserves of originality to inspire him in his works. Too many of the authors from BL's early days didn't do much thinking out side the box and, whilst they were good at the time, are a bit hum drum now.
I didn't mean to rant (or to start flattering Dan, really, I'm not after something), just to say, that Space Marines are a main stay of the 40K universe, all the starter sets ever have had them, and the Ultramarines have a wealth of history and characters to draw upon. Plus, you also need to take the non fans into account (something most computer game based films don't do) so on or the oldest chapters makes sence for any point in a film where some background needs explaining.
I have no doubt the Ultramarines chapter will work out. The only other thing that may of worked in a first ever film would of been Guard and Inquisition. But like I said. Space Marines, main stay.

Roderick H said...

Dan - good luck with the results, but don't worry if the do find any residual cats - so long as there's less than 2 metric kindles, your optic nerve will resist furrification. I hope it all turns out for the best, best wishes to you and your family. Reading anything good?

With regard to the Ultramarines movie, there's a video of Dan talking about the movie and reassuring us fans:

I'll also say, Big, that picking Dan as the writer for the screenplay is the best thing they could have done to alleviate your devastated ecosystems.

I mean, what is it that Dan's always done, that revolutionised the 40K universe as we know it, and as a result became the first non-ruleswriting influence on canon?

Take the source material, and re-imagine in such a way to make it FULL OF AWESOME.

I think the film should be pretty damn good. Although my worry is not that 'ultramarines are boring', but that there may be some qualia relating to the sheer depth of flavour, scale, and horrific madness of the 40K universe that may be lost in the motion picture format in order to make a workable action movie.

I'll try and be brief with those fears - Space Marines should be unempathetic, supersized, sociopathic, superhuman, fanatical, terrifying warriors from a time where everything is so cripplingly horrible that Space Marines look like the good guys. There are no historical analogues for what Astartes would actually be like - even the SS got laid and partied from time to time - and so they'd be pretty horribly alien to us, but they're still human, or were once. How to portray that in an approachable-to-the-audience way, when they're the 5-man-band main characters of your whole movie? And they need to be consistently blowing us away with how superhuman they are, as in twice as badass as John Maclean, which in this age of special effects won't be easy due to audience overexposure.
What about other humans? will they be redshirts, or will we feel it's us out there, going to our deaths a la enemy at the gates? So many challenges.

An Inquisition setting probably would have been much easier, but with Dan behind it all I'm holding out a lot of hope. To quote the best Youtube comment I've ever seen, "OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG i just nerdgasmed"

And finally, "someone went bug-funt with an industrial leaf-blower" - Huzzah!

JayStar said...

Long time reader but first post...

Finished Blood Pact = Awesome, more more more (can't wait for my next Ghosts fix)

Ultramarines movie = fabulous news. I don't understand why people are upset it is the blue boys! It's a proper movie at LAST with Dan Abnett writing the script!

Let's really hope it is a success and is only the first of many W40k movies...

Because we might then see a Gaunt's Ghost series!!!!

One question though - Why Dan Abnett and not Graham McNeil writing the script? Not complaining at all but isn't GM the Ultramarines guys?

Edward Kaye said...

Hi Dan, I hope the scan turns out fine. Take care!


Rob Rath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob Rath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob Rath said...

Guys, I wrote a short piece on what we know about the Ultramarines film and what we don't. Instead of rehashing my thoughts here I'll just post a link:

Short answer: it's looking good, but it's not getting a studio release. It's direct-to-DVD, and I suggest that that form of distribution might not be a bad idea from a business perspective. (Shameless self-promotion transmission ends.)

And obviously I can't post links to save my life. Why, oh why is there no "edit comment" function?

Big said...

Nik,Dan- Nah dont mind me i just thought when we finally got a 40k Movie , Dan would be the writer and it would be about The Tanith First And Only.....with Marines as a backdrop and/or Eisenhorn/Ravenor.
These seem to me to have a way of bringing the 40k Universe together!I suppose its like moaning about what colour we want our new Ferrari! like who cares !?! cause we got a Ferrari!
Dan 40k Movie = WIN! and of course i cant wait!

So Sorry (Big looks at the floor ,shuffling from foot to foot, like a naughty schoolboy whos just been caught making rude noises at the back of class)