HH17 – Black Library Weekender II

HH17 – Black Library Weekender II

BL-Weekender-II-logo

This weekend I attended the second annual Black Library Weekender event.  After the tremendous enjoyment I had at the first weekender, I was really looking forward to this weekend and whilst it didn’t match the novel excitement of last year, I still had a great time.

 

Like last year, the Weekender was held in the Nottingham Belfry hotel, and once again Black Library had the run of the place.  The hotel foyer was dominated by the huge sales stand. I might be misremembering last year, but the range and quantity of books seemed even larger than before, far more than I could ever consider getting through.  As well as the new releases, there were plenty of Horus Heresy titles, including all the hardback collectors editions and the general release of some of the previous limited edition novellas, including Aurelian and Brotherhood of the Storm.

 

This being a Black Library event, there were several major new releases.  As well as the customary event anthology, we were treated to the only official opportunity to buy the limited edition graphic novel, Macragge’s Honour.  The icing on the cake, at least for me, was the release of the limited edition, Visions of Heresy, a wonderful book containing a brief history of the entire heresy as well as collection of classic and new artwork. Unlike the Horus Heresy Weekender earlier this year, there was a copy of each of the limited edition releases for all attendees, so everyone had the opportunity to buy whatever they wanted.  Needless to say, I immediately purchased all three, and as it was also my first opportunity to get hold of the Forgeworld Massacre book, it’s fair to say it certainly wasn’t the cheapest of weekends!

 

The event was superbly run this year.  There seemed to be plenty of Black Library staff on hand to help with any enquiry, and they were unbelievably friendly and helpful all weekend. Special kudos has to go to Claudia, the event manager – I’m not sure the last time I met someone so endlessly cheerful!  I guess in part the success of the previous Weekender contributed towards it, but the atmosphere was so relaxed that it contributed to a great event.

 

The most significantly noticeable change this year was the focus on giving the public access to the authors, artists and editors at the event.  From the structure of a number of the seminars, with huge amounts of time allocated to audience questions, through to the Kaffeeklatsch early morning session where we got to sit in a small group with a couple of authors and just have a general chat, the ‘face’ time opportunities were superb.  If you wanted to ask something specific, you had the chance, and the authors I got to spend time with could not have been more obliging (despite in some cases possessing a fairly severe hangover!!).

 

Whilst we certainly had more access to the authors, I was disappointed with the paucity of information about new releases at the event.  Thinking back to last year, we were treated to an entire seminar listing the forthcoming releases, and each seminar seemed to include details of the new works related to the seminar.  This year it simply didn’t happen.  I realise last year, being the first ever weekender, was a one off due the amount of information available, but I still expected more than we received this year.

 

Another issue was that there were fewer seminars that interested me this year.  Of course, with a relatively narrow range of interest, this is mainly down to personal preference.  It did mean I had a lot more downtime this year, which I mostly used to catch author signings – so not all bad!  From a Horus Heresy perspective there was one unfortunate clash when the Audio and Art seminars went head to head.  Big kudos to Adam Hall for arranging the BL TV team to record the audio seminar – I hope it will be released as download on the BL TV Youtube channel soon (although this isn’t confirmed).

 

Getting to see so much of the authors this year, their passion really shone through as a collective group. However once again, I was blown away by just how much Dan Abnett gets the Horus Heresy.  He has been instrumental in the development of the series, and it is evident that the other authors look up to him as a kind of figurehead.  In some kind of cheesy analogy, if the Horus Heresy authors are the Primarchs of Black Library, then Dan is definitely a pre-heresy Horus, Warmaster and first amongst equals.

 

All in all, it was another great event from Black Library. Perhaps not the wow factor of the first Weekender, but it was an even better opportunity to meet and chat with the authors. I’ll definitely be back next year.

 

Feedback

 

If you have any comments about this blog, or anything at all Horus Heresy related, please either comment here or drop me a message on twitter @Marcoos14.

 

All the best,

Marcus

What’s 6 Months Amongst Friends?

Six Months of Updates!!!

So… it’s been the mere matter of 6 months since my last update. I could offer up all manner of excuses for this, but to be honest the simple answer is that it’s not good enough! So my friends, I am back… I can’t guarantee when my next post will appear, but I can honestly tell you I do have the intention to write more frequently!

To ease back into the blog, I thought it worth recapping what’s happened since my last update. In January, I reviewed Betrayer by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, the 24th novel in the Horus Heresy series. Since then, we’ve apparently not had much new content – just one full title, the Mark of Calth anthology. But of course, this doesn’t paint the full picture – there are reasons we haven’t seen as much of the traditional storyline content, and there have been a lot of other formats released. So let’s talk about this in more detail.

A Change of Format

With the release of Angel Exterminatus in October 2012, Black Library moved to a different publishing schedule for each of the novels.

  • Each novel is now available initially as a hardback ‘Collector’s Edition’ format exclusively from GW stores or the Black Library website.
  • Three months after the release of the hardback format, the standard ‘Trade’ format will be released – this is a standard publishing industry paperback size.
  • Six months after the trade paperback, the ‘Legacy’ paperback edition will be released.

For anyone who wants to collect the original, or legacy, format books, this has meant a significant wait. In fact, it’s only recently that Angel Exterminatus has come out in this format, and it will still be a little time before Betrayer is available. Whilst this isn’t great, the consolation is that it’s a one off pushback of the release schedule, and from now on there will be a regular release of new titles. For those who want to keep up with latest stories as soon as they are released, but are concerned to have matching versions of the earlier books with the newer releases, the older books are being gradually re-released in the Collector’s Edition format.

I don’t fully understand the change of formats – I believe it’s something to do with matching the Black Library formats with the industry standards so that it’s easier to sell to book retailers. I am however a fan of the hardback format, even if the price of £20 per book is a little off-putting, mainly because the books look superb on my book shelf. I’m not going to mention the condition of some of my earlier paperbacks, other than to say they don’t always stand up well to bath time reading!

For anyone who prefers reading in different formats, Black Library continues to offer eBook and Unabridged Audio versions of the new Horus Heresy novels and all of the rereleased Collector’s Editions. For the new, forthcoming novels, these should be available alongside the release of the hardback – so even if you don’t want to move over to the hardback format there is no need to wait 9 months to catch up on the latest novels. This is part of a wider Black Library plan to provide all of the Horus Heresy written material in all three formats. As it was explained to the audience at the Horus Heresy Weekender;

‘Everything, in every format, eventually’ – Laurie Goulding, Black Library editor

Betrayer, in every format, now!

Betrayer bundle

So, only one book? Really?

My earlier pronouncement of only one book being released in the last 6 months was a bit of a red herring. Whilst it’s true that the only novel within the full series to be released is Mark of Calth, the release of the next full novel, Vulkan Lives is due in the very near future. I’m in a fortunate position, living close enough to Warhammer World to travel over there, and have managed to get my hands on a signed copy of Vulkan Lives already. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, dear readers, but I will say that I really enjoyed the novel. I’m also happy to report, that after a little personal scepticism over the book’s title, upon reading the novel I don’t think there could be a more fitting title.

There have also been a couple of limited edition releases; The Imperial Truth, which is an event exclusive anthology featuring some excellent short stories from the great and good of the Horus Heresy authors, and Corax: Soulforge which is the first in a trilogy of limited edition Raven Guard novellas by Gav Thorpe.

 The Imperial Truth cover art

The Imperial Truth

We’ve also had several new audio dramas; The Sigillite by Chris Wraight, Honour to the Dead by Gav Thorpe, and Wolf Hunt by Graham McNeill. I really like the audio drama format – these are stories that are specifically written for audio, and are acted by a cast rather than narrated by a single narrator. The sound effects in the dramas add an extra dimension, and I would suggest anyone interested in Titan legions should give Honour to the Dead a try.

Finally, there have also been several e-shorts released. Most of these have been featured in another format previously (or subsequent to their e-short release), but in some instances in might be more cost effective or convenient to just buy the e-short to complete your collection. These are;

  • The Gates of Terra – originally released in French in the 2012 Games Day France chapbook
  • Angron – an anthology of short stories containing After Desh’ea (from the Tales of Heresy anthology), Lord of the Red Sands (subsequently included in The Imperial Truth anthology) and Butcher’s Nails (a prose version of the previously released audio drama)
  • Dark Heart – subsequently released in the Mark of Calth anthology

Only this week, we have also had released (at the time of writing) three short stories that featured in previous event exclusive anthologies; Death of a Silver Smith (originally released in the Games Day 2011 anthology, and subsequently included in the Shadows of Treachery anthology), Distant Echoes of Old Night (originally released in the Games Day 2012 anthology) and Lost Sons (originally released in the Black Library Weekender 2012 anthology). I have no certainty on this, but I also expect to see the release of The Divine Word (also from the Black Library Weekender 2012 anthology).

 

Lost Sons cover artLost Sons

Personally I am disappointed with the release of these short stories in electronic format. Not because they are now available to the wider audience, but because had I realised the 2012 short stories would be out so soon, I would have preferred to wait to get them individually (I have little interest in the stories set in the 40K or Warhammer universes). It would certainly make me think twice before buying another event anthology… although I suppose that depends on how big they make the Horus Heresy logo!!

Feedback

Well that’s a relief – a blog post written and completed. If you have any comments about anything I’ve written, please drop me a message on here or on twitter @Marcoos14

All the best,
Marcus

Reflections on the Black Library Weekender 2012

Reflections on the Black Library Weekender 2012

It’s been two days since the end of the Black Library Weekender 2012, and I am still buzzing from the whole event. I want to take this opportunity to share my experiences over the weekend, and cover some of the highlights.

Going into the event – my first ever book conference – I was really unsure what to expect. To be honest, I was very nervous that it would be a waste of time, and that meeting the authors would not live up to my expectations. I needn’t have worried however. The event was superb, and the authors and event staff could not have been more welcoming.

The Weekender was held in the Nottingham Belfry hotel, and effectively Black Library had commandeered the whole of the ground floor for the two days. The hotel foyer contained a sales stand selling all the new releases, and a huge range of the Black Library back catalogue. I couldn’t confirm the extent of the 40K and WFB range, but certainly every single Horus Heresy novel was on sale. I don’t know if we’ll ever find out how much was taken over the 2 days, but I suspect it paid a few bills!

There were four separate function rooms, set up to host the various events planned for the weekend. This ranged from author signings, to specific author Q&As, focused seminars and various product reviews. As well as this, the rest of the ground floor was bedecked in artwork from the Black Library, which had the effect of giving the whole event a real ambience. Of all the artwork on display in the hotel, this painting (yes, it really is a painting, not a photo) really stood out.

Elf

When planning which sessions to attend, Black Library handily provided an event schedule up front. As a rule, I will read anything that’s put in front of me, but there are only a few authors or series that I go out of my way to follow. In Black Library terms, this means I purposefully find and read everything Horus Heresy related, but only pay limited attention to the other 40K and WFB novels. For the Weekender, this made my choice of seminars relatively straight forward: anything titled ‘Horus Heresy’ was immediately circled! Effectively, this picked 6 out of the 10 available one hour sessions for me in advance

So, the first session I attended was the Horus Heresy Audio. I have already covered the planned releases on Saturday night’s blog so I won’t go into more detail here. However, aside from the new releases, Black Library has confirmed that starting with Angel Exterminatus (released last month), every single Horus Heresy novel will be accompanied with full unabridged audio books. In addition, they will be going back through the previously released issues and doing full unabridged audio books for them too. This will start at book IV, The Flight of the Eisenstein, because books I – III already have abridged audio versions. Don’t despair if it’s books I – III that you are after though, as once the full series has been caught up, these three will also be getting a full unabridged version. Great news for anyone who doesn’t have time to sit down and read! There were a few other audio teasers which I will be covering in a future blog.

The second Horus Heresy session I attended was the Art of the Horus Heresy. This session consisted of Neil Roberts, the artist responsible for all of the Horus Heresy cover art, talking through the covers to his work. This was a brilliant session, and gave us a number of previews into forthcoming novel covers… and therefore the forthcoming titles! The artwork to Unremembered Empire was particularly special, and I will be talking about this novel in the future (probably at some length!). He also showed this reworked masterpiece:

Visions of Heresy

I also attended two Horus Heresy author sessions, the first with Graham McNeill, John French, Chris Wraight, Gav Thorpe and Christian Dunn, and the second with Dan Abnett, Jim Swallow, Aaron Dembski-Bowden and Laurie Goulding. These were great sessions where the audience was able to ask about any of the authors’ Horus Heresy back catalogues or about their upcoming work. The authors were brilliantly frank about their work, and gave a number of teasers on forthcoming projects, most of which I have already detailed.

One of the best pieces of information, was that the authors really do take fan feedback into account. There was a lot of discussion around progressing the story. It’s not something that has ever worried more – for me the 30K galaxy is such a big place that there cannot be one continuous story line – but the official view now is that the stories will demonstrate progress towards the ultimate ending of the Horus Heresy in the Siege of Terra.

The other heresy related session I attended was the Upcoming Horus Heresy, which really did give a huge amount of information, certainly more than I expected, and which filled the majority of Saturday’s blog post. However, whether by mistaken tiredness or machiavellian design, I did keep a couple of teasers back.

Firstly, before Christmas, we can expect to see a Horus Heresy Scriptbook. This will be the written down scripts of the earliest Horus Heresy audio books, in their final pre-recorded version. This means we will get a version that differs slightly from the audio book in two ways; (1) the recorded version might contain some on the spot editorial changes, and (2) the scripts often produced audio tracks that were too long once recorded, so the scriptbook will include additional passages. This is to be released in a similar format to the new hardback novels, and personally I can’t wait to get it.

The other release is something that I’m sure will go down very well. It is a rerelease of the Collected Visions artbook, titled Visions of Heresy, which will contain updated text from Alan Merrett (effectively the font of knowledge for the Horus Heresy) as well as a lot of the new Neil Roberts artwork. You can see the cover for this above – the picture of the Emperor and Horus duelling aboard Horus’ ship.

To round out the weekend, I went to the Dan Abnett signing and took in a couple of author Q&A sessions. Graham McNeill was excellent generally, but especially so on the heresy, and Andy Smillie was fascinatingly frank on what interests him and motivates his writing. I’m still confused about Dan’s signing of my two copies of Horus Rising!

Two Horus Risings!

So to conclude this blog, I’ll leave you with my 5 highlights of the weekend:

  • 5. Upcoming Horus Heresy – finding out about all the great stuff that’s coming in the future. There isn’t a single thing I’m not looking forward to.
  • 4. Laurie Goulding – not only an editor and author for Black Library, Laurie is the shrine of knowledge for all things Horus Heresy related. I had the chance to speak with him about a couple of things I will definitely be blogging about at some point.
  • 3. Seeing the authors interacting – watching how these guys all interacted and clearly wanted to work together to make the Horus Heresy series as successful as it could be was inspiring.
  • 2. The Art of the Horus Heresy – some of the older art work is stunning, and some of the newer artwork makes the older images look dated! In particular, Unremembered Empire is a great piece, really showing a story as well as capturing the differing feelings of the various participants perfectly.
  • 1. Dan Abnett – before this weekend, I kind of got it. Dan is a great author, and he is rightly held in high regard by his fans. But I hadn’t understood just how much he gets the Horus Heresy. Every time I saw him participate in a session, he owned it. Whilst this guy is involved, the Horus Heresy is only going to get better. I can only say how pleased I am that he is writing Unremembered Empire, which I think will be the most pivotal book in the series since Horus Rising.

So it goes without saying really, but here goes anyway. I would highly recommend either the Black Library Weekender 2013, or if you can’t make that, the Black Library Live event instead. The Live event is a one dayer that takes place at Warhammer World, and I believe is planned for early March next year. The Weekender will no doubt be another 2 day on campus event, and believe me tickets will go quickly – so if you do want to get one, watch this space (or even better, bookmark www.blacklibrary.co.uk).

Lastly, as Ben blogged on Sunday night, I’m delighted to say we have a special copy of the abridged audiobook of Horus Rising to give away. This has been signed by the author, Dan Abnett, himself and is a great story to listen to. To be entered into a random prize draw to win this all you have to do is this:

1. Follow @Marcoos14 on twitter
2. Go to the the Snake Eyes section of the forums and find Black Library Weekender contest thread.
3. Post your twitter name into that thread and send me a tweet containing the secret word

The prize itself:

Black Library Weekender

The lucky winner will be drawn live on the Bad Dice podcast in December. Good luck!

Feedback

If you have any comments about anything I’ve written, please drop me a message on here or on twitter @Marcoos14

All the best,
Marcus

Black Library Weekender 2012 – day 1 update

Black Library Weekender

Black Library Weekender 2012 – day 1 update

Apologies in advance for the brevity of this blog post. It’s 10pm and I have just got back in from a most enjoyable day out at the first day of the Black Library Weekender 2012. I spent the majority of today attending any session that put ‘Horus Heresy’ into it’s title, and I’m really excited to be able to share some news about upcoming releases over the next 12 months. Please remember, there was a lot of information that I have desperately tried to write down – this is my most accurate recollection of the information, but please don’t shoot me if I get some details wrong.

If you want to check out this information for yourself, podcasting superstar Ben Curry has captured a a number of the sessions, and these have already been posted onto the Snake Eyes section of the Bad Dice forums. To find them go to baddice.co.uk/snakeeyes where you can subscribe to the members section.

Horus Heresy Audio

Lots to report here. It seems as though Black Library will be releasing at least one audio drama per month in 2013, with 4 of these planned for the Horus Heresy. However, I have got details of more than 4, so these may run into 2014.

Honour to the Dead by Gav Thorpe – this is the audio version of the short story released in German for the German Games Day chapbook. It will be released to coincide with the Mark of Calth anthology, a collection of short stories following on from Know No Fear. This contains three threads; one covering a human (as opposed to Astartes) interest story; the second focusing on Ultramarines trying to get to a rally point after the Word Bearers ambush; and the third detailing a titan battle (yes, you read that right, a TITAN BATTLE!!).

Vengeance by John French – this will focus on First Captain Sigismund of the Imperial Fists, as he has to deal with a group of Word Bearers stranded in the Sol system (the system that Terra is in). Apparently, this will be the first time Sigismund has to fight and kill other Astartes – *spoiler alert* something that he becomes rather good at!

Thief of Revelation by Graham McNeill – this will follow on from the novel A Thousand Sons and covers the choices that Magnus, Primarch of the Thousand Sons, faces and what drives his decision to join Horus’ rebellion.

Wolf Hunt by Graham McNeill – this follows on from the novel The Outcast Dead, and covers the hunt for the surviving Luna Wolf, Sevarion (I think) by the assassin, Nagasena (again I think).

The Sigillite by Chris Wraight – not many details about this, but it will form part of the story arc known as The Secret War (more of this in a later blog).

Censure by Nick Kyme – this is about Aeonid Thiel, the censured Ultramarine from Know No Fear.

Limited Edition Novellas

Again, lots to report here. It looks as though there are 4 limited edition novellas planned for 2013. The really good news is that these will be available on limited time release like the previous novella, Brotherhood of the Storm.

Scorched Earth by Nick Kyme – set on Istvaan V after the dropsite massacre, and after the traitor fleets have moved onto other campaigns, this focuses on a group of loyalist survivors and specifically a pair of Salamander marines searching for their Primarch Vulkan, who is missing and assumed dead following the massacre.

Tallarn by John French – this covers the massive tank battle mentioned in Bill King’s short story (covered in one of my earlier blog posts) on the planet Tallarn. Apparently, and the author was very explicit in this, the battle involves 10,000,000 tanks. Yes, ten million!

Corax by Gav Thorpe – a follow on to Deliverance Lost, this will feature the Raven Guard assaulting an Adeptus Mechanicus forge world under traitor control.

Cybernetica by Rob Sanders – a story about loyalist resistance to the Dark Mechanicum forces controlling Mars.

Novels

Even more goodies here! The Black Library intend a schedule of 4 full novels per year, and again I have more than 4, so it’s possible some of these may fall into 2014.

Betrayer by Aaron Dembski-Bowden – another follow up, this time to the audio drama Butcher’s Nails. This novel features both the World Eaters and Word Bearers assaulting the Ultramarines on their homeworld of Macragge. It will heavily feature Kharn, hence the title, but also expect lots of Angron and Lorgar (Primarchs of the World Eaters and Word Bearers respectively).

The Mark of Calth anthology by various authors – this follows up on Know No Fear with a number of short stories set both during and after the battle for Calth. Includes;
– Calth that Was by Graham McNeill
– Athame by John French
– The Shards of Erebus by Guy Haley
– The Underworld War by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
– Unmarked by Dan Abnett

Shattered Legions anthology by various authors – this focuses on the three legions shattered during the dropsite massacre – the Salamanders, Iron Hands and Raven Guard – and their response and actions after the incident on Istvaan V.

The Silent War anthology by various authors – this covers the war in the shadows, and may involve the Sigillite, assassins, and the psychological warfare aspect. No real details, but I expect to see the Alpha Legion feature heavily for the traitors.

Vulkan Lives by Nick Kyme – this will follow on from the aforementioned novella, Scorched Earth, and (if the title is to be believed) covers the finding and subsequent actions of Vulkan, Primarch of the Salamanders legion.

Unremembered Empire by Dan Abnett – of all the forthcoming titles, I believe this will be the most significant and it’s definitely the one I am most looking forward to. This follows on from a number of stories, specifically Know No Fear, Butcher’s Nails and the Mark of Calth anthology, but also ties together a number of loose ends that have been deliberately plotted in various books, such as Fear to Tread. This will mark the start of the Imperium Secundus story arc (again something I intend to cover in a future blog). I don’t want to give too much away, but the artwork for this novel is stunning in it’s depiction, and brilliantly shows a number of different emotions from the various loyalist participants.

Feedback

Well, that concludes the news from today. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, especially the big ‘Secret Horus Heresy Announcement’ which you can be sure I’ll be posting up here as soon as I can. If you have any feedback for me, or have any questions you’d like me to ask, the very best place to get is on twitter @Marcoos14

That’s all for now!

Cheers,
Marcus