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