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

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