HH17 – Black Library Weekender II
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.
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,