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Jellicoe
29-11-2007, 12:05
Well we all know that Cain as a character is ripped off from George MacDonald Fraser's excellent Flashman and for this reason I hadnt bothered to read it. However I picked up a copy of the omnibus the other day to read fully and although the sexual content of Flashy's character is toned down for a different audience Cain is the epitomy of a 40k Flashman. What I hadnt appreciated however was the pastiche of MacDonald Fraser's actual style of writing and use of Footnotes and historical archive device that have also been pinched

On top of that there is also the character of Jurgen who is also almost wholly taken from that of Private McAuslan, 'the dirtiest soldier in the British army' who is the eponymous 'hero' of macDonald Fraser's McAuslan series (also recommended)

Dont get me wrong i am actually rather enjoying Cain as a light read but I do think that Mitchell could have given a little bit more credit than he does in his forward to the Omnibus edition than he does given the extent of his borrowing which is far more than the simple basis of the lead character as cowardly/fraudulent hero

Lastie
29-11-2007, 12:23
To be fair on Mitchell - he does admit that Cain is also a fair rip-off ... I mean 'homage' to Blackadder. It's not all Flashman (although a fair amount is).

You are right in one thing though: Cain could do with getting the girl more often. :D

Gen.Steiner
29-11-2007, 12:28
Cain is Flashman with less breasts, as far as I can make out. :p

That said, I suspect the Russian Rogue, Nikolai Dante, has had some influence on him as well... but not much. ;)

Oh - Jellicoe - PM me your address, I deleted that text by accident because I am an idiot.

Xgladar
29-11-2007, 15:21
Who is Cain?(besides the first murderer,the main antagonist of red alert,the anti-hero of the soul reaver/blood omen universes,the old guy in diablo 1/2 and some british fighter in the king of fighters series)

MrP
29-11-2007, 15:25
Who is Cain?(besides the first murderer,the main antagonist of red alert,the anti-hero of the soul reaver/blood omen universes,the old guy in diablo 1/2 and some british fighter in the king of fighters series)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ciaphas_Cain

Emperor's Grace
29-11-2007, 15:41
Who is Cain?(besides the first murderer,the main antagonist of red alert,the anti-hero of the soul reaver/blood omen universes,the old guy in diablo 1/2 and some british fighter in the king of fighters series)

Don't forget "first vampire" (world of darkness) :p

Gen.Steiner
29-11-2007, 15:49
Who is Cain?(besides the first murderer,the main antagonist of red alert,the anti-hero of the soul reaver/blood omen universes,the old guy in diablo 1/2 and some british fighter in the king of fighters series)

Ciaphas Cain, Imperial Commissar, bon viveur, Inquisitorial Agent, lover extraordinaire, coward, hero, and general madman. Oh, also a teacher and an author in the end.

Stahlgeist
29-11-2007, 16:06
To be fair on Mitchell - he does admit that Cain is also a fair rip-off ... I mean 'homage' to Blackadder. It's not all Flashman (although a fair amount is).

You are right in one thing though: Cain could do with getting the girl more often. :D

I'm seeing a lot of "Blackadder" as well - especially the Jurgen = Baldrick connection. Does Flashman have a sidekick?

Gen.Steiner
29-11-2007, 16:13
I'm seeing a lot of "Blackadder" as well - especially the Jurgen = Baldrick connection. Does Flashman have a sidekick?

Hrm. Can't remember. I think he may well do, although not one as continuous as Baldrick is.

The Blackadder is there, but there's a lot less of it than there is Flashman...!

Jellicoe
29-11-2007, 16:25
There is an element of Baldrick I think but the description, hygiene, dress sense and much of the attitude towards authority etc is pure McAuslan and i would refer warseerists to 'The complete McAuslan' omnibus by MacDonald Fraser for a highly amusing read

Flashman himself doesnt have a sidekick, he is too selfish and too busy with the ladies

Mitchell does give a nod to Flashy but it is barely so given the amount of borrowing that has taken place. A fun read nonetheless

Gen.Steiner
29-11-2007, 16:28
Flashman himself doesnt have a sidekick, he is too selfish and too busy with the ladies

Does he not have that Indian Sepoy in some of the books? Or am I imagining him...

Wolflord Havoc
29-11-2007, 16:38
Oh he is so Flashman...a poor copy....a megre shadow...but a copy none the less.

And more so Flashman than Blackadder.

Though he does have a small spine as well as some courage where as Flashy (gawd bless im) had none.

IMO Flashman is the one of the greatest series of novels I have ever read but I don't mind that Cain is a rippoff and I have enjoyed reading the 40K novels.

Damien 1427
29-11-2007, 16:46
I wouldn't call Cain a ripoff. He's a homage, and I'd say a "What if...?" rather than a direct piece of theft.

I imagine the good Mr Mitchell is well aware of this, and as you say, it does more than simply take the archtype, but the whole shebang as well. As such, I doubt Mitchell intended to "steal" Flashman, but rather play homage to the books in a 40k setting. Given the way the whole thing is done, I imagine if you're a fan you'll get it a bit more than those of us who've only encountered Flashman through reputation.

It's obvious to anyone who knows about both that he is Flashman 40,000, but I wouldn't say that's a bad thing. They're some of the best fiction published by Black Library, and even then I'd say it's a close run thing with Abnett. The fact they're essentially Flashman if he was crossed with Blackadder doesn't detract from this... hell, I think it increased by enjoyment tenfold.

Though the James Bond reference in the latest volume was cringe-inducing.

Lastie
29-11-2007, 18:10
They're some of the best fiction published by Black Library, and even then I'd say it's a close run thing with Abnett.

I think the fact it never really takes itself that seriously is probably the key to its success. It's tricky to pull off a 40K story and make it seem dramatic, and too many BL books trip over this in their eagerness to feed us gripping fiction, so it makes a refreshing change for a series to say "This is silly, lets have some fun", like the game itself.

Jellicoe
29-11-2007, 18:39
Steiner wrote

Does he not have that Indian Sepoy in some of the books? Or am I imagining him...

he does have an Pathan accomplice in the first book who dies saving Flashman from some unscruplous natives. Flashman gains the undeserved nickname 'bloody Lance' as a result

Gen.Steiner
29-11-2007, 19:29
it makes a refreshing change for a series to say "This is silly, lets have some fun", like the game itself.

I quite agree. That said, Fifteen Hours and the later Ghosts' books are still damn good pulp reads.


He does have an Pathan accomplice in the first book who dies saving Flashman from some unscruplous natives.

Aha! That's the fellah! I knew I wasn't imagining him.

freelancer
29-11-2007, 21:52
Aye Cain is one of my favorate characters in 40k but he is just flash gorden 40,000 (it even says that on the back of the books)

freelancer

Eulenspiegel
30-11-2007, 07:43
(...) and i would refer warseerists to 'The complete McAuslan' omnibus by MacDonald Fraser for a highly amusing read
Sounds interesting.
Wikipedia doesnīt give too much information on that series/character, though. Could you - if itīs not too much bother - please give a very quick overview? Without too many spoilers please? ;)
Would someone who doesnīt like the Cain books at all enjoy that?

Edit:
Aaah, the english Wikipedia has better info.

ctsteel
30-11-2007, 18:23
Though the James Bond reference in the latest volume was cringe-inducing.

I've read the cain series (love them) but I can't recall this reference, can you remind me?

Damien 1427
30-11-2007, 19:18
Check out the "rogue" (Not Amberly) Inquisitors name. I haven't my copy to hand, but I recall it being a reference to Bond Villain extraordinare, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

ctsteel
30-11-2007, 19:38
[looks through book] Inquisitor Ernst Stavros Killian

Jellicoe
03-12-2007, 18:13
Well having finished the Omnibus I can say that against my initial prejudices I did actually rather enjoy that. No he isnt flashman and despite my minor whinge about not crediting MacDonald Fraser sufficiently for his borrowings Mitchell writes with a witty style and has some amusing literary allusions. I particularly liked Horatio Bugler and the Emperor/God botherer Tomas Beije

Cain still needs to get more hot lady action to rival flashy though

Brother Siccarius
03-12-2007, 18:51
There is an element of Baldrick I think but the description, hygiene, dress sense and much of the attitude towards authority etc is pure McAuslan and i would refer warseerists to 'The complete McAuslan' omnibus by MacDonald Fraser for a highly amusing read

Actually, Baldrick is described as the same, always wearing overly large clothing and having a rank odor that curdles milk while smelling worse, as well as the single minded obedience to authority no matter what insults or yells are thrown his way. Not to mention the "butler" type role to the main character.



Cain still needs to get more hot lady action to rival flashy though
For the most part that's been somewhat implied throughout by Cain's writings and the Inquisitor's notes that some of their run-ins were more than just professional.

Perhaps it'll go into more detail later. But then, he doesn't seem to be trying to write romanticized fiction of the 40k universe, it's very gritty and not all of the characters would just stand up to the enemy for a fatalistic charge.

Stahlgeist
03-12-2007, 19:30
Actually, Baldrick is described as the same, always wearing overly large clothing and having a rank odor that curdles milk while smelling worse, as well as the single minded obedience to authority no matter what insults or yells are thrown his way. Not to mention the "butler" type role to the main character.

Although to be fair, I don't recall Jurgen ever saying "I have a cunning plan, m'lord...", followed by Cain giving him a beating. :D

Gen.Steiner
03-12-2007, 20:51
Well having finished the Omnibus I can say that against my initial prejudices I did actually rather enjoy that.

Hurrah! BL sci-fi pulp thrillers with a comedic bent are good reads in the Ripping Yarn vein... :D


I particularly liked Horatio Bugler and the Emperor/God botherer Tomas Beije

I got Bugler, but Beije? Who's that meant to be?

Jellicoe
04-12-2007, 07:29
Tomas Beije - perhaps better spelt Thomas Beige of course = Tom Brown from 'Tom Brown's school days' that appalling piece of christian propaganda where Flashman made his first appearance. In the Flashman novels Tom Brown is always portrayed as a holier than thou god bothering hypocrite, pretty much like the original character

Gen.Steiner
04-12-2007, 07:57
Aha! Yes, I remember having to read that turgid tome in Prep school. I got to page four, snorted, and threw it to the back of my locker. Bugger Tom Brown, give me Ripping Yarn's version any day. "You can call me School Bulleh..."

Sikkukkut
04-12-2007, 12:58
Bugger Tom Brown

I don't remember that aspect of English public schools getting much of a guernsey in the book, but it's been a while since I read it.

Crazy Ivan
04-12-2007, 13:11
Although to be fair, I don't recall Jurgen ever saying "I have a cunning plan, m'lord...", followed by Cain giving him a beating. :D
Actually, in For the Emperor, Baldr... er... Jurgen claims he 'has a plan', to which Cain replies: 'a particularly devious one, no doubt?' Jurgen's plan in question has the same quality as Baldrick's have, being of such stupid simplicity that they just might work...

Gdolkin
04-12-2007, 13:42
I've never read Flashman, but I can't believe I've never noticed the Blackadder flavour.. Jurgen is so Baldrick. Now I think about it, Cain's friend in the earlier books, whatshisname, he calls Cain 'Cai' and gets drunk and then in a fight with Tau-supporters alongside him in 'For the Emperor'.. is he a bit like Lieutenant George with his infuriating cheer and enthusiasm and confidence in Cain's heroism? I might be clutching at straws there.. Has there been anyone like Captain Darling? I suppose Thomas Beije covers him as well as Tom Brown.. By the Emperor's Golden Throne, I love Blackadder. I wish one of the servo-skulls Killian sends after Cain was called Speckled Jim.

Gen.Steiner
04-12-2007, 13:57
I don't remember that aspect of English public schools getting much of a guernsey in the book, but it's been a while since I read it.

It doesn't. Might've made it marginally more readable if it did to be honest.

Stahlgeist
04-12-2007, 15:33
Actually, in For the Emperor, Baldr... er... Jurgen claims he 'has a plan', to which Cain replies: 'a particularly devious one, no doubt?' Jurgen's plan in question has the same quality as Baldrick's have, being of such stupid simplicity that they just might work...

No kidding?! Well, that nails it down for me. Now if we can only find out if Jurgen's first name is "Sod Off", like Baldrick claims his to be. :D

Jellicoe
04-12-2007, 15:42
I stand by my McAuslan theory for Jurgen given the rest of the MacDonald Fraser homage

as for a more brutal tale of british public school life i would recommend 'Of Human Bondage' by Somerset Maugham.

Tom Brown is far more pious than Darling and far more focused on ideas of duty etc and particularly his christian duty. He does make an appearance in one fo the Flashman books but I forget which one, his discomfort at Flashy the dashing war hero with slightly less than catholic morals is played on strongly by Flashy just as Cain does with Beije. I will refer to the collection when I get home