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pnweerar
14-06-2005, 02:07
Hi,

I've just finished all the Gaunt books, and am wondering about Ciaphas Cain. If you've read from both lines, how would you rank a Ciaphas Cain book against a Comissar Gaunt Book?

Thanks,

Navin

Strikerkc
14-06-2005, 02:25
Same feel. Clearly writen, well thought out, good story.

It's, I feel, a very entertaining serise to read. The idea of a Cowardly Commissar is just good stuff ;).

Khaine's Messenger
14-06-2005, 02:29
Depends on whether you want to go through pages and pages, books and books, of build-up towards strong emotional investments in characters or Just Plain Good Fun (arguably, both of them contain a modicum of each, but then people like to characterize them in these two categories).

If the former, I'd suggest the GG novels, although I have to warn you, the climaxes and endings have tended towards a rather formulaic approach, and once you find the patterns I've noticed and couple it with a rather dour attitude, it'll be hard to ever really enjoy a GG novel again. Suffice it to say that the series began with a pretty slick science fiction warfare feel which at the time I thought was pretty awesome.

If the latter, then Cain is a good choice. A bit repetative to some extent ("if I knew what I was going to get into, I wouldn't have...." is a popular one), but then I suppose they are written as if they're the slightly organized memoirs of a man in his late second century (although if that's an after-the-writing excuse or an intentional aspect of the narration, I'm not sure). If you're a fan of asides and footnotes Pratchett-style, then Cain is probably just your cup of tea.

How would I actually "rate" them? Well, I would very much prefer a Ciaphis Cain novel over a Gaunt novel, myself.

Johnny Bravo
14-06-2005, 02:33
The Cain books are definitely more fun than the Gaunt books. I've thoroughly enjoyed both series as far as I've read, but for different reasons. It depends on what kind of a mood you're in, I think.

Xhalax
14-06-2005, 02:34
I've read all of the Ciaphas Cain books. In fact I couldn't put them down.

The Gaunt novels. I'm 3/4 of the way through Ghostmaker and I've read First and Only but I'm not feeling the compulsion to read more of the Ghost now. Not like I did with Cain.

But they're hard to compare as they very different styles of books. In a wierd small way, I think Cain is somthing of a parody of Gaunt.
But the Cain novels are well worth a read. They've highly amusing. Though it might take a bit of getting used to as there are footnotes through out the Cain novels that explain things in the wider context. And they're in first person.

Ah! Love Ciaphas!

bigbauske
14-06-2005, 02:58
They are both good reads, but I like Ciaphis Cain, just gotta love the commisar that is a coward and wants to live. :D

Xhalax
14-06-2005, 03:02
He's not a coward...he just has a highly developed self-preservation instinct. Nor does he run away...he strategically repositions himself.
The leader must be alive to lead his troops!

Strikerkc
14-06-2005, 03:11
He's not a coward...he just has a highly developed self-preservation instinct. Nor does he run away...he strategically repositions himself.
The leader must be alive to lead his troops!

That's the point :D.

x-esiv-4c
14-06-2005, 03:12
I love Cain. I think we can all relate to Cain more then we can relate to Gaunt and his troop of hell-crazed ghosts. There is also a lot more humor in the Cain books, a nice touch to the 40k element.

Johnny Bravo
14-06-2005, 03:20
^ Good point. Humor is something you don't often see in 40K, understandably so. It's definitely a nice change of pace.

Shinzui
14-06-2005, 03:24
I prefer Cain books over GG as one of the main beef I have with the GG books is their potrayal of Chaos is I think is a bit off the mark.

Johnny Bravo
14-06-2005, 03:27
Now, y'see, that's one of the things I liked about the Ghosts books. The Blood Pact isn't the typical 'frothing lunatic' type of Chaos cult, but a very martial, very organized cult. Which, I think, makes them all the more dangerous.

x-esiv-4c
14-06-2005, 03:28
What don't you like about how GG books portrays chaos?

Strikerkc
14-06-2005, 04:32
What don't you like about how GG books portrays chaos?

Ditto, I think the GG books did great. They really showed the subtleties and aluring nature of chaos. They also showed very strongly that strong faith in the Emperor really does something (thinking of the Mad larkin short story with the angel, and the entire Sabat martyre plot), as oposed to the often obscure "it may work" aproach taken by a good amount of 40K fiction, I've found.

Becuase who doesn't love when a True Saint Reborn strides through a hail gunfire to save a group of heros and single handedly destroy a tank colum, Terminator style.

x-esiv-4c
14-06-2005, 04:34
Personally I feel that "Necropolis" is one of the best battle-scene books ever. The perverse nature of chaos is so well presented and the strife of the civilians pressed to fight...Brilliant stuff!

Strikerkc
14-06-2005, 04:38
Personally I feel that "Necropolis" is one of the best battle-scene books ever. The perverse nature of chaos is so well presented and the strife of the civilians pressed to fight...Brilliant stuff!

I think it's that you should go for the GG books if you want to get a better idea what it's like on the front lines of a game of "Epic", while things like Eisenhorn and Cain give a better picture of games like Necromnuda, Inquisitor, or Kill team.

x-esiv-4c
14-06-2005, 04:45
I've read post Black-library publications. I like Cain because of the rarely found tongue-in-cheek humoring...especially that it comes from a Commissar. Eisenhorn had a very different field. With Cain it always seems that he's in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Shinzui
14-06-2005, 05:13
What don't you like about how GG books portrays chaos?

Not specifically the blood pact (I acutally like the concept) but more to do with the fact how people turn to chaos.

Perfect example is in the first book. One of the ghosts gets cut by Chaos alter they were destroying and later on got possessed by a Daemon. I might not be god like in my knowledge of daemon possession but that to me seems odd and is not inline with the other laws which seem to restrict daemonic summoning and possession.

Chaos seems to be treated like rabies and the victim doesn't seem to have any free will which seems different to how chaos is in the official fluff.

Morgan Keyes
14-06-2005, 08:04
I've enjoyed them both, each for different reasons. The reasons for Cain have already been expounded upon by others. For the Ghosts, maybe because I come from a light infantry background been a troop for so long that I rank them higher then Cain's tales. I look forward to new novels by both, but having been a troop and NCO for so long I will jump on a Ghosts novel before a Cain book any day.

Emperor's Light
14-06-2005, 09:30
The Ciaphas Cain novels are far more interesting than Gaunt's Ghosts. Don't get me wrong, Dan Abnett is an entertaining author, but there's nothing original about Gaunt's Ghosts. They are very derivative of books like Sharpe's Rifles. They are also incredibly formulaic.

The Cain novels at least have a bit of humour, and Cain is a character with a bit more depth than Gaunt. Gaunt is a cardboard hero - behaving exactly has an ideal action hero would. Cain is interesting in that he is actually quite heroic, but he always rationalizes his actions as being sensible and mercenary.

Sai-Lauren
14-06-2005, 09:43
They're both good, but for different things. The ghost novels are more about the regiment, and big actions, whilst the Cain novels are more personal and a bit more fun.

Although I'm waiting to see if Abnett retaliates over the dig at Gaunt in The Traitors Hand. ;)

Hoshi No Koe
14-06-2005, 11:04
I'm in the process of reading the Traitor's Hand right now. I really like the Cain novels for the reasons already given. I'll agree Cain's character is fun, as is Jurgen, other than that, the mixed regiment concept brings up pretty funny situations which are expressed more comically in Cain, but did make me laugh a couple of times in the Gaunt's books. What I really liked from the two first Cain books was the insight they gave on the Xeno races involved.
I've read the series of Gaunt up to Sabbat Martyr, and when I think about it, I think I liked it a bit more than the Cain Novel's. While most of you might not agree with you, I feel they've got a bit more depth to them. I really enjoyed the different battleground types portrayed in the Gaunt books. The Necropolis Cityfight is probably one of the greatest battles in the 40k novels along with the siege in Storm of Iron. The drop against the Blood pact on the planet with the cloud cities was also amazing. I can't tell the books apart as I've read them all in a short period of time, but there were also great tank engagements on Saint sabbat's homeworld. In Sabbat martyr, I loved the sequence where the living saint joins the fray.
I always say the most imortpant thing for any story is for it to have cool characters. Although I'll agree Gaunt isn't anything special in terms of a cool character, every single named Ghost in the books is cool. The coolest two in my opinion being Cuu and McVenner (I thnk is name was). But all the others have very cool things about them, Larkin, the sniper girl, the Verghast hiding that he's a psyker, Major Rawne... And some of the subplots are beautifull as well, the one coming to mind here is of the Verghast who discovers his children survived under the care of two of the other soldiers in the regiment.

worldshatterer
14-06-2005, 11:21
I've read an enjoyed most of the gaunts ghosts novels . I tended to find them a bit hit and miss, and a tad on the formulaic side, but still worth the read for any 40k fan .

The Ciaphas Cain novels, i read and loved . It brought back a sense of humour into the 40k universe that has been sorely lacking . Grim black humour, historical injokes, laughs at the sheer bureaucratic insanity of the imperium, and the trench humour of the imperial guard. Also they are a 40k tribute to our favourite victorian anti-hero George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman[which is where much of the character concept and writing style and pseudo-memoirs convention comes from].

Samoth
14-06-2005, 13:33
I've read one of the cain novles (2nd, caves of ice), and the first 3 gaunt books. Both are good, but I would probably prefer another cain book than another ghost book, because the ghosts series, as a whole, is a little repetetive. Whereas (from what I hear) Cain has a different nemesis each time, which reuqire different aproaches.

But if not having read any, I'd reccomend gaunt, if having read a few, I'd reccomend Cain (like myself). If having read many of both, try and get you're hands on a copy of double eagle. That, imo, is an awesome novel that explores an almost entirely untouched portion of the 40k universe. It also makes chaos look more like the enemy army, rather than the heretic disorganized mob they are sometimes portrayed as.

I dont think a series would be very good, as there isnt terribly much variation you could add to the discourse.

Verm1s
14-06-2005, 13:53
I think I may be alone in saying that I really didn't like the Caiaphas Cain novels. I enjoyed the short stories in Inferno!, but when he made the switch to novel format he lost his appeal.

1. Far too predictable. As mentioned, he's forever saying 'if only I knew what would happen', so you know something big's going to happen.

2. He's portrayed as a coward, weaselling his way out of dangerous missions. That's okay, that's funny; except he does this by volunteering for... dangerous missions. Or so it seems to me.

3. For a morally reprehensible character, he seems to get just a tad righteously indignant at times. This might be part of breaking up the humour with serious scenes, but it smacks of hypocrisy, and doesn't endear him.

4. Like I said: switch from short stories to novels. There's a feeling of being stretched out, of tedium, of Monty Python-style 'Get on with it!'.

Strangely, I've only ever read one Gaunt's Ghosts novel, and that was ages ago. I have a feeling if I didn't like Caiaphas Cain, I'll love the rest of the GG series. I'm off to give them a try.


Whereas (from what I hear) Cain has a different nemesis each time, which reuqire different aproaches.
Not really... running away is running away.

Xhalax
14-06-2005, 14:49
To the inside observer it might be running away. But to the hero-worshipping populace of the Imperium, it's not.

I get the feeling that the Cain novels were never really meant to be taken seriously. They're just a bit of fun and far from perfect. But its good to just read a bit of amusing nonsense once in a while. Especially in the 41st Millennium.

Though you're not alone in your dislike for the Cain novels. I heard one person say they weren't stuck on the novels too. Mainly due to the footnotes breaking up the pace of reading.
But as always, it's all down to personal opinion.

pnweerar
14-06-2005, 15:34
Awesome. Thanks guys.

Navin

neokensei
14-06-2005, 18:03
I have yet to read any of the Gaunt books, but as I liked Dan Abnett's style (from Eisenhorn and Gilead), I am eager to read them.

As for the Ciaphas Cain novels, I've only read the first two...and I love them. Great humour from a setting that, prior to the Cain books, I've seen only as one that truly is dark, grim and unforgiving (which is good...).
Despite some parts which may reek of predictability, as one poster put it, the humourous execution of events in the Cain books still make it worth the read.
I for one can't wait to get my hands on Traitor's Hand. :)
Oh...and I especially love the footnotes and his interactions with Inquisitor Veil. :D

Just my two cents,

Farseer Iakobos

Firebreath
14-06-2005, 18:50
Having read all the Gaunt's Ghosts and Eisenhorn-novels, I'd have to say Dan Abnett is the best BL writer to date (IMHO). Some purists might tell you otherwise, though.
I'm eagerly awaiting the next Gaunt's Ghosts novels, I can tell you.

That said, I enjoyed the Ciaphas Cain-novels just about as much. A totally different, but well executed approach and great fun to read. I have yet to lay my hands on the third novel, though.

x-esiv-4c
14-06-2005, 18:53
Dan Abnett has my bet. I really enjoyed the eisenhorn series, i'm going to start reading the ravenor books, anyone had a chance to read those? Any good at all?

Xhalax
14-06-2005, 19:02
I've heard that they're good...but not quite as good as Eisenhorn or Gaunt's Ghosts.
I've flipped through Ravenor and I've read the short 'Thorn wishes Talon' and I quite enjoyed the short and the flip through of the book seemed quite interesting. But I haven't got round to reading the books properly yet.
But I'd say give them a try anyway.

CauCaSus
14-06-2005, 19:06
If the former, I'd suggest the GG novels, although I have to warn you, the climaxes and endings have tended towards a rather formulaic approach, and once you find the patterns I've noticed and couple it with a rather dour attitude, it'll be hard to ever really enjoy a GG novel again.

Funny, I thought the same thing about the CC novels, though I have only read the two first (are there any more?). Seems the plot is exactly the same in both books, with only the participants/races and environment changed.

Its still very funny and a good read

Firebreath
14-06-2005, 19:06
I finished Ravenor a few weeks ago, and I think it rocks. Had to wait a bloody while for it to appear in paperback, though. Hardbacks are too expensive.

edit:

Funny, I thought the same thing about the CC novels, though I have only read the two first (are there any more?). Seems the plot is exactly the same in both books, with only the participants/races and environment changed.

Its still very funny and a good read
Seconded. First there's the Valhallans, then there's their enemy, and then there's... :p

Xisor
14-06-2005, 19:24
As a complete aside for you lot who need another book and have read a few here and there. Execution Hour and Shadowpoint, by Gordon Rennie. They're based around Captain Leoten Semper of His Imperial Majesty's Dictator Class Cruiser Lord Solar Macharius.

They're an absolute gem. Excellent novels, compelling and offer an insight into what comes as almost canon view of how the Imperial Navy works.

As for the GG vs CC novels, I've only read part of the first CC Novel, but didn't get far into it. I'd read into the third GG book before I 'got the hang' of them, but didn't proceed further. Based on this thread, looks like I'll take a more serious look at CC.

Xisor

Johnny Bravo
14-06-2005, 19:53
looks like I'll take a more serious look at CC.

Xisor

Ohh, the irony... :p :)

In regards to Ravenor, I liked it, but then I'm something of an Inquisition fanboy. There were definitely parts that had a distinct deus ex machina feel to them.

Firebreath
14-06-2005, 20:03
As a complete aside for you lot who need another book and have read a few here and there. Execution Hour and Shadowpoint, by Gordon Rennie. They're based around Captain Leoten Semper of His Imperial Majesty's Dictator Class Cruiser Lord Solar Macharius.

They're an absolute gem. Excellent novels, compelling and offer an insight into what comes as almost canon view of how the Imperial Navy works.
The first BL novel to be discussed in the original Portent Book Club was Execution Hour and I got the impression every participant in the discussion liked it very much.
I've read them both a long time ago and they are indeed amongst the best BL has to offer.
Too bad Gordon Rennie doesn't seem to write for BL anymore?

Xhalax
15-06-2005, 00:05
Seemingly there might just be another Leoten Semper novel on the cards from the BL. Though I'll have to scout around for some information on it.

I'll get back to you all on that one.

neXus6
15-06-2005, 00:10
The Cain novels are brilliant, certainly a nice change to the Gaunt books.
I would say they are better. The Eisenhorn books are brilliant, but totaly different to the Cain books, I'd say that Eisenhorn is probably better written than the Cain books but they are certainly as enjoyable as each other.

Brett E.
15-06-2005, 03:45
I've also enjoyed the Cain novels, but some things in The Traitor's Hand started to bother me.

The first is that Cain was always running to confront the daemon. He'd say something like It'll be much worse if I don't charge in like a hero. Much too rational for a coward (which the stories and first books made clear that he is).

The author clearly wants to keep Cain likable and the series light-hearted, so he never sacrifices any of the troops to save his own skin. Nothing bad ever happens to anyone that doesn't deserve it because of Cain's actions.

Cain is becoming less of a coward and more of a true Hero of the Imperium as the series goes on. I think this is because, as others have mentioned, Cain does not lend himself to a series unless he is changed. As comedic short stories or a one-shot novel, the cowardly commissar is a funny character, but is impossible to sustain as a likable hero in a series.

That said, I liked all three Cain books. I just don't see how the series can be maintained.

Brett E.

- looking forward to Traitor General in paperback (so I can finally read it)

neXus6
15-06-2005, 04:22
Brett I disagree, I feel that the "Nothing bad happening" is just pure luck that helps solidify the Heroic look of the character. He isn't charging in like a Hero, he is charging in blind with fear knowing that if he doesn't something much worse would happen, even if I was a coward (I probably am, lol)I would stand up against something terrifying if it was the only option, at worst a quick death compaired to eternal torment, at best surviving. He might be a "coward" but he is a highly trained Commissar and as the books point out he is always being to hard on himself.

Are the spoiler tags broken or are you just not using them?

Brett E.
15-06-2005, 05:49
Are the spoiler tags broken or are you just not using them?

Sorry. I wasn't thinking. It didn't strike me that I was revealing stuff.


Brett E.

neXus6
15-06-2005, 05:55
No problem I wasn't getting at you it's just as I finished my post, I realised that this was a "should I read the Cain books?" thread essentially, so I reworded most of my post and tacked that on the end.

sulla
15-06-2005, 10:49
Personally I feel that "Necropolis" is one of the best battle-scene books ever. The perverse nature of chaos is so well presented and the strife of the civilians pressed to fight...Brilliant stuff!


Although it must be stated that whoever the fool commanding the invasion was, he should have been shot...Fancy making a beach-head and then pressing on and leaving it without sufficient reinforcement...Didn't they think the troops might need a resupply corridor?

Rich
15-06-2005, 12:00
Although I'm waiting to see if Abnett retaliates over the dig at Gaunt in The Traitors Hand. ;)

I assume you are referring to the bit where a Valhallan sergeant says "do you want to live forever" (Gaunt's catchphrase) and Cain says that the only place where you hear lines like that are in badly written holo-novels and war stories - I thought that was quite class.


Seemingly there might just be another Leoten Semper novel on the cards from the BL. Though I'll have to scout around for some information on it.

I'll get back to you all on that one.

I actually started a thread on that in the BL forums in the hope of receiving news, but no luck. Its a damn shame, because both previous books were amazing.

I would go for a CC book over GG's any day. Quite apart from Abnetts habit of getting some fluff completely wrong (I have never forgiven his mash-up of fleet affairs, or the whole Primarch of the WCs thing) I also find his books repetitive, predictable and at some times tedious. Don't get me wrong, he can turn out a good book, but I just don't think there is much special about them. On the other hand, Ravenor is a brilliant series, and I enjoyed those books immensely (although the habit for every character to be wearing a body glove, and the suspician I have that they are written with young teenagers in mind, still rankles).

The Cain novels on the other hand, while best taken with a pinch of salt, seem to be well researched, are entertaining and are very hard to put down. Somebody give that man a toffee!

Xisor
15-06-2005, 13:37
The only problem, as I saw it, with another Leoten Semper novel was where would it go?

I mean, the second book ends with the Battle of Gethsemane, perhaps doing a book which shows the transfer of Leoten Semper to a 'higher position'(Admiral?), and gives us a new, perhaps quite different(less heroic, a bit more flawed?) Captain for the Lord Solar Macharius.

Perhaps even showing the battles of the LSM during the 13th Black Crusade?

If Rennie were to turn it away from focus on Semper and to a legacy of the Macharius with different captains, each with unique character traits, some in short story form following the Macharius vs Wolf Fleets and even up to, as suggested above, the 13th Black Crusade?

Those books were excellent, and though they fit the 40k Galaxy brilliantly, they aren't typical BL books, and even mainly fantasy players who don't give a rats ass for fluff of 40k have declared they thought they were the best the BL had done yet.

I'm looking forward to reading the Ravenor things, as I've enjoyed the Eisenhorn trilogy so far(near the end of Hereticus now) and quite liked Ravenor's character until he 'left' the trilogy.

Xisor

Xhalax
15-06-2005, 14:23
I actually started a thread on that in the BL forums in the hope of receiving news, but no luck. Its a damn shame, because both previous books were amazing.

Ah! That was you that started that thread. I remembered seeing it a while ago, and that was what I was searching for for information. But I gather none is forthcoming then!

And yes, Mr. Mitchell does deserve a toffee for Cain. He's a brilliant character.

neXus6
15-06-2005, 14:49
Storm of Iron is "the best battle scene book" there is. IMO

LoL, yep and spoiler tags don't work, so looks like were just going to have to discuss everything less specifically.

Sai-Lauren
15-06-2005, 15:46
I assume you are referring to the bit where a Valhallan sergeant says "do you want to live forever" (Gaunt's catchphrase) and Cain says that the only place where you hear lines like that are in badly written holo-novels and war stories - I thought that was quite class.

Yep. :)


LoL, yep and spoiler tags don't work, so looks like were just going to have to discuss everything less specifically.

I think they do, but not if you're not using the normal black and red skin for the forums. The one in Xisor's post works fine for me.
Edit:- Yes, the spoiler tag in Xisor's post only works for the good old Black and Red, and the New Forums skins.
The black and gold, and black and blue ones don't like spoilers.

Brett, the Traitor General paperback is supposed to ship alongside the hardback for His Last Command, they're both due within the next couple of months.

x-esiv-4c
15-06-2005, 16:40
Has anyone gotten a copy of that new Guard book? "Sixteen hours" or something like that?

Xhalax
15-06-2005, 16:49
'tis 'Fifteen Hours' and although I haven't read it yet, I've heard good things about it.
Boogle has a copy that I'll borrow off him when I get the chance. Plus there an extract of it in the back of The Traitor's Hand.

neXus6
15-06-2005, 19:19
I have been very tempted to get Fifteen Hours, the demo chapter at the back of The Traitor's Hand novel was brilliant, the only problem I have with it is that it is one of the "thin books." :(

Oh and thanks Sai-Lauren I've changed the sceme back to good old Black and Crimson, didn't know the option to change had been put up. (I switched it to the New Sceme first and the blue almost destroyed my eyesight :p)

pnweerar
15-06-2005, 19:59
There's more Leoten Semper about than Execution Hour? Gakking brilliant.

Off to buy fluff,

Navin

x-esiv-4c
15-06-2005, 20:09
I love the guardsmen books, so depressing, gritty and...short-lived.

Brett E.
15-06-2005, 22:15
Originally Posted by Sai-Lauren
Brett, the Traitor General paperback is supposed to ship alongside the hardback for His Last Command, they're both due within the next couple of months.
Sweet. First and Only and Ghostmaker are my favorite Gaunt books, but I've enjoyed the whole series. I just wish the regiment had been kept all Tanith. Then the series could end when they couldn't field a regiment anymore.

How about Double Eagle? Not a Gaunt novel, but I thought it sounded interesting because it focused on elements that BL has not covered before. Any reviews?

pnweerar
16-06-2005, 02:48
I like Double Eagle -- but it was too -- too Battle of Britain. A good book though, but one we've all read before.

-N

Sai-Lauren
16-06-2005, 09:03
Has anyone gotten a copy of that new Guard book? "Sixteen hours" or something like that?
If you mean Fifteen Hours, then yes.

It's actually a very claustraphobic kind of book. Without wishing to give too much away it starts with the main character about to leave his parents farm to go to the guard training camp, skips most of the training (except for some parts on the standard stereo-typical drill sergeant), then spends most of its time focussing on the main character and a fireteam.

Rich
16-06-2005, 14:19
The only problem, as I saw it, with another Leoten Semper novel was where would it go?

Xisor

Rennie actually did an interview with a site called Blackstone 6. Here it is:


Interview: Gordon Rennie
author of Execution Hour


This month, we were lucky enough to convince Gordon Rennie to give us a brief interview regarding his efforts on BFG-themed novels. Specifically, we refer his book Execution Hour and its upcoming sequel, Shadow Point. Gordon Rennie traditionally writes short stories for Inferno and for graphic novels such as Daemonifuge, but has extended his range into novels as well, much to our enjoyment.



CS: I'd like to thank Gordon for agreeing to this interview and taking the time out of his day to do it. :-)

CS: Warhammer 40K fiction (of "fluff" as we tend to call it) exists primarily to support the gaming systems based around it. Despite this fact, it often seems to be quite popular on its own. What are your thoughts on what makes the 40K universe is so alluring?

GR: A strong, interesting background. It's the anti-Star Trek view of the future which I like so much about it. In Star Trek, everything is bright, shiny and ultra-optimistic. In Warhammer 40K, it's miserable, grim and relentlessly brutal. Being a real miserable Scottish git, I very much empathise with the latter kind of science fiction universe.

CS: I see! So, is this what drew you to the genre as an author?

GR: Well, it's certainly what drew me as miserable Scottish git. I like the fact that so much W40K background is drawn from history. I read a lot of history - the past always interests me more than the future - and I really like how you can play about with all sorts of historical references within the 40K universe. Also, for reasons which still elude me, I studied Latin at school, and writing W40K fiction as last gives me an outlet to use all that bloody useless Latin I know!

CS: I hear that... What's it like collaborating with an artist to produce a graphic novel like Daemonifuge or Bloodquest?

GR: I've actually been making a living writing comics for 12 years now. Like Dan Abnett, I'm much more known for comics stuff than novels, so it's kind of the norm for me. It's writing novels - ie. words without the pictures - is the tricky new skill I've had to learn.

CS: So, do you play GW Games much or are you simply interested in their narrative aspects?

GR: I have played them, and I was a bit of a fan about 12 years ago, before I ever worked for GW, but I haven't played them for some time now. It's really the background rather than the gaming stuff whcih interests me now. That said, I did utterly wipe out the oppostion (in the form of Bloodquest artist Colin MacNeil) the one time I did play BFG.

CS: Leoten Semper, Commissar Kyogen and the Lord Solar Macharius are portrayed in the comic that shipped with the BFG box set. Did you always have plans for these characters or did you retroactively decide to flesh them out?

GR: That strip was very much a prototype work in progress kind of thing. The game was still in the planning stages when Colin and I were asked to do it, and a lot of the background material hadn't been completed, hence why we had to wing it in various places during the story.

I enjoyed doing it, and we wanted to do more, but I thought that the BFG concept wasn't best suited to the comic strip format. Giant space battles featuring huge lumbering 3km long warships look kind of cramped in an 8-page comic strip with 5 or 6 panels a page, especially when your actual characters can do little else but stand around watching all this on monitor screens and issuing orders to each other. You kind of lose the sense of the scale of these things, so I thought that prose fiction was a better option. I had already done one or two text stories for Inferno, so GW were keen for me to do a few BFG ones. I did two - 'Baptism of Fire' and 'Matters of Honour' - which were eventually incporporated into Execution Hour.

CS: Did GW specifically commission you for a BFG-themed novel or did you decide to choose the Gothic War setting spontaneously?

GR: After the Inferno short stories (and presumbly the favourable response to them) they were quite keen to commission me to do a longer BFG novel.

CS: Did you anticipate the kind of fan response to Execution Hour that has occured?

GR: I've never really come across any big fan response to it, I'm afraid. Obviouly the severe (and thankful) lack of Space Marines in it was where I went wrong with it, popularity-wise. Maybe I should add some Space Wolves into Shadow Point to boost its sales a bit more ;-)

I'm quite happy with the fact that people who've read it seem to like it. It's been getting good word of mouth on forums like the Yahoo BFG list, and apparently GW consider it to be something of a sleeper hit. But, yeah, next time, definitely more Space Marines, more battles and less plot...

CS: So, how did you prepare to write about the Gothic war?

GR: I read a lot of naval history stuff, everything from Trafalgar to the Battle of Midway, often drawing from the same sources that the games designers got their inspiration from. The feel of BFG is very much Nelson era British Royal Navy, with ships of the line etc, but you can also clearly see elements of WWI dreadnought battleships etc. Mix in some Battle of Midway background, since the Macharius is a carrier ship, but certainly nothing more modern than WWII. The whole 40K background is deliberately low-tech and archaic, and I think the mistake a lot of would-be 40K fiction writers make is in not realising this. I swear, if I see one more fan-fic story where Space Marines or Imperial Guard talk like the Colonial Marines from 'Aliens'...

CS: When will Shadow Point be taking place relative to Execution Hour?

GR: It's set four years after the first novel.

CS: And what kind of races/powers will we be seeing in Shadow Point?

GR: The Imperium, and Chaos, of course. They're not central to the plot, but I threw orks into the mix as well. We catch up with the Macharius and its crew in the middle of a big battle against an ork fleet, since I fugured a book about a giant space war should have a giant space battle somewhere near its beginning. I'll probably have ork players gunning for me for the rest of my life, since I'm afraid the poor old greenskins really do get it in the neck in Shadow Point.

There's also Eldar in the book. Lots of Eldar, in fact. More of them, and more about them, than I think we've ever seen in any GW fiction before. One of the book's main characters is an Eldar Farseer, and some of the secondary characters include an Eldar Exarch and an Eldar cruiser commander. We also get to see inside the Webway and a bit of what life is like aboard an Eldar Craftworld.

Oh, and there's another W40K race playing a very central role in the book, but I can't reveal who they are yet... Let's just say that, up until this point, no-one knew about their involvement with the Gothic Sector War.

Abaddon fans will be glad to know he's back in the book, although, as with Execution Hour, he's really very much in the background of things. Lord Admiral Ravensburg was a brief walk-on part, and Inquisitor Horst, who appears all through the Battlefleet Gothic background fluff, is very much a central character in this novel.

CS: Might you be portraying the alliances between the Eldar and Imperials mentioned in the BFG rulebook?

GR: No comment. ;-)

CS: It was worth a try. :-) How about a return of the Adeptus Arbites crew?

GR: No. They were just for Execution Hour, although they might pop up somewhere else sometime. Marshal Byzantane has featured in one or two stories I've done for the Warhammer Monthly comic, and I think there's enough mileage in him for a novel of his own some day, but I've nothing definite in mind.

The point of the Arbites in Execution Hour was to show more of the Imperium forces than just the Imperial Navy (and, being a big Judge Dredd fan, I've always got a kick out of the the Arbites) and to introduce more ground-based action into the story rather than just making it a series of space battles. In Shadow Point, Inquisitor Horst and the Eldar more than fill in the gap left by the Arbites.

CS: Are we going to see any more new ships in Shadow Point?

GR: Like the Arbites' Punisher class strike cruiser? No, I'm afraid there's no new ship types in Shadow Point. And no Planet Killer, either!

CS: Awww... darn!

GR: On the plus side, it does have the biggest space battle in Imperium history since the end of the Horus Heresy...

CS: Cool! Can we expect futher novels in this series? Are you planning on playing out scenes from the entire Gothic war?

GR: The vague intention as always to do three of them, set at various crucial points over the course of the war, and generally telling the story of the history of it. Execution Hour was the Dunkirk story, with Abaddon on the attack and Battlefleet Gothic with its back to the wall and basically just trying to survive. Shadow Point is set midway through the war, at one of its main turning points. The last one would be set at the end of the war, and really focus on the role of the Blackstones. My provisional title for it is 'Suicide Run', although, at the moment, its so far ahead in the future that I can't say when or if it would be happening.

CS: We look forward to it. :-)



Esseentially, it shows that there is a plan for a third novel, but that interviewis quite old, so apparently nothing much has happened since!!

Verm1s
16-06-2005, 14:34
The first is that Cain was always running to confront the daemon. He'd say something like It'll be much worse if I don't charge in like a hero. Much too rational for a coward (which the stories and first books made clear that he is).

As comedic short stories or a one-shot novel, the cowardly commissar is a funny character, but is impossible to sustain as a likable hero in a series.

I agree completely with both points (especially as I already expressed them in one way or another. :p ;)).

BTW, if anyone's interested, this thread has prompted me to finally stick my copies of For The Emperor and Caves Of Ice on ebay UK. ;)

Samoth
16-06-2005, 16:50
I like Double Eagle -- but it was too -- too Battle of Britain. A good book though, but one we've all read before.

-N


As opposed to the cross-horizon aarvm (sp?) launching fighter battles of modern day? I know which I'd find to be more entertaining... And to me it fits in with the rest of the 40k background much more.

pnweerar
17-06-2005, 07:55
I can't find Rennie's "Shadow Point" on either Amazon.com or Ebay. I blame this thread!!!


- Navin

Samoth
17-06-2005, 14:23
On the black library site, shadow point is one of the few books that have sold out.

Minister
17-06-2005, 21:28
One must give proper respect to Cain, particularly with reguard to a few choice quotes:

“I thought the warriors of Khorne were supposed to be warriors, not a bunch of pansies.” – Said by Cain to a Worldeater berzerker trying to make with the old slicey dicey on his head.

And my favourate chapter start ever:

“Well, that was unexpected.” – Last words of the Chaos Warmaster Varan the Undefeatable

“’Come on, men! Do you want too live forever?’ The noncom in charge of the squad must have been on something, I thought. Nobody speaks like that outside badly-written combat novels.”

“Sandy Mitchel” also makes conciderably fewer grating fluff gaffes, like a line in one of the gaunt books shifting Vandire’s reign back about two thousand years…


Read, by the way, all the Gaunt books up to and including Honour Guard, and just finished The Traitor’s Hand half an hour ago. Cain gets my vote, unless there's a Stemper novel in the offing.

WLBjork
19-06-2005, 10:31
Well, with regards to Double Eagle, 40K fighter technology is supposed to be WW2 style - and they're lucky. The Naval Fleets are supposed to be WW1 style!

And to be honest, reading about folks killing each other with the equivalent of AMRAAM, Phoenix and ASRAAM tend to be less intense than brutal, short-ranged Aerial Combat Manouvres (or "Dogfight" to us laymen).


Edit: For an alternative to 40K naval battles, take a look at the universe of Honor Harrington (http://baen.ghostwheel.com/Honorverse/index.htm) - they are quite different - at least to the portrayl in BFG!

madprophet
28-07-2010, 01:46
I have read both series and I like them both equally well. Abnett and Mitchell are both talented writers in my opinion. Gaunt is a true believer - he has genuine faith in the Divine Emperor and sees his mission as a crusade.

Cain, on the other hand, is a political officer first, last and foremost. He looks at every situation politically and sees himself as part of the political system (and therefore he has to preserve his own survival as part of the political mission) - he is the archetypal Zampolit.:evilgrin:

Gaunts Tanith are well developed as a group though he spends little time on them as individuals - Mitchell is guilty of this with his Valhallans as well but to a lesser degree.

Abnett spends a lot of time describing the battle scenes Gaunt and his lads get themselves into while Mitchell spends more time in Cain's head - telling the story from Cain's perspective rather than as an outside omnipotent observer (the commentary from the Inquisition that footnotes the text also adds to the first person narrative of the Cain stories).:D

I don't think you can say one is better than the other, they are different. If you want to read a 40k war story, the Gaunt's Ghost series is good - especially Necropolis. Traitor General describes what an Imperial world under Chaos occupation is like and is worth reading for that alone. I am currently reading Blood Pact and it describes the workings of the title regiment in some detail - good background reading if you intend to build a Lost and Damned army (I do - I have to do something with my old Warzone figures).;)

The Cain stories spend more time telling you about how one resourceful fellow manages to game the Imperial system and find some way of avoiding becoming a war criminal in the process. Cain describes himself as self-interested and mercenary but if you look at his actions, he's really a decent fellow with some morals we can relate to but is afraid to admit to himself (above all) that he really is a good guy.:cool:

Gaunt is also a good guy but he sets out to be one, thinks of himself as one, and is willing to buck the Imperium to prove it. Cain would never be so overt. They are very different men and one gets the feeling that while they would not be terribly fond of one another, they would behave in a similar fashion given any set of circumstances.:eek:

Cain would dismiss Gaunt as an "Emperor-botherer" and Gaunt would dismiss Cain as a profligate (there are several commissars that Gaunt encounters in his adventures who are superficially similar to Cain and Gaunt tells us how much he despises them constantly).:p

Of course, both men would be wrong about the other - they simply have different leadership styles and different self-images.

Anyway, I like both characters but if I had to serve with one, I'd prefer Cain - he has a very sensible desire to actually survive any given engagement whereas Gaunt is far too willing to be an Imperial martyr for my taste.

Askil the Undecided
28-07-2010, 02:16
Not specifically the blood pact (I acutally like the concept) but more to do with the fact how people turn to chaos.

Perfect example is in the first book. One of the ghosts gets cut by Chaos alter they were destroying and later on got possessed by a Daemon. I might not be god like in my knowledge of daemon possession but that to me seems odd and is not inline with the other laws which seem to restrict daemonic summoning and possession.

Chaos seems to be treated like rabies and the victim doesn't seem to have any free will which seems different to how chaos is in the official fluff.

But that was the point Chaos isn't just a different religion with nasty gods or a magical thing over there that the bad people like, it's an infection in the fabric of reality by random madness, also it never says possessed by a deamon just that hideous and terrifying being it erupted into was no longer the Ghost who was wounded. It's spot on, Chaotic even, one might say.

If creatures of the warp only appeared when the planets were aligned/a thousand virgins were sacrificed/somebody performed an overlong drum solo etc... they wouldn't really be much of a threat would they?

MetalGecko23
28-07-2010, 02:17
I think I may be alone in saying that I really didn't like the Caiaphas Cain novels. I enjoyed the short stories in Inferno!, but when he made the switch to novel format he lost his appeal.
You don't have to like them. :)



1. Far too predictable. As mentioned, he's forever saying 'if only I knew what would happen', so you know something big's going to happen.
You have to remember that the events in the books are in Cain's past. So Cain foreshadows the events often.



2. He's portrayed as a coward, weaselling his way out of dangerous missions. That's okay, that's funny; except he does this by volunteering for... dangerous missions. Or so it seems to me.
Actually I would disagree. He isn't weaselling or cowardly at all. That is his oppinion of himself. Not neccessarily his what he is, we often are our harshest critics. He often volunteers for what he predicts is the least dangerous thing, then it turns out (predictably) to be the most..lol. Or he is given no choice as he has an image to keep if he wants to enjoy the good life of an Imperial war hero.



3. For a morally reprehensible character, he seems to get just a tad righteously indignant at times. This might be part of breaking up the humour with serious scenes, but it smacks of hypocrisy, and doesn't endear him.
Remember he is his harshest critic. Though I can't think of any times he gets righteously indignant.



4. Like I said: switch from short stories to novels. There's a feeling of being stretched out, of tedium, of Monty Python-style 'Get on with it!'.
This I think is where people can often lose interest with Cain novels. I like the long winded expanses where their is no fighting. I prefer the character interaction.



Not really... running away is running away.
He often runs straight at the enemy and not away. To Cain its more logical to try an kill an enemy then be inevitably shot in the back. So thats running away to him...at the enemy..:shifty:


Dan Abnett has my bet. I really enjoyed the eisenhorn series, i'm going to start reading the ravenor books, anyone had a chance to read those? Any good at all?
Personally I have been falling in love with the way Abnett writes the Mechanicus. He has to me achieved making them seem insanely advanced while being archaic at the same time. As for the Ravenor series its awesome..nuff said.


Has anyone gotten a copy of that new Guard book? "Sixteen hours" or something like that?
Yes I do. Its short but very intense. To me it might be the most "grim-dark" book written. It is depressing and bloody.