News from BL Live - already done and posted on Bolthole by Shaggy
It was a great event - even if it had less info on new releases and actually new books to buy.
Sons Of Horus Q&A (Graham McNeill).
What is GMc currently working on? About 2/3rds way through "Gods Of Mars", third in the "... Of Mars" trilogy. Should be finished in 3-4 weeks. The whole story arc is your classic 'quest', only when they actually find the treasure, they're probably going to wish they hadn't...
GMc is getting married in May (BIG CONGRATULATIONS, MR MCNEILL!) so his whole schedule has been somewhat disrupted. From what he said, I infer that there's going to be a bit of a gap in his writing (understandable).
Talked a bit about Vengeful Spirit (VS) - Horus finally getting stuck in, not just standing back, plotting evil and twirling his moustaches - after all, it's his name over the door.
In July (probably) GMc will start writing "Crimson King" - sequel to "A Thousand Sons", novel length.
Q: Who would you like to write about that you haven't so far?
A: "Not sure - I've done almost all of them!" Then.. Lion El'Jonson (Dark Angels were GMc's first army as a kid). But Dan Abnett & Gav Thorpe are doing good stuff, so doesn't really want to muddy the waters much.
Q: When is the next Uriel Ventris novel coming out and where is the story arc going?
A: Was discussing this with the editors last week. "Swords Of Calth" is the next project (presumably meaning after "Crimson King") for around the end of the year (start date? finish date? not sure) - release for next summer?
No details about the story or overall arc.
Q: The corruption of the Sons Of Horus (SOH) is more subtle than that of other traitor legions - where are you going with it?
A: Horus has been (at least in his mind) corrupted 'rationally' - he's still in control (or believes he is) - feels that it came from him. In VS, the SOH get a number of warriors similar to the Gal Vorbak of the Word Bearers, just not quite as outlandish in appearance. The corruption of the SOH isn't one big step, but lots of little ones. This is a weapon to use, this is a tool to employ, all rational choices, this and this and this... then only at the end is there the realisation that all has changed in the legion. At the end of VS, Horus is realising this.
Q: What drew you to writing Iron Warriors (IW)?
A: A fascination with siege warfare. All of the different aspects of it... storming actions, mining, lulls in battle (a siege is a mix of action and inaction), small stories & acts of individual heroism within the bigger picture - interesting to write. Specifically mentioned reading David Gemmell books early on - the first DG book he read was "Waylander", but then "Legend" - which has epic siege. Also read "Fire And Stone" by Christopher Duffy, factual book about the science of sieges (Vauban forts etc). GMc likes IW for their bitter & twisted outlook, but not overtly chaotic in nature. They have a great sense of injustice, that they've been wronged. GMc likes to write heroic stories/characters ("who doesn't?"), but it makes a nice change to go all bitter & twisted every now & then. It's cathartic - and fun to write.
Q: How will the siegecraft of the Iron Warriors change (and get more chaotic?) by the time of the Siege Of Terra?
A: It's already changing... some chaos machines being used in "Angel Exterminatus" (AE). Also, IW are gradually getting more bloodthirsty & uncaring of the fates of mortals. in AE, Perturabo still has some recognition of the existence of mortals... by Terra, that won't be the case. IW are going to take chaos & make it more mechanistic... it's their cold & calculating mindset, more about numbers than mindless frenzy.
Q: In AE, who did GMc root for - Perturabo or Fulgrim?
A: Easy - Perturabo. GMc enjoyed writing Fulgtim's descent, but by AE he's really disliking the guy. AE was originally intended to be the direct sequel to "Fulgrim", all about the EC & their primarch - but when he started writing it, he found that it was becoming Perturabo's book. Interesting thing about Perturabo - his biggest flaw is what is normally considered a virtue - his word is iron, he NEVER breaks it. Until he did, razing Olympia & by association, breaking his word & his links to the Emperor. Perturabo swore his allegiance to Horus because Horus showed understanding (faked?) whereas Perturabo was sure that the Emperor wouldn't. Perturabo was a blank canvas, and everything after that is writing his new direction. Back to Fulgrim - got a lot of beatings in AE because GMc getting to dislike him. But not finished with the EC yet... still plenty more depravities for them to try - need to be less obvious ones, bored with previous excesses. Bit of speculation as to what these could be - making battles more theatrical? (GMc joke - "Terra : The Musical"!).
Discussion on pre-Heresy stuff. GMc originally thought about doing a novella on Ullanor - but it's way too big a story. Could do a novella about the final assault on the Ork chieftan, but doing that could diminish any future novel(s) about Ullanor - the ending's already been written! But would like to write some pre-Heresy Emperor & Horus action.
When writing "False Gods", GMc was reading "Horus Rising" and really liked the way that he was forgetting that Horus becomes a bad guy - because he started off so good. Horus becomes evil, but nice to remind himself sometimes of the tragedy of his fall, that he was good once - still part of GMc wishes it hadn't happened (my note - don't we all? Every time I re-read the first couple of HH books - and some of the later ones - I still wish in some ways it had stayed with the 'golden age' route).
Q: Writing about the Thunder Warriors - why and what's next?
A: Originally had just intended to insert them as just some big gene-forged thugs, an irrelevant remnant, sort of throwaway bit-part types. But as he was writing "The Outcast "Dead", grew to want to see more of them.
What sparked it all off was that it was never originally stated what happened to them all. A whole army of genetic warriors just vanish after the last battle? Not going to happen. Discussion about the Emperor building in a genetic kill-switch & how the Thunder Warriors obviously wouldn't be happy about that if they knew. Analogue - the Astartes wondering later on what would happen to them when the Crusade was over and there was no more war. Will the Emperor do the same to us? That's part of the seed of Horus' doubts (as per his 'confession' to Petronella in "False Gods"). Did Horus become more than the Emperor intended? (as in, not just a leader of warriors).
The Thunder Warriors are a ticking time-bomb... we WILL see them again, but it may be a way off. What GMc has in mind for them may well involve a fair bit of pathos.
Q: Is writing HH easier/more free than 40K?
A: Yes and no. Yes, because HH is largely a blank canvas, only a few major events already described, lots of gaps to fill. No, because of the existing continuity that they are building around. When the HH books first started, there wasn't much planning - now there is. Example given of big wall-chart at meetings, all the different story/character threads being shown - very confusing. Example - lots of different threads leading to the Imperium Secundus arc, very tangled.
HH forces writers to 'up their game'... makes them feel that they want it to be special, better than 40k.
Q: Is it harder to write about the primarchs knowing what happens later?
A: No, makes it easier - they know the ending, just have to write the journey. Perturabo becoming bitter & twisted, Angron going from sympathetic character to frothing maniac. But also yes... makes it harder to write bad things happening to a character than author has grown to like.
Q: What would any surviving/missing loyalist primarchs think of the 40k universe?
A: They'd be horrified.
Q: Would this start off a new 'heresy'? (as in, primarchs fighting against the religious forces of the Emperor?)
A: Probably... would likely head for Terra to tear it all down & start again. Ultramar - rebuild the Five Hundred Worlds?
Q: Is there any character you'd like to kill, but can't?
A: What, like Erebus? (universal laughter). Yes, Erebus... never get tired of punching that face. "Oh, wait a minute - he hasn't got one!" (laughter). A lot of the EC - Julius Kaesorian? - never liked him.
Q: Is there any rivalry between HH authors?
A: "MONKEY KNIFE FIGHTS!" A lot of the authors are likely to be going to the gym in the run-up to the Siege Of Terra story arc being written (much laughter).