Originally Posted by Marauderlegion
I have to admit that my appreciation of most aspects of art is...well minimal. A lot of what is considered "Good" goes over my head and I am often told that what I like best is the least of any given medium; Osprey paintings, Kipling Poetry and the most non-literary fiction. I admit I frankly loath "literature" and I adore Baen publishing's products.
So It's no surprise that I don't quite cotton to most of the BL criticism. Given I have my problems with it, and the Op's point about the pointlessness of the novel mentioned has some resonance with me.
Overall though I'd really like to hear what would make BL products better. Or alternatively what makes them so bad? I'd read over a dozen HH books now from Horus Rising and loved them all. I also loved the Night Lords books.
While there is some literary snobbery that's going on, people have come to expect a bit more quality from the Heresy, given its pretty much Flagship status for BL.
There are some notably capable writers - Aaron Dembski-Bowden, who wrote the Night Lords books are pretty much universally liked by readers - his mastery of the setting is pretty complete, and it's not too jarring or controversial when he introduces new ideas (even the frankly ridiculous ones like the Harpoons on the Titans). Chris Wraight is less well liked, but I find him an excellent author with a capable, clever and engaging writing style. His work so far doesn't introduce as many plot twists, but he adds a fantastic amount of character in the setting (but I did find his work in Scars enjoyable, but struggled to identify who was who a little bit). Abnett is more hit and miss. Abnett works when he's given a blank canvas to work from - when there is a background story, but no established fluff. That was why Know No Fear was adequate (I say adequate, because that's all it was in comparison to other novels, like Betrayer), but the follow up to that was absolute dogshit. Maybe that was forced on him as he was attempting to do a summary novel, but quite a few showings of Abnett have been seriously lacking - and I think that's to do with the nature of Abnett's work taking him to lots of different settings. In regards to his other books - he plagiarises a little bit less from Sharpe or Pearl Harbour as he moves onwards, but I think since his illness, his writing has taken a dive in terms of quality.
Then we get to Graham McNeil. His writing I find is childish, with monofaceted characters without personality, instead having only traits used to advance a plot that are about as in depth as the names of Team Fortress 2 characters. "The Heavy", "The Sniper", "The Spy" etc. His writing is frequently questioned as not fitting in with the setting, and he's a great believer apparently in a writing style where to prove how good X is, he'll make Y seem more stupid than they are. I.e, much of the hatred against the Ultramarines has come as a result of not Matt Ward, strangely enough (he just made it worse as of 5th edition Codex), but from McNeill - the entirety of the Ultramarines were presented as hidebound, stuckup, unthinking automatons who did not have the individuality to work out what to do if a situation unknown occured - presenting their "Big Book of What to do when the shit hits the fan" or "Tactics for Dummies" written by Rowboat, a Primarch, as a couple of pages essentially saying "when shot at, shoot back". Know No Fear, as mentioned above, is adequate, but is put on a pedestal because Ultramarines were no longer presented as Derp machine plot devices to make Uriel Ventris or Captain Titus seem totes amazeballs.
Nick Kyme - being fair to ol Nick, there was an audio I was listening to, Censure - which was actually pretty good. Just... his Salamanders suffer the same issues as McNeil's ultramarines, with frankly ridiculous names that make it hard to concentrate on the story that's happening - taking Symbology into the realms that surpass setting fluff or background flavour into making it some insider jokes how many times he can create a character called "Fur-nas" or "Ann-ville".
And that's just a select few authors - sadly the last 2 seem to get an unfortunately high ratio of books that we're essentially "forced" to read (because the BL know of their readers kleptomania and completionist behaviours), when the majority of the book has only minor tie-ins with the actual Horus Heresy timline (such as Damnation of Pythos - the relation to the Heresy pretty much boils down to the front cover telling you it's the Horus Heresy in that book) people get annoyed at having wasted their money on a self contained book about events that do not matter in the wider scope of the heresy novels. The other side that people hate is the major events that take place, but just aren't done the justice of - a War on Molech, Signus, Prospero... All were given pretty terrible books - no ATS was not a good book, in my eyes. It was good for McNeil, but still a poor showing of a novel.
Throw in the "shady" business practises of releasing "Limited Editions" which are then accessible 2 years later at half the price, and 15 or so versions of the same book, and many long term fans are getting pissed off with them.
Without wanting to be elitist, "oh I've been doing this longer than you", it WAS better in the old days, and you can't miss what you didn't have.
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