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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-05-15, 07:16 PM
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@Khorne's Fist I'm with you there. It's still better than not reading anything about the massive universe created around these models we paint and play war games with.

Unfortunately Canada got rid of the penny and now my two cents rounds down to zero, so...take it for what you will.

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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-05-15, 07:41 PM
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@Khorne's Fist I'm with you there. It's still better than not reading anything about the massive universe created around these models we paint and play war games with.
It's definitely a huge advantage 40k has over most other systems that don't have such a depth of background.
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-05-15, 07:51 PM
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When I was a kid and had no money for the models I wanted the fluff was all there was for me, really. It's all about expectations, the books have never been stellar but at least they're there.

If you want to wash your eyes out after a rough go with Black Library just get down on the Dune series (wonderfully expanded upon by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson) and you'll make it out alive.

Unfortunately Canada got rid of the penny and now my two cents rounds down to zero, so...take it for what you will.

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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-05-15, 09:51 PM
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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.
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-15, 01:18 AM
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I must be in the minority here but I really enjoyed the book, I agree with the post in that Black Library are a constant disappointment at the moment but I felt this book bucked the trend.
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post #16 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-15, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Marauderlegion View Post
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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post #17 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-15, 01:19 PM
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Well shucks, I guess that explains things pretty succinctly on that score.
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post #18 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-15, 01:47 PM
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I've always been of the opinion that truly well written sci-fi doesn't exist from BL/GW. Almost all of the books I have read from this fictional universe (over half the HH series, several other novels including the Gaunt's Ghosts series) have been written so that a kid could understand it, what can you truly expect? At best it's bolter porn, and at worst it's just background noise to the plot developments that you're actually interested in.

If you're constantly disappointed, why not wait a while after the book comes out and check reviews/synopsis's of them before committing your time and money? That way you can at least have some idea of whether or not it's worth it.
Have you read Eisenhorn or The Talon of Horus? Those are some of the best and finest examples I think BL has to offer, they are anything but bolter porn and offer real depth and substance to the setting. I would almost say they are required reading, although they do admittedly make everything else you read seem a little worse in comparison. That bring said, I do love Gaunts Ghosts, few other novels maker care as much about their characters as that series does.
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post #19 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-15, 01:58 PM
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Have you read Eisenhorn or The Talon of Horus?
I'll check them out. There's been a few good ones, to be sure. Just...the sheer repetitiveness of some of the authors gets me down sometimes is all. It got to the point where I read about how fast Space Marines run compared to humans and how much taller than the humans Marines were (and taller still, the primarchs...or some shit) so many times I just turned off. Gaunt's Ghosts was awesome, I think I read/own the first two or three that came out when I was young. Definitely more character development there, though like I said I read them when they first came out.

My main problem is that I grew up reading sci-fi from Frank Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson, Issac Asimov...I'm sure you see the picture I'm painting here. Similar to what you said in reference to Eisenhorn and The Talon of Horus, my scale for what to expect from a good book is calibrated a bit differently now. I truly don't really care when it comes to BL, I'm still going to read the occasional book or listen to one while I paint. I just don't get my expectations up so high that I'm let down in the way that the OP has been. You know...don't get pissed at the hole you're digging if you're using a bendy straw to dig it.

Unfortunately Canada got rid of the penny and now my two cents rounds down to zero, so...take it for what you will.

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post #20 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-15, 04:42 PM
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I'll check them out. There's been a few good ones, to be sure. Just...the sheer repetitiveness of some of the authors gets me down sometimes is all. It got to the point where I read about how fast Space Marines run compared to humans and how much taller than the humans Marines were (and taller still, the primarchs...or some shit) so many times I just turned off. Gaunt's Ghosts was awesome, I think I read/own the first two or three that came out when I was young. Definitely more character development there, though like I said I read them when they first came out.

My main problem is that I grew up reading sci-fi from Frank Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson, Issac Asimov...I'm sure you see the picture I'm painting here. Similar to what you said in reference to Eisenhorn and The Talon of Horus, my scale for what to expect from a good book is calibrated a bit differently now. I truly don't really care when it comes to BL, I'm still going to read the occasional book or listen to one while I paint. I just don't get my expectations up so high that I'm let down in the way that the OP has been. You know...don't get pissed at the hole you're digging if you're using a bendy straw to dig it.
Yeah fair enough, especially with the kind of sci-fi you've been reading before. Eisenhorn is just very different from any other BL that I've read. It's pretty much the only novel I've read that has the character going around planets of the Imperium, when not at war, carrying out investigations, interacting with other Inquisitors, agents and building up mystery and intrigue. The first person perspective was off putting at first for me, but then I grew to really appreciate it, especially for how much harder I think it is to write well from this perspective.

As for Talon of Horus. Well it just changes so many of my perceptions of chaos, Abaddon and the war in the eye post-heresy.
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