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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I plan to write a thread, about three of my favorites writers of the Black Library...

If my post and my thread aren't well placed or just irrelevant, I invite the moderator to give me a sign and edit or erase them.

Feel free to post your feelings about the authors or my rant...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
About Graham MacNeill...



God-emperor, I love and I hate this guy...

I have pretty mixed feeling about him, for his writing doesn't lack qualities. He can make some damn good description of place and people. Hell, I love how he create and describe his characters in a way that make them awesome to me, and he can make very good description of battle too.

On the other hand, he has some really bad habits, and one of his baddest is to be the slave of BL product. His books are often auto referencing, which could be good if it wasn't such a blatant attempt to make more sales.

Another flaw of him, is his tendency to be the "fanboy" of the character he create. This can be really annoying when he ressurect, or make his character survive against all odds and even narrative logics, or his writing deliberately ending no conclusively in order to make you buy one more novel on BL site at a scandalous price.

That tend to spoil my writing experience of his books.

Some example ?

In Angel Exterminatus, we have Lucius, whom he feeled Nykona Sharrowkyn had to kill, then ressurect without any apparent reason is just bad writing to me, and he felt the need to bring us Honsou with the subtility of a punch in the face, and make him something near of a villain sue.

The Outcast dead, which take some time to truly begin, has awesome character and awesome moment, but the ending is incomplete, and if you really want to know the end, you have to buy a novel who could surely better fit into the main book.

But he can write interesting character, he can write good action scene... that he will waste in a blaze of ego trip and sales motivated dick move.

That's why I love and hate the guy and find his book a quite frustrating experience...
 

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Now I hate Grahams descriptive writing. It's truly horrible and mind numbingly dull and repetitive. It's filler because he has nothing else to write. I don't need to be told every other chapter what the warp looks like and using a made up metaphor is just stupid. It defeats the purpose of a metaphor, but we get them constantly and they make no sense, because they are made up and therefore irrelevant. I come away from reading his descriptive stuff wanting to drive really fast in to a brick wall to end the pain. :ireful2:

However, I think he does a brilliant job when he is creating interaction between characters. He definitely gives characters character and when reading his stuff I tend speed reed his filler crud to get to the good stuff.

He's not the worst BL writer (Gav Thorpe will always hold that title, even if they employ a two year old and give him some crayons) but I do approach his works with a mental shield in place in preparation of yet another stupid metaphor or description of the bloody warp.
 

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Dazed and confused.
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He's so hit and miss I honestly think he has a split personality. A Thousand Sons, Fulgrim, and in particular his Priests of Mars trilogy are some of my favourite BL novels. Then he comes out with stuff like Vengeful Spirit, The Outcast Dead, and the Ventris books. There seems to be no middle ground with him, which I find very frustrating.
 

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I didn't think Vengeful Spirit was that bad for content. The character interaction was very good, it was just the overall story line that was a little iffy.
 

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The Emperor Protects
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The thing is. I like Mechanicum. I like A Thousand Sons. I even didn't mind Fulgrim and thought it did show the decline into depravity for the Emperors Children quite well. False Gods wasn't that bad when I first read it, I guess all the bad feelings I had towards it at the time, were discarded due to having just read the fantastic Horus Rising, even then, it isn't terrible. These were all my first experiences of Mcneill. Literally every single novel I have read from him since then, I have hated. I don't get it. And my poor opinion of him due to how bad his other novels are, has even managed to sour those first few upon further re-readings.
 

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Deathwing Commissar
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Storm of Iron essentially got me into the milieu. Ah, the days before Honsou needed a mustache for him to twirl and MANIACAL LAUGHTER!

The first Ventris novel also entertained me, though not to the same extent.

False Gods was a decent return, but in hindsight it benefited from the initial excitement I felt about the Heresy series.

I was indifferent about Mechanicum, but was satisfied by A Thousand Sons. The Outcast Dead was an utter disappointment to me. Angel Extrminatus was incredibly frustrating because it could have been such an excellent story - really, the premise it presented should have set the standard for a novel that seeks to fill in what happened between Isstvan V and the Siege of Terra - but it was ultimately dragged down by weak supporting characters and an inexplicable attempt to reunite the cast of Storm of Iron.

By contrast, Vengeful Spirit features some well-written appearances by Little Horus and an excellent battle scene, with the other 90% being an assortment of unimaginative plot devices, some head-scratching moments where characters do the opposite of what one might expect with no plot indicators as to why, and an ending that culminates with a giant Deus Ex Machina.

What can I say other than that I am not at all surprised by the rumors that Graham will inherit the next Dark Angels novel from the too-busy hands of Dan Abnett.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
However, I think he does a brilliant job when he is creating interaction between characters. He definitely gives characters character and when reading his stuff I tend speed reed his filler crud to get to the good stuff.

He's not the worst BL writer (Gav Thorpe will always hold that title, even if they employ a two year old and give him some crayons) but I do approach his works with a mental shield in place in preparation of yet another stupid metaphor or description of the bloody warp.
Yeah, his sense of characterisation and interaction between characters will be definitely one of his main strenght.

So far, I found Gav Thorpe the worst, but not that unbearable, but having not the english for your first language must be helping...
 

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Thorpe's main problem isn't his plots or shallow characters, it's his almost unbearable approach to using commas. Or not, as the case may be.

McNeil's main problem as a writer is his ego.
 

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I did a review on The Outcast Dead and Wolf Hunt on my Youtube-channel for you who want to check it out, but overall problem is that McNeill tried to jam in enough material to feed 4 separate novellas. Only 1 of them were good, which was the stuff about the Astrotelepathica. The main-characters the Outcast didn't show up until after half the book and well they didn't leave any proper impression (1 even didn't even get a feature in the personae). I gave the tips that McNeill should have done a novella about the Astrotelepathica and explain the organisation just like he did with Mechanicum. Then it would lead up until the culimnation of Magnus coming to Terra.

Then the novel The Outcast Dead would pick up right from there, it would skip the whole Thunder Warriors-plot and it would integrate Wolf Hunt into the story. In that way it would explore the Astrotelepathica and then get the proper chance to develop the Outcast-characters fully beyond just mere stereotypes.

I'm currently working on Angel Exterminatus on how to fix that novel as well.
 

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Craw-Daddy
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Not sure what to think about the guy honestly.

The Heresy Series really gave McNeill a chance to develop himself as a writer. And for a while it did. He had an excellent opportunity with A Thousand Sons to really study his characters and add their flaws. The debates we have had on these forums about whether Magnus was a piece of shit or a loyal son have been such great debates. And its because of the fact that McNeill was able to show both sides well and let the reader chose what to think.

McNeill's most masterful line was when he makes Magnus say something along the lines of, "They were going to destroy the library... and I stopped them." So many readers pretty much leave this book thinking the Thousand Sons and Magnus were picked on and didn't start anything. McNeill allowed reader to absorb everything else and avoid the little hints. It made the story beautiful.

The reason I mention A Thousand Sons is because it just seems so strange how bad he displays the villains in most of his novels. With Angel Exterminates, I feel he tried to display this, by making Perturabo look like a bro and his legion a bunch of crazy incompetent idiots. If an Imperial Guard regiment was depicted like that I wouldn't have taken the novel seriously.

Its that stereotypical villain that Mr. McNeill has fallen back on like a bad habit. Its absolutely disgusting, when considering how authors including himself have worked really hard on their novels to display the fallen legions with different aspects of evil and good. Its what I've said countless times, which is the fall of the legions was a folly well beyond simply the Imperium losing half of itself, but an Imperium fighting half of itself. How many times before the heresy and even a bit after have we heard, a war where brother fought brother and killed because of different beliefs. The emotion and true drama in the series is that the legions had fought side by side like brothers to make something beautiful and then tore each other apart.

Instead we have authors that do this stereotypical villainous horse shit. Evil laughter, curling their mustache and plotting to defeat the true good which is the Imperium. Its fucking dog shit.

Unfortunately, McNeill really puts himself in the middle between success and shit that has seriously damaged the series.
 

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Seems that Graham has been offered job at Riot games.



If you don’t want to read to the end, the short version is this: I’ve been offered – and have accepted – a job with Riot Games, the producer of the phenomenally successful League of Legends. Clan McNeill is moving to Los Angeles.
I’ve been chatting with Riot for a little while and now they’ve offered me the position of Senior Narrative Writer in their Los Angeles offices. So, yeah, in the summer we’re leaving Nottingham and the UK and relocating to sunny California in the US of A.
This wasn’t a decision we took lightly. I enjoyed the work I was doing, where I was doing it and the way life revolved around our kids, friends, family, work, school and all the usual happenings that make up the everyday. We had Evan and Amber to think of, our own jobs and our house, our friends and families. We liked having all that close, and the idea of making such a life-changing upheaval was very scary. Far easier just to maintain the status quo, eh? In short, we were comfortable, but sometimes you need to change things up, to step out of your comfort zone, and I think we were all at that stage.
I first spoke with Riot back in December. I went over for an informal chat, not really knowing what to expect, but going in with an open mind. The people I met there were fantastic; full of passion and enthusiasm for what they were doing, and I came away feeling I’d had a real meeting of minds with the spirit of Riot’s creative heart. These were people who thrived on the sheer joy of creativity, where every avenue could be explored to see where it went. I came away tremendously excited at the possibility of working within those teams.
We went back over to California as a family in February so everyone could see LA and Santa Monica, to find out if it was a place we could see ourselves living and working. It most definitely was. And my second meeting with the creative types in Riot more than confirmed my desire to work with them. Their attitude to the work and the potential for all it offers in the future is incredible, which makes me tremendously excited about being part of it.
After some long, serious, grown-up talks about making the move, Anita and I came to the conclusion that the opportunities for our family were too incredible to pass up. It’s a life-changing adventure that’s going to be exciting and challenging all at the same time. It’s the kind of chance we had to snatch with both hands, as it’s the kind that doesn’t come around more than once. And I’d hate to look back in years to come with any kind of regret for the chances we didn’t take. So with a mixture of giggling excitement and trepidation at the thought of stepping into this brave new world, we’re getting packed up and looking west to this fresh phase of our future.
Ah, but what does this mean for all things Warhammer…?
Well, first and foremost, I’m a writer, so I’m not going to stop writing books any more than I’m going to choose to stop breathing. I’m still working on my current Horus Heresy novel, The Crimson King (I’ve just handed in the first half…) and will continue to write for the Black Library. Clearly my output will diminish, what with having a full time, salaried day job, but I’ll still be keeping my hand in. I have stories of Uriel Ventris yet to tell and the Battle for Macragge isn’t going to write itself. And, having been involved with the Horus Heresy series since its very opening act, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to show up for its final dramas and its curtain calls. Expect the odd quick read or audio to pop up here and there too. In short, I’m still going to keep you entertained with grim tales from the 41st Millennium, the Horus Heresy and beyond.
So, there you have it. As the summer dawns, Clan McNeill will be living it in California. Wish us well, and I’ll continue to talk to you all on Twitter, Facebook and e-mail.
Cheers,
Graham
 
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