Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Black Library do it again - a rant

Just finished reading The Outcast Dead and found it to be an enjoyable book although it doesn't really drive the Heresy forward at all but there are moments in it that absolutely drive me crazy.

Why is it that Black Library authors seem to have an inability to keep a consistent level of fluff. Is it so hard to expect that the authors who write the Heresy books to read the rest of them or the authors who write Space Marine books to read around the topic.

I'll give a few examples, the first from The Outcast Dead, no spoilers about the plot I promise.
A World Eater fights a Custodes and wins seems unrealistic from the outset once you've read First Heretic and seen the Custodes going undefeated against regular marines and in a couple of movements dispatching a chapter master and a number of other marines.
It becomes even more 'unrealistic' when you take into account that the World eater was unarmed, he breaks the Custodes Guardian Spear in half because apparently they are just wood, he is also unarmoured, he punches through the Custodes armour and rips out his spine. Seriously, yeah its a unrealistic world of Psykers and Daemons but still keep some sort of consistency.

The second example comes from the Salamanders series of books. Its very clearly set out in the fluff, Power Armour is rare, so what do the Salamanders do? They burn their dead in power armour. Have the Salamanders got so much Power Armour that they can just put it on the bbq?

The third is from the last book of the Word Bearer series, the warp has been shut off through the use of the Nexus Arrangement and yet they still all manage to teleport into the middle of it, how does this happen?? Is Teleportation not involving warp travel because I always thought it was.

I asked Chris Wriaght last year how much guidance authors get from the editorial team and he said not much, well I am saying now that this is the wrong way to go, there should be a set of rules produced that writers have to stick to.

Rant over and I look forward to seeing your ideas or other examples where you have thought 'that that just doesn't make sense'.


  1. I'm actually quite enjoying The Outcast Dead (about 30 pages from the end atm) Don't forget that the World Eater has the cranial implants (Furious Charge? Feel No Pain?) and the Custodies guy had to be taken out of front-line service because he wasn't 100% fit.

    I do think this is one of the thigs we see in BL tho, where they change the power level of Marines to fit the story arc...

  2. Teleportation's always been ancient Dark Age tech as far as I know.

    I don't think having too strict rules is a good thing. Stopping stuff like "Multilazorz" derp should be done, but having to re-write stories because a protagonist takes out a powerful side character easily would limit writers far too much IMO.

    BL is great in that respect as we get a wide look at the 40k lore, from Cain to Gaunt or D'Arquebus to Alaric. None of those stories would work the same if forced into a single mold, just look at what they did to the Inquisition War trilogy!

  3. i dont see it like you at all.  each author should be free to work within whatever guidelines they like so long as they stick to the generic 40k themes. 

    each book and each author has a different vision, just like each of us as players, so they should be free to make their own mindsup about what should and shouldnt be possible.  if an author contradicts his own work... wel that is different. 

  4. When I look at Black library books I always end up comparing it with the other main series of books I read by multiple authors the Star Wars EU books. In that I know becuase I have spoken to Karen Traviss that they are given a set of instructions and rules to stick by and I don't think that they are any worse for it.

  5. The major problem they have it that the editorial staff are by and large not "gamers" in the sense that they hire guys who are good editors, but not well versed in the fluff.  In my application I hit about 70% knowledge-of-universe and 30% basic-understanding-of-editing but no "real world" experiance.  They were all over it until I couldn't qualify for the work visa 'cause I was a college kid not making $50,000 US a year.  But it shows they're at least trying to correct the problem.


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