Librarium Online Forums banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
366 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
People seem to be raving about Dan Abnett. Based on the forum posts, he's the King.

I've only read one Black Library book and I'm now half way through the second one (neither of which were written by Abnett). At first I thought I wouldn't have enjoyed the books at all, but I have to say it's been fun. So I think the next one should be "an Abnett".

Is he really that good? What makes him stand out? Which one should I read and why?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
281 Posts
I think hes pretty awesome, shame about him getting ill and having to slow down on his writing. He's written a couple of decent series and is a contributor to the Horus Heresy collection. Gaunts Ghosts, while a long series is pretty decent, but I would recommend starting with the Eisenhorn trilogy. Its epic and should be made into a kick ass movie.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
2,434 Posts
His style of writing is good. He knows when to describe events/ people/ objects and when just to get on with the story. When i first went to read a book by him before i picked it up i wasn't sure if the quality of writing would be that good but when i finished i was pleasantly surprised how much i enjoyed it (was the first Gaunts Ghosts), very action packed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
366 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. I browsed through The Black Library and having just finished Rynn's World and IG Omnibus v.1 I think I'll now go with Eisenhorn. Sounds like it will have a fresh angle on things.
 

·
No Rest For the Righteous
Joined
·
1,140 Posts
The Eisenhorn series is outstanding. I'm a big Abnett fan, although there are some other great 40k writers as well. My favorites, along with Abnett, are Michel Scanlon(sp?) and Graham McNeil.
 

·
Son of LO
Joined
·
3,930 Posts
His main appeal is his ability to craft convincingly human characters in a genre where that's something of an exception to the rule. His plots tend to go in circles and it's sometimes hard to know exactly what's going on, but the quality of the language is consistently high and the pacing is usually excellent.

I'd recommend the Eisenhorn trilogy to start with, since that's generally considered one of his better series. He's also done Gaunt's Ghost's, obviously, but that series is massive and somewhat intimidating to get into. I like Brothers of the Snake, which is a recent one, but it's divided opinions - some people think it's an action-y cliche storm, but I think it captures the character of a space marine very accurately. Ravenor is readable but vastly dwarfed by Eisenhorn, which it's a spin-off of. It suffers from the constant jumping from first to third person in an attempt to capture the pacing and immersion of the former with the exposition of the latter. It's mostly just confusing and odd. He's also done a number of short stories and comics, which are of varying quality - there was a really good Ork one, a typical Black Templar with-a-twist one, and a pretty uneventful Guard/Tyranid one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kodanshi

·
Registered
Joined
·
665 Posts
I can't really think of an Abnett book I don't like! Kudos to the man, he's a great writer.

I won't give anything away, but I love the ending to the Ravenor trilogy. Marvellous.
 

·
Staying out of trouble
Joined
·
1,128 Posts
He wrote the book 'double Eagle' which is the only book that focuses on dog fighting in the 40k universe. Having read it myself I can recommend it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
to echo the comments above, Dan Abnett is a brilliant author. I can recommend his Gaunts ghosts novels. I'm currenly somewhere in the 2nd novel of the second omnibus. I wholey recommend them. Titanicus is a great read too (its all about the god machines) which is a welcome change to the foot sloggers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
i was i waterstone book store today and i noticed most of the black library books were on 3 for the price of 2 offers. So i picked up Ravenor - omnibus, Eisenhorn and a random other that i hadnt read. Bargain!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
I really like Dan Abnett, and for me, Titanicus really represents the high water mark for ALL BL books. His stuff from the Horus Herecy is also very good, it just depends on what you like. I've been meaning to get my hands on some of the Gaunts anthologies, but i'll focus on that a little later. Eisenhorn and Ravenor are quite good....but i felt that ravenor kinda let me down towards the end...and the pacing is not always perfectly consistent. Legion just sucked and I wont go there... (the man writes about 3000 words a day!..no one can ALWAYS be on the ball like that...but suprisingly enough he usualy is)

What I dont really understand though, is why Grahm McNeill doesn't get the same amount of love. He might not be as "tight" a writer as Abnet, but man....when McNeill is good he'll overshadow Abnett by a long shot. Before people get upset with me...i'll just explain myself. McNeill has an eye for the 'sublime' he can really do certain things very well....Fulgrim, for instance, was probably my favorite HH novel just because the man is so damn imaginative. I find he's better than Abnet at setting up these moments that absolutely make my skin crawl. Either way....i like McNeill too. It just depends on what aspect of the Warhammer experience you want to be immersed in... Abnett gives the universe a more 'human' touch whereas I think McNeill does a better job of capturung the 'over the top' feel of 40k
 

·
No Rest For the Righteous
Joined
·
1,140 Posts
I have to agree with you there. Graham McNeil is a real heavyweight when it comes to BL books as well. He just sets up some really cool scenes. His short story in Tales of Heresy is a perfect example of this.

I loved Legion though, John Gramatticus is just too cool. Titanicus is really a masterpiece though, nevermind that I am already a big Adeptus Mechanicus fan. I just coudn't put that book down for the life of me!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Yea if you are a fan of literature and you begin with the Horus Heresy books the 1st novel in the trilogy (1st 3 books of the series) is written by him. It is excellent, you then notice two other authors that follow in his wake and the characters he created definitely lose their touch. He describes personalities excellently through dialogue and descriptions while others fail, especially in the dialogue. Sometimes they make the characters seem to unrealistic or take up space with repetition that is pointless.
 

·
RAWR! KROXIGOR!!
Joined
·
1,935 Posts
Huh. Wierd.

In my opinion, Ravenor is the greatest Black Library novel by a significant margin- particularly the last book. The setup for the final encounter was just brilliant. I'm not ashamed to say I bawled my eyes out at the medical scene. In my view Eisenhower, though good, was not close to being as good. It was clunky in plot (too epic, too much at stake; one of the things I hate about fantasy/sci fi is that EVERY plot is a battle to save the universe) and worse written. Ravenor was near-perfect. Even the time-travel was done well. The change of tense was done perfectly.

But more than that, with Ravenor, Abnett is continuing the later Gaunt's Ghost move into the territory of legitimate literature, not just pulp fiction. He describes, beautifully and believably, the use of psychic powers. He explores the nature of chaos, the nature of betrayal, the nature of addiction. He manages to do is so well that you imagine things like these are real, even though he made them up. Eisenhower just doesn't do these things. It's a cool plot, well-written with good characters, nothing more. Not that I'm complaining, but he's a more sophisticated author now.

I'm glad everyone seems to agree that Abnett is brilliant. This is clearly true. Apart from Neil Gaimon, he's probably the best sci-fi author alive. One of the ten best sci-fi authors who have ever lived, I'd say.
 

·
The Future
Joined
·
4,848 Posts
Eh, I dunno about best sci-fi writer alive... he's very good, but then so are a lot of authors out there. I'm quite a big Peter F Hamilton fan, for one example.

Abnett and McNeil are definitely in the top 3 of GW authors at the moment though, the other slot depends on who's on form right now :D At least until next year's submission slot (if they open it again) when I'll be taking the other place on a permenant basis ;)
 

·
Benevolent Dictator
Joined
·
9,222 Posts
Not if I get there first.

I actually got a little bit of feedback about my submission in an email from BL. They liked the style, but told me to try again some time because they didn't like some of the stuff in my story. I don't know why I wasn't just allowed a rewrite, but whatever. Here were their complaints (paraphrased), for anyone interested in dealing with them in future:

To put my story in context, it deals with a squad of IG during the First War for Armageddon, sent out into the jungle by Von Strab before Yarrick showed up. Their regiment gets destroyed, but they- and a JO- fall back to Infernus in time to witness it fall, join up with the fleeing refugees. The squad leaves the refugees, ordering them towards Helsreach, where refugees and citizens are being evacuated across the Tempest, to head towards Hades hive for Yarrick's last stand. Throughout the story, the squad is whittled down, eventually ending with just 1 survivor living to see the Space Marine relief force landing outside of Hades.

1. I submitted a novel - I put in a novel. They told me to try submitting a few short stories or articles to make a name, then move on to submitting novels. But if they don't want new writers submitting novels, then why do they make it available as a submission type? Or do they require all their writers to submit through this window? Bureaucracy at it's finest.

2. Some heavy issues - I guess that a few things hit a bit close to home. Part of the plot is the squad's very pious vox-operator's crisis of faith throughout the entire story when faced with so much death and hopelessness. I don't see the problem, considering the number of other BL characters who face similar issues, unless the fact that it parallels Christianity a bit too much with the focus on 'Emperor's Mercy' and the 'Emperor's Will'.
A squad member also marries one of the refugees during a brief lull in camp. I don't know if it was the idea of the marriage and the squad ribbing him later about the wedding night, or the fact that he suspects that she is bearing his child before disappearing to Helsreach that they didn't like. They mention that she should have been cut since she doesn't appear later, but that's the point- he doesn't know what happens to her, although she is referenced several times later in the story.

3. Language- in similar vein to the Horus Heresy novels, there's some mild language scattered throughout. When I say mild, I mean that I counted 3 occasions of the word "damn", and several occasions of 40k equivalents ('fething' etc). They're guardsmen, watch any war movie and practically every other word is something foul. They do a lot of complaining, what can I say? lol

4. There's already a book about the Armageddon War, and the Armageddon War is losing it's relevance within GW official publications (a few blurbs in the SM, Ork, and IG books). The story also paralleled a few of the short stories in their IG collection? I don't know. I understand not wanting to flood the shelves with Armageddon stuff though.

5 (and the best one yet). It painted SM in a way that didn't fit the 40k fluff... eh? Maybe it's because the IG were complaining too much about the Marines not caring? Maybe it's because the Vox-op was treating them like the "avenging angels" that GW always portrays them as, and part of his crisis is that they were nowhere to be found? Maybe because Dante of the Blood Angels was holding the marines in reserve in orbit, while watching the planet fall to Orks, unsure if it was worth committing troops when the planet was already largely reduced to rubble? I have no idea. I was just a little ticked at this last point of their email.

Altogether, I have a feeling that they don't take kindly to fledgling writers. You might be able to pick up some magazine articles or a few short stories, but if you're looking to write a novel, you probably have a better chance writing all the GW-restricted material out, and then self-publishing. That's what I'm working on. I'll be submitting a short-story the next time they open up the window. Hopefully that will get my foot in the door.

Sorry to jack the thread, but Cheque and I were talking about this in the past. We both submitted for the last window. As for Dan Abnett- he's my favorite as it stands. I didn't read Eisenhorne or Gaunt's Ghosts, but I think that Riders of the Dead displays his prowess as a fantasy writer, in that it can stand alone as a book outside of the realm of GamesWorkshop. I also really liked Gilead's Blood, although it was a collaborative effort with Nik Vincent.
 

·
RAWR! KROXIGOR!!
Joined
·
1,935 Posts
Non established authors are notoriously held in contempt by publishers. Best of luck to you both!

Your story sounds great Captain. I disagree with GW. Armageddon may be 'losing relevance', but its a far cry from 'has no relevance'. Its iconic! On the heaviness, I guess they like the Guants ghosts portrayal of IG. They like a fighting story more than an... armageddon story.
 

·
Benevolent Dictator
Joined
·
9,222 Posts
Haha, Cheque- I won't tell you what finally drove me to sit down and finish mine, but I got through it. I had MS Word, a girlfriend, and 3 friends for an "editing company" and a few well intentioned prayers to get me to the reviewing desks.

Krox- it's funny that you mention Gaunt's Ghosts. It's an Abnett series right? I really like Abnett, and having read 'Riders of the Dead' and 'Gileads' Blood' (and '15 Hours' by Mitchel Scanlon), I was really hoping that they'd like a more realistic and emotional depiction of war. 'Fifteen Hours' reads like every WW1 novel I've ever wanted to read, and I actually read the first 25 or so pages of 'Riders of the Dead' aloud as an example in a literature class.
Abnett's ability to write genuine works of literature is what gets me to read Black Library in the first place. Considering that 90% of their books are just Space Marine fap-festivals (can I say 'fap' on LO?) and 9% are horribly written exercises in Low-Fantasy, the fact that anyone would brave that minefield for the 1% chance that they pick up something decent is saying quite a lot.

Don't get me wrong- Black Library has it's place. Usually it's somewhere between 'The Twilight Saga' (I use "Saga" lightly) and the 'Halo' graphic novel, but it's all that my friend and some other kids are willing to read, and if that's what it takes to keep people interested in books, then I guess it deserves a place on the shelves. But like people have been saying, Abnett stands out within fiction at large, not just within the Warhammer genre he's so sadly pigeonholed himself in to.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top