Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
In terms of the Pax Britannia timeline, it takes place at the end of October 1997, coming after 'Fruiting Bodies' and before the next Ulysses Quicksilver novel, due in December, called 'Human Nature'. And then, after that... but no, I'm afraid it's still too early to divulge any more secrets in that area, just yet...
Sunday, February 10, 2008
My short stories #4: Dark Heart
I also tied ‘Dark Heart’ to the first Badenov story in terms of how the two tales began. ‘The Hounds of Winter’ begins: ‘Running. He had to keep running.’ And ‘Dark Heart’ starts off with the line: ‘The wolves are running again.’
‘Dark Heart’ later formed one of the chapters of my first novel ‘The Dead and the Damned’ (as did ‘The Hounds of Winter’) but was re-written in the process, which saw the first person present tense passages changed into the third person past tense like everything else, and reduced their effectiveness considerably.
I always planned for one of the characters from the story, the Countess Isolde, to return in a later Badenov novel which, as yet, is still unwritten (and unlikely to be). However, she has lived again since (as it were) in my most recent Fighting Fantasy gamebook ‘Howl of the Werewolf’, just as the reading public has yet to hear the last of another popular creation of mine, Nathan Creed. (But more on that one another time...)
Little did I know it at the time, but after the publication of ‘Dark Heart’ I was to enter my own long dark teatime of the soul, with nothing else of mine appearing in ‘Inferno!’ for over two years. In that time I remained in print with various magazine articles and the like being published, but, for the time being at least, there was a prolonged hiatus in my fiction writing. Fortunately, this uncreative time in my life came to an end when another Badenov story saw print in ‘Inferno!’ Issue #20. (But more about that another time too...)
Abaddon Books Blog
Pop over to http://www.abaddonbooks.blogspot.com/ and check it out for yourself.
Friday, February 8, 2008
My short stories #3: Bad Spirits
Necromunda is a hive-world, a planet dominated by the mountain-sized cities that cover its surface separated by deserts of the worst industrial pollution imaginable. The atmosphere of the planet is a toxic fog and the spires of the vast hives are so tall that they pierce the stratosphere. It was a fantastic setting – a cross between the Wild West (complete with gunslingers and tribes of Ratskins) and the dystopia of upper decay gone mad (with rogue cyborgs wandering deserted city-domes miles across).
'Bad Spirits' first appeared in 'Inferno!' Issue #3 and was ultimately re-printed in the Necromunda short story anthology 'Status: Deadzone' (2000).
My short stories #2: The Hounds of Winter
It was something of a ghost story (inspired, amazingly enough, by the title of a song from the album ‘Mercury Falling’ by Sting) with the Kislevite mercenary Torben Badenov and his band re-enacting an ancient battle against the forces of Chaos. It was later re-printed in the anthology ‘Realm of Chaos’ (2000).
When I was writing the story, I considered it to be a one off. It’s amazing, when I think about it now, but at the time I didn’t think about the future prospects of the characters I’d created. As it turned out, Badenov and his band were to appear in ‘Inferno!’ magazine on a further four occasions and were the stars of my first full-blown novel.
But more about that another time...
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
My short stories #1: Salvation
During the period 1994 to 1997 I had written various pieces of colour text for six different Games Workshop projects, from ‘Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves’ through to ‘Epic 40,000’. The type of colour text that appears in Games Workshop projects is best described as very short snippets of fiction designed to highlight features of a particular army. It often throws you into the middle of the action, implying that you are dipping your toe into a bigger story. There isn’t much in the way of either plot or character development but it is rich in atmosphere, adding colour to what would otherwise possibly be a rather dry rulebook.
Despite having cut my teeth as a short fiction writer on GW’s Army books and Codices, I still consider ‘Salvation’ my first proper short story. It came about while I was working as a freelance writer and living in Nottingham, the city where Games Workshop has its headquarters. Whilst visiting GW to talk about other projects I ended up in an impromptu meeting with Andy Jones, who was the company’s special projects guy (as far as I can recall). He was formulating a plan for what was to become ‘Carnage!’ magazine and I was hoping to write something for it.
To cut a long story short, as it were, the magazine ended up being called ‘Inferno!’ and I wrote the Warhammer 40,000 short story that appeared in Issue #1. ‘Salvation’ finally saw print in 1997. It is a classic, straightforward tale of heroism and sacrifice, featuring the stalwart Space Marines, genetically-engineered superhuman champions of the Imperium, facing off against the utterly alien menace of the Tyranids, extra-galactic monsters who utilise bio-weapons in their war to consume every living thing in their path. And it proved to be rather popular.
And it was only just the beginning...