Sunday, 22 February 2015

Recalcitrant Daze - Written Words of Days Past.

A bit of a change for today.

No models. Instead books.

Inspired by a post on Realm of Chaos 80’s blog which had an interview with William King as well as reading the Rogue Trader battle reports on Tales From the Maelstrom blog I had a browse through my shelves of early Warhammer & Warhammer 40k novels.

Before we had Black Library there was GW are the books I picked up in those halcyon days...where the sun always shone and holidays seemed to last forever. Or something like that.

Nowadays the BL books I read tend to be 40k far more than fantasy. I’m not sure how much is down to my own personal tastes changing and how much is to do with 40k being more popular nowadays and Black Library producing books in favour of that. With the Horus Heresy series dominating along with Gaunts Ghost series, ADB’s Night Lords trilogy etc the 40k (or 30k) do seem to dominate compared to the Fantasy output.

However back in the day I have the feeling the slant was more towards Fantasy than 40k.

I certainly have more Fantasy novels (and anthologies) than 40k from that period.

So we begin...keep in mind these aren't reviews. Just me thinking back, struggling to remember stuff while showing pictures of books. Sounds fun eh?

Warhammer Fantasy

The Konrad Trilogy by David Ferring

The Konrad trilogy is a classic archetype of fantasy. Young boy survives an attack on his village killing everyone and who then goes off with a strange man to grow up and find himself. So nothing new there, but it is in the Warhammer World and involves a jaunt in the Chaos Wastes which is nice. To be honest I can’t remember much, if anything at all, about the trilogy (it was a long time ago...).

The Orfeo Trilogy by Brian Craig

- Zaragoz, Plague Daemon & Storm Warriors.

The three books are standalone stories connected through the travelling story teller Orfeo, so the books follow him to a new location where he tells a new story (though each story has nout to do with where he is at the time).

I do remember enjoying these stories. Especially Plague Daemon, well I like Plague Daemons in general so that is hardly a surprise. I remember being intrigued by Storm Warriors, I was into all things Warhammer Elvish at the times so I was easily hooked into it. The books aren't big full action pieces, more character driven which I enjoyed.

Drachenfels & Genevieve Undead by Jack Yeovil

Oh I did enjoy these. An undead girl with a taste for blood, what’s not too like? At the time in Warhammer you get more of this grey area in the background it’s why I so enjoyed reading the WFRP articles in White Dwarf at the time). Just because you were a Vampire it didn't mean you were a bad person. I must re-red Drachenfels soon.

Red Thirst & Wolf RidersAnthologies.

Two collections of short stories.

Not much I can remember about these except...Gotrex and Felix, some more Genevieve action and a very big Advanced Heroquest vibe.

Reminds me I did prefer Advanced Heroquest to Warhamemr Quest. AHQ seemed darker and less child friendly.

Warhammer 40k

Deathwing - Anthology.

Doesn't he look awesome?

Oh Deathwing, how I love thee.

I read the Deathwing short story first in the Space Hulk expansion of the same name and it made me fall in love with Dark Angels. So unsurprisingly I bought the anthology with the short story in when it came out.

The other stories are well worth a read as well, especially the two by Ian Watson – Warped Stars (sent shivers down me at the time) and The Alien Beast Within involving an Imperial Assassin.

Inquisitor Trilogy and Space Marine by Ian Watson.

While Warhammer 40k fluff has moved on these books are still excellent reads.

Space Marine follows the recruitment from Necromunda of three gangers into the Imperial Fists Chapter. You see their training and their growth into fully fledged Marines.

The Inquisitor Trilogy – this is a completely different kettle of fish (where does that saying come from?). Even though a fair amount of the ‘background/fluff’ has changed since these days you still get some of the things introduced in the trilogy popping up in peoples thoughts, and who knows with the way GW and FW are looking back into pre-history and bringing them into the light we may get to see some of these things again.

Oh we have Harlequins! So the books are still very topical.

As a side note one of the Marines from Space Marine has a cameo. Which is nice.

Dark Future

Demon Download – Krokodil Tears – Comeback Tour by Jack Yeovil.

Some may not know of Dark Future.

But it was great. I still have fond memories of T-boning a car. I do need to build the set I picked up off ebay not long ago.

These books did a great job of building on the background snippets in the rulebooks and from White Dwarf, fleshing out the setting nicely.

Think on this...

Wasteland America! Cars! Guns! Elvis!

Seriously, I did enjoy these.

Right, think that is as best as it is going to get. For proper reviews you should probably head over to somewhere else that does that kind of thing. But I do strongly recommend you take a look at these old books (I did hear some were re-released so you should be able to get hold of them somewhere). Regardless of how some of the stories may not mesh with the 'modern' take on the Warhammer World or the 40k universe the fact is they are some damn good stories written by some damn good authors and they shed a light on some areas which aren't covered by the stock in trade Black Library novel nowadays. Go on, pick up a book or two...

In other news I have some Mega Nobs now so I’ll get back to some models.


  1. Don't you know where the kettle of fish saying comes from!!!!!?........well either do I :D might have to dig out my idioms dictionary.

    I have fond memories of the Konrad series, Inquisitor & Space Marine. I've only recently picked up some of the others i.e. Drachenfels, Plague Demon series & the short story compilations. Drach's was fantastic, wish I would have read that back in my youth. Plague Demon was ok for the first book, the second was mediocre & I didn't bother with the last one. The short story compilations are great reads....lots of different stuff.

    Your review of these books is fine, you should be proud to promote these old school novels.....they kick arse!


  2. The ones I read I remember being good reads, quite possibly made better by being linked with the hobby. There were aspects and interpretations you wouldn't necessarily imagine or pick up on based only on the tabletop games.

  3. I only read some of those later on when they were reprinted by Black Library in the early 2000's since English is only my second language and those books probably never made it to the other side of the Channel.

    The Inquisition War Trilogy was a very nice read, even if it was already outdated in terms of fluff, at least you could meet a Squat. My only regret is that the series seems to peter out with Chaos Child, at least in my mind.

    The Genevieve books were really entertaining and brought back memories from the 80's about Constant Drachenfels. I remember playing the Warhammer RPG in those days and it had a murderous adventure in his castle, a race against time to reach him before he became too powerful. Good times...

  4. Cheers for the comments, nice to know people still like seeing the old school stuff.

  5. Like you say teh fluff has moved on but those early books by Ian Watson, the Inquisition Wars really inspired and influenced so much that has come after.

    Great books then and still great now.