Ask... ROB SANDERS

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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Rob Sanders » Mon May 28, 2012 1:04 am

Hi David,

Thanks for your generous comments on Legion of the Damned. It’s really gratifying when a writer’s take on elements in a shared universe (shared by both authors and invested fans) chimes successfully with readers. It is an easy hurdle to fall foul of. All writers and all readers imagine elements of the background and setting in different ways. It’s great to be on the same page as a good number of readers and certainly it seems that my take on the Legion of the Damned, the Excoriators and the World Eaters has been well received. Some readers see certain chapters a very specific way. This might be their own vision for the chapter – perhaps from their own gaming background or fanfiction. It might be because they were exposed to another writer’s vision of that chapter much earlier on. This can mean it’s very difficult for anyone else to impress upon that reader their own representation of the chapter. Ultimately I think that most readers desire variety and admire publishing companies who try to bring them different stories from different voices set in a universe we can all share.

I’m really glad that you liked the Fire Lord’s chaplain. I enjoyed writing him. I try to give each chapter I use a distinctive culture – even if they only get a few pages of exposure. The promethium and flint were cool elements to include but I also wanted his fighting style to reflect the fast and fluid movement of flames.

I contacted Mat Ward quite early on in respect to what little there had been written about the Feast of Blades in the codexes. He had some further information for me in respect to who might attend in respect to being Imperial Fists successor chapters. I was delighted to see the Fire Lords on the list – although it didn’t specify a Founding. I guess we can both take it as confirmed that the Fire Lord’s have Dorn as their parent-Primarch. It would be great to return to the Fire Lords some day in further fiction.

Thanks for your question, David and thanks for reading Legion of the Damned.

Cheers

Rob
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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Gaius Marius » Tue May 29, 2012 5:55 am

As usual for your books, Legion of the Damned was a captivating, roller coaster experience of a novel.

One quick question, how much time seperated the events of the novel with the pro/epilogue? It couldn't have been that long, because the civilians/Kersh were still alive. I'm guessing a few days tops? (and the inquisition I'm gathering were just following in the wake of the cholercuast?
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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Rob Sanders » Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:04 pm

Moving onto a couple more questions that have been waiting for me in the Ask the Author section – both relating to choices of names in Legion of the Damned.

“Reading through Legion of the Damned currently. What is the origin of "Santiarch"? At first I thought it was the chaplain's name, but now it appears to be a title of sorts?” (Shadowhawk)

and

“In other news, now that Legion of the Damned is in my (digital) possession, I'm happy to report it's being thoroughly enjoyed so far. (And from what others have said hereabouts the initial reactions seem to be impressively positive.) More'n that, I can't stress enough my appreciation for what you've mentioned in your previous response: the time taken to add in a detail. But in any case, it's thoroughly enjoyed in the reading, even though I'm only still just starting the book. Also, Ichabod's a cracking name for a space marine.” (Xisor)

Thanks guys. Both these questions relate to names and the naming of things. I take names very seriously. Nothing creates a sense of character more than a name. Nothing creates a sense of a location or (as in science fiction) a place removed, than the names of your characters. In answer to the first – it the name or title Santiarch really came from mixing the titles Reclusiarch and Master of Sanctity. Although the codexes are a good guide, they cannot possibly cover the individual terms and cultural differences of thousands of Space Marine chapters. These chapters are going to call different things different names and titles. The trick here is verisimilitude. It must sound like something that already exists but actually be something new. This both interests the reader but confirms expectations. Authors want reader that are kept entertained by detail as well as plot but at the same time don’t want to confuse them. In a science fiction setting, it is surprisingly easy to lose readers. Something that appears concrete and obvious in your mind sometimes simply isn’t conveyed as well as it could be in the words you have selected and the reader finds it difficult to make the split-second connection you need them to. Personally, I prefer Santiarch to both of the original terms – but I’m biased.

This relates nicely to the mention of detail in the second question. I feel that fictional worlds should be rich. If you are going to invite readers into another world (as with science fiction, fantasy or perhaps even historical fiction) the least you can do is furnish the damn place with interesting detail and descriptions. There are some readers – and authors – who don’t like doing this. This is fair enough. We live in a time heavily influenced by televisual formats. If you ever read books on how to write scripts and screenplays, you will see the same thing. The use of even single adjectives is frowned upon. Straightforward mentions of colour, size or emotion are denounced (by authors – who think everyone should write like them and even readers who aren’t writers) as what people like to term purple prose. This is a ridiculous term. There is prose. Good prose. Bad prose. Readers can enjoy both but there is not cast iron rulebook about what writers can and cannot do. It seems the fashion today, however, to write bland and featureless prose. This fashion seems to have taken over fiction writing also – even though it is totally misplaced. Everything is cut down to its barest essentials. This is fine for screenplays – but I don’t write screenplays. One of the reasons that many writers don’t bother with detail is because it’s one of the most difficult things to manage in fiction. It requires one hell of an imagination to create worlds even down to the change in your character’s pockets and many writers simply aren’t up to it. Either that or they can’t be bothered to convincingly furnish their fictional worlds. So they use short cuts like not including any detail at all and denounce any that do as writers of purple prose. I personally think that this ‘short changes’ the reader. Most readers would rather read detailed and well-crafted descriptive prose than a bad script masquerading as a novel.

In respect to the name Ichabod and the names of the different Excoriators, I chose to give them a common origin. The Excoriators all share a similar culture and so it helps if their names sound like they share a quality of some kind. Authors can just make names up but I tend to resist that unless the name has a particular phonetic sound that I want. In the case of the Excoriators I went largely for biblical sounding names. This gives all of the characters a unity that is appreciated by the reader – even if it is only an unconscious appreciation. In the reader’s mind everything seems to fit – and this is a good thing because it contributes to wilful suspension of disbelief (which authors cannot do without!)
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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:18 pm

Thanks for answering the question!!
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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Xisor » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:39 pm

Hello Rob,

Excellent answers there, always extremely interesting to read. I'd spoken to the forum's 'LordLucan' a few weeks back and we waxed lyrical, entirely at each other, about our enjoyment of Atlas Infernal. We mused on the potential follow-ups in the Czevak saga (I even explained all about Necessary Evil and why he should be excited to read it eventually - he seemed appropriately excited). Of course, these may be quite heartily rejected ideas, but given the excellent content of your work before and after the damn novel, we're quite happy to catapult these into your brainspace.

Book 2:

Spoiler: Czevak has to visit N'dras in the Tau Empire, tying together the threads from Xenology which allege that the Harlequins & the Laughing God play a significant part in the creation & guidance of the Tau Empire. He first of all has to journey through Commorragh in effort to get to N'dras.

The Sept of N'dras is eventually abandoned by the Tau Empire, so this offers up a pleasant mystery and creative sources. Our thinking was: N'dras is a Necron Tombworld, the Demiurg were involved with the Tau's early developments here, perhaps a C'tan or C'tan shard is involved, the Artificial Intelligence are significant as it could allow for an Artificial Intelligence uprising for the Tau... their drones, possession via daemons, links to Imperial technology, the nature/wisdom of Demiurg (or their automatons within the Tau Empire), the Necrons, the C'tan and all that.

The book ends with the Tyranids arriving.



Book 3:

Spoiler: With the backdrop/start of a Tau/Eldar/Necron/Tyranid fight, with Czevak fighting his way out, the opportunity to explore that 'how would I write the Tyranids' that Andy and yourself debated in the Xenos seminar at Black Library Live... well, the big sense of possibility herein is quite tantalising. First Tyranid protagonist?



Otherwise, that's all by the by. Mere ideas on the ether, but seemed sensible to at least hand on the 'bare bones idea-ore' that we felt we'd discovered.

---

Question & Comment

Largely on The Serpent Beneath, so I'd best spoiler:

Spoiler: Demiurg. I loved them. I'd forgotten to mention this explicitly, but it was perhaps the biggest ear-to-ear grin I've had reading anything, ever. The discussion as they were conceptually introduced, wonderful. Perfect understated use of them - almost irrelevant, but a massive set-piece and yet very engaging. Almost scenery... yet so much more.



Of course, the novella itself worked immensely on another level. I had a few questions though they themselves are a best as spoilers:
1-

Spoiler: The use of Omegon's blood to transform Sheed. Spot on, excellent and so forth, but gushing aside: how prolific do you imagine that can be? Purely Omegon, both twins, any Primarch? Non-specific? More generally, I suppose, what's your ambition for the idea itself, if anything? Would there be somewhere specifically that you'd want to see it going as a 'device', other uses and such?



Okay, it was only one question. There's many, many others but I suspect all/most of those could only be "wait and read" answers, which I've already (happily) resigned myself to.

I hope the switch to part time teaching is working out nicely. Also, congratulations for making New York Times Bestseller, very well deserved.

Cheers,
Xisor
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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Major Rawne » Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:28 pm

Just had to drop by here and say that I was massively impressed with The Serpent Beneath. What an ending that beast had. Just as I thought I had the measure of it you slapped me round the face with a revelation, and before I could get my breath back you slapped me again. And then I think you slapped me again another two or three times before the end. So fitting and perfect for the Alpha Legion. You just seemed to get so much more into the mindset of the Legion than we have seen before.

Are you going to be writing any more of Alpharius and Omegon in the coming future?

Anyway i'm off to read Legion of the Damned because people said it was good, and it didn't feel right to let it get any dustier :D
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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby RuneGuard » Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:43 pm

I just wanted to say that your novella The serpent beneath was by far one of my favourite depictions ive read of the Alpha Legion.

Same question really as above, what are you working on next? are you going to be doing any more Horus Heresy? and if so what legion would you be most interested in doing? Have you ever considered writing any Warhammer fantasy?

Anyway, congrats on The Serpent Beneath and look forward to seeing a lot more of you in the future. :D

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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Words_of_Truth » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:16 pm

Hi Rob, I was wondering is the Excoriators emblem (the fist and lightning bolt) the heraldry of Demetrius Katafalque? Since the Black Templars adopted Sigismund's heraldry I was wondering whether the Excoriators adopted Katafalque's?
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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Maestitia » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:04 pm

Hi there Rob,
I wanted to ask you a question or two about your novel "Legion of the Damned."
I do critiques of novels "W40k" on the French site "The Reclusiam" (I've talked a bit on your blog).

I've already written my review as I finished your novel some time ago and I want to tell you that I found it excellent.
This is the most original of all the series "Space Marine Battle". You write more with the SF feeling than other writers of Black Library and this is what I loved : grim and hard.

Nevertheless, there is something that shocked me deeply.
Why spoil the end of the novel with the cover and the title?

Let me explain: I know that the authors do not write the synopsis but do you decide the title at least?
I mean, the "punch" ending is totally ruined by sublime Art of Jon Sullivan and the title.

I'd like to really know your point of view about it.
Thank you for your future answers.
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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby flick » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:51 pm

flick wrote:Hey Rob, I started a thread about Perturabo a while back, viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1809

One of the interesting points is his relationship with Angron.I hesitate to use the word 'friendship' with Angron, but they do seem to have a connection. Now that's fascinating, because outwardly they have totally different out-looks on warfare and philosophy. And I was wondering what your take on the fraternal relationship would be?

Here's some of the theories..

Or perhaps Angron was found later and Perturabo was given the job of "minding" him (he seems to get all the jobs no-one else wants).

There are other things to take into consideration too. Angron doesn't seem to have much time for people too different to him, but he probably wouldn't appreciate anyone too similar to him either (they'd be competition). Perturabo might exist in the right "space" for Angron to get along with.

Or perhaps first impressions have something to do with it. Maybe Angron greeted all his brother Primarchs the first time he met them by attacking them to gauge their capabilities. Fulgrim or Sanguinius would probably be appalled - he wouldn't like that. Russ would probably hit him back harder - he wouldn't like that either. Lorgar would go down first punch, forfeiting any kind of respect. Maybe Perturabo withstood such a beating in a way that appealed to him. I can see Perturabo operating in the same sort of capacity as Kharn - someone who's earned enough respect from Angron for him to listen to, except that unlike Kharn he's Angron's equal, not his follower.


Somebody mentioned the Iron Warriors' penchant for slaughter once they'd finally broken a citadel and stormed inside. I think that has something to do with it: Angron and Perturabo probably share similar ideas about total warfare and what to do with their enemies. And the tactics of their Legions complement each other well, so any shared fighting they've done is likely to have been relatively congenial.

Fascinating stuff, I like the fact that Perty and Angron forged a bond through their belief in utterly wiping out the enemy. Also, their favoured methods of combat are pretty much the noisiest, more violent, and stressful out-there. Even marines can get brutalised, if they're in the meat-grinder long enough.


Hey Rob, what did you think of Preturabo's appearance in Treacheries Autistic demi god, with the demi-god version of PTSD?
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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Rob Sanders » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:17 pm

Sorry to those people whose questions I haven't answered. Will get to these on here and on the blog. Hope you are all well. : ) In fact, to keep remining me - I'll post links to blog entries here like I do on other forums.

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Normal services resuming...

Check out http://rob-sanders.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/normal-services-resuming.html for more details.

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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Lord of the Night » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:19 pm

Good to have you back Rob, not as many authors around as there used to be so it's nice to see that some are still here. :D


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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Rob Sanders » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:27 pm

Hi LotN! Good to hear from you too. Consider my commitment renewed. If there was an Aquila handy, I'd swear on it. ; )

Cheers,

Rob
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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Lord of the Night » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:38 pm

Rob Sanders wrote:Hi LotN! Good to hear from you too. Consider my commitment renewed. If there was an Aquila handy, I'd swear on it. ; )

Cheers,

Rob

I'd prefer a Chaos star but your word is acceptable. :twisted: :lol:

I actually do have a question for you. With all the new releases for 2013 being confirmed we have not yet seen anything that bears your name, can we expect to see something with you under the title being released next year? Or will it be a longer wait?


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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Rob Sanders » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:29 pm

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Well, you can!

Check out http://rob-sanders.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/you-can-ask.html for more details.

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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Rob Sanders » Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:36 pm

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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Rob Sanders » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:26 pm

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Easily a Thousand Words...

Check out http://rob-sanders.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/easily-thousand-words.html for more details.

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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Rob Sanders » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:27 pm

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It's that time again. Time for Nexus 6! Check out http://rob-sanders.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/nexus-6-10-10-12.html at Rob Sanders Speculative Fiction.

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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby BL Graeme » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:22 pm

Rob,

Is is true that fans of Inquisitor Bronislaw Czevak might just find themselves happy with one of the stories in the Black Library Weekender Anthologies? Or fans of a certain redheaded dark eldar wych, for that matter?
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Re: Ask... ROB SANDERS

Postby Lord of the Night » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:29 pm

BL Graeme wrote:Rob,

Is is true that fans of Inquisitor Bronislaw Czevak might just find themselves happy with one of the stories in the Black Library Weekender Anthologies? Or fans of a certain redheaded dark eldar wych, for that matter?

:o :o

Czevak meets Lelith Hesperax?!?!

Too good to be true!! :D


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