Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby Diatribe » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:02 am

Dear AD-B,

Been meaning to ask you this question for awhile, but when I read "Fear the Alien" Anthology, there was a nice pairing up (story-wise) that you & Nick Kyme did with your Salamanders/Night Lords (viewpoints at least & why each was there). To the best of your knowledge, are there other plans for such things (either by you, or by others) in the future?
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby Black Shuck » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:12 am

Hi, A D-B.

Big fan (like you need another one!). Just wanted to say that I really loved Blood Reaver. Didn't get teary the way I did at the end of Helsreach and The First Heretic (yeah... really...) but I was very impressed, particularly by how you showed us opinions and beliefs beyond those of Talos. Particularly Ruven's little blurb about why he joined the Black Legion. I'm not really a band wagon sort, but after reading that I kind of wanted to start a BLegion army - something that no other book has made me want to do with any Legion.

But mostly I have to say that I love Variel. In fact, I think he may be my favourite character ever. You managed to hit the mark with all of his quirks with that guy. Can I ask what inspired you to create this guy, and will we see more of him?
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby Captain Demeter » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:11 pm

Diatribe wrote:Dear AD-B,

Been meaning to ask you this question for awhile, but when I read "Fear the Alien" Anthology, there was a nice pairing up (story-wise) that you & Nick Kyme did with your Salamanders/Night Lords (viewpoints at least & why each was there). To the best of your knowledge, are there other plans for such things (either by you, or by others) in the future?


I second this !!! It was nicely done, and a good idea. Okay, as you have said before ADB, it's a great universe, so too much interwining would seem a bit strange.

But things like these are fun, because they make it FEEL even more like ONE world. Like the HH series does, nice interwining, showing the same situations from different angles.

More of this ( if it's fits ) would be welcome !
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby MC Warhammer » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:01 am

Hi Aaron,

This is my first time communicating with you (though I lurk, and post on other boards as Wazzahamma). Phenomenal job on The First Heretic. You had me dreaming your characters every night I read it.

One thing that really interested me were the primarch relationship dynamics, and the depiction of Lorgar as not close to the brothers featured in that novel. Horus and Magnus being the only exceptions (though I did pick up on Lorgar naming Russ as one of his "dearest brothers" In A Thousand Sons. Simply to charm him, perhaps).

For some reason, I began to wonder what his relationship with Sanguinius was like. Since Sangy was the angel of the Imperium in almost every sense and could be argued to overlap with Lorgar's role in some ways ( a spiritual icon to the Great Crusade). I'm hoping you could reveal your thoughts on this, if you've had any?
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby Mossy Toes » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:24 pm

Something's been bothering me about TFH for a while, so I was wondering if you could shed some light on it for me.

How do you reconcile the Word Bearers being the first to encounter the Eye of Terror when both Caliban and Medusa are worlds on the very edge of the Eye of Terror? Additionally, Descent of Angels is set 50 years before the Heresy, and TFH has the Eye of Terror being "discovered" 40 years before it--a good 10 years after Caliban has rejoined the Imperial fold.

So, just wondering how this all fits together...
What sphinx of plascrete and adamantium bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? Imperator!
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby AD-B » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:38 pm

Mossy Toes wrote:Something's been bothering me about TFH for a while, so I was wondering if you could shed some light on it for me.

How do you reconcile the Word Bearers being the first to encounter the Eye of Terror when both Caliban and Medusa are worlds on the very edge of the Eye of Terror? Additionally, Descent of Angels is set 50 years before the Heresy, and TFH has the Eye of Terror being "discovered" 40 years before it--a good 10 years after Caliban has rejoined the Imperial fold.

So, just wondering how this all fits together...


I think I covered that one in detail on the previous Bolthole.

I did. Behold:

"About the Eye. The Eye is a tricky customer. I went with the angle that it had already been "discovered" by the species (Navigators knew it was there, as did astropaths), as did the Imperial planets (relatively) within its' range (such as Caliban, which wasn't that far away, really).

However, "Space is big. Really big." It's also in three dimensions.

Firstly, we're dealing with one warp storm in a galaxy which was - until recently - completely blanketed in warp storms. There are still plenty of them remaining from that giant proto-storm, and although the Eye is the biggest, you've got a squillion other lesser ones screwing up astronavigation and blocking the sixth senses of anyone who peers too long into the abyss. In short, even to the people who know it's there, it's just "a sucky place to go" that's slightly suckier than the many other suckier places.

Secondly, in the 13th Black Crusade, it's mentioned that the Eye "opens" or "blinks" before Abaddon and co. spill out of it. The Eye as it stands in the Great Crusade is already huge, but I suspect its influence (therefore, its physical boundaries) spread over the millennia - especially once the Chaos Astartes get there and start really breeding nastiness in the human race.

To look at it another way, a completely thematic way, despite the many jokes about Abaddon, he's the Antichrist of Warhammer 40,000. You read any 40K Chaos Codex, and it's clear as day that's what he's supposed to be. His name is the name whispered in dread across the Imperium. He is legendarily the clone son son of Horus. He's the Archenemy, the Devil, the Death of the Imperium. Now, I know he's not presented that well in the great scheme of things - I'd argue that the jokes about him have a point: he comes across as a useless failure almost constantly - but it's clear what he's supposed to be. The Antichrist, at the head of the Armies of the Damned. It's a thematic link-up, as plain as my first girflriend's face.

The Eye in the Great Crusade is Hell without its Devil. Chaos marks Horus, but Horus is destined to fail, and we've seen references that Horus wasn't even Chaos' first choice. Ultimately, it's his son that takes his mantle, earning the Mark of Chaos Ascendant. With that in mind - knowing what the Eye will become in the setting - the Eye of the HH era is more of a ghost town, a shade of itself, than a populated Hell. It'll become that, and damn, it's bad enough already. But there's so much worse to come once Satan and his demons move in.

I tried to hint at that a little, when Lorgar looks into it and sees that "something was born here" or that it was "some cataclysmic celestial abortion", and so on. When he comes close to seeing what it really is (rather than Colchisian parable) it's mostly past-tense stuff. "This is the effect of X."

Hence my belief that its rankness increases in potency, and its size, uh, blooms, if you will.

Thirdly, the Word Bearers come at it from a different angle, rather than a previously explored one along safe shipping routes. They sail through months of savage warp storms to get there, and they're many months of nasty warp-sailing away from the closest Imperial fleets. In safer space, they may not be that far away, relatively speaking. But with the way they took, and with what they see all around them, the tides aren't calm. It'll take them a long time to get back to anyone else, even if the distance itself would be shorter in better waters.

Fourthly, despite the Eye being known to a few souls in the Imperium, they have no idea what it is and absolutely no reason to go there. In fact, they have every reason to avoid it, because it's a purely scientific astral anomaly, and they have no reason to go there. It's little more than a mark on a half-finished map that says "Here Be Dragons, Yo."

Lorgar has no idea what it looks like, or what any warp storm really represents. He sails blind (or is secretly drawn, following his psychic sense, whichever you believe), and once he reaches a major warp storm, he realises that it matches something from Colchisian myth. The Pilgrimage lasted three years, and was undertaken by countless fleets - literally thousands of ships. It wasn't a straight dive to the most obvious place. We only saw what Lorgar found, because none of the others found it. And even then, it was just a warp storm to him at first, with a weird aura.

Hope that enlightens you a bit on my thought process, there. Suffice to say, it was something I put a chunk of effort and thought into."
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:00 pm

That is quite insightful sir! It does raise some interesting possibilities and questions. And as for Abaddon being the Anti-christ of Warhammer 40k, that is something refreshing, a very different take on things for sure.

*creative gears sparking off now!*
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My current fiction projects - Veergati: The Scarlet Records, an Indian space opera inspired by Star Trek.
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby JackCrow » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:27 pm

No questions.

This is how you saluted your fans:
Image


Job well done, kind Sir!
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby Captain Demeter » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:38 pm

Nice ! In what book is that ?
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby Fist of Dorn » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:44 pm

Blood Reaver
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby Esca » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:13 am

Hey ADB,

I love your books, I've read all but Helsreach so far (Candian Blood was quite a pain in the ass to find) and loved them all.

I have one question I hope you can answer.

Have you thought about or would you have any interest in writing an Inquisition book/series? Maybe involving the Deathwatch?

I apologize if it was asked before, I haven't read through all the posts yet to see, so if it is a repeat question sorry.

Thanks
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby AD-B » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:12 pm

Esca wrote:Hey ADB,
Have you thought about or would you have any interest in writing an Inquisition book/series?


I can answer that with a solid "Sort of, yeah, kinda."

Some of the main characters in my first Grey Knights novel are Inquisitor Annika Jarlsdottyr and her warband, and I'd be lying if I said I couldn't eventually see them in their own stories.

So I've thought about it, definitely.
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby AD-B » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:12 pm

JackCrow wrote:No questions.

This is how you saluted your fans:
Image


Job well done, kind Sir!


I live to serve.
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby AD-B » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:15 pm

MC Warhammer wrote:Hi Aaron,

This is my first time communicating with you (though I lurk, and post on other boards as Wazzahamma). Phenomenal job on The First Heretic. You had me dreaming your characters every night I read it.

One thing that really interested me were the primarch relationship dynamics, and the depiction of Lorgar as not close to the brothers featured in that novel. Horus and Magnus being the only exceptions (though I did pick up on Lorgar naming Russ as one of his "dearest brothers" In A Thousand Sons. Simply to charm him, perhaps).

For some reason, I began to wonder what his relationship with Sanguinius was like. Since Sangy was the angel of the Imperium in almost every sense and could be argued to overlap with Lorgar's role in some ways ( a spiritual icon to the Great Crusade). I'm hoping you could reveal your thoughts on this, if you've had any?


That's a good question. It may show up later in the Heresy. There's no immediate plans to tackle it (Lorgar's future is currently tied up in certain treacherous ways...) but it's definitely something I'd like to show.

I'm big into the primarchs' relationships with one another, too - and (I like to think) on different (deeper?) levels than what we've mostly seen so far. My focus right now is how Lorgar and Angron get on - or don't get on. There's a lot going on in that relationship.
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby AD-B » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:18 pm

Black Shuck wrote:Hi, A D-B.

Big fan (like you need another one!). Just wanted to say that I really loved Blood Reaver. Didn't get teary the way I did at the end of Helsreach and The First Heretic (yeah... really...) but I was very impressed, particularly by how you showed us opinions and beliefs beyond those of Talos. Particularly Ruven's little blurb about why he joined the Black Legion. I'm not really a band wagon sort, but after reading that I kind of wanted to start a BLegion army - something that no other book has made me want to do with any Legion.


With the greatest respect to the games studio background, that's something that hasn't really shined through enough in the past. It's supposed to be tempting to join this all-powerful 'Doom of the Imperium' Legion, but instead we get very little evidence of why.

Black Shuck wrote:But mostly I have to say that I love Variel. In fact, I think he may be my favourite character ever. You managed to hit the mark with all of his quirks with that guy. Can I ask what inspired you to create this guy, and will we see more of him?


I don't really remember any particular inspiration. I wanted a character that showed the Eighth Legion's prejudices as hypocritical (Variel isn't Nostraman, but he was born to be a Night Lord, and fits in well) and I wanted a character to highlight the fact that Talos wasn't all that great as an Apothecary.
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby AD-B » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:21 pm

Diatribe wrote:Dear AD-B,

Been meaning to ask you this question for awhile, but when I read "Fear the Alien" Anthology, there was a nice pairing up (story-wise) that you & Nick Kyme did with your Salamanders/Night Lords (viewpoints at least & why each was there). To the best of your knowledge, are there other plans for such things (either by you, or by others) in the future?


That was reeeeeaaaaaally difficult to arrange, in all honesty. We couldn't kill off major characters, and both sides had to "win" to a degree. You could argue that the Night Lords lost a little harder, and I'd agree with you, but that was the point.

It was a fun experiment, and I like how it worked. I'm not against doing it again, but I'd like to chalk up more planning time on the next one.

It's a problem for me in that First Claw simply aren't the same level of Protagonist Baddasery that a lot of other main characters are. They run away a lot; they hide; they only attack with the advantage of surprise and numbers; they pick on harmless humans all the time. When it comes to genital-waving and bragging rights, that's just not what they're good at, so a match-up would be difficult to do.
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby AD-B » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:25 pm

Liliedhe wrote:Hi,

I've recently finished reading your Night Lords books and assorted short stories and I love them to bits :). They lie beside my bed for some familiar and comforting reading should I wake up troubled at night. I'm probably weird^^.

What fascinates me the most - aside from the unconventional plotlines, the complex realistic characters and the amazingly funny humour - is how you managed to take all the different interpretations and accounts about the Night Haunter and create a whole, consistent person from them. Yes, a torn, tormented, massively messed up person, but someone who makes sense. Lord of the Night, a book I also liked, even if it was quite purple at times, introduced the concept of perception - reality is what someone sees - in an ambitious way. In Soulhunter and Co. that's taken even further, with not just two but many conflicting accounts, and yet one can still feel what is at the center of all these conflicting views, where the intersection of all these different 'persons' is. I salute you for that. (Or maybe I'm just delusional, in that case, I'll just take my delusion^^)

I'm looking forward to Void Stalker and also to any potential HH Night Lords stories you may write. Savage Weapons was awesome. :)


Many thanks, kind internet person. Glad you dig.

Liliedhe wrote:And since this is the "ask the author" thread, I also have a few questions:


Oh, go on, then.

Liliedhe wrote:- What happened to Curze's head? M'Shen took it, and then Talos killed her, but it doesn't seem like he brought it back. So, does it lie in some vault at Terra?^^


Good question. The Calidus order recovered M'Shen's ship (and, presumably, her remains) since they've got the hololithic recording. I suspect they have the head, too. Or they just threw it in the garbage with a chuckle.

I may need to muse on this.

Liliedhe wrote:- Is the recording in Throne of Lies all there is? I know it's a copy, but the quality was very bad... I suppose this is probably something you won't say 8-), still I was wondering if this is all there is or if what was recovered from M'Shen's body does contain sound, for example.


I have plans for that, so excuse me while I run away and don't answer it for now.
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby AD-B » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:30 pm

Kasrkin wrote:Hi Aaron,

Is it just my imagination, or do you really seem to have a thing for Chaos in all its spiky glory? So far, out of (correct me if I'm wrong) five 40k novels, four of these have been Imperium vs Chaos matchups, and with the coming Grey Knights, Horus Heresy and possible Abaddon books this looks like a pattern that's not going to be changing any time soon.

I'm not going to complain too loudly since they've all been awesome so far, but has it been a conscious decision to stick with Chaos stuff, and do you think you'll ever write any xeno-focused novels besides Helsreach?


It's not really conscious; f'rex, I don't prefer Chaos to the Imperium, or whatever. It's just kinda worked out that way. I mean, one of the first novels I asked about doing was an Eldar one, but that got refused because a) I was very new, and b) they were testing the water with Gav's Path of the Noun series.

Void Stalker will focus a big chunk on the Eldar of Craftworld Ulthwe, and Aurelian has Lorgar, uh, "encountering" the Eldar a little bit, as the cover will show.

Ultimately, Chaos is the Great Enemy, the Doom of Man, and it's the faction at the heart of 40K's theme. The other races get equal time on the tabletop, don't get me wrong, and I like them a lot. But the core theme of 40K is always the Imperium against Chaos. Still, it's not an intentional thing - it's just worked out that I've written a few of them in a row.
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby AD-B » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:33 pm

Kayvaan Shrike wrote:Dear Adb I wanted to say I love all your workwith a single exception that is Helsreach. I loved first heretic it's one of my favourite HH books and soul hunter and blood graver are amazing.


Don't sweat it, dude. Nothing different happened in the writing process, it's just a fact that no one likes all of an author's books. My favourite authors have all released one or more novels that I sighed my way through, or just managed to finish with a heavy heart - and these are people I've adored for years (in some cases, decades).
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Re: Ask... AARON DEMBSKI-BOWDEN

Postby AD-B » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:43 pm

Atlantic wrote:These are very nuts and bolts questions, so I apologize.

I just recently re-read Soul Hunter and the First Heretic. I have about 100 pages to go with Blood Reaver. I have enjoyed all of these novels immensely. I believe they are among the best written and most engaging novels I have read in the last ten years.


Thanks, dude. Muchos gracias.

Atlantic wrote:I have some basic questions about the books. I'm enrolled in a writing course and am curious to know if I have understood how you structured your novels.


Loosely.

I was on a writing course, too. The three years I spent studying writing were immensely fun, mostly because I was living in Liverpool - an incredible city - but they were largely useless in terms of teaching me how to write. I don't plan much; like a lot of authors (most?) I just start hitting keys with a vague idea and see where I end up 100,000 words later.


Atlantic wrote:Soul Hunter

What would you say is the premise behind Soul Hunter?


"Deluded maniac justifies a mythology of lies, while convincing himself he's better than all the people he betrays and kills."

Atlantic wrote:Is the antagonist in the story the 'Exalted' or the general degradation of the Legion?


Both. Personally, I always see the enemy as the Legion itself: the hypocrisy, the betrayals, the way nothing works the way it should. It's an underlying theme behind it all.


Atlantic wrote:Which of Talos's flaws would you consider to be most integral to the story?


Probably his pride, as well as his delusions about What Once Was and also What Should Be. Ultimately, he doesn't always make good decisions. He's headstrong, driven by emotion, and the reason he doesn't want to be a leader is because he knows he won't be very good at it.

It's not a story about galactic badasses conquering all before them. It's about how we deal with responsibility we don't want, and families we don't like.

Also, bolters.


Atlantic wrote:The First Heretic

Who or what exactly is the antagonist in the First Heretic?


Ignorance. Easy-peasy.

Atlantic wrote:What would you say the theme of the story is?


That's the kind of question other people always answer, then the author either nods or shakes his head, and gets to look smart without doing any work himself.

Consider that a look behind the curtain. Novelists do that alllllllll the time.

Atlantic wrote:Blood Reaver

What is your premise for Blood Reaver?


"Soul Hunter, but turned up to 11, halfway along the road to Hell. Things fall apart. The center cannot hold."
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