The Outcast Dead

For talking openly about the spoilers from Black Library fiction.

Re: The Outcast Dead

Postby Jim Shady » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:15 am

I'm sure that GM mentioned that there was an IH and he'll be back again (Was it an IH or was it a Smurf? Hmmm!), either way, more will be detailed on the CH. I wonder too, if the SW tradition of having the Wolfblade is may be based on the CH?

Anyway.

I wouldn't get too worked up over the inconsistency until we see what what GM has lined up for us in regards to how he/another writer, continues on to give us more information. I'm sitting on the fence in regards to the majority of the issue, 'cause it's a 'glass half empty/half full case', IMO. As mentioned by sigillite, Jim Swallow has already stated that 'things aren't what they should be/seem.'
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Re: The Outcast Dead

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:27 am

Jim Shady wrote:I'm sure that GM mentioned that there was an IH and he'll be back again (Was it an IH or was it a Smurf? Hmmm!), either way, more will be detailed on the CH. I wonder too, if the SW tradition of having the Wolfblade is may be based on the CH?


The Crusader Host is a Legiones Astartes presence on Terra and that's that. Consider them a... reminder of the might of the Legiones, as well as being there to put up a united front to show the throneworld that the Legiones are united/one. Mostly, they just garrisson the throneworld from what we've seen. The Wolfblade are bodyguards and agents for House Belisarius and they travel with its Navigators all over the galaxy if need be.
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Re: The Outcast Dead

Postby sam vimes » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:42 pm

well the breakout has just happened and God-Emperor just how tough are Death Guard? world eaters are brutally enjoyable, the luna wolf is a nice change from the loyalists and traitors just wish the thousand son was as cool as Imhotep from BFTAB he's good loving just how leatheal he's showing just how strong the thousand sons are.
"Huron-Fal’s systems were on the verge of shutdown ... ‘This death,’ rasped the voder, ‘this death is ours. We choose it. We deny you your victory.’

"Abandon your fear. Look forward. Move forward and never stop. You'll age if you pull back. You'll die if you hesitate."

"From iron cometh strength. From strength cometh will. From will cometh faith. From faith cometh honour. From honour cometh iron." "And may it ever be so"
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Re: The Outcast Dead

Postby sam vimes » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:25 pm

well finished it last and it was ace from start to finish only quibble would be that I wanted to see the characters fleshed out a bit more mainly the Asartes and hope to see more on the thunder warrior at the end of the novel his reveal was a big suprise and a welcome one, Delivernce Lost which I started straight after TOD is also proving to be a cracking read who'd have thought a Primach with Corax's background could feel fear?
"Huron-Fal’s systems were on the verge of shutdown ... ‘This death,’ rasped the voder, ‘this death is ours. We choose it. We deny you your victory.’

"Abandon your fear. Look forward. Move forward and never stop. You'll age if you pull back. You'll die if you hesitate."

"From iron cometh strength. From strength cometh will. From will cometh faith. From faith cometh honour. From honour cometh iron." "And may it ever be so"
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Re: The Outcast Dead

Postby Xisor » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:30 pm

sam vimes wrote:well finished it last and it was ace from start to finish only quibble would be that I wanted to see the characters fleshed out a bit more mainly the Asartes and hope to see more on the thunder warrior at the end of the novel his reveal was a big suprise and a welcome one, Delivernce Lost which I started straight after TOD is also proving to be a cracking read who'd have thought a Primach with Corax's background could feel fear?


Odd as this sounds, I'm extremely pleased that you've enjoyed TOD. It's the bottom of the series (for the moment) in my esteem, but I'm intending to re-read it eventually and am apprehensive about it. That it can be enjoyed so wholly, well, I rather look forward to pouring scorn on my former self's opinions during the re-read!

(That said, if I re-read it and it's still <not very good>, you're in massive trouble, Sam Vimes! :evil: :lol: )

Deliverance Lost is a cracking read. Peters out a bit in a few places, but it's got some really neat bits to it and was pretty thoroughly enjoyed. Pretty sure
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Re: The Outcast Dead

Postby sam vimes » Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:19 pm

Np xisor lol one of the main reasons I enjoyed it was the human view points provided in the book were done well, an example that I really liked was the Thousand Son at the last battle man that boy was piss drunk mad and he had no qualms, whaling on the kill teams face with everything he had, and the navigator saw this clearly and to be fair I liked as it showed just what I like about Asartes, thier human flaws coming through.

The Custodes were... pricks for the most part WAY to zealous seeing everything in black and white is in my view a fast route to becoming the evil you fight against or ending up dead, suprisingly I found the World Eaters the most endearing and likeable (the Emperors Child and Death Guard died to early for my liking) the sergent killing the custodes at the breakout was a good scene really brutal and again the custodes deserved it he did not endear himself but since when are praetorions meant to be likeable? I love to hate them lol

The Emperor was well handled liked how he was done a lot 'no sacrifice is to great for the scalp of the enemy Emperor' how true and sad as we all know the end result although I have to wonder just what made Dorn so arrogant? 'I am the Emperors champion' trust me mate G man would be better but sadly he and Lorgar are having a brotherly scrap at Calth.
"Huron-Fal’s systems were on the verge of shutdown ... ‘This death,’ rasped the voder, ‘this death is ours. We choose it. We deny you your victory.’

"Abandon your fear. Look forward. Move forward and never stop. You'll age if you pull back. You'll die if you hesitate."

"From iron cometh strength. From strength cometh will. From will cometh faith. From faith cometh honour. From honour cometh iron." "And may it ever be so"
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Re: The Outcast Dead

Postby revelation » Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:00 am

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Re: The Outcast Dead

Postby J D Dunsany » Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:18 am

Well, with the Emperor's blessing, I'll make a start...

Just a couple of observations, really.

Erm... I will read the rest of this thread eventually and that may well spark some ideas. We'll have to see. If I replicate points made by others, then I can only apologise. Please bear with me. Also, this isn't a review as such - more a reaction and some general observations. They're things that interest me about the novel, but may not interest you. At least one of the things I'm going to say is in response to a recent comment by Xisor in the WAWR thread, so it might be worth people reading his rant/comment first before reading my response - just watch out for the spiky bits! :)

Right. Let's deal with one thing first - the timeline issue. I can understand why some readers are spitting feathers about it, but I'm afraid I just don't care. I really don't. Sorry. No offense to you if you do, but it doesn't interest me in the slightest. I could justify my not caring if you like, but it would be rather dull and wouldn't persuade people who do care in the slightest, so... let's move on...

The first third of the book is mostly garbage. It's poorly written (I mean, really badly written) with clunky cliched metaphors and some really rather turgid description. Our main viewpoint character is damaged and has erected a generally unpleasant personality shield around himself which is fine for him, but really rather painful for us, because he's almost impossible to sympathise with. The line the choirmaster gives to Rogal Dorn about Zulane being 'the best of us' is stupid. If he really was the 'best' astropath, he wouldn't be working on an aging Ultramarines ship, surely? This is an example of the kind of hyperbolic writing that sci-fi/genre writers like to think of as epic, but is just silly whenever you start to properly think about it. (And, yes, I've been guilty of it myself...)

As far as plot goes, that first third doesn't really have one. Oh, things happen and we're given a nice introduction to all the settings, people and themes we're going to need for the story's denouement, but there's no real sense of things moving. It's like a big old bowl of overdone porridge - the more you stir it up, the thicker and more impenetrable it gets. (That is, admittedly, a pretty crap simile, but it's still, I'd argue, better than at least 85% (to pick a random number) of the ones deployed by McNeill in the first third of this book.) I could say more, but I've got better things to do than pick over McNeill's oddly lethargic efforts to get the plot moving, so let's move to...

Lift-off. Sort of. The psychic arrival of Magnus is the catalyst for the book's main plotline and it is done... satisfactorily. Just about. You still get the sense that McNeill isn't properly in control of the actual writing. A bit like a second-rate guitarist trying desperately to ape his heroes, he's straining to pull off those big epic moments that he knows he needs to deliver. Some of the writing is desperately phatic (phrases like "like never before" just need to be put out of their misery before they hit the screen, as does the practice of using the word "impossible" for activities that are relatively ordinary, when actually you just mean 'weird' or 'strange' or 'uncanny'), but he does manage to convey in some sense the scale of the disaster that Magnus' message triggers. The key event, of course, is Sarashina's transfer of vision to Kai. This is done reasonably well. Her execution is effectively described and it also gives us a chance to see a decidedly murkier side of the 30K Imperium, which we sort of knew existed but hadn't quite seen in this much detail.

Which is probably just as well, really, because it turns out that murky side is incredibly dull. The interrogation scenes between Kai and his psychic torturers just didn't engage me at all. Similarly, the scenes with the Outcast Dead in their cages didn't, as much as I admire Atharva as a creation, do much for me either. The battle with the Custodian was okay, I suppose, but the cartoon over-the-top posturing of the World Eater ("I'm going to rip out your spine..." A few minutes later, oh, look what's that he's holding in his hand?) was not something I was ever going to find appealing. (It's my age, I think...) One thing that McNeill does reasonably well, though, (as Counter did before him in BFTA) is write inter-Legion dialogue and, despite the shortcomings of the writing, my inner fanboy began to warm to these chaps. Good thing, too, because...

Once they crashland in the Petitioners' City, it actually gets quite interesting. Antioch is a nice little character, for a start, and his murder really pissed me off (which is a good sign at this point - I'm actually beginning to care about the characters). Atharva's developing relationship with Kai is also nicely done. The characters are beginning to gel, so things are improving. The setting of the Petitioners' City is important, too - it's the grimy underbelly of Imperial Terra festering in the symbolic shadow of the Imperial Palace. The moral ambiguity (if not outright corruption) of 30K Earth is exemplified here in a number of satisfying ways, not least of which is the particularly obnoxious Golovko. Similarly, Baba Dhakal is a fascinating character who, sadly, doesn't quite get as much 'screen time' as his rather unique status in the 30K universe merits. (The Dhakal sub-plot ends up being more of a distraction than anything else, which is a shame.) The final fight between Atharva and the pariah, the releasing of the Vacant Angel, the arrival of Rogal Dorn - all of these moments are pretty powerfully portrayed, to be fair. Say what you like about McNeill, but he does at least know how to write a good heroic death.

There's one or two other things I'd like to say, but it's getting late and I'm rather tired. Xisor's rant contains some thoughts on fate or characters knowing what's going to happen to them before it happens etc. On the whole, that kind of thing should probably be handled with more care than McNeill displays here. That said, it might be more interesting to view the Emperor's portrayal here in a religious light rather than a sci-fi one - the Christ-like aspect I mentioned earlier was less to do with Christ 'dying for sins' but more to do with the fact that the Emperor knows the sacrifice he has to make well before he makes it and accepts that with something approaching stoicism. Arguably, the meetings over the regicide board are a bit cliched (Bergman etc), but they allow for an insight into the Emperor's character that feels fairly momentous, even though it's not really telling us anything new.

Anyway, I'd best leave off here for now. Feel free to agree/disagree/rave/rant/cast stones. I'm a big boy; I can take it all. :)

Regards,

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Re: The Outcast Dead

Postby sam vimes » Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:05 pm

I'm not going to descend into quote boxes here lol as that is well too much effort and I can't be arsed, for the most part the time line thing just didn't bother me at all as you said JDD, if it bothers you it bothers you but don't let it spoil a book (hi matt ward you still dont exist to me lol, but the rage you cause is funny) for me the main draw of the book was finaly non bloody asartes central players plot.

Forgive me but by the time TOD came out I was asartes saturated in HH, so when it was centered around a astropath and mysterious murky visions, I was ready to have Mcneils babies lol (same as when Dan saved Ollanius Pius from squat territory) the whole flight and escape from the gaol? was nicely done and the custodes jailer's observation on the guardsman that had been assigned there to learn how not to be reckless, which amused him given how the guardsman was in effect a elysian drop trooper and his job involved HALO jumps, amused me as well.

Whilst Kai Zulane did stand out, the thousand son stole the show for me seriously Ben, Graham if your reading this, do more thousand sons as Imhotep from BFTAB was awesome "Feeding time is over" one middle finger to chaos thank you very much :)

This is problay repeating what JD said but the dark side of Terra was both a surprise and not surprising as well Terra is still a crap hole regardless of whats been done, and built Terra is kerput due to all those lovely little wars, so regardless of the great crusade crap still happens, slums still exist cruelty of the universe and all that jazz.

The thunder warrior subplot I liked, as well I don't think were ever going to get much on them and Mcneil did a very good job with Baba and what he was after and it was a nice little indication of just what kind of dreggs of science and machinery the big E was working with till obviously Luna and Mars give up the shiny toys, it's a vain hope but I would like to see a return to this little nugget, as when I noticed "The Shattered Legions" in AE, later it was confirmed that we are getting a book called The shattered Legions and guess who it deals with? :P Hmm wonder if that means that certain authors have floated and ear marked certain HH projects for themselves?

Most of the complaints that JD points out are really down to personal prefernce, example the interogation scenes I liked a lot as they convened the sense that holy shizer they are not messing around they will crack his skull open to get the answers, same with the custodes being such dark grim sods but then they were humorless gits in TFH so nothing new so when one got his spine pulled out happy was this boltholer.

But one area Mcneil like Ben excels in is making the legions feel distinct the 'great' ADB for example his asartes in betrayer felt samey to me, the way the asartes spoke in TOD all felt distinct and individual ( the thousand son was awesome did I mention that? :P )

The ending in the chruch felt sign posted but not in a bad way I could tell that damn were gonna get one almighty showdown and we got it in a nice style, the huntsman was a respectful soul, was pissed the way his brutally honurable world eater opponent was killed by that wimp with a gun loved and hated that scene although I can't recall if Dorn got a smack in the mush off anyone.

Speaking of golden boy he was and still is going through hell his entire view point and belief system has been turned upside down and inside out since Magnus did a collect call to dad and dad didn't want to pay, the whole outbreak of the HH, the dropsite massacre, death of brothers um yeah hold still Dorn while your universe falls apart :(

He's had to walk down some hard paths and make some harsh decisions that well, break his heart Last Rembrancer anyone? that shows how Dorn is changing into something he fights against only he's blind to it no wonder he comits 'suicide' in the first black crusade.

And yeah JD Graham does heroic deaths very very well Adraic Vannes anyone?

Well thats about all I can pull from the dusty bin that is my memory probably missed things but I'll dig TOD out and re-read it at some point to refresh.
"Huron-Fal’s systems were on the verge of shutdown ... ‘This death,’ rasped the voder, ‘this death is ours. We choose it. We deny you your victory.’

"Abandon your fear. Look forward. Move forward and never stop. You'll age if you pull back. You'll die if you hesitate."

"From iron cometh strength. From strength cometh will. From will cometh faith. From faith cometh honour. From honour cometh iron." "And may it ever be so"
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