Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A Primer

Welcome, Imperial citizens, to the Truth.

There is one rule, and one rule only, forced upon humanity the length and breadth of this galaxy: do not question.  All laws and morals, from the most stringent to the most innocuous, spill from this central concept.  The Emperor has decided for you.  Do not question Him.

But the centre cannot hold.  If one denies knowledge, one cannot prevent questions, because without knowledge, how can one know which questions are not to be asked?  Here, in the darkness of the void between, we will give you that knowledge.

We will tell you of Horus.

The Truth is here, for as long as we can broadcast.  The Truth is here.


TL; DR: it's this guy (copyright Games Workshop)

For the last few months, I've been working my way through the Horus Heresy series (international bestsellers, or so they tell me), and doing fairly well with it.  But then, they're preaching to the choir: I've been hanging around the GW universe for the last twenty years.  I've read the story of the final battle of the Heresy a hundred times in a dozen forms.

Which comes with its own problems.  There's almost nothing left to surprise me.  So am I ahead of the game for how much I know and love this story, or would a strategic frontal lobotomy to clear out all those years of background leave me better placed to enjoy the series?

Well, I don't have access to a frontal lobotomist.  But I do have a girlfriend, who's mental landscape is blissfully untarnished by Games Workshop's intellectual properties, beyond having to listen to me explain why these miniatures have to be dark green and those identical miniatures have to be blood red.

So what would happen if I expose my very intelligent, genre-savvy and infinitely patient other half to the futuristic horrors of the Horus Heresy?  Will she guess what's coming? Will she piece together what has come before?  Will she care why the II Legion aren't around no more?

Here's the plan.  Once a week, at eight am Wednesday (GMT), I'll post up a discussion based around one chapter from one book in the series.  I'll be asking my girlfriend Fliss what she's making of the series so far, what she has been able to glean about the wider setting, and how much she's prepared to speculate on subsequent events.  Right now all knows is that the series is set during a war in space, and often features the same events from different perspectives.  Beyond that, she's got nothing, and I'll be barring her from reading the blurbs, so that she meets everything with as little forewarning as possible.  Hopefully this will be illuminating, and entertaining as well - Fliss being no slouch in the wit department.  Specific format may flit around a bit over the first few months as we get our bearings, but the basics won't change.

Anyone noting a potential similarity between this blog and this one won't be the first.  Indeed, when I hatched this idea I spent a couple of days deciding whether this was too close to stepping on Neil Perryman's toes.  Ultimately, though, I've decided three things.  One: exposing one's partner to one's passions is a pastime that very much predates us all.  Two: my desire to share this rich universe - if not always one in which tales are told tremendously well - with my other half is powerful, and I'd be an idiot if I threw away the resulting experience when I could write about it instead.  And three: no-one told Einstein that there was no point investigating the underlying nature of the universe because Newton had already done it all.

Well, actually, they probably did.  But they were wrong.

Next week we kick off with Chapter 1 of Horus Rising.  I hope you'll join us.

(A quick word on spoilers in comments.  I'm fairly confident that anyone wanting to read and pass judgement on this site is liable to be in the "very familiar" camp as regards Games Workshop's extensive fictional histories, so I have no intention of trying to crack down on all potential spoilers.  That said, I think for now at least it's best to keep explicit discussions of events in the series to those that happen before or during the opening trilogy.  So Flight of the Eisenstein is fair game, as is Fulgrim up to Istvaan III.  Anything following on from that I'd like to avoid getting into for at least a little while.

Oh, and for those who don't already know, I have two other blogs: a random collection of topics I find interesting or enraging, and a deranged and utterly doomed attempt to create a coherent time-line for the entire line of X-books.)

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