Thursday, 14 October 2010

Give a Hoot, Read a Book

So the memorial is done.

The original inscription reads, 'For The Glorious Fallen', over which one of the Boyz has thoughtfully given his opinion of the universal pecking order.

The Overlords podcast this week was having a discussion about Black Library fiction.

Now whilst the discussion was interesting, I couldn't help feeling that one or two of those taking part in the discussion had a touch of educatedidiotitus (a disease common among those who have GSCE's and a Degree) (and commonly defined by a tendancy to repeat stuff you have read in the review section of the Independent). Their point was that Black Library books are a product of their time, and that according them that time was the 1950's and 60's.

Apparently modern Sc-Fi is different.

I can't say that I am in a position to comment on this, as I don't read any modern Sc-Fi (the closet I have got was Philip K Dick, which left me thankful that someone else had managed to get to the end and made it into a film), but it does rather strike me that either those indulging in the discussion either don't comprehend what they are reading, or they haven't been reading at all. Not least because the criticism was in part that the novels are overly focussed on combat and do not focus enough on the mundane of existence in the 40k universe.

Which to me is rather odd, since reading the Space Wolves trilogy and the Guant's Ghosts series I have a pretty good idea of the mundane life of those unfortunate to find their life turned upside down by war (even if the life being imagined by Dan Abnett is pretty much a re-imagining of various fairly obvious historical events).

What perhaps I don't get is the sense of the novellist using the 40k universe to discuss modern concerns and dilemmas... which in a sense has always been the stock-in-trade of sci-fi.... and has led to the paranoid fantasy's of sci-fi buffs throughout the 20th century.

I suppose if you were of a certain mindset it would be possible to critique Gaunt's exploits against choas and the forces of the Infardi as referencing the current war-on-terror.

Yet perhaps this is to ignore the real strength of the novels, that they don't have to do anything other than offer a thrilling adventure in an already defined and definable universe - and it does have to be said on that front Black Library does deliver (of course some books deliver more than others).


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