Zombieslayer

When it's your brains or his, you chop.

When it's your brains or his, you chop.

Why? Why one may ask?

Why bother with a review of Gotrek and Felix’s latest adventure and the 12th book of the series, Zombieslayer? The fans are going to buy it anyway, while the initiates will need to catch up reading the first three omnibuses. Nathan Long has proven himself a worthy writing successor to William King, who started the series.

Well, all true. Still, I guess someone has to be vigilante for any loses in quality in the series. And now as then,  it’s as good as ever.

If anything, Zombieslayer seems even better than some of the earlier books. Most of the books have been open and closed affairs, but Zombieslayer takes place immediately following Shamanslayer after a cliffhanger ending. If you haven’t read Shamanslayer and are worried about a few minor plot spoilers, best turn away from here on.

The Gotrek, Felix, Snorri and the rest of the gang find themselves in trouble. Having killed the shaman who threatened to transform an entire army into beastmen, the crew are threatened by an evil necromancer whose power was no longer held in check. With Snorri missing a leg and memory damaged, Gotrek is determined to have him escape and releases Felix from his vow to do so. But before they have a chance, a misunderstanding leads to their arrest and incarceration, transporting them to castle Reikland.

There, they are eventually freed, but they are trapped in a long and lasting siege against a horde of no less than 10,000 strong and well, dead. Matters get worse when a powerful wight lord, whom the dwarves recognize from their book of grudges, appears with the allure of a glorious doom to the slayers. Meanwhile, not one but two mysteries grows when a traitor works to sabotage the defenders.

Zombieslayer is a top notch page turner. The siege is sharply written, the mystery kept you going right to the end. The characters are an intriguing lot. And questions about Gotrek’s fate are raised within the book, suggesting where the series is going. For any fan of Gotrek and Felix, or zombies in general, you’re going to get a kick out of this book.

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In the Beginning…

Chain swords cure everything.

Chain swords cure everything.

Started a new blog. I considered using Rots Your Brain for my writings as well, but I defined the scope of that as being for movies and television. To change its focus would be undesirable given its focus for mainstream appeal. Warhammer 40k isn’t mainstream, at least not yet… the attention that Space Marine is getting could really begin to change all that. Still, I hope the attention doesn’t go to the creator’s heads. It’s the hardcore fan base who will always be loyal, long after the more fickle fans have gotten over whatever caused the surge in popularity in the first place.

Anyway, I started this blog to keep my writing flowing. Many of the other Boltholers do the same, Pyro, Narry, Shadowhawk. But I need a spot where I can vent to myself the musings of the day, random thoughts and reactions to developing events within and about the 40k universe.

Recently, the submissions window closed after I had pitched three short stories and a novel submission. Of them, I’d say two of the short stories are decent. The last short story was surprisingly intensive, and I honestly have doubts that I could fit the full context of the story in less than 8,000 words. But then again, I think about what The Dark Knight was like or Memento, and recognize that there is a lot of story going on there as well (I am also biased as a huge Christopher Nolan fan). Then again, so did Spider Man 3. Still, I would venture to say that it is better to have too much story than too little, because no one would want to read a snooze fest.

Almost immediately after the contest ended, I went on a reading binge. I read A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, and posted a comparison of it against Gav Thorpe’s The Last Chancers. I completed reading Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe (not to be confused with William).  I slayed Zombieslayer by Nathan Long and am working my way through Nemesis by James Swallow. I’m trying to mix up my fiction with non-fiction, and also mix some more classic reading on top of that. Part of me is trying to avoid becoming an easily satisfied reader, when simply finishing a book automatically makes it worth reading in my opinion. That’s not always the case. Not every book is amazing, and adding another notch to my book shelf is nothing to be proud of.

My hero.

My hero. ❤

But reading the classics like Robinson Crusoe and A Clockwork Orange has the benefit of allowing me to identify and craft stronger themes into my work. It’s… easy to get lost and simply write what some call “warnography”, when the writing is produced simply to satisfy a person’s craving for action. An excellent story should do that and much more. Still, I suppose as long as the reader is entertained, the job is done.

Who inspires me? In the Black Library crew, my favorite authors are Nathan Long, Gav Thorpe and C.L. Werner. What’s amusing is that these three have veered more towards the Warhammer Fantasy than the 40k universe, but Nathan Long’s plot crafting skills are second to none. CL Werner’s enthusiasm for Robert Howard draws me to him every time. And Gav Thorpe’s story telling… The Last Chancers remains my favorite work in the Black Library despite how old it is. Outside of the Black Library, Christopher Nolan and Darren Aronofsky influence what I want to see. George Orwell, William H. Keith Jr and Robert Howard the other works.

I like to think that reading non-fiction can improve your fiction. When you understand the functions of political-economic structures, I feel you can construct more elaborate worlds within the 40k universe. Dan Abnett does so beautifully when he devises the structure of a hive-city’s political scene. It’s a talent that makes the world more complete, more realistic than the predictable black and white, evil vs good concepts that have little more to offer than the physical struggle against the other half.

Besides, it’s not like there’s any side I would call “good” in the 40k universe. To quote Darth Helmet, “So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good… is dumb. “