Category Archives: My related activities

Book review – Prospero Burns

The newest installment in the Horus Heresy series provides a perfect counterweight to its slightly older twin.

The artwork of Prospero Burns. Image: Black Library

Author: Dan Abnett
Series: The Horus Heresy
Release: January 2011

Image: Black Library

For the first time since starting With Boltgun and Brush, I’ve finally been able to finish a relatively new book. So instead of starting the long process of reviewing the entire Horus Heresy series, book by book, chronologically, I felt like creating something  more applicable to date (stretching my English here, feel free to correct if necessary). Also, having just recently finished it, I’ll obviously stand a better chance of producing a review inspired by fairly raw impressions and thereby enthusiasm.

Let’s get one thing straight from the very beginning: When reading the material of Dan Abnett you can always rest assured that you are in able hands. Perhaps the finest author of the entire Black Library, Abnett is foremost a master in the creation of characters. But also when it comes to environments and dramatical, well-balanced storylines does he truly excell. A recognisable trait you’ll notice in Prospero Burns is the author’s seemable penchant for placing the point of view with “ordinary” humans rather than Space Marines. Even though this wasn’t completely the case with his first Heresy-novel, Horus Rising, I think Abnett prefers a measue of mystique when it comes to the Adeptus Astartes. I tend to agree, also because this is unquestionably dangerous terrain (get it?). Several authors have burned themselves depicting certain Astartes as overly naive, antagonistic or simply caricatured.

Leman Russ - Primarch of the Vlka Fenryka (Space Wolves) Image: primarchs.mosaicglobe.com

 

But back to the story at hand. This is a tale of wolves. The Emperor’s self-proclaimed executioners, His most unrelenting warriors; the Space Wolves. It is the story of Prospero’s fall, the home world of the Thousand Sons assaulted and all but annihilated as a harsh response to Magnus the Red’s misguided actions to warn the Emperor of the coming heresy. It’s just as tragic as it sounds, but for the more general description of the epic Astartes vs Astartes battle itself, you should seek out A Thousand Sons (Graham McNeill), the so called series-twin and predecessor of Prospero burns. The storylines of these books run parallell, but they focus on somewhat different aspects (apart from describing two different Legions). Prospero Burns tells us a lot more about the Space Wolves themselves, than the conflict with the Thousand Sons, but at the same time this helps us better understand why it happened as it did. A kind of balance is restored, as it becomes clear where the real fault lies. I think I’ll leave it at that.

Getting to understand the warriors of Fenris at a deeper level than ever before, all the while being served new insight into the Horus Heresy itself, and having all of it wrapped into the exceptional writing quality of Dan Abnett, is no less than a real treat. Reading A Thousand Sons prior to this book should be compulsory though, unless you are bent on experiencing the story in a more unorthodox way. Much like watching the newest Star Wars films before the old ones; once you’ve done it, you can’t undo it.            

Comments in both English and Norwegian are appreciated!


Game Review – Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior

My oldest 40K-game is the intense first-person shooter Fire Warrior.   

In-game firefight, the Greater Good shall prevail! Image: THQ

 
Produced by: THQ
Category: FPS
Released: 2003

Image: Amazon.co.uk

 
Just to get one thing straight from the very beginning: Starting up this game for the first time in 2010 will probably have you staring in disbelief at the 7 years long time-travel in graphical technology that it represents. 7 years backwards in time, that is. To put it short, the graphics LOOK old because they ARE old. But who cares?! You are controlling a Tau Fire Warrior that is able to wield pretty much any Tau and Imperial hand-held weaponry in existence, what more could a fan of Warhammer 40K want? Well, an authentic story and environment, lots of action and brutal violence should also be compulsory ingredients in a good 40K-game. Fire Warrior delivers all of this; The story is well-told and true to Games Workshop’s universe, and the areas you visit in the game are varied and, from time to time, quite impressive in both scale and detail. Still, there are games from 2003 that tend to look a lot “newer” both graphics- and physics-wise. Movement tends to look very mechanical, and some of the textures are a bit simple.

 

Much of the environment looks quite impressive, especially the gothic Imperial buildings. Image: THQ

But, as I’ve stated earlier, you shouldn’t let the graphics distract you too much. The game is intense enough that you’ll be spending most of your time consentrating on the enemy. If you have read some of my earlier posts you’ll know that I support the Imperium, so killing Guardsmen and even Space Marines is not my favourite aspect of the game. Which makes it even more fun when Chaos enters the fray, and becomes the new enemy.

This, however, brings me to the main flaw of the game as I see it: You are ONE Fire Warrior killing DOZENS of Astartes, Chaos Marines, Raptors and even Daemons. ALONE. On your FIRST mission EVER! For an outsider this might seem okay, but 40K-fans all know that a Fire Warrior needs some luck to take down even one Space Marine. I guess you can simply turn up the difficulty, but that doesn’t change the goal of the game! I generally like the weapons design, but a few of them are still either underpowered or functions in a weird way. The boltgun, for example, has a very low firing rate. This is fine for when you use it yourself, considering the weight and recoil, but the Astartes should be able to fire it on full auto. Besides, the bolt rounds act like slow-moving missiles, so I suppose THQ either wanted to make a sort of “machine rocket-launcher”, or they made them slow so you would have a chance to dodge. I guess the game would be too difficult otherwise, realisticly difficult. 

Taste plasma fire Daemon-spawn! Most of the weapons are very well designed. Image: THQ

Even if the goal might not completely justify the means, in the sense that some Warhammer 40K-authencity has been sacrificed, the game is nonetheless extremely fun to play. Maybe if the fighting was less individual, if your allies actually followed you around instead of staying put, or, you know, DYING so friggin’ easily, then the expected accomplishment would have simply been more realistic. Or at lest somewhere a little closer, we wouldn’t want  to lose the genre’s over-the-top charm, now would we? I would’t bother to review this game from a regular gamer’s point of view, so all that I’ll say is that if you’re both a 40K-fan and likes action games, this is something worth checking out. If you haven’t already, that is. We don’t have THAT much to choose from…

Comments in both English and Norwegian are appreciated!

                             


What I’m reading

What is so interesting that I can’t seem to be bothered to make new painting/modelling posts every single day? I’ll tell you. 

 

Some of the litterature I have to keep up with

That’s right, it is exam time, which means I’m doing a lot of reading. And, as you can tell from the picture, it’s MOSTLY curriculum litterature. But I also spend some time on the dayly paper, the monthly car magazine and, more relevant to this blog, Warhammer 40K-litterature. Currently Dan Abnett’s The Lost omnibus. Those novels are simply addictive to me; some time ago I decided to take a break from 40k-reading, and started to read this other series. I made it through three books before I had to jump back, and now I’m busy re-learning all the names of those under Colonel-Commissar Gaunt’s command. If you have ANY interest at all in the Warhammer 40, 000-universe, I’m just telling you: The Gaunt’s Ghosts-series. Seriously.

Dan Abnett: The Lost - A Gaunt's Ghosts omnibus, the stuff I'm currently reading. Picture: Black Library

This other Warhammer 40K-series I’m reading is The Horus Heresy. The “40K-break” I had has made me unable to keep up the pace, and so I haven’t read the two latest additions; Nemesis and The First Heretic.  When I’m done with the first of four novels in The Lost, I will most certainly switch over, that I might get back on track in the 31st milennium. For those of you that don’t know: The Horus Heresy-series is about the catastrofic events that broke The Emperor’s great crusade, and plunged the galaxy into a 10, 000 years long war that rages more fiercely than ever in the 41st milennium (the present date of Warhammer 40, 000, hence the name). Epic reading, I can assure you; both dark tragedy and magnificent triumph awaits the reader of this fantastic collaborative series.

Dan Abnett: Horus Rising - The first Horus Heresy-novel. Picture: Black Library

Don’t worry though, I’m in the process of assembling a Land Raider Crusader, details will be coming soon.

Comments in both English and Norwegian are appreciated!