We talk news, many games as we delayed again unfortunately as we switched recording programs (again...boo!) so here's our Blood Angels special with James Swallow, Andy Smillie, Guy Haley, Darius Hinks (text interview), and Paul Murphy from FtN podcast.
Check out all BL books at www.blacklibrary.com !
Darius interview : link on www.combatphase.com
Who are the Blood Angels (BA) to you? [This will include everything from 9th Legion 30K to all successor chapters in 40K so answer what you like, no need to cover everything]
I’ve always loved those duality/repression kind of themes you get in gothic literature and I think that’s what makes the Blood Angels so interesting. They’re like Dracula crossed with Dr Jekyll – remote, cerebral, aesthetes, bottling up a wild, terrifying, id that they can’t (maybe don’t want?) to escape.They’re pretty messed up, basically.
- What do you think the appeal of the BA is for the fanbase?
I think it’s that dichotomy that makes them so appealing. They have such a long, complicated history. The Blood Angels revere Sanguinius, of course, but they also know that he’s the source of their great flaw. So how can they best be like him? The Blood Angels are tormented but determined at the same time and I think that’s a great springboard for fiction.
- Talk about Mephiston as a character first. What singles him out as a subject?
To my mind, Hades Hive didn’t free Mephiston of all his dangerous Blood Angels duality, it threw fuel onto the fire. I think of him having a dual consciousness – a cool, scholarly side that barely recalls/understands his wild, warp-fuelled excesses in battle (the Mr Hyde part of him). The scholarly side of him needs to understand and harness the wild side, or he'll become a force for destruction rather than good. He’s hoping to be a good guy, and working hard to achieve that goal, but it could go either way.
- What happens in your novel (avoid major spoilers)?
I had a lot of fun exploring Mephiston’s corner of the Blood Angels’ fortress monastery on Baal. A lot of this stuff hasn’t been written about in much detail before and I was lucky enough to work with the (much cleverer than me) Guy Haley. We bounced a few ideas around and, while he thought about Baal and the Arx Angelicum in a wider sense, I delved into the darkest recesses of the Librarium. It’s not all crypts and sacred vaults though – Mephiston and a strike force of Blood Angels get drawn into an internecine bloodbath on a daemon-infested Shrine World and fun times are had by all.
- Given the exciting advancement of the narrative where do you see Mephiston and the BA in general in the Gathering Storm and what aspects might we hope to see going into 8th edition and beyond, beyond just the Shield of Baal (Tyranids)?
If Hades Hive threw fire on Mephiston’s split personality, the Cicatrix Maledictum has added even more fuel to the flames. Mephiston’s got half a foot in the Warp anyway, so a bloody great tear in reality is going magnify things to an insane level. I’m writing more about Mephiston and it’s exciting ramping his problems up to even more extreme levels. Blood of Sanguinius is set before the events of the Gathering Storm, but the next book is set after. If Mephiston can harness this influx of new warp energy he could turn the tide of the war and prove to the rest of his Chapter that they are worthy, that they can defeat their ancient curse and make their long dead daddy proud, but if Mephiston is consumed by the Warp, or if he’s wrong about source of his powers, he could be the final nail in their (admittedly quite fancy) coffin.
- How was it for you writing a 40K novel? You’ve contributed to Architect of Fate and several amazing Fantasy and AoS books. What stories would you like to tell?
It’s always daunting writing Warhammer fiction because you know how much love there is for these characters and what strong opinions people have about how they should be portrayed, but... My favourite part of 40K is the weird stuff that spews from John Blanche’s head: the strange, surreal, twisted, pseudo religious, mythical, gothic, claustrophobic, bloody creepiness of 40K and, writing about a Librarian, specifically Mephiston, was a great excuse to delve into that stuff. It was loads of fun. I’d like to push the horror even further in the next one though. If there was ever a bit of 40K that should be scary to read about, it’s this. I’d like to write something that keeps me awake at night.
- Did you have any favorite parts of Mephiston?
I always enjoy writing messed-up Chaos daemon scenes, and I managed to squeeze some of that in here. There is a daemon-birth scene that properly freaked me out as a wrote it, so I was particularly pleased with that. Does that sound weird? Am I weird? Why are those people pointing at me and whispering?
- You brought your unique, dark take on demons and alien entities from Fantasy into Mephiston. How did you envision the opening enemies (the first battle)?
I’m really freaked out by those electron microscope images of dust mites. They’re so bloody horrific and alien. I suppose I was thinking of them. Now I’m thinking about them again. Do they live in eyebrows? I’m getting itchy.
- We must give a nod to your other BL books. Sigvald won me over and I was so pleased to see your name on the Orion Trilogy. Any fun moments in character development in the World That Was? In your AoS work?
Sigvald was such a gift – a thrill-seeking hedonist in such a bonkers a setting. I kind of feel like I should have paid BL for the fun of writing that book. (Don’t tell them though.) My AoS novel was great fun too. At the time of writing, nothing was really pinned down about the Stormcast Eternals or the new Warhammer setting, so I had a lot of leeway to invent stuff. I’d like to do more stuff in the Mortal Realms at some point.
- Do you have anything coming up we can know about and/or can we expect to read more of your work? (say what you’re allowed, they understand by now how this works)
I’m working on more Mephiston and I think he’ll keep me busy for a while. If the first book does well and BL like the idea, I’d like to do quite a few books about him. Other than that, I’ll just be busy trying to get all these microscopic insects of my skin. I wonder if you can buy a cream for that?
00:00 - 00:32 - Intro
00:32 - 01:20 - James Swallow
01:20 - 01:36 - Andy Smillie
01:36 - 01:55 - Guy Haley
01:55 - 02:20 - Paul Murphy
Ep 152 Women in Wargaming
James Swallow jamesswallow.blogspot.co.uk
Andy Smillie @andysmillie
Guy Haley @guyhaley
Paul Murphy @warmaster_tpm
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