On Being 30
Since I’ve been 30 for two weeks now, I consider myself an expert on the topic. Here’s what it’s like to be a 30-year-old white male in 2010:
- Your Facebook status updates are a miserable screed of people complaining about their children; complaining about divorce; complaining about weddings; complaining about cars breaking down; complaining about being older than you; and complaining about being bored.
- On average, your car breaks down once per week. You ease the pain by telling Facebook about it, and become part of the flawed cycle.
- You have the same money issues as when you’re in your 20s, primarily because your car is somehow allergic to functioning.
- The roads in Ireland are just as bad as when you were in your 20s, and you need to stop taking corners like that, because it’s not good for the wheels. Your smartest friend tells you this, and he knows about these things.
- You start to see high school reunions mentioned, and you realise that you know literally 2% of the people you graduated with, and have no desire to speak to most of them. You feel smug about this and congratulate yourself on a smooth transition to adulthood away from all that, until the 98% have no idea who you are, either. Then you think “Wait, aren’t I over this by now?” and you realise you are, but wonder why – for thirty seconds there – you thought you weren’t.
- You miss your high school reunion because you have to do a book signing, but take the moral high ground and don’t tell any of them that, because you’re safe in that none of them read your blog.
- For your last birthday, you receive: the new edition of Space Hulk (which you are too scared to paint in case you screw it up); a Pantera mug (you collect mugs and you like Pantera – a safe gift); a coaster with the logo of your WarCraft arena team name on it; some killer character art of a former WarCraft character (before you decided to play an undead instead); a new and much-needed black hoodie; many, many, many books; and of course – the staple entry on adult’s gift list – Chaos Marines.
- At your birthday party, for every deep and involved conversation you spend discussing racism (Emma), politics (Nathan and Lousie), careers (Ben) and rebuilding friendships (Ellen), you spend an equal amount of time discussing why Chaos Marines are totally awesome (Everyone else).
In other news, Blood Reaver is approaching halfway, and will hit it in 2-3 weeks. That’s late, but only barely. It’s, like, actually close to being almost on time. Getting a novel to the halfway point only a few weeks late is literally the most professional I’ve been with a deadline since I finished Soul Hunter two and a half years ago.
The trailer for The First Heretic will also be released into the wild in the relatively near future (not that near, don’t hold your breath), with the novel itself let loose mere weeks after. And that’s kinda what I wanted to discuss here, because this is massive and terrifying, even for someone as ball-achingly up their own arse as I usually am.
Let’s review the last releases in the Horus Heresy series.
- A Thousand Sons, by Graham McNeil. This book was a New York Times Bestseller by a huge-selling author, who – let’s recall – was also the man who won the David Gemmell award this year. (He also had a baby boy, so let’s all give Graham a hand for the best year ever).
- Nemesis, by James Swallow. The book was a New York Times Bestseller, by – let’s recall – a huge selling veteran of a squillion licenses, who also won the Scribe award not far back.
- The First Heretic, by me. The book isn’t even out yet, but let’s be completely rational, here: I’m The New Guy. I’m doing skull-burstingly well, with zero complaints from my end, but still. You see where I’m going with this.
- Prospero Burns, by Dan Abnett. Let’s not even crack wise about this: It’s Dan Abnett writing about literally the most popular faction in the license (my insider sources – as if the forums weren’t obvious – tell me only Blood Angels come close to Space Wolves’ popularity). This has NYT Bestseller written all over it, and it still would even if the covers contained nothing more than screenshots of Dan’s FarmVille.
And then there’s an anthology which, by the way, I’m doing a story about the Dark Angels against the Night Lords. But I digress and tease.
Now, I don’t mention this to blub about insecurity, or plead for sales, or whatever else. I mention it because it’s my blog, and it’s what’s going around my skull. The sane thing would be to relax, accept that what will be will be, and try not to worry about it. After all, do I expect to be a New York Times Bestseller at age 30? No, not really. I’ll be stunned if it happens, and will make a 6-hour round trip to Belfast for celebratory pizza, but I’m not exactly expecting it. If I was, I’d not promise myself something as stupid as a 6-hour drive for Domino’s, because it’ll be as cold as a tauntaun’s balls by the time I got back, anyway.
My ex Jessica calls these “ice donkeys”, by the way. Her chilling lack of respect for Star Wars canon was the ultimate factor in the termination of our relationship.
What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Fame and fortune.
So why do I mention this? Well, because I’m honest all the time, and because I’m really scared right now. When writers sit there and nod sagely and act too cool for school, by saying “I don’t really care about sales or awards”, they’re employing a clever trick of social dynamics called Telling A Lie. Even if it’s only a little bit, everyone still cares that little bit. And in this case, I care because the other guys I hang out with are all getting it done, and I shudder in terror of being the fat kid who goes to the ball without a date.
Pre-Posting Disclaimer: Okay, okay, so I’m exaggerating a little. As I said, I’m not weepingly insecure or freaking out that I’ll die before the world heralds my greatness. I don’t want to be placated, appeased, offered sympathy, or whatever else, just because I was honest enough to say I’ve thought about this.
Ha, actually, that just made me think of the trailer for Heat, way back when:
“STARRING ACADEMY AWARD WINNER AL PACINO AND ACADEMY AWARD WINNER ROBERT DE NIRO
…and Val Kilmer.“
Poor Val Kilmer.
Stop laughing at him. He’s better than you. Like you’ve ever done anything as rad as this: