Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Don't worry. None of this blood is mine.

Artwork, Weddings, Honeymoons

Her dress went on and on and on and on. I tripped over it about 800 times in a single day.

We haven’t got the official photos back yet (it was only yesterday…) from the 2 (3?) professional photographers in attendance, but Facebook is already flooded with soul-stealing imagery of “Wait, what?” photos, taken by our friends. I’ll put some of the proffessional ones up when they come in, but here’s one of the good ones for now.

So, yeah, I’m married now. Katie Dembski-Bowden has become the third Dembski-Bowden in the world, and I’m reliably informed she has some kind of internal bio-machinery that allows her to breed and incubate successors to that hallowed bloodline. While that’s not exactly something I’m in a blind rush to arrange (largely because I just got married and am now very poor), it’s an amusing thought that I have the power to curse future human beings with the world’s most annoying surname.

I eagerly await the first time Katie has to spell it over the phone, or say it slowly to some slack-jawed goober behind a desk.

My gift, my curse.

I have a titanium ring on my finger. I was charmed by the idea of titanium because it looks silver (I hate gold), and because apparently it gets scratched and marked very easily, but never breaks. I’m peachy keen on the idea that it’ll be marked up and unshiny in a few years, showing that I’ve been wearing it every day (writing, driving, drumming while I think…), but still in perfect shape. I’m a guy who likes to wear his scars on his sleeve, so to speak, and a similar ring-thing appealed to me.

I have no time for a wedding update, really. That can come later, as I’ve got to pack for my honeymoon in a few hours. We’re heading to Bruges in the crisp, early light of the Irish dawn.

Suffice to say, my friend John French was right – it was over in a flash, and it was the best day of my life so far. I was most scared of the first dance, but that was actually the best part of the day for me. It’s insane, once you’re up there, you don’t see anyone else, you don’t even remember you’re being watched by 100 other people. It’s just the two of you.

But none of that matters to you scum, does it? My happiness is immaterial to you. You just come here to learn about bolters.

If you’ve not seen this yet, here’s the artwork for the cover of Void Stalker.

"Hey, you. I see you down there, asshole."

Oh my freaking God, look at Malcharion’s (combi) storm bolter in his hand. That’s… that’s perfect. No other words can sum it up. The gun, the Blade of Angels, his armour, the rain on the Gothic city… It’s just perfect.

I’ll show you the full cover soon enough, but let’s be honest, it’s impossible not to love this. My only criticism of Jon’s work has been that I’m not massive on his helms: I think one of the main characteristics of an Astartes helmet is that it’s bulkier towards the back (like on the miniatures, etc.) and Jon paints it so it looks like Talos is just wearing a mask. But I can say that without compromising how much I love this piece, and still back up how much I love his work. I can’t even imagine how much I owe him for his beautiful efforts selling the words within. Soul Hunter blew me away; Throne of Lies almost floored me, and Blood Reaver was an absolute stunner. His cover for Void Stalker is by far my favourite in the series, and my only worry is that he’ll now – somehow – need to beat this if there’s ever an omnibus in X years. I mean, I’m not sure it’s possible to top this. It’s divine. As the world’s most arrogant guy, I’m actually a little intimidated trying to make a novel worthy of that image.

I even know the very moment this represents in the novel, which brings me to my next slice of info about the book.

A lot of people are asking me what Void Stalker is about, considering it closes the trilogy, and the only information we really have is that First Claw, the warband, and the Echo of Damnation are going to encounter the eldar – and Talos doesn’t think they’re going to win.

Yeah, well, sorta. I’m not saying that won’t happen, but it’s not exactly what Void Stalker is about. The novel’s essentially about Talos and First Claw coming full circle. In ‘Shadow Knight’ and Soul Hunter, we saw Talos’s perspective on the Legion, and how he truly believes they deserve vengeance against an empire that failed to live up to the dreams of its founders. In Blood Reaver, we saw snippets of conflicting views (which, notably, are closer to the actual canon – canonically, the Night Lords were never “betrayed” as such; they (apparently) went off the rails with their slaughtering and the Imperium got annoyed about it).

Void Stalker is about Talos finally being caught in the one place he never wanted to be, and the one place he suspects he’s not ready to be: in command. He now has to lead warriors who may not agree with his, uh, ‘romanticised’ view of the Eighth Legion’s bitter past, and more importantly, he has to decide for himself just what was true and what was a deception to justify the things he’s done.

This is how the trilogy ends, and there needs to be closure. Trust me, there will be. In Void Stalker, Talos and First Claw will cut right to the heart of the Legion’s past, dredge up ancient truths, and choose how they should live their lives now.

If there’s one question that runs through the novel, it’s simply this: “Why are we still fighting?” 

The way different characters answer that, and how they react to it, may surprise a few of you.

Ultimately, First Claw are flawed, incomplete humans: they’re the Lost Boys, given immortality but stripped of moral consequences in a galaxy that has no power to judge them. They’re each a piece of a whole soul, now needing each other in the way the closest brothers and friends come to depend on each other in times of struggle and strife.

I want that to come across in Void Stalker, when Talos finally has to face up to what the Eighth Legion was, what it is, and what it might become.

I really, really, really want that sword.

July 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 31 Comments