Aaron Dembski-Bowden

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

Your Void Stalker Qs

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “These aren’t all of the Void Stalker Questions.” Well, I don’t care. But I did it, damn you. I freaking answered most of the freaking things. Time is a factor, you know.

I’ll try to get to the others at a later date.

  • Jonathan Ward asked: “What’s the part of it you’ve most enjoyed writing so far?” Good question, guy. Probably the evacuation of Tsagualsa, when it comes under attack by the Primogenitor Chapters.
  • Alec McQuay asked: “What does the Void Stalker wear under his armour?” I’m not sure. Also, the Void Stalker is a she.
  • Chris Buck asked: “Will the relationship between Septimus and Octavia go on?” Yes. The conclusion may or may not be a happy one, depending on your point of view.
  • Jonathon Ward (what, again?) asked: “Does Talos stop at any point and say ‘I’ve been a bit of a dick, haven’t I?'” Sort of. The novel is primarily about Talos realising his view of the Legion is a little theatrical and melodramatic, viewed through rose-tinted lenses to save his own sanity. The narrative spine is about how he comes to terms with it, and what he decides to do about it. Remember, the only actual non-biased information we have abou the Eighth Legion is their Index Astartes article, and it’s very clear on what the Legion is really like, now and in the past.
  • David Michael Defries asked: “If Talos is the Soul Hunter and Huron Blackheart is the Blood Reaver, who is the Void Stalker and what is his favourite colour?” I’m not telling you who she is. But it’s probably black.
  • Dale Jordan Parratt asked: “Will any further details from the Horus Heresy emerge?” Yeah. Well, quite a bit about the Scouring, and a little bit about the Heresy. Sevatar gets a few mentions and quotes, with several characters referencing his fate. That’s a touch of foreshadowing for him in the Horus Heresy.
  • Sam Spiteri asked: “Any news regarding the aftermath of the Atramentar??” Firstly, I’m not sure both of those question marks are totally necessary. Oh, and… yes. I’ve mentioned before that they’re getting their own spinoff, Terminator Nights, where they chase girls and solve crimes. Or chase crimes and solve girls. I’m not sure which one I’ll go with.
  • Alex “Buddy” Holly asked: “Is Void Stalker the conclusion or a continuation? These premonitions have me worried.” It’s the conclusion. Remember, the Night Haunter’s prophecies were mostly about how he died. Night Lord visions aren’t cool or hopeful things to have, when it comes to the crunch.
  • Lianne O’Sullivan asked: “What was your inspiration for the pieces of dialogue written in Nostraman?” Words that sound dangerous when you whisper them. Vaguely Italian-sounding wordplay that’s reminiscent of mafia captains threatening each other. I have a lexicon of Nostraman, so I know certain words, and I know how to pluralize certain phrases, etc. It has grammar rules, but since there’s hardly any Nostraman spoken, there aren’t many yet. I think the lexicon is likely to go in the omnibus.
  • Tom Williams asks: “Are we going to see lots of dead squishy space elves?” Maybe. And an equal number of dead space humans, too.
  • Joe Scrim Till Deth asks: “will the series of night lords books go on as long as the ultramarines??? If so will the night lords reunite there entire legion by the end of it cause from what i have read they seem to be a very broken up legion!!?” Man, that’s a grotesque amount of punctuation. I think I hate you. Firstly, it might go on after a break, but this is the end of the trilogy for the near future, at least. And no, no one Night Lord would ever be able to unite the Legion. That’s just now how Chaos Marines work, as every edition of the Chaos Space Marine Codex has highlighted. Even the Legions that are still relatively ‘together’ through a time-mutable eternity of infighting and war within a realm of pure Hell are still warbands, led by individual champions and warlords, coming together largely for raiding and Black Crusades.
  • Nikki Loftus asks: “Can I hug Cyrion?” You can, but be careful. You don’t know where he’s been.
  • Joe Marsden asks: “Question for you sir: Did you ever consider real world criminal organisations (their cultures, codes etc) when thinking about the Night Lords? If so, which ones? And, last question; could any victory or achievement truly make the Night Lords of your novels ‘happy’ or fulfilled?” The Mafia. I’ve researched them pretty heavily in the past for writing projects, so I know quite a lot about them. And sure, some of the characters could be fulfilled. It depends on their drives and desires, really. Cyrion and Xarl are already fairly fulfilled – they just want to survive another day in a galaxy that hates them. Talos struggles, though. Part of that is because he knows he’s essentially hollow, an avatar of the Legion’s capacity for self-deceit. Despite being from Nostramo, he’s what the Night Lords were before all the Nostramans joined the ranks. And remember, he’s right to be unhappy about a lot of things: Curze annihilated their home planet to stop any more of them joining his Legion. That’s serious juju. That’s not the act of a primarch who thinks his Legion is a great bunch of guys.
  • Sergio Nunez Cabrera asks: “What happened to the head and body of big bad Conrad Kurze? will we see more of Cyrion´s taint? Will we see flashbacks of Talos as an scout -do even NLs take scouts?-? will we see more of Halasker, of Lucoryphus prior to joining the Raptor cult?” In order… No one knows; Yes; No; Not exactly; Maybe; No.
  • Stephen Forde asks: “Where did I leave my shoes?” That’s less random when you learn that I really do have a pair of his clogs at my house.
  • Scott Anderson asks: “Who was Alpharius the whole time? :D” but I won’t answer it because I hate smilies.
  • Dale Jordan Parratt asks: “Cyrion is my favourite without a doubt.” and is promptly informed that that’s not a question.
  • Kenneth Goddard asks: “Will we start to see the Night Lords start to recruit and replenish their numbers?” which makes me wonder if he’s read the end of Blood Reaver.
  • James Nicolau asks: “Will Talos or any of 10th Company find Zso Sahaal and kick his ass for running off like a punkass?” Nope, because Sahaal resurfaces a decade or two after the series is set. I was careful about that. Really, with a Legion having done so much in ten thousand years, it’s unlikely Sahaal’s return would mean that much, and he’d (at best) be just one warlord among a Legion that didn’t like him very much. As much as some fans love him, they’re not looking at it from an in-universe perspective. All canonical Night Lords lore states that Sahaal’s viewpoint is incorrect. That means, well, that it’s incorrect. The subversive “But we were really betrayed” theme works great in BL’s annals a few years ago (and sells books like crazy, as fans love conspiracy theories, and villains who are wronged heroes out for revenge), but now we’re detailing all of those ancient eras more clearly, and according to the lore. This is part of the reason why, in the Night Lords series, he’s not as popular as some fans might have imagined, and why I avoided detailing too much about him. His story is done. He’s not as great as he said he was. He’s just as tarnished as Talos, Xarl, and all the other characters in the series.
  • Arwen Fenton asks: “If we pray hard enough to the Chaos Gods, will that ensure a second trilogy featuring our favourite cowardly badasses? What music (if any) do you listen to whilst writing for the Night Lords?” Part of my reluctance to continue it is that I’m planning a Chaos series about a different faction of humans and Chaos Marines. I’m taking everything I’ve learned from the Night Lords Trilogy, and applying it to that, as well as delving into new territory. As for music, I pretty much always listen to 90s British Rock (Wildhearts, Therapy?, etc. not Oasis and co.), Industrial, Darkwave, 80s Metal, and some dance. Repetitive things with no lyrics are surprisingly helpful sometimes.
  • Ragnar Karlsson, who works at Black Library, asks: “Is it going to be on time? ;)” Is it fuck.
  • Debi Marie Whitehouse asks: “It’s pretty obvious that Talos and the crew are currently single, but do they date and if so what kind of girls do they dig?!” That’s actually kind of an interesting question. They’d probably like really nice princess-types in secret, but they’d marry biker chicks. The problem is that they skin people when they get annoyed, so domestic violence on a Night Lords vessel would be slightly less amusing, and way more gross.
  • Joe Lyons asks: “How did you get the Night Lords so.. human? At least, as human as ancient genetically-forged giant killers can be, but unlike so many other astartes in writing, they are properly individual characters that I care about. Was it a conscious thing to move away from the norm?” It was, actually. Everyone has a different opinion on exactly how Marines act. For me, humanity – as a concept and an expected ideal of behaviour – covers a broad spectrum. The Night Lords were human; human children, at least. They’ve got human foundations to their psychological makeup, but a lot of their development was stunted, manipulated, or otherwise altered by nature and nurture. They’ve each got aspects of humanity, and their origins do show easily enough. Whereas I tend to write loyalist Marines are more “autistic from the outside” and focused, driven by duty, Chaos Marines are largely driven by emotion – and usually negative ones. That matters. It’s a powerful slice of characterisation, too.
  • Luke Temporal asks: “‎1. What kind of font will be used? 2. How thick will the paper be? 3. Will every page be numbered, or every other page?” 1. I write in Palatino Linotype, size 11. Everything else is barbarous. 2. I’m not involved in production. 3. Being in the family doesn’t spare me from hating you, man.
  • Sarah Cawkwell asks: “If Nicky gets to hug Cyrion, can I borrow Uzas to deal with my List!” You can borrow him, but please bring him back soon, as I need him to fight things. Also, he’ll be covered in blood and twitch all the time, so I’m not sure he’ll be much use around the house.
  • Sally Edwards asks: “Can you do a dictionary for Nostraman?” See above. Yeah, I’ve got one as a forever-open Word.doc on my second screen when I write, and I think it’ll be in the omnibus. Kalshiel, for example, is Nostraman for mating, but it implies mating ‘beneath your station’. As in, “Those kalshiel Bleeding Eyes.”
  • Greg Smith asks: “‎1. Do you actually have a full Nostraman vocab worked out or are you just making it up? 2. Is Talos going to remain in command throughout VS? 3. Are the Atramentar really dead?” 1. Yes I do, but yes, I also make up new things to add to it. 2. Sort of. There’s a leadership issue, related to the end of Blood Reaver. 3. No. That would be awful writing.
  • Dave Cox asks: “So. How are you?” Cyrion actually asks that in Void Stalker’s prologue.
  • Dave Young asks: “Can we still do our Xarl spin off book together?” You know it. Xarl: the Jihad Years will be a winner beyond anything else.
  • Wesley Weix: “How many times did you work on VS behind the Wifey’s back during the honeymoon? :p” Not many, actually. I did some of The Butcher’s Nails, and I read a lot of Steve Pressfield. I was mostly concerned with looking at Katie naked.
  • Jamie Watson asks: “1. whats the first thing you will buy with the royalties? 2. whats the weirdest thing you have been distracted by when writing it? 3. did you steal any ideas that you used in the book thus far?” 1. Probably flowers for Katie, since it’ll be Royalties Day. 2. Planning a wedding, getting married and going on honeymoon. 3. Nope, but I always want to use “OKAY, I’M RELOADED!” from Carlito’s Way, especially since the Lonely Island song.
In other news…
Goddamn, Neil. I owe you for that cover. It’s beautiful.

"I came all the way to the Eye of Terror and all I got was an Avatar puking on my boots."

September 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 36 Comments