Aaron Dembski-Bowden

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

Post-Heresy Meeting, Pre-Baby. Plus, The Lord Inquisitor.

So, anyway, I’m back home.

On the banal side of life, that means sending half the internal components of my new desktop computer back to the lab, for a judicious application of Please Fix This Shit, Thanks. There’s baby furniture to build. There’s a new carpet to prepare for. There’s the knowledge I now have that – after visiting my friend John’s agonisingly middle-class suburban home (plus his wife, Liz; plus their baby, Henry) – that I’ve now actually become my parents, at the start of their parenting career. I’m starting to do the things they did, and have friends in similar situations to theirs back then. I have to do things like, f’rex, assemble nursery furniture, and hanging out with my friends no longer involves shivering in their shitty apartments on the stabby-stabby side of town.

Which, y’know, is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. Visiting your friends should involve liking their wives, thinking their babies are beautiful, and central fucking heating. It shouldn’t involve prayers to a variety of pantheons that the shitheads on the corner will choose not to disembowel you with kitchen knives, or tazer you in the spine because they totally got a stun-gun on eBay.

A net gain, there.

I missed most of the last Horus Heresy meeting, which is fine as I didn’t have that many questions anyway, and out of all the team, I’m probably the one who least enjoys discussing his in-progress stuff. I see the value everyone gets out of the chats, and how it can change stuff from, say, a detail here or there, to the entire course of a book. I mean, we’ve surely spent 6 hours or more at meetings discussing Fear to Tread in the last couple of years. I’ve known the storyline of that novel, and been around for the chats and feedback about it, since before The First Heretic was released. But I prefer to work in a little more isolation.

That said, Graham changed the entire focus of Betrayer with a single sentence last time, so… y’know, whatever. My point is this: I hate talking about planned or in-progress stuff, and prefer to retreat into my isolation chamber until the book’s done. I did have a suggestion for Betrayer’s subheader, which went down pretty well. That was about it.

The Emperor’s Gift is finished, at 102,000 words. I picked up my proof copy of Void Stalker (which, to my surprise, was also on sale at the SFX Weekender). It’s cute how it’s 15% chunkier than Soul Hunter. Work-wise, fuck it, I’m taking a couple of weeks off to get ready for Fuchsia’s arrival.

I didn’t actually do much at the SFX Weekender itself. Graham (McNeill) is a master at interacting with fans, selling himself without being creepy, and just hanging out at the booth all day, chatting, laughing, etc. Me? Not so much. I am so, so, so very notoriously bad at that even at the very best times, especially when it’s busy, like it was at SFX. That was magnified by the fact I was in the chalet most of the weekend, finishing The Emperor’s Gift, so I was a bit of an invisible presence all ’round.

I surfaced long enough to be on a panel discussing space opera, alongside (among others) Dan Abnett, Peter F. Hamilton and Alastair Reynolds. There was another guest added at the final minute, which meant I surrendered my chair to sit on the end, looking like a fucking idiot. My bad.

As a massive fan of Alastair Reynolds and Peter F. Hamilton, that was a pretty amazing moment for me. Another step closer to being able to say “I’ve arrived” at some arbitrary point in the future.

I’m pretty terrible with photos, and didn’t take any of interesting stuff that people would actually want to see. I tend to forget other people read this thing, and end up taking photos just for, well, me.

Like this one:

I screwed this one up because I was laughing. One of my traditions when I’m over for a Heresy meeting or a Nottingham signing is to go through the Citadel Miniatures Hall of Old Stuff, and just see what’s been added. Anyway, just as I was taking this one, I heard someone over by the door say in that fake-quiet library voice: “That’s Aaron Dembski-Bowden…” which made me smile and glance away the same second I took the photo. It was supposed to be of the huge Khorne symbol ruin, but as you can see, I moved. So now it’s now a photo of… some guy’s wings, and some lens flare.

I visited Forge World, through their public office and into the secret bowels of Stuff You’re Really Not Allowed To Talk About. Stuff that’ll be about in the next 6-12 months, etc. While all of that was awesome (and probably my favourite abuse of GW clout) best of all, I found this motherfucking thing:

Which, as you can see, is rad.

“Dude,” I said to Ead, Forge World’s customer services manager. “Dude, get a photo of me with the storm bolter.”

Worth it. Totally worth it.

Anyway, I returned home to Katie who is now, if possible, even more swollen with the Dembski-Bowden heir. As a general rule, I tend to avoid any conventions or signings where she can’t make it as well, as her not being there only adds to my discomfort about the whole “surrounded by too many people” deal, and I feel shitty leaving her home while I go out and do cool stuff. Especially cool stuff like messing about with life-size storm bolters.

In another abuse of power, I also asked if Graham would send me the Word.doc of his novel Priests of Mars when he’s finished with it, because I didn’t want to wait until it hit the shelves. Better than that, he’s sending me it chapter by chapter, which is awesome to the power of killer. Out of Black Library’s entire 2012 line-up, that’s the one I’ve been keenest about for ages and ages, so getting hold of it is a bit of a personal coup. It’s also got the very best cover. No, really, just look at this fucking thing. To say I’m “jealous” implies a mortal, human limit to my envy. I assure you, no such limit exists. My jealousy is a seething, eternal thing – a matter of primal instinct usurping all sentience and drowning all higher function. Love it to bits.

Returning home after 5 days away also means I had an inbox rammed full of jazz in desperate need of some attention. A lot of it was asking Fuchsia’s due date, which is – depending which doctor or midwife you believe, Feb 20th, Feb 26th, or March 2nd. We tend to err on the side of 26th-2nd, but obviously she’ll come when she’s ready, so we’re not holding our breath. If she does hit her target date, she’ll actually arrive when our friend Barney is over for the week, which would be surreal and awesome.

And now, you may have heard of this:

http://www.thelordinquisitor.com/. And this: https://www.facebook.com/The.Lord.Inquisitor.

And maybe seen this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7glPda2Lcc.

I’ve seen those things, too. Hey, we’ve got a lot in common, right? Let’s do lunch.

When I got back from the HH meeting and the SFX con, I had about eight million messages and forum comments that said “ARE YOU WRITING THE LORD INQUISITOR?!”

I’ve been following the project for a long time, and I’ve commented in various forums about how I was variously amazed at the detail, thought it was beautiful, and was mean enough to say I hated (I think I actually said “not a fan of”) the voice-acting and the script. But for a proof of concept trailer, that shit is far beyond killer.

A while ago, the Lordi (teehee) overseer Erasmus Brosdau (which is surely the most 40K name ever) got the green light from GW’s legal dept. and put out an open call for people to help out and make the thing happen as a 40-minute movie. That’s sort of when I came on board. I asked what they were looking for, and how the process had gone with GW. Nothing major. It quickly turned into something a bit majorer, which isn’t a word, but I’m going to pretend it is as I quite like it.

So, to answer your question(s): Yes, kind of. I’m not writing the movie all by myself. It’s a collaborative effort, and I’m just one little gear in the machine – I didn’t jump in and demand to run the show, or any shit like that. Obviously, everything’s in early development right now, so no spoilers. Suffice to say that I’m on the team, and absolutely freaking thrilled about that fact. I may make a billion suggestions and they all get ignored. I might write the whole script and we end up using a single scene. That’s just how this jazz works; I don’t want people thinking I just moved in to rule someone else’s show. This is still Erasmus’ brainchild, I’m just on the team.


We’re clear.

Excuse me now, while I go try to remember what the fuck free time feels like.

I have a feeling it’ll feel like making furniture, tidying my office, and playing The Old Republic.

P.S. I’m not saying Craig Charles was high during his DJ set at the SFX Weekender, but I will say that guy needed to sniff a whole lot, and kept wiping his nose on his sleeve every three seconds.

I’m just saying.

February 7, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,


  1. Any chance any of those emails you are going to answer include any of mine? Just sayin….

    Comment by Greg | February 7, 2012 | Reply

  2. If you do not have a power screwdriver,get one it will help greatly putting together the furniture.
    Don’t forget babyproofing,I used to think outlets were part of the Fisher Price Socket Inspector Kit 😉
    Glad to hear L.I. Got the green light,was,nt too long ago I heard GW slipped the chains of thier Khornite Demon Lawyers,glad to hear otherwise.
    Erasmus’s work is twice as good as the Ultra movie in regards to animation.
    I am dying to see the Baneblade scene.
    If you are on Bondar Crystal on Kotor look me up,I ‘ll hook you up
    The Tag is ChipChipperson

    Comment by Bigwill | February 7, 2012 | Reply

  3. Craig Charles probably had a cold, I hear those things are common as muck these days…

    Then again, he might have just been high, nothing would surprise me with that man.

    Comment by fluxeor | February 7, 2012 | Reply

  4. I was sadly dissapointed with the Ultramarines movie, it felt very laborious, and I didn’t think the quality of animation was anywhere close to a modern standard, now if they could take some of the actors from it who were doing voices and combine it with this chap Erasmus’s work – it would become I believe the movie most of us 40K fans have been waiting for!

    And yes, he has an epicly 40K sounding name, I’m jealous…

    Oh, and the chap above me is spot on, power drivers are a must, I recommend a Makita (because everything else is inferior…)

    Comment by Rob 'Emrys' Brown | February 7, 2012 | Reply

    • The voice acting was brilliant in that movie…animation wasn’t but serviceable. I give the team credit for making it happen and a copy sits on my shelf right now.

      Comment by Michael Kitchens | April 20, 2012 | Reply

  5. So, what was that sentence Graham used? That one that made you change Betrayer?

    Comment by Helbrass | February 7, 2012 | Reply

  6. Mmm, boltery goodness. Was it even slightly heavy or was it just wood+plascard?

    I’m already looking for phone numbers for prop departments. I will own a slaaneshite (Ha!) phallus bolter if it kills me.

    And finally, damn. If I’m reading that right then Void Stalker being on sale would have given me another reason to go to SFX this year, rather than pay for three more boring months of TOR pvp.

    Good luck when Katie gives you the ‘time for the heir’ scare 🙂

    Writing Fuscia a little story afterwards might be a cool (free) present for her 10th/18th birthday. Pass the time at least…

    Comment by Mark Grudgings | February 7, 2012 | Reply

  7. You met Peter F Hamilton and Alastair Reynolds? You bastard.
    You’re getting Priests of Mars chapter by chapter? You utter bastard.

    Comment by Rictus | February 7, 2012 | Reply

  8. Well, you weren’t alone in thinking what you did about the script and voice acting. I said the same thing: “Badass animation + modeling, but might as well be a silent movie”.

    Comment by TheSGC | February 7, 2012 | Reply

  9. Can you tell us what you DIDN’T see in the bowels of Forge World? *wink, wink*

    Comment by Son of Dorn | February 7, 2012 | Reply

  10. The House Dembski-Bowden allows female succession? Interesting…

    Comment by DarKnight | February 7, 2012 | Reply

  11. Priests of Mars worries me greatly. I’ve found Mr. McNeill’s stuff kinda hit and miss lately….with more of the latter than the former. However, Mechanicum was an awesome novel. But despite all that, it’s hardback, which doesn’t massively appeal to me either. So I’m left with the conundrum:
    Do I buy the hardback, worried that I’m not going to enjoy it.
    Grit my teeth, bear the wait and feel like a leper because I’m one of the few ‘tards that ‘waiting for the paperback’ and in so doing, didn’t enjoy it as much as I may have had I not waited (like with The Emperor’s Finest).

    Such is life!


    Comment by Xhalax | February 7, 2012 | Reply

    • Funny that. For me, Mechanicum was the first McNeill novel I liked. Period.
      Haven’t read any of his Iron Warriors stuff yet, though. Waiting for omnibus.

      Comment by Bela | February 9, 2012 | Reply

  12. Really looking forward to your additions to the movie – very cool indeed! Good luck with baby too – I am a Dad of 3 daughters…so prepare to kiss whatever hair you have left goodbye….

    Comment by northernhomesteader | February 8, 2012 | Reply

  13. Good luck with Fuchsia. And the best of wishes to the whole Dembski-Bowden family.

    /first time commenter, long time follower, old time 40k addict.

    Comment by Bela | February 9, 2012 | Reply

  14. You play The Old Republic ADB? Cool. What class are you?


    Comment by Lord of the Night | February 10, 2012 | Reply

  15. I am too happy for words that GW’s legal has the sense to let this continue. It looks just too great to sideline. The only thing that I would say needs a little work is the voice acting – no shame in that, mind you. It’s a highly specialised skill.

    So, more power to you and more power to Erasmus!

    Comment by Hugo Schmidt | February 14, 2012 | Reply

  16. I second pretty much what everyone else has posted, kudos on doing so much, good luck with fatherhood, and writing amazing books and playing ToR (awesome isnt it?).

    Ps. You utter utter bastard for reading preists of mars this early, im soooooooo jealous

    Comment by J.Sibley | February 15, 2012 | Reply

  17. The Lord Inquistor looks amazing…I’m glad that he’ll have a proper writer behind all of those beautiful textures and models. I agree on the voices…definitely need some British in there, too (I’m American, but whatevz). Much well wishes for your first born. Also, big ups to GW for letting this move forward. Amazing props on that one…they could have canned it. Glad it’s not going the way of Damnatus.

    Comment by Michael Kitchens | April 20, 2012 | Reply

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