Aaron Dembski-Bowden

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

Wedding Pics I

We’re getting our wedding album back in a few weeks, but here’s a few slices of the day itself.

Unsurprisingly, most of the photos are of Katie. Despite the fact it was in an idyllic location with a squillion people, I won’t bore any dear readers with full details about how the day went.

Except to note that I tripped over her dress at one point, which was a blessing in disguise, as it made me laugh and brought me back from the edge of crying like a little lost lamb.

Anyway, here are a few of the photos (I only have a few at the moment), as a preview for when I inevitably make a larger album and bore everyone to death.

She really couldn't look more Irish, could she? Also, we had no idea, but she was a couple weeks pregnant at this point.

Getting married is, apparently, serious business. No time for smiles. Or for tidying up your sideburns.

The Bridal Party. While they were all amazing, we owe Emma (maid of honour, on the far right) a huge thanks for being incredible on the day, and Shiree (next to Emma) for all the cupcakes on the tables. All 200 of them.

The Groomsmen. And me, waving. I think I'm actually waving at my ex-girlfriend Jessica, which sounds weirder than it really is.

Obligatory dress shot. I'm not going to lie, I needed help getting her out of this later on. It was a complicated operation, requiring expert technical intervention.

This was the fake cake-cutting. The real one happened about 4 hours later in front of everyone, and someone (I think it was Jon...) shouted a much-anticipated crack about cutting the cake with a chainsword. Even fearing it was coming wasn't enough to prepare me for the surreal moment when 40K was mentioned out loud in my wedding ceremony.

August 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 6 Comments

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

Wedding: T-Minus 2 Weeks

You know, signing 3,000 sheets of paper to be bound into a limited edition novella really takes a long time. Especially when your signature is a doodled logo that takes ages to do.

On the plus side, I’ve been listening to Peter Cushing on my headphones, reading his autobiography Past Forgetting, Memoirs of the Hammer Years, as I sign over and over and over again.

The wedding is two weeks away now. I’m not scared so much as cautiously, nervously excited. We did the table plans today (again, as I was signing), and Cathy went in for her final dress fitting yesterday. The reality of it all is finally starting to sink in, which means all the good as well as the bad. Friends I’ve not seen for years. Fooling a redheaded hottie into the shackles of wedlock. All that good stuff.

There’s bad, as well. The people who say it’s “Your Day” probably mean well, but it’s not entirely Your Day. It’s a day of balances and compromises, too. Some people who you love can’t make it, but some people that you’re not thrilled with can. I also find myself thinking more about whether other people will enjoy it than if I will. I also have a fairly complicated relationship with my family. I’m not going to go into that here with any savage depth, but there’s a lot of unresolved emotion, misunderstanding, and simple differences that have fouled the rigging in the past. I’m not worried about how anyone (including me) will behave on the day itself, I’m just aware of the whole emotional maelstrom of it all, bubbling away behind my eyes.

My friend John (French) has probably been the biggest help in calming my nerves about all of this. He was married a few years back, and his unremittingly positive crunchiness about the entire thing treads the knife edge between inspiring and daunting. I think I love him most of all for making the effort. Maybe my headspace is junked up with work and my general melancholic carousel of thinkery, but “It’ll be fine” has never worked on me. I need examples of why it will be fine, and specific instances – preferably with photographic evidence – of times it’s been fine in the past. It’s like telling me you’ve seen Bigfoot, and he’s apparently dynamite at classic video games. Raving about how rad he is at Tetris doesn’t mean a thing until you can prove it to me, preferably with DNA samples and screencaps of high scores.

The same rule applies here. As above, so below.

I’m 30 now, which has thus far been better than every year that preceded it, much in the same way that 29 was better than 28, and so on. It’s a recurring theme, thankfully. But now my friends are starting to get married, and a few of them are even consorting to spawn. A couple of them already have.

Jesus. Marriage. Kids. Kids?

I can’t hit a deadline. I don’t even tidy up my office. I can’t take care of myself, let alone another human. What if I’m a shitty father? What if I can’t even have kids, which is something I hear about all the time now? Even worse, what if it’s a boy, and it likes football? Fuck that noise. What if it’s a girl, and Cathy doesn’t let me call the baby Fuchsia, or Princess? Fuck that noise, too.

Are kids destined to feel the same way about their parents that we feel about ours? Is that fate? Is it one of those Circle of Life things?

I’m not sleeping too well, lately.

I’m going to go make some green tea, then stare out the window, pretending to be soulful and deep.

June 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 16 Comments

The Wedding Song: Part 2

Chicago was fierce. Beyond killer. Proper update tomorrow.

Until then, I give you this latest slice of radness: the newest weapon in choosing an awesome wedding song, instead of something Katie likes.

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 17 Comments

The Wedding Song

Katie is posting about the wedding already. This… this unnerves me.

She posted a bunch of details (http://katieadb.wordpress.com/), but I’m still stuck on the first dance.

I keep telling myself we’ve got time before a decision has to be made, and that’s true enough. But I also need to go to dance lessons, so… the first dance at our wedding needs to be to a cool song. Katie is rolling out name after name of bullshit country music, and part of the problem is that our music tastes only overlap in one place: The Boss. A consistent classic.

So while we both love Bruce Springsteen, our tastes fall either side of him. I like metal, melodeath, darkwave, industrial… She likes country music and a bunch of stuff that I can’t even identify, let alone quantify. All I know is that when she’s playing music, I can’t hear any keyboards; the drummers seem to fear going fast; and most confusing of all, the guitars aren’t even plugged in.

You have guys singing slowly about losing girls in the war, and American weirdos going on about Jesus. I think they might even be Republicans.

So, y’know, fuck that.

Of course, the obvious choice would be to choose a Springsteen song, but most of those are monumentally depressing. I mean, have you heard The RiverGlory Days? Hell, even Dancing in the Dark? This is a summer wedding in the Irish countryside, not a funeral for the American Dream. Of course, it being in Ireland, you can guarantee it’ll be absolutely pissing down with rain. But I digress.

We agreed to make a list of 5, and move on from there.

Here’s mine, and whatever happens, all of these better get played on the big day or I’m calling it off, for real. That’s the compromise for me not having any Metallica, In Flames or Monster Magnet on the list. Leaving them off was a true trial.

Pete Townshend – Let My Love Open the Door.

  • One of my favourite songs, and definitely one for the reception. Maybe not first dance material, though.

The Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight

  • One of the bestest and emotionalest songs ever written ever, by anyone, ever, in all of history, ever.

The Wedding Present – (Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile

  • It’s just wicked-cool. Shut up.

Mumford & Sons – The Cave

  • We both heard this for the first time when we were in the car driving back from the airport after Black Library Live. Not only is it a great song, but it has fiddly-violinny stuff in the background of the later choruses that may appease the Irish natives.

Take That – Rule the World

  • Now Take That are in their 30s and free of the irritating one, they do some really killer songs. And this was the theme to a great fillum, Stardust. (The book was better. Ahem.)

See? Not a single Metallica, Monster Magnet or In Flames song on there. This is me behaving. This is progress.

February 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 21 Comments