Author Topic: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)  (Read 7531 times)

Offline Dwi

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The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« on: November 19, 2012, 01:32:44 AM »
well as per the discussion about blanks in the rules section of the forum I have desided to write about my findings about the new Abnet novel Pariah: Ravenor VS Eisenhorn

As book one of the Bequin trilogy Pariah is a mixed bag. I still enjoyed it but their are still some things that get under my skin now that i reflect on it.
***
The Interesting:

Dan included some rather interesting weapons in this book shuch as the; (*cough cough* Bad name ahead *cough cough*) Lammark Combination Thousander.

No doubt inspired by this gun: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LeMat_Revolver as it has basicly the same functions.

Also it seems that Dan had school on the brain. As he even created a a traing schola for blanks only, ment to bring them in to the Iquisition or so the students thought. rather it was funded by a chaos cult to undermine the inqisition. While a inquisition traing school is a novel consept it could have been exacuted better.
***
The Bad:

Bequin in this book is not the real one but is... a clone... ? Now theres cloneing tech in 40K but how dose that work? He basicly summed it up as "You mother was lost, you got cloned, your here".

???
***
The Worst:

Five words: Psy controlled Ventriloquist Dummy Assassians

Really???
***

I am sure there are more but I am rereading it and will no doubt find other thing to gripe about.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 01:38:12 AM by Dwi »
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Offline Koval

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Re: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2012, 06:27:50 AM »
Also it seems that Dan had school on the brain. As he even created a a traing schola for blanks only, ment to bring them in to the Iquisition or so the students thought. rather it was funded by a chaos cult to undermine the inqisition. While a inquisition traing school is a novel consept it could have been exacuted better.
Surely this should've gone under "the bad" or "the worst" -- I doubt it's impossible for Chaos to subvert an Untouchable (just incredibly difficult, and it wouldn't get far with them on the basis that it has very little to offer psychic blanks so it would have to be indirect), and similarly "training schools" for Inquisition operatives must exist in some form or another (the Scholastica Psykana springs to mind instantly, ditto Storm Trooper boot-camp), but merging the two and having a Chaos cult fund something the Inquisition's supposed to know about is going too far -- you'd have thought at least one Inquisitor would've done a background check and called the Officio Ofstedium* to vet it first.


*Made this one up, admittedly, though bonus points if you're not British and still get where the name came from.

Offline Dwi

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Re: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2012, 09:26:27 AM »
Yeah well, the Cognitae (The Chaos cult I mentioned) tend to do things that they by rites sould have no power to do in 40k lore. In the book they discribe them as an "Anti-Inquisition".

As for me putting it in the interesting pile I rather liked the idea for a school of untouchables, not the whole chaos backing but not really, kinda sorta feel Dan imparted to it.

That said he steped away from the lore in some parts. Even mentioning the Cathlic Church and even breaking a whole chapter by bringing in... *Shivers*... Alpharius (Yes that one!)

Abnet's a good writer but he writes stupid things...
« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 09:29:16 AM by Dwi »
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2012, 03:18:53 PM »
Bequin in this book is not the real one but is... a clone... ? Now theres cloneing tech in 40K but how dose that work? He basicly summed it up as "You mother was lost, you got cloned, you're here".
The specifics of 40k cloning aside for a second, blankness doesn't really make sense if it's reproduced reliably through either cloning or descendence - if it were, the Inquisition would just breed Pariahs, and they wouldn't be as valuable a commodity as they are.

Readdressing the specifics... this is yet another case of Abnett writing his "special snowflakes", and one that generously breaks a large part of the 40k canon.

The moment you make it possible to accurately reproduce a person down to the individual they are (as opposed to cases like the Krieg regiments, which are presumably only biological clones), it begs the question of why so many of the Imperium's greatest heroes haven't been brought back to life, or perhaps been duplicated such that there's several of them. Inquisitors keeping back-ups of themselves - that'd be useful. Hell, let's clone the Emperor.

It's not necessarily a bad means for an antagonist to have - I've got half an idea around regarding what I call the "Clone Kings", an individual(s) who basically appears to be immortal by this kind of means - but it loses a lot in the hands of a protagonist.

If nothing else, it just reeks of Deus ex Machina style writing such that he can get around the events of Hereticus.

Five words: Psy controlled Ventriloquist Dummy Assassins
Actually... I don't know the specifics, but assassin simulacra given life by unnatural means is, at a basic level, far from a bad idea.

That's not to say that it can't be messed up, but your very brief description isn't conveying "worst" to me.

Abnett's a good writer but he writes stupid things...
I'm struggling with a definition of "good writer" that allows it to still apply when writing stupid things.

(I know I write stupid things, but at least a) I admit they're stupid and b) I don't consider myself a good writer.
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Offline Koval

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Re: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2012, 06:31:57 PM »
Abnet's a good writer


I'm sorry, Dwi, but just because he churns out loads of books doesn't mean he's good -- it just means his fanbase doubles as a PR machine. Horus Rising, for example, can be best described as "a turgid pile of rubbish".

Still, at least he's not Ben Counter or C. S. Goto
« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 06:36:40 PM by Koval »

Offline Dwi

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Re: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2012, 11:26:22 PM »
 ::) Yes well I have a gift (or curse) to like allmost everything...
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Offline krenshar

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Re: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2012, 01:03:45 AM »
I'd argue that 'good' depends on your criteria.  I class Abnett as a good writer because I think he has a strong grasp of the technical side of writing; his pacing suits my tastes, the writing flows such that I don't notice the pages passing, character voices remain distinct throughout dialogue and (while it may be more down to his proof-readers) spelling mistakes are rare.
Plot-wise, I feel there's been a decline.  But in my cynicism, I wonder how much that has to do with what GW requires of him now in it's commissions.

By the same criteria, I have to concede that Stephanie Meyer is also a good writer.  I thought the tale she told in Host wasted a perfectly good alien invasion scenario but it was well written all the same.

That said, I've read the BL's extract of Pariah and it seems pretty weak to me.  Bequin doesn't strike me as a great choice of protagonist - all else aside, she's (presumably) more handicapped than Ravenor when it comes to social interaction and the extract reads as though there's been a definite decision that she is a poor storyteller, despite the narration being entirely in her voice from what Dwi says.

I do like the Cognitae as a conspiracy though.  The kind of cultists that use the Ruinous Powers rather than worship them. My impression from the Ravenor books was that the Cognitae were essentially a very talented recidivist faction before their supposed destruction, and might never have become involved with Chaos were it not for Imperial religiosity meaning that when the founder renounced the Emperor, she felt the need to replace him with another set of gods.
And as they're effectively what the rest of the Inq. fear the Xanthites are heading to, they (or their like) could make an interesting foil for Radical warbands in game.

As to the blank schola, Eisenhorn had his own school of blunters that he called the Distaff (which iirc spread through five levels of a hive) so the precedent was there and it would probably appeal to the likes of the Cognitae to duplicate and twist it.  Especially if the result is that they can feed tainted acolytes into the retinues of Inquisitors.

I have my reservations but I suspect I'll read this eventually.  Though I'll more likely rent it from the library than hand over hard-earned beer tokens.

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2012, 02:31:03 AM »
I'd argue that 'good' depends on your criteria.
I feel that if calling one a good author without further qualification, those criteria are to be taken to cover all aspects of authorship.

As such, a "good writer" has to not only achieve technical prowess, but show talent in plot, character, continuity, integration, originality and believability.
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Offline Koval

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Re: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2012, 06:26:01 AM »
I do like the Cognitae as a conspiracy though.  The kind of cultists that use the Ruinous Powers rather than worship them. My impression from the Ravenor books was that the Cognitae were essentially a very talented recidivist faction before their supposed destruction, and might never have become involved with Chaos were it not for Imperial religiosity meaning that when the founder renounced the Emperor, she felt the need to replace him with another set of gods.
And as they're effectively what the rest of the Inq. fear the Xanthites are heading to, they (or their like) could make an interesting foil for Radical warbands in game.
That's one thing, but having a Chaos cult supplying the Inquisition sounds pretty hard to swallow.

Quote
As to the blank schola, Eisenhorn had his own school of blunters that he called the Distaff (which iirc spread through five levels of a hive) so the precedent was there
I don't think many people liked the Distaff much either. Tracking down all those blanks would've been horrendously time-consuming, as in terms of rarity, they are to psykers what psykers are to ordinary humans.
Quote
and it would probably appeal to the likes of the Cognitae to duplicate and twist it.  Especially if the result is that they can feed tainted acolytes into the retinues of Inquisitors.
This is exactly what most people have trouble with. Why has nobody in the Inquisition done a background check on these guys supplying them with acolytes? Why are they not under constant scrutiny?

Offline Dwi

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Re: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2012, 07:44:22 AM »
Possible spoilers here guys.

Ravenor dose take out the school in the book 'cause of it's underhanded, Congnitae founding and use to infultrate the Inquisition or whatever it was ment for.
However Esienhorn says that he didin't see the school as a threat on the same level that Ravenor did (for whatever reason). Perhaps thats why they continued to oparate with out interfearance till Rav shows up.

That or the Inquisitors of the Scarus Sector must be pretty damn lazy or stupid

Still you would think something like that would be a threat even if they didin't do anytghing wrong by 40k standards being founded by an "Anti-Inquisition" after all...


Possible spoilers end here
« Last Edit: November 20, 2012, 07:54:15 AM by Dwi »
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Offline Molotov

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Re: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2012, 02:29:10 PM »
Reading this thread, I have to question precisely how many people here have actually read Pariah.

Is it a perfect book? No, not in the slightest. Does it live up to the promise of the Eisenhorn trilogy? For me, no. Given that the majority of people on the Conclave seem to dislike Abnett's portrayal of the Inquisition, it's not going to receive a warm welcome here, regardless. But I think it is a decent book - and this thread has inspired me to re-read the book.

I would challenge people to discuss the book on their own experiences, rather than what someone has told them on the internet. It seems, for example, that the bulk of the Inquisition are not intended to know about the Maze Undue.
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2012, 03:57:07 PM »
Reading this thread, I have to question precisely how many people here have actually read Pariah.
I fully admit that I haven't.

Several of the people in this thread are sufficiently jaded with Abnett that hearing he's released a new book is a "Throne, not again" occurrence, not "Yay! New Abnett book!".
To me, and those others, Abnett writes too many things that just have to be described as "Er, well, that's a special case". It's not just his portrayal of the Inquisition, it's a wide range of things.

My response to him writing Ultramarines was about the same, and I feel quite justified in that after the fact. The only saving grace I think could be found in that film was the soundtrack, both musically and vocally - even expecting that film to fall well short of the mark, it's not possible to not find John Hurt's voice awesome. (There are a few candidates for more awesome voices, but as I feel Ultramarines should be British accented - Romans normally are in film and TV, and Ultramarines have their Roman aesthetic - it does narrow down those choices.)

In my personal case, I'm also jaded with GW themselves, so another reason that my money will not be going into buying Pariah. When, or rather more likely "if" (I have better things to read), I do read it, I'll be doing it via the local library.

Possible spoilers here guys.
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« Last Edit: November 20, 2012, 03:58:41 PM by MarcoSkoll »
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Offline Dullmohawk

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Re: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2013, 01:57:16 PM »

The specifics of 40k cloning aside for a second, blankness doesn't really make sense if it's reproduced reliably through either cloning or descendence - if it were, the Inquisition would just breed Pariahs, and they wouldn't be as valuable a commodity as they are.

Readdressing the specifics... this is yet another case of Abnett writing his "special snowflakes", and one that generously breaks a large part of the 40k canon.

The moment you make it possible to accurately reproduce a person down to the individual they are (as opposed to cases like the Krieg regiments, which are presumably only biological clones), it begs the question of why so many of the Imperium's greatest heroes haven't been brought back to life, or perhaps been duplicated such that there's several of them. Inquisitors keeping back-ups of themselves - that'd be useful. Hell, let's clone the Emperor.


While I don't really care for the ProAbnett vs. AntiAbnett part of this debate, I'd just like to venture that this was tried and tested during 40k's history. The Afriel-strain for example, are all test-clones of Lord Solar Macharius and other great heroes of the Imperium, and although they were cursed with some strange bad luck, they did succeed (in part) in remaking these persons. I seem to recall certain other adventures in the wierd and wonderful world of DNA, like Horus and a certain avian Primarch. All of these went wrong, since either some cosmic force wanted it too or because there's a tradition in heroic sci-fi litterature to make every character a "special snowflake".

Having read the book, I'd venture that what's going on here is a simple happenstance. Someone (we don't yet know who) have successfully made some sort of copy of Alizebeth Bequin. While the copy is not a complete clone and more like a daughter, it retains certain qualities of the original - Looks, certain parts of her personality and the pariah-gene. It's not how it usually happens when humans reproduce, but I guess we don't really know, since most pariah's live isolated and loveless lives given their condition.

Also, the Psy controlled Ventriloquist Dummy Assassians(or whatever you want to call them) were creepy if you don't like dolls and small kids. If you don't have a problem with glass-eyed playthings I can imagine they'd be pretty silly.
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2013, 03:57:07 PM »
The Afriel-strain for example, are all test-clones of Lord Solar Macharius and other great heroes of the Imperium, and although they were cursed with some strange bad luck, they did succeed (in part) in remaking these persons.
Anyone with a passing knowledge of science would recognise that a genetic clone does nothing to replicate the experiences and memories that produce the actual individual. The clone of Macharius is not actually Macharius reborn, and there's nothing in the Afriel strain fluff to suggest that he/it is. (If, indeed, his genetics are actually in the project at all - as I recall, that's only rumour).

Quote
because there's a tradition in heroic sci-fi litterature to make every character a "special snowflake".
Not by the definition I would use for "special snowflake".

"Special snowflakes" are not just unique, they're "more unique". That might be for the sheer sake of being different, a plot device or bloody-minded ignorance of the status quo.

Sci-fi literature might be traditionally bad (see Sturgeon's principle), but it is not a tradition to actually make it bad.
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Offline Dullmohawk

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Re: The interesting, the bad and the worst (Abnet's new novel)
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2013, 08:26:00 PM »
Well, as far as I know there's no suggestion in the book that Beta Bequin has inherited either experience or memories of the Alizebeth Bequin we know from the original books. I merely suggested that cloning was not totally unheard of in regard of the OP's total disregard of cloning technology in the 40k universe. As you will notice, I elaborated on this and explained that the Beta character was presented as more of a daughter, than as a copy. I think this really hits the spot on what the author is trying to do with this wrap-up of the series. Putting everyone in between two characters who, whether you like it or not, a lot of BL readers have become fond of. While you focus on our general ignorance and the suggestive nature of the universe we're dealing with however, you're making a perfect example of what this discussion is really all about: The damn canon.

Why is it that every book that comes out of Black Library has to be weighed and measured against some invisible tome of ancient knowledge possessed only by people who have been in the hobby for X amount of years? Isn't that a bit stifling? Choking the creativity so often pushed as the main drive on this very forum?
While I appreciate the need for a certain backbone to the universe, I hardly see the problem in authors carving out parts of the 40k universe for themselves and playing around with the notions and suggestions made by the older texts. I think in some way every writer does so. If it happens to be literary drivel, then so be it. However, knocking it for not being true to some golden standard is just silly, as no one has ever sat down and said "this is how it is, and everyone who deviates from this shall henceforth be deemed unclean".

While I'd love to discuss the definition of "special snowflake", I'm just not sure we're on the same page as what goes for bad sci-fi literature.
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