Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Guest Post - David Annandale

On Monsters and Wolves

One of the things I love about the Warhammer 40,000 universe is the question of monstrosity. There are many monsters in 40K, which is – for me – cool in and of itself. I’ve always loved monsters, so getting to write about them regularly, and get paid for doing so, is beyond delightful. But the question arises: what exactly is a monster? This is one of the issues that runs through Curse of the Wulfen. It is also one that I have wrestled with in the academic side of my life, and that recurs in a lot of my writing, whether for Black Library or elsewhere.

The most useful definition of monster, for me, comes from Noël Carroll’s The Philosophy of Horror: Or, Paradoxes of the Heart. Carroll defines the monsters as an interstitial being, or a category violation. It is neither one thing nor another, but falls somewhere between the two. Consider the term “undead” for example: the very word is a category violation, suggesting something that is somehow the opposite of dead without being alive. It seems the me that the monster as category violation strikes at the heart of the Imperium’s obsession with purity, and yet, paradoxically, even Space Marines fit this definition to some degree. They derive from the human, but are also beyond it, and that’s before we get into Chapters that have the unfortunate habit of drinking blood…

Along these lines, then, the Space Wolves are already on the edge of things, but in the case of the Wulfen, here is something that forces even them to confront the question of monstrosity. The Wulfen would obviously be perceived as monstrous by others, and the Space Wolves themselves are torn. Are the Wulfen a curse or a blessing? Does their return mean Russ too will come back, or has the Wolftime come? Is the answer itself monstrous in a way, falling between these extremes or incorporating both? The question finds physical expression in the wars that engulf the Space Wolves with the return of the Wulfen.

And the answer?

Well, we’ll just have to see. And here we touch on another reason why I find writing 40K so rewarding: the ability to explore questions in the form of gigantic space opera spectacle. Currently, I’m getting the chance to do more of that as I write Warden of the Blade, the first of three novels about Castellan Crowe of the Grey Knights. A bit of a contrast with the Space Wolves, to be sure, but Crowe is someone who must wrestle with the unequivocally monstrous every moment of his existence.

Which is great fun for me, and I hope for the reader as well.

About David Annandale -
David Annandale is the author of the Yarrick series, consisting of the novella Chains of Golgotha and the novel Imperial Creed, as well as the Horus Heresy novel The Damnation of Pythos. For the Space Marine Battles series he has written The Death of Antagonis and Overfiend. He is a prolific writer of short fiction, including the novella Mephiston: Lord of Death and numerous short stories set in the Horus Heresy and Warhammer 40,000 universes. David lectures at a Canadian university, on subjects ranging from English literature to horror films and video games.

Links - Website, Twitter 

About 'Curse of The Wulfen' - 

The Space Wolves' greatest secret is revealed! The mysterious 13th Company emerge from the warp, and the future of the Chapter is imperilled. Can the sons of Fenris survive the revelation of the Wulfen?

The Wulfen of the 13th Company have not been seen since the days Leman Russ sailed the Sea of Stars at the head of his Legion. Now, amid daemon incursions of alarming size, they return to the Space Wolves to fight by their side. As Logan Grimnar’s Great Companies scour the stars to rally their returning ancestors, ever more battle-brothers begin to fall prey to mysterious changes. Is the Wulfen’s reappearance really a blessing of Russ, or will the dark omens that plague Harald Deathwolf spell doom for the warriors of Fenris?

This is the biggest, most galaxy-changing event the Warhammer 40,000 universe has seen for years. The truth about the Wulfen is out, and things for the Space Wolves will never be the same again. Will they be hunted as heretics or hailed as heroes? You're gonna have to read it to find out, and the twists and turns will leave you truly gobsmacked.

[PS: You can also check out my 'first interview of him' and '2nd interview'; as well as reviews of his works - 'Yarrick: Chains of Golgotha', 'Yarrick: A Plague of Saints', 'Yarrick: The Gallows Saint', 'Yarrick: Imperial Creed' on this blog.]  

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