Saturday, 18 March 2017

Black Library Newsletter

Something new (ish) from the Black Library...

Q: How did the idea of a "total war" novel covering everything from mighty Titans down to individuals on the ground come about?

"It’s something I’d done to a certain extent before in books like Necropolis. I like the idea of locking a novel on to one location, and exploring all the levels of conflict in that place. This, I suppose, took it a stage further. I wanted to write about Titans, but I felt the sheer scale of them would become lost if they weren’t contrasted with people and events at the human end of the spectrum. So the book became about the whole event, from the biggest to the smallest moments."

Q: The battle in Titanicus takes place in the Sabbat Worlds setting – are there any sneaky little references to the rest of your Sabbat Worlds work in there that you're particularly proud of?

"There are plenty, as there are in Double Eagle, my other non-Ghosts Sabbat World book. But they’re also quite subtle: I didn’t want to reduce the epic scale of Warhammer 40,000 by throwing in lots of ‘fan service’ moments that were too coincidental to believe. This novel clearly happens against the backdrop of the same campaign, and meshes with it, but the Imperium is SO big – and the Sabbat Worlds alone are SO big – that connections that were too obvious would have diminished that feel."

Q: In what ways was writing such large scale combat a different challenge to your more usual small and intimate battle scenes?

"They come with their own individual challenges. How do you make the vastness of the Titans vast enough, and at the same time clear enough, and comprehensible? How do you convey the scale and mayhem of these machines? Similarly, how do you make the human level action as compelling as the big stuff? It’s all about tension and drama, and playing off the two extremes as carefully and cleverly as you can."

Q: Looking back at it years later, what are you most proud of in the novel? What's your favourite part of it?

"I am very proud of it. I think it stands up well and is a satisfying self-contained epic story. I’m very proud of the sheer scale of the Titan combat, and the sense of the Titans almost as characters, but I’m also pleased with the way I visualised the language and operation of the Titan Legion. Oddly, it’s the really small stuff, the human-level actions and details that I feel most proud of. They engage strong emotions and they don’t get drowned by the action. In the end, however big the Imperium is, it’s all about people."
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