The Warmaster by Dan Abnett

I’ve just finished The Warmaster by Dan Abnett and wow! What a book! I loved how Abnett put this together and how it was tied into Salvations Reach (of which I’m glad I listened to immediately before embarking on The Warmaster). I’d guess there’s a lot more connections in the books that have lead up to The Warmaster, but it’s been a few years since I’ve read them. (I’m really hoping they come up on Audible because I really want to read them again, and listening is quicker for me as I can listen while at work).

The Warmaster picks up for Gaunt and his Ghosts right after their mission to Salvations Reach, but all is not right with their return.

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Such a beautiful edition.

Now, I am a huge fan of this series of books, this being the fourteenth, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating this one since I first heard about it a little while ago. There was a gap of time between Salvations Reach and The Warmaster, but it was worth the wait. Dan Abnett really turns things up to eleven in this book. He pushes characters into places that I wasn’t expecting, but that said I wasn’t really sure what to expect. With the Gaunt’s Ghosts books it feels like each book goes in somewhat of a different direction. This one is no different. A lot of the events in this book I didn’t see coming or where they were going to go.  A lot of the characters had their lives turned upside down and Abnett wasn’t scared to kill any of his characters. That is something I learnt a long time ago about Abnett with this series. He is not afraid to kill the most beloved of characters, often in brutal and unfair ways. Even in war where people die for what can be the most silly of reasons, some of the deaths in these books have been a huge kick in the gut. Even when a character doesn’t die, but they are pushed into something harsh and tough to stomach it feels the same as when a loved character dies.

That is one of Abnett’s biggest strengths I think. He can write these stories with a huge cast of characters and you either love or hate them, with the odd middle of the road character in between. You get their motivations, you get their mentalities. It all works very well.

This book really opened up a whole can of hell yeah! And it puts so much out on the table for future novels that has left me bouncing and determined to re-read the previous books again in the new year.

There are many reasons why Dan Abnett is one of my favourite writers, the Gaunt’s Ghosts series is one of them. Beautifully written, to the point where you’re almost there when the las-bolts are flying.

***Very Minor Spoilers Below image***

***(Very Minor) Spoilers***

If you’ve read these books you’ll know there have been three characters that have left over the years that had nothing to do with dying, although one did eventually die if I remember right, but the two that always sits in my mind when I’m reading these books are Brin Milo and a scout called Mkvenner (I can’t for the life of me remember his first name). Both these characters went off for different reasons. For Milo, he went with Saint Sabbat, and I’ve heard rumours that Abnett has always intended Milo and the Ghosts to get back to each other at some point. With The Warmaster, the Saint is on the same planet as Gaunt and his Ghosts. When I found this out I was waiting for them to come together, but it didn’t happen. I really hope Abnett does so in the next book, because aside from the return of Mkvenner, that is one of the moments in this series of novels that I am eagerly waiting for.

I think Dan Abnett is setting up to bring this series to a close, to a point where the Sabbat Worlds Crusade is either won or lost.

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Terminator 2: Judgement Day. On The Big Screen

My favourite movie of all time is Terminator 2: Judgement Day. I saw it when it came out on home video and I was just at the right age for it to have a lasting effect on me. It blew me away. Everything from the story, to the acting, to the special effects. Everything about this movie I love. It is my Star Wars.

So when I saw it was going to be in the cinema’s again for one night only I was there. Seriously, the zombie apocalypse could have been erupting and I would still have been there.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of 3D but that wasn’t going to stop me either.

*****Spoiler warning*****

Was it good? YES! It was awesome! Seeing Schwarzenegger, Hamilton, Patrick, Furlong all on the big screen was fantastic. Everything that I love about this film, the T-800 against the LAPD place department at the Cyberdyne building, Sarah Connor’s nuclear  apocalypse dreams, the chase through the Los Angeles River. The T-800 with the Winchester shotgun and how he’s cocking it during that chase. Damn, there are so many scenes that seeing for the first time as a teen opened my mind up. The helicopter going under the overpass, the T-800 being lowered into the steel at the end of the film. Pretty much any scene where the T-1000 is killing someone, or rising out of the floor or walking  through iron bars.

The whole concept of time travelling cyborgs was fuel for my imagination as well.

With the sound system the cinema has that industrial beat the soundtrack has was brilliant. A few times it felt like it was vibrating through my bones.

I struggle to put into words just how much this movie means to me, so being able to see it on the big screen was very special and I’m so glad I did. It’s great watching it at home, but it is a film that is at its best on the big screen.

Good Morning, Sunday

This is going to be a bit of a bulky post as I just sum up what’s been going on in the last few weeks.

It’s been a slow couple of weeks with writing, I’ve literally written no new words for pushing a month now. In that time though I have been  working on an outline in much more detail than I have done in the past, and I’ve been working on getting last years FanFic piece read through. With the FanFic piece it’s a little complicated as I have to figure out what I’m going to need to connect the various pieces together, as well as figuring out what I’m going to re-write to make it all into a coherent story.

I have got my vampire collection all sorted out though. This is one of the files that I’d done beta note adjustments on, but I’d lost the file and have had to do them all over again. As I was doing the changes I couldn’t help but think it might just be an idea to rewrite the whole thing as (I’d like to think) I’m a better writer now. Aside from the time it’ll take for me to rewrite another story I’ve written (50k plus words), I’d also loose some of the subtext that is in those stories. I listen to Armand Rosamilla’s podcasts (Armcast and The Mando Method) and he has said that he has thought about rewriting some of his older work, but he isn’t now who he was then, and they’d loose something if he rewrote them. I can’t help but agree. I also don’t want to be that writer that keeps working on the same things and never moves forward. I do suffer a little of that but I’m trying to pull away from it. Now that I’ve got this done, and ready to go off to other beta readers, I’m feeling like I am moving forward.

We’re also moving forward on The Space Watch. Owen is working his way through, putting his stamp on it and I’m looking forward to sitting down with him to go through it in detail and see what he thinks needs working on.

I did have a massive highlight last Saturday (18th March) and that was meeting Scott Sigler. Scott is one of my writing idols and he’s having a small European tour and as soon as I heard him announce the two London dates I immediately booked the 18th off so I could go and hang out with a writer who I’ve been following since 2007. I also got to meet his business partner, AB Kovacs. Both Scott and A are really fantastic people. They are both very engaging, passionate, hard working, and genuine. They’ve also got a great deal of appreciation for the fans, we call ourselves Junkies, and that was very clear to see on Saturday. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the best moments of my life, and has opened my eyes a little to how much of a rut I’m in. Both with writing and life in general. I am taking steps to change that, but I am quite an introvert and it’s not easy for me to step out of my comfort zone.

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Scott Sigler and myself
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AB Kovacs

Back to Saturday night though; in addition to meeting Scott and A, I got to hang out with a good twenty to thirty other Junkies who were an awesome group of people and were all so passionate about Sigler’s work. I also got to meet comedian, illusionist,  and writer John Lenahan. John was podcasting back when Scott started off, and is such a cool dude. What made him even cooler was that he did the voice of Talkie Toaster from the TV series Red Dwarf!

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John Lenahan

Elsewhere, I’ve been getting back into the cinema. I’m a huge movie fan and it’s getting to the time of year when the movies I want to see are coming out. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been to see Lego Batman, Logan, Kong:Skull Island, and Beauty and the Beast. Lego Batman was a lot of fun, silly and over the top, which is what I was expecting. Logan was just brilliant! Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine with such commitment, understanding and passion over the years it’s going to be a shame not seeing him playing the character again. Kong was surprising good. Action right from the start and never did it feel like it was slowing down. It just kept its pace, and the action didn’t disappoint. It’s also the first time I’ve really seen Brie Larson in anything. She’s been cast as Carol Danvers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I was really impressed with how she was on screen. Beauty and the Beast is probably one of my favourite Disney movies. I saw the animated version a couple of times at the cinema when it first came out, and it’s always resonated with me. The live action version was good, but I think it doesn’t quite match up to the original. This is one of those times where I’ve realised this film was going to find it hard to impress me because of my love for the original, that said there was a lot I liked about the live action remake and I will definitely be buying it on Blu-Ray when it does come out.

TV wise, I watched The Expanse, and really dug it. It was a little bit of a slow start but once I’d gotten to about episode three I was locked-in. I’m looking forward to seeing the next series. It’s also reminded me I’ve got to get through the rest of the books in the series. I’m now getting stuck into Iron Fist, and am really enjoying it. It’s just taken a turn I wasn’t expecting. I could quite easily go and binge the last four or five episodes but I’d like to get some work down today.

Reading wise, I’ve not got Terror Byte by J.R. Park finished yet. I’m enjoying the story but I’ve let myself get distracted by movies, TV and comics in the last couple of weeks. I’m going to aim to get back to reading before bed each night, again and will hopefully have it finished by this time next week. Speaking of comics, I’ve just finished House of M, and really loved it. I’ve been curious as to what led up to Scarlett Witch’s ‘No More Mutants’ moment and I brought House of M simply because the cover looked cool and I was intrigued by the title. So seeing Scarlett Witch’s ‘No More Mutants’ moment was an added bonus. I’ve now moved onto Secret Invasion. I also listened to Alone by Scott Sigler. This is the third book of his Generations Trilogy and really ended the series well. The audiobook was narrated by AB Kovacs and she smashed it! A really impressive performance, and very easy to listen to.

Well, that’s about it. Sorry for the chunky post, it’s not often I break five hundred words, let alone a thousand! I am trying to focus my attention and energy better. I’m not being overly successful with it, but I’m trying. Hopefully I’ll have a productive week.

Beyond Skyline

All the way back in 2010 a movie called Skyline came out. It was an alien invasion movie which I felt had a lot of potential but it really didn’t live up to the potential it had. Skyline didn’t do well, but the directors, The Brothers Strause, said at the time there would always be at least one sequel. Now, after seven years it looks like that is finally happening. Beyond Skyline is listed on IMDB as being released in 2017, and is being directed/produced/written by Liam O’Donnell. Produced by The Brothers Strause and Matthew Chausse. It’s also starring Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, The Purge:Anarcy).

Now, I have a real love/hate relationship with the first movie. Skyline was a film that as I watched it I could see a lot of potential in it, but it never fulfilled that potential. I’m hoping the sequel does go some way to building something special with what was created in the first film. The fact that Frank Grillo is in it does go a long way to assuring some of my fears. I’ve not seen Grillo in much more than I’ve listed above but he definitely demands attention when on screen. I am worried that Liam O’Donnell has no other directing credits on his IMDB page, but I’m not writing him off just yet. Everyone has to start somewhere, and he did write the first film, and produced it. So he’s been around this world and these aliens for some time.

I’m not someone that likes to see people fail, and I really want to go into this film (when it’s released) and enjoy it, and have that side of me that loves these alien invasion sorta films/shows satisfied.

 

Savant By Nik Abnett

Okay, so Savant is the story of Tobe and Metoo, and I don’t really want to say more about the story, simply because I don’t think I can give much of a description of it without giving something away.

Savant is a damn good, slow burn, which unravels as the pages pass. I found it to be a page turner which surprised me at how quickly I read it. I am a slow reader but with Savant I zipped through it at quite a lick for me. I think it was three weeks that I smashed through it with the last half of the book in about a week, which is pretty impressive for me. It really pulls you along and it’s easy to read it in small doses and not loose the momentum of the story.

The pace of the story is impressive, it never feels like it’s speeding up or slowing down but just leads up to the story’s climax very naturally. There’s no real world building in the story, but everything you need to know is revealed as the story progresses, and revealed at the right time to give the answers needed.

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The writing is very beautiful and it was easy to picture what was going on while not having too much detail of the surroundings inserted into the text.

If you want a book that spoon-feeds you everything, or is action packed, then this isn’t the book for you. If you want something that has depth, a little mystery, varied and engaging characters. A storyline that slowly gains pace to it’s climax, then this book is worth checking out.

The Future of the Terminator Movies

A couple of weeks ago a few articles began to appear on social media that James Cameron will be regaining the rights to the Terminator movies in 2019, and that he is eyeing Deadpool director Tim Miller to play a part in future instalments.

Now, from what I can make out this is just all rumours, but if there is some truth to it then it could be a game-changer for the Terminator movies. Cameron was the man who built the universe in the first two movies, and I’d like to think that he could take them back to that dark and gritty universe that he created. If we look at the films that he wasn’t involved in, Terminator 3:Rise of the Machines, Terminator: Salvation, and Terminator: Genisys, none of them hit home. Each one failed in one way or another (although I’m quite fond of Salvation as it took the story to the future, after Judgment Day, and it almost hit the mark), and didn’t have anything that really matched up to Cameron’s original two movies. I’ve got a special distaste for Genisys as it erases almost all of those two original movies, and T3 and Salvation, from the timeline. I’ve tried watching it multiple times, and will most likely try multiple times again, but I can’t see me ever liking it. I know filmmakers don’t go out to make a bad movie, and I hope they didn’t write the script with the intention of pissing fans off with what they done in the movie. I personally think they just wanted to get away from the original films and do something different to what we’d seen before.

If Cameron is coming back to the series he could still make something that doesn’t match up to what he did with the first two movies, but I’ve got more faith that he’ll give us something that has depth, quality, consistency, attention to detail, and some respect for Terminator 1 & 2.

We’ll have to wait and see though.

5th February 2017

This morning I woke up at about 3:30am and couldn’t drop back off. So after 45 minutes I gave in and got up. I made myself a cup of tea, popped the gas fire on, fired up my laptop and wrote a blog post and knocked out 837 words before going back to bed at about 6:30.

The rest of the day has been focused on signing up for mailing lists of people I met yesterday at Birmingham Horror Con, looking them up on social media etc. and sorting out the swag I got from the Con. I did tidy a bookcase up that was in a state as well. I’ve also started a Star Wars marathon and have, at the time of writing this blog post, gotten to A New Hope. I don’t think I’ll get to The Empire Strikes Back, tonight. I think that’ll be tomorrow night that I get into that one now. Once I’ve finished A New Hope I’m going to get tucked into bed and read some more of Savant by Nik Abnett before I get an early night.

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