Anyone early-adopter who’s got to the end of Blood of Asaheim will notice a couple of adverts for more Space Wolfy (and Deathwatch-y) things right at the back. One of these is Wulfen, a short story featuring… well, probably best to read it before making your mind up on what it features, but the title is a fairly strong hint.
The Wulfen are a fascinating element of the 40K mythos, and a large chunk of what makes the Space Wolves so interesting for me. I’d written about an individual Blood Claw succumbing to the curse (or is it?) in Battle of the Fang, but I’d always wanted to write more about them, preferably in their own tale. To my mind, the Wulfen are more of a ‘horror’ concept than a straight SF or fantasy trope, and I think anything featuring them should have that vibe in it.
I had the pleasure of discussing this a bit with Dan Abnett at the recent BL Live seminar on the Wolves of Fenris. Dan made the point that the Wulfen, like so much about the Space Wolves and their origins, need to retain an air of mystery, of ambiguity and speculation. We should never have a definitive account of where they come from, what causes the change, and indeed what exactly it does to them. Like the werewolves of legend, the Wulfen should be forever just on the edge of the camp-fire, their eyes shining in the dark, never fully coming into the light.
Hopefully Wulfen captures this side to them, as well as also fleshing out one of the coolest stories from the Codex. It was originally penned for one of the event-only chapbooks, but with the release of its big brother it’s now emerged as a standalone e-story. I’ve added it to the 40K page – to anyone who gives it a try, hope you enjoy the read!
Had a great time at BL Live at the weekend. This one seemed much bigger than the previous year’s, and the day certainly flew by. Thanks to everyone who came over to say hello or get a book signed – was good to see some familiar faces. Apologies to anyone who I didn’t manage to speak to: the seminar programme was pretty full this time around and there wasn’t much time to hang around. I hope what I said made some sort of sense; if it didn’t, I blame lack of sleep, and possibly over-excitement.
Now then. Since getting back I’ve had a very pleasurable task of sifting through all the entries to the Blood of Asaheim competition. Thanks to everyone who entered – it was great to get so many mini-bios. Despite Twitter’s best efforts to be difficult, I managed to extract them all and create a long list, which has been gradually whittled away at during the day.
In some ways, thinking about it, it was an impossibly difficult task to set. There’s an unavoidable element of subjectivity in my favourites, not least because I had half an eye on what I could conceivably use in an upcoming book. Since the winning entry will be a cameo, I couldn’t make use of some of the more intriguing suggestions that required a bit of screentime to make work – they had to be the kind of thing that would make sense in a short scene. There were also some lovely ideas based on factions that, despite thinking around the issue, I couldn’t find a good reason to include.
The Space Wolves were a popular choice, not surprisingly, and I ended up with a whole gang of wonderful names: @husker04’s Thorgerd Bloodeye, @MattRose611’s Egil Drakesbane, @Mauthos’ Amarog Folkvardr and @Stygian_Mole’s Venerable Dreadnought K’rul Waymaker, the “Glacier that Howls”, were particularly good. I also liked the inventive ideas supplied for the Nurgly horrors. My favourite of these was probably:
Jon Danger Schafer @schafecast
@wraightc #BoAcomp Marcous D’Envis Emissary of Grandfather. Honeyed words through blistered lips. Sentient tumours have schemes of their own
In truth, that was mostly because of ‘Sentient Tumours’, which I also think would be a great novel title. It was also good to see a few entries from outside the Adeptus Astartes. One that made me chuckle was the cleverly post-modern:
Greg Dann @ChildofFang
@wraightc #BoAComp Rochim Louger – an Imperial Grunt, dour in nature and convinced he is nothing but a bit part in another person’s story
I also liked:
Adam Heterick @theheterick
@wraightc #BoAcomp Konrad Jurgurthine, unsanctioned psyker, inquisitors bastard son, on the run, acrobatic, impetuous, intelligent, suave.
It’s great to write these kind of characters, but in the end I just couldn’t see a way of getting him into the story. This was easier with the numerous Battle Sister submissions, many of which were superb. This one caught my eye as a great example of squeezing a lot of info into a tiny mini-bio:
Xhalax McLoftuson @morbius_sire
@wraightc #BoAComp Felicity Krastov: Sister Famulous to Planetary Governors. Circumspect. Quietly dangerous. Not well liked.
Unfortunately, as anyone who’s read Blood of Asaheim already will know, this is a bit close to an existing Sister Famulous, and I couldn’t really see room for two. Which leads us, however, to the winner, which is (drum roll…):
Chris Quinn @irlchrusty
@wraightc #BoAComp Sister Nuriyah. More bionic than flesh, overly zealous. Pyromaniac, replaced arm with flamer. Foul tempered but faithful
I liked this for a few reasons. First is the name, which is appropriately Sister-y and nicely meaningful (given her nature). Second is the fact that she’s usable in a short scene without a lot of info-dumping: everything about her is exemplified by the attributes listed in the bio. Third, and perhaps most importantly, it’s a gloriously 40K concept. Is there anything more impractical and absurd than replacing a perfectly useful arm with a bolted-on flame-thrower? How do you tie your shoelaces? There’s no doubt, though, that it would be handy in barbecuing the odd heretic, which is what Sisters are there for.
So, congratulations to Chris Quinn, who wins a signed copy of the book. Commiserations to those who missed out, but thanks very much for all the entries – I had a great time reading through them.