Event Report: Black Library LIVE! 2014

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Black Library LIVE! Event Report

Black Library Live has been a fixed part of the book geek calendar for over five years now and has evolved into a friendly, informal and relaxed sort of an affair, giving hardcore Warhammer fans a chance to catch up with fellow bibliophiles and talk to the authors. The fact that the venue is Games Workshop’s own headquarters continues to add an extra level of gaming joy to the entire affair and adds a lived-in sort of feel to the event as you’re essentially visiting the creators at their work place. The fact that it’s also handy for the award-winning pub Bugman’s Bar (named after the character Josef Bugman from the Warhammer Fantasy series) also helps as the beer is quite nice. Doors opened at 9am, with seminars starting at 10am, giving fans plenty of time to mingle and buy books.

It wouldn’t be a Black Library event without some news as to what the writers are working on, so in no particular order: the working title for Graham McNeil’s next Horus Heresy novel is Crimson King and will feature cyclopean primarch Magnus The Red. More Ultramarines books set in the regular 40K setting are planned but won’t be out for a while yet. Graham also hinted that Dan Abnett may be working on a Dark Angels book sometime soon. Chris Wraight is planning to write a sequel to the popular Scars novel, and Gav Thorpe will be producing a novella called Corax Ravenlord. (From the vague hints given it sounds like this will be first available in the very expensive limited edition format, so most readers won’t see it for at least another two years.)

Knights of the Imperium

Artwork for John French’s audio drama, Templar, was on display at the event, and the story will feature Sigismund, the legendary First Captain of the Imperial Fists. The same author also mentioned that further Tallarn books are also planned. Andy Smilie will continue to write his action packed and gory Flesh Tearers stories, and they will cover various periods of that chapter’s history. Black Library are still looking into episodic audio dramas and have created a collaborative work which will be out as a full audio drama out soon, performed as a full radio play.

It’s usual for book-based events to include at least one free book with the ticket, and this year’s exclusive novel was called Renegades of the Dark Millennium. This 114-paged treat features mostly original tales written by the likes of Graham McNeil, Rob Sanders and Aaron Dembski-Bowden and is quite fun. It also contains previews from two eagerly anticipated books: Talon of Horus and Ahrimam - Sorcerer both of which seem very promising indeed. New releases (and some pre-releases) were available for sale at the event and of course some of the more popular items (such as the latest books from New York Times Bestselling author Graham McNeil) sold out very quickly and this always causes a few grumbles. Matters weren’t helped by a till malfunction early in the day, but things did get sorted out in time for people to get to the seminars they wanted to attend.

Black Library LIVE!

The various seminars were mostly informal question and answer sessions with the various authors. This year’s event seemed a little light on author numbers and the absence of the likes of Dan Abnett and Aaron Dembski-Bowden did mean that the talks on the Horus Heresy series lacked a certain something. In addition after five years some of the same old questions are still being asked; which either implies that the audience is changing year in, year out or that some people really want to know what happened to the lost legions, despite the clue being in the name. Those waiting for news of the next available submissions window may be unsurprised to hear that nothing is currently set in stone. They did confirm that when the doors are opened it will be for a thousand word submission based on a fixed brief and that they are looking for tales that follow the setting closely. The editorial team had hoped to have something ready for this event but have not yet finished handling submissions from the Gold Ticket holders from last year’s Black Library Weekender.

Black Library Live! ended with the now traditional raffle. Tickets were handed out to people depending on how many purchases they’d made and the draw was announced in the noisy main hall. This really could have benefited from some sort of public announcement system and waiting for numbers to be read out is a pretty dry way to end things. Mostly this was a fun and very casual event and we hope to see more of the same in the years to come.

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